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« FMF March Money Madness, Round 2, Posts 13-16 | Main | Star Money Articles and Carnivals for the Week of Mar 12 »

March 15, 2012

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Love this post. I grew up in NW Indiana, where we had a bunch of National Dunes. I was disappointed not to find any National parks when I moved to West Michigan, but then I learned there was an extensive County Park system. I have nearly 50 parks in a 25 mile radius! My wife and I use them frequently for hiking, kayaking, and canoeing.

There are a number of CSAs and milk shares in the area (our CSA pickup is a mere 15 blocks from our house). We had a milk share for awhile, but couldn't justify the cost; the two of us often had difficulty finishing a half share.

I hear you on the surplus of food that can be had with a CSA. We also went the smoothie route. Banana's are the secret. You can make a kale smoothie taste good with enough bananas! We also started canning last year, and made enough pasta/pizza sauce with our abundance of tomatoes to last us the winter. We did have to pay for the canning costs initially, but we'll be using them again this year!

As a side note, the farm where we bought our milk from also butchered their own cows. We were able to get grass fed beef cheaper from them than from the local superstores (never fresh though, always frozen).

Good comments on the gym memberships. But I really like working out at the gym, just a huge assortment of machines that would be tough to duplicate at home. I bought a 3-yr pre-paid membership at 24-Hour-Fitness 5 years ago, now it renews at $99/yr which is a great deal. We go there at least twice a week so we definitely get our money's worth. It helps that it is right on my way home so I don't have to go out of the way to get there.

You can also now buy discounted memberships at Costco for 24Hour. Of course if you are not committed then it's not worth it.

I have a $20 gym membership and it's awesome. I do find one big expense re: fitness (mainly weight loss) is fitness clothes and clothes once you've lost weight!

Would have liked to see a LOT more no/low-cost options. Like a link to some body weight workouts or some fun ways to vary your workouts (using a deck of cards to determine what exercise to do and how many repetitions)

If you do buy a single machine, buy an indoor rower (concept2 quality)

"80% of your fitness comes from good, clean eating?" Not by a long shot. Just eating healthy has negligible affect on muscles and your cardiovascular system.

My wife and I bought a Vitamix about 5 years ago and we use it at least four times a day. The kids absolutely love smoothies, and the Vitamix makes it easy to hide veggies in the smoothies.

@Jonmyers, have you made it out to Saugatuck Dunes State Park, or Nordhouse Dunes north of Ludington yet?

@Bryan -- a power rack and flat bench, although not technically a machine, would be a better investment if you're only going to buy one piece of equipment.

@JP depends on your goals. For muscle building, a power rack, bench, barbell, and weights are great. You can always run or do interesting cardio exercises to complement the weight program.

For cardio (and some great muscle building, just not the same type to be had by weight training) it can't get much better than rowing. Though swimming might be a cheaper alternative. These two exercises are extremely easy on the joints also.

@Brian - We will have to agree to disagree. You could lose all the weight you want without ever lifting a dumbbell or stepping on a treadmill. But try losing weight by exercise only (and not changing your eating habits) and you'll have a hard time. In fact, many people are prone to overeating during periods of exercise to overcompensate for increased hunger (or they justify it... "I did exercise today, so this extra piece of cake won't hurt me.")

I know a number of people who have gone through a program like P90X or Insanity, and didn't change their eating habits and were disappointed by their results. Had they cleaned up their eating, they would have been ecstatic.

You are right, healthy eating by itself won't increase muscle mass, but it will improve your body fat %, which is what most people need help with anyway.

I understand where you are coming from, but people vastly underestimate the importance of clean eating and only focus on exercise.

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