Resolution #7: Break a sweat: YES. Break the bank: NO!

The average price for a gym ranges from $400 a year to well over $1000. Helping our family adopt sustainable behaviors means cutting out waste, and that translates into slashing wasted money, time and energy on overpriced gyms. We wrote up a few ways to challenge Mom & Dad to save time & money and connect with family, WHILE getting healthy, getting fit, exploring nature, and learning how to work the body without paying to be surrounded by all those steamy mirrors, flashing lights or the motivational mantras from a personal “trainer.” Here are 5 ways to tell your gym to take a hike!

While some are more useful than others (and many are useless entirely) there are literally millions of videos from fitness trainers and self proclaimed body sculpting gurus on YouTube (our quick search for “fitness” resulted in well over 1,000,000 videos.) We leave it up to you to decide on whether they can help her, BUT it seem obvious that if Mom’s real goal is to learn great ways to workout her abs and her butt without paying an arm and a leg… well, Google could be a great place to start. We want to help…

This year we can help Mom & Dad understand the true cost of the gym, and the REAL eco-economic benefits of avoiding extra traffic driving to their workout. Seriously, what if they could drop the pounds without waiting for popular machines, or signing up for crowded classes, or schlepping around an unsightly bag of sweaty gear this year…?

Here are a few ways to challenge the entire family to get heart rates up and get body weight down by learn a few new tips about feeling (and looking) better … AND every one of them can be done at home, in the garage, living room, bedroom or where you can find the space… and there are many more that you can do together outside, as well. Challenge your family to try these this year!

  1. Get a move on: invite Mom & Dad (and everyone else) to take the first step and go for a good old walk! You may want to walk fast, or jog, or perhaps run/walk works best for you… and for some, straight up running will satisfy that craving for a more intense endorphin buzz. (Of course we cant forget to mention… the fun eco-economic value of their bike, skates, blades, and so many other ways to coach them to slim down and fatten up the family GMP fund!)
  2. Get a groove on: unplug that Wii and just dance, shake that booty, move junk to the funk, jump up, step out, and skip, squat or just get in to a new rhythm of intensely fun aerobic dance! Help Mom (or Dad!?) declare victory over extra pounds by moving to the beat.
  3. Make the most of our size: while they have it, you might as well help them put it to work…. working out with the resistance of our own body weight against the forces of gravity can do a body a lot of good! Show the family how everyone can lift, push, press, pull, curl, curve, crunch, dip, and thrust our bodies off the floor to help give our form the shapely contours we want and our muscles the healthy elasticity they need to move us through life well.
  4. Team up to slim down: smash a birdy ( aka. shuttlecock,) shoot hoops, share a volley, or get creative with martial arts to focus on our fitness, and to share the vision of healthy eco-economic living with friends and family…
  5. Breathe in the calm of “OM sweet OM:” many Moms (and some Dads!) feel like driving to a studio and paying for a part time guru to guide them through a yoga class or meditation session makes it “real” or better, but we hope to help you to inspire them save the hundreds or thousands of dollars in annual per class fees and invest this money in a family trip to india instead! With our help by this time next year your family might entering the world of Brahma from the place it all began.

No matter what you do to help Mom & Dad get fit, don’t wait, as there is nothing more valuable than their health. However, we think that taking a few added steps to discover new exercise practices, workout methods, resistance regimes and relaxation rituals can achieve everything they hope to without spending so much money on gym memberships, and time staring into a mirror… instead of the eyes of a family member, or getting healthy with a friend or loved one.

Resolution #6: Ben Franklin’s “Time is Money”

You don’t have to be in AP History to know Benjamin Franklin was green, that’s how he got his face on the $100 Bill. Ben Franklin didn’t have Google Maps or GPS, or even an alarm clock, and yet, he knew time was money. Think: electricity, refrigeration, and more. He also invented the odometer. How else would you track the Miles Per Gallon of your carriage in 1790?!

In 2011, everyone in our family needs a little more “Benjamins” and practical, eco-economic wisdom. A good way to start is to be prepared, organized and informed. Simply leaving early with a clear plan, so you don’t have to speed or get lost, saves money. How much? Well, it could be a few “Benjamins” a year for the average family. Factor in the cost of increased risk from accidents, tickets and missed opportunities, and you’ll be asking your history teacher who was on the $1000 bill.

So this year, refresh the family on Benjamin Franklin. Help mom and dad leverage those new gadgets to finally get organized. Pack lunch and pick clothes the night before to avoid the morning scrammble. Not only because it will make them less stressed, but because you are going to help them save time and money.

And if you missed the MythBusters on how Franklin “discovered” electricity, it’s worth checking out.

Resolution #5: Family “Meat Out”

It’s Monday. Resolution #5: invite your family to “Meat Out” at least once a week. Thousands of people have been celebrating Meatfree Monday, or, if you prefer, @MeatlessMonday to bring attention to over-consumption of meat and its environmental impacts. You’ll be in good company from Anne Hathaway to Pink to former President Bill Clinton. Lisa Simpson likes guilt and angst. At GMP, we like $avings. While the health and sustainability benefits may be well known, the fact is that this is a great way to save over $500 this year! This means leave the meat out of a family dinner that would otherwise include it, and replace it with another healthy source of proteins like beans or tofu or a rich mix of grains and veggies.

Need some menu suggestions, check out a few of these:

Track your family’s “Meat Out” savings! And tell us the biggest hits and misses.

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