Getting in Shape (for free)

Yesterday I came up with a whole new chapter for the book I’m working on (How to Live on Nothing and Have Everything). It’s called, Getting in Shape. CAUTION: This material is untested.

I found myself believing the horseshit that if I only had money I’d get in shape; I’d join a gym; I’d hire a personal trainer; I’d take classes. The reality is that all I get from this false belief is fatter.

Therefore, number one on my list of Getting in Shape (for free) is WALK. It seems obvious enough and easy, hell, I’ve been walking since I was a toddler. So yesterday, I had fifteen minutes to kill before meeting a friend for lunch. As I walked down a short street to Lake Ontario, the sun shone and the unfortunate homeowners chipped at the ice on their sidewalks. I descended to the deserted, windswept beach and crunched my way across the treacherous leash-free zone for dogs and their intrepid owners, to the next street over.

I’d forgotten about the set of stairs leading up but there was no turning back now, and besides, taking the STAIRS is also on my list of Getting in Shape (for free). Thirty, or so, steps later, winded and with heart pumping (nice cardio!) I paused at the top and took some photos. Lake Ontario beachThen off I went to meet my friend at the restaurant (my thighs were actually burning from the street’s slight incline).

Holy out of shape, you say! Yes, I am. That’s why I’m working on it (for free).

How about you? How are you staying in shape this winter?


  1. I LOVE my gym,!! And I make a lot of sacrifices to keep my membership going. But I often try to think of ways to get in extra exercise that doesn’t cost money or a lot of time. Thinking along the lines of high intensity interval training (HIIT) I’ve wondered if a stairs-climb workout would be good. I don’t know if it really qualifies as a true HIIT workout but maybe it’s worth a try. First I thought I would go up/down 1 flight of stairs 10 times but I think instead I’ll see how many times I can go up/down 1 flight of stairs in 10 minutes. I’ll do it 3 times a week (at work) starting tomorrow. Yikes, now I’m committed!! We’ll see how long I last!

    1. When I worked in Koffler I took the stairs all the time. There seemed to be a lot of walking back and forth between my office and your desk (by the coffee machine!) 🙂 Have you considered signing up for the CN Tower stair climb?

  2. Just a suggestion for stair workouts — going up is safer for high intensity (as appropriate to each individual) than descending, both from the point of view of knee issues and just plain tripping. Ie, go up 2 flights taking two steps at a time or running, then walk down one, repeat until the stairwell runs out, then walk down all the way to cool down.

  3. A mutual friend linked to your blog on FB and I want to comment on this post – I teach Restorative Exercise™ which is a biomechanics based alignment program that prepares you for — WALKING! Yes, that is indeed the best kind of exercise and the one we’ve all been designed for. Indeed, we NEED to walk, biologically speaking, to optimize all our systems (muscular, skeletal, cardiovascular, digestive etc., etc.) like a self winding clock. However, most people (and by most I mean all) don’t walk so much as fall, using an anterior gait pattern (hip flexing, knee bending) instead of a posterior gait pattern. Things like sitting a lot, wearing shoes, working out on treadmills all increase this tendency. Walking can raise your BMR and burn more calories than running if done the way nature intended. I’ve been “learning” how to walk again for the past 2 years and it is HARD! Good luck Sandy. Maybe I’ll see you around on the boardwalk some day.
    ps I was a Pilates teacher for 13 years and now ALL I do is walk 🙂

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