Ab-solutely fabulous fitness deals
Keep your health plan on track by saving on workout gear and picking up a bargain, says Sinead Ryan
If you're like me, you're determined to get over the excesses of the festive period by making a start into a fitness regime... again.
But our best laid plans might come to nothing if we don't prepare. Getting out on a dark rainy night in January to run around a field isn't everyone's idea of a good time, so some prefer to stay home and splash out on fitness equipment. Others like the idea of a class like aerobics, but they also want to look the part in decent gear.
Damien Maher of BeFit4Life.ie says it's important to get professional advice if you're embarking on a serious fitness plan. "Fitness is not a do-it-yourself activity. Your health is the tide that raises all the other areas of your life. Treat it well and hire a professional like you do elsewhere so that in 2018, you finally move nearer to your health and fitness goals."
Below are some clothing and fitness aids, while the panel shows the cost of bigger pieces of home gym equipment.
You might get cheaper second-hand, but not at the expense of safety so have it checked out first.
Tesco: The F&F range has some great items in its Activewear collection in 89 stores around the country, including a reflective camo print running set (leggings €33) and a coral pink gilet (€28) for outdoor wear.
Gym bunnies will love the print crop top and leggings (€22.50) and mesh trainers at an affordable €20.
Aldi: There are plenty of options in store to kickstart your routine, including a yoga mat from €9.99 in four colours.
If you don't like weights, they also have a power fitness band for resistance exercises, from €5.99 per set. Looking good doesn't cost a fortune with leggings in full length and capri options (€9.99), and hoodie or kangaroo sweat tops from €14.99 with long sleeves and thumb holes.
Fitness trainers are just €12.99 for men and women, and sports bras are €6.99. If swimming is your thing, they have togs for €9.99 with built-in tummy control... hopefully you won't be doing belly flops!
An Activity Sleep and Heart Rate Monitor is €59.99 with an app suitable for iPhone 4, iPad 3rd generation or Android 4.3 tablet. Available in pink, blue, black or yellow.
Lidl has a focus on yoga, with a full kit (top, leggings and mat) for just €15, while Pilates rings and toning balls are €5.99 per pack.
Dumbbells are €12.99 and Kettlebells start from €8.99 (6k) and they fly out every year.
They also have a full range of nutrition deals such as protein bars (€1.79).
If joining a gym isn't your thing or you want to mix your exercise goals with getting out more and making new friends, then there are options which only require minimal outlay and gear.
Mark Elmore of Strictly Salsa runs beginners classes for people "who have two left feet", he says, starting at just €30 for six weeks. He says he started dancing because he found gyms "utterly boring" and wanted something different.
"We have all ages, 20s to 70s and with many people giving up alcohol at this time of year, dancing is a great option - you only need water! You meet people, get out for fun and exercise is the bonus."
There's no equipment or costume cost, "just turn up", adds Mark.
Monica Hannigan runs the Dunboyne Musical Society. "Amateur musical theatre is a fantastic way of keeping fit while having fun.
"Choreography takes up half of rehearsal time, there's lots of cardio, but none of the work is beyond any age group - you only do as much as you want. Our show in April will be Oklahoma which has super dance routines and the cast will be dancing and keeping fit from now until then," she says.
There's no equipment needed but most musical societies charge a membership fee for costumes.
Gym equipment sale picks
Home gym equipment can be very expensive, but with the new year sales still on in many stores, it’s possible to pick up an excellent bargain.
* Reebok One treadmill was €769.99, now €491.49.
* Everlast Cross Trainer was €197.99, now €159.99
* WonderCore smart core trainer is a new product costing €99.99 which is small enough to stash away.
* ProForm Treadmill was €1,000, now €799.
* Photo Cycle bike was €200, now €140.
* FitnessEquipment.ie is selling a Vibration Plate to build muscle tone for €299, which was €695.
* ToneAtHome.ie has rental options to try before you buy — cross trainers from €100 and spin bikes from €90 for four weeks hire.
* Abs Trainer for just €12.99 and a Swing Stepper machine at €34.99.
* Multi Trainer (€29.99) has six separate toning exercises and a rowing machine, coming to stores on January 29 for €229.99.