We’ve all woken up on January 1st with a blinding hangover and the taste of kebab in our mouths and sworn to change our ways for good. Alas, for most of us, the new year resolution only lasts until the next weekend, when we slip back into the circuit. Well no longer!

Spurred on by an acute sense of self loathing and bankrupted dignity, we have gone on a hunt for ways to get in tip top shape without having to dip too deeply into the goon and groceries budget.

At the risk of sounding like a late night advertorial for the latest in ab shredding, leg sculpting, tummy tucking technology – we ask you to make a new you this new year!

So, squeeze into your lycra hot pants, break out your sweatbands and make sure you stretch thoroughly before hand.

Parks ‘n’ recreation

In this new-fangled age of 24 hour gymnasiums, 15 minute suck and tucks, and a host of supposedly miracle pills that promise to “melt the fat” right off your beer belly, the humble public park, tennis court and swimming pool oft gets overlooked.

Some people are put off by the occasional danger of treading in dog doo as they stride out on a run, or swimming through a yellowing cloud of toddler tinkle in the fast lane of their community swimming pool – but such incidents are unusual.

The best thing about the park is that it’s free and some of them come equipped with their own outdoor gyms full of lovely bars to pull, push and dip on to your heart’s content.

While you may have to pay a nominal fee to swim in your local pool or hire out a court for an hour or two, the cost is negligible compared with the good you’re doing yourself.

Plus it’ll be mitigated even further if you can get a group together, which is more fun as well.

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Back to school

Don’t have a park nearby? Easy, just take a class. For example, why not try pole dancing?

In the last three or four years, what was once viewed as an activity practiced only by young ladies of loose morals in darkened, smoky rooms filled with single men and creepy old guys, has been transformed into the newest fitness fad.

A thing that empowered girls will not just recommend to their friends, but try and get their mothers to come along to as well.

If that’s not your thing, just remove the pole from the equation entirely and take some old fashioned dance lessons instead. It’s all good for you… well, unless it’s tap.

Boxercise is also very much in vogue at the moment, taking all the cardiovascular fitness and strength conditioning required from boxing and filtering out the getting punched in the head part. So, your face will look just as good as the rest of you once it’s done. 

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Go team

As most of us would agree, doing something with a group of friends is more fun than doing it alone, and exercise is no exception.

Mixed Oztag and touch competitions run year round in just about every public, grassy area nationwide. Indoor soccer and Futsal tournaments also run year round and cater for all sorts and skill types from Sunday arvo battlers to seasoned pros and ex-pat Englishmen who “had a trial at Coventry City” when they were younger.

Registration for a full season might run at a couple of hundred dollars but if you split it between your team mates, it doesn’t work out at much and it’s a great excuse for having team beers and a $10 pub meal afterwards. You know, to reward yourself.

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Stretch out

We could have placed yoga in our ‘take a class’ section but in honesty it is such a popular activity that it really deserves its own entire section.

In truth there are more yoga and pilates classes to choose from than there are grains of sand on Bondi Beach, and they usually run at around $20-25 a session.

Yoga increases core strength, flexibility, as well as reportedly being healing for the mind and the soul. While it seems to be favoured more by the female gender, we think that guys are missing a trick or two here. For one thing it’s a great way to meet chicks in tights.

Plus, it’ll show them a sensitive side of you, your ‘love’ of new age music (Songs of the Whale, for example) or the fact that you aren’t afraid to cry – which you will do when you go into a full body muscle spasm half way into a downward dog.

That’s better than having a teacup pig for a pet!

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Get a little game

While this next one might seem a bit odd trust us, it works. First step though is to make sure that the place you’re staying at has a television, then make sure they have an Xbox.

If they don’t, you’ll have to go out and buy one as well as the game Nike + Kinnect Fitness. While this might seem a bit odd and expensive at first it’s not really if you think about it. A new Xbox with Kinnect technology and a copy of the game will cost you about $250 which is cheaper than an annual gym membership.

This great new game identifies your training weaknesses, and then tells you what to do to overcome them through a series of movements that cover strength, flexibility and cardio. Basically, it’s like having a personal trainer in your living room.

Even if you’ve never turned on an Xbox, you’ll be able to work the interface. But while it’s easy to use, you’ll definitely need to move the coffee table to do some of what you’re asked justice. And ask your mates round, there’s a really fun group setting on the game too.