This is a public service announcement: exercise is free.

Stop and think before you fork over the dough to shape-up for the incoming snowboarding and skiing season.

Yes, it's coming up quick and you've had a few too many hot dogs and beers this summer. Living in Colorado, for most people, means being active and in shape year-round, but it's not a bad idea to take the next month to really get into gear. Getting all spaghetti-legged halfway through opening day is not an option.

There are boot camps and classes for pre-season conditioning, and if you're bored and have cash to spare, feel free to chuck money at something you can do yourself. It's the American Way.

Or you can grow a set, and brain. Some are of the mind that this is a bullshit way to spend money. Do you own some sneakers, shorts and a T-shirt? (If you own a snowboard or skis, we're guessing so.) Are you capable of using your body? (Again, this seems likely.) Can you read this? (If not... uh, we give up.) Bonus: Do you live in an outdoor recreation haven? (High-five!)

Perhaps you're thinking, "A professional will make sure I'm training properly. I don't want to hurt myself." We're saying, "You have a brain and the internet exists. In addition to porn and cats, it has exercise instructions. You can figure this out."

Now that we've established that you're full-grown, physically able and (mostly) independent adults, let's run through some things you can do to get ready for the season. For free.


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1. Go for a damn run. Ride a damn bike. Sprint up some damn stairs. Go for a hike. This is basic stuff. Just get some cardio in four to six days a week, for 30-60 minutes.

2. The running and biking might help your legs, but it's really about the heart and lungs. Give those legs a boost with some lunges. Do some single-leg squats — no equipment required. If you're a student and have free gym-access, make use of that leg press. Know your limits if you're using weights. It will not impress your fellow gym rats if you blow a hammy or crap yourself.

3. "Core training" is a phrase that only seems to slip from the lips of those people who won't shut up about their workouts. (Facebook tells me Jenny Thatchickfromchem ran 3.7865 miles today. I'd like to flick Jenny Thatchickfromchem in the forehead.) But this is important, so let's get on with it and call it "mission: sickass-abs" instead. There's the obvious: crunches, sit-ups. And the less obvious, but still, c'mon: those twisty side-to-side crunches, reverse crunches, planks, genie sits (just Google it). If you're feeling like risking a burst blood vessel in your nicely-tanned face, try some leg lifts.

4. Throw some push-ups in there for the hell of it. Arms need love, too. FLOTUS commands it.

5. Stretch. Do you need to be told how to stretch? Bend over and touch your toes. Relax, we're not gonna try anything. Sit down and reach for 'em. Pull those feet in and make a butterfly, or whatever stupid thing your middle school gym teacher said to avoid directly telling you to stretch your groin. Stand up and grab one foot behind you with the opposite hand. Switch. Etc., etc., can we stop now? If you know some yoga poses, have at it.

Maybe this guide has taken a cranky tone. Maybe we don't care. Maybe screw off. We can be just as mean as that boot-camp instructor and you don't even have to pay us.

Your haircut is stupid. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries. You're a virgin who can't drive.

Now, buzz off and get to work so we can get back to online shopping for $180 goggles. Some of the 2013 gear is sickkkkk dude.

Contact Ashley Dean at 303-473-1109 or dean@coloradodaily.com. On Twitter: twitter.com/AshaleyJill.