By Joe Wilkes

Here at Beachbody, we're all about getting lean and healthy. And one of the things we also want to slim down is our carbon footprint—the measure of our impact on the environment. From sweeping changes like making our packaging greener to little things like using filtered tap water at the office instead of those big plastic water cooler jugs, we're doing our part to try to make our planet as healthy as we're trying to make our bodies. After all, no matter how much you work out and eat healthily, if the environment's sick, before long, you will be too. Here are some ideas for changing to a greener lifestyle—in just 1 year. You might not become Leonardo DiCaprio or Al Gore overnight, but just changing one small habit every month could add up to a big difference for the planet, and for your pocketbook too.

APRIL—Ban the Bottle

We've featured a number of articles in this newsletter about the putative health benefits of bottled water, and largely, we don't believe the hype. The bottled-water industry is mostly unregulated, so you can never be 100 percent sure what you're going to get. Tap water, on the other hand, is heavily regulated by the EPA, in addition to state and local agencies, so you can be pretty sure what you're going to get. And there are plenty of affordable filters available to make the tap water taste as good as your favorite bottled brand. You'll save tons of money by switching to tap, paying pennies instead of dollars for a liter or two of the wet stuff, but more importantly, you'll be helping the environment in two ways. First, much like the plastic bags, the petroleum-based plastic bottles are largely eco-unfriendly. They can be recycled, but the ones that aren't end up on the millennium decomposition plan with their plastic bag brethren. Secondly, there's the enormous transportation costs—especially if you're getting your fancy water shipped in from Fiji or Norway. Does American water really taste that much worse that it's worth polluting the oceans, the air, and the land to transport a bottle of H2O halfway across the globe?

MAY—Better Bathroom Habits

And we're not just talking about leaving the seat up or down. Our morning hygiene routines can be the most wasteful part of the day. Starting with brushing your teeth—if you leave the faucet running while you brush your teeth for 2 minutes, about three gallons of water are going down the drain. Then when you hop in the shower, you're using 2.5 gallons of water per minute. And if your toilet's a bit on the older side, add another five gallons per flush. So a 2-minute tooth brushing, a 10-minute shower, and one toilet flush send a grand total of 33 gallons down the pipes. You can knock down the total by cutting your shower time in half. You can also install a low-flow shower head, a faucet aerator, and/or an on/off switch that lets you stop and restart your shower at the same temperature and pressure setting you were using before, any of which can cut your water use in half and save you up to $250 a year. Also, if you still have one of those "spring" water bottles you stopped using in April lying around, you can fill it with water and put it in your toilet tank. When you displace part of the tank's water, your flushes will be less wasteful. Replacing your toilet with a newer low-flow model can reduce your flush from five gallons to as low as 1.5 gallons. And honestly, if your toilet's old enough to be a five-gallon model, it's probably a little crusty anyway.

JUNE—Shop Locally

Summer is the perfect time to start getting to know your local farmers' market. If you don't know where yours is, do a little Internet surfing—most communities have farmers' markets or at least cooperatives that provide you with the opportunity to shop locally. The advantages are many. You help support your community. You get food so fresh that it may have been in the ground the day before. You can get food with fewer chemicals and preservatives, or at least be able to look the farmer in the eye and ask, "What's on your apple?" You can save money because you aren't paying for the food to be shipped from some faraway land, which wastes petroleum resources and causes air, sea, and land pollution, as with the bottled water. If you have to shop at the supermarket, check what you buy to see where it's produced and try buying products produced locally. Also, don't be afraid to let your supermarket managers know that you'd like them to stock locally grown stuff. If they know you're interested, they'll also be interested. Even better, shop at independently owned grocery stores where the person making the buying decisions is on-site.

JULY—Walk, Don't Drive

As a resident of Los Angeles, this is almost heresy to say, but by getting out of your car, you'll be saving fuel and helping your health. You'll inhale way fewer pollutants when you're outside walking past the traffic than you do when you're stuck inside your car. Plus you'll be giving yourself huge cardiovascular benefits by getting out and stretching your legs. Think about all your daily errands and consider whether you can take your car out of the equation for any of them. Even small changes in your routine can lead to big overall savings in gas and make you and the planet healthier. Think about carpooling or taking public transportation if it's available. In addition to the fuel you'll save, you can read the paper in the morning instead of cursing the slowpoke driving five miles per hour in front of you. If you have to drive, there are still some ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Try not to be a stop-and-go driver. People who habitually ride the brake and accelerator use up to 30 percent more gas than the people who drive more evenly. Keeping the pressure in your tires up is another way to make your drive more efficient. By losing the (literal, not figurative this time) junk in the trunk, you can make your ride lighter and use less gas. By keeping your windows rolled up, you'll reduce the drag on your car—it'll become more aerodynamic and require less fuel. And by driving at 50 miles per hour instead of 70, you can save 25 percent in fuel efficiency.

AUGUST—Less Paper, More Room

The one thing that contributes the most to the junk piled in the messy rooms I call home is paper. By the end of every week I have a waist-high stack of newspapers poised to collapse in my living room. My bedroom floor is littered with the subscription cards that've fallen out of magazines I already have subscriptions to. The top of my desk is a distant memory, buried under stacks of (mostly unopened) mail. My bookshelves have been crammed to bursting, because apparently on my next day off, I plan to plow through the hundred or so books I impulse-bought to read in my "spare time." All of this is at odds with the minimalist aesthetic I claim to pursue. I recycle as much paper as I can, but do I really need all this in the first place? And do you? But where do you begin? First off, take a magic marker with you when you check the mail. These three magic words, "Return to Sender," or these three, "Remove from List," can begin to make your life a lot less cluttered and ultimately save a lot of paper. Hopefully, people will stop sending you junk, or at the very least, the junk won't ever make it into your home. There are also services available online that for a small fee will get your name and address scrubbed from most lists. Check with your various credit card and utility companies to see if you can go paperless and receive your bills via email. Also, email the companies who send you catalogs to tell them you'd prefer to receive their information electronically. See if electronic versions of your favorite newspapers and magazines are available. Most have the extra advantage of having an online archive, so, unlike me, you won't have that milk crate full of old New Yorkers that you never had time to finish reading but couldn't bear to throw away. And get to know your library. You can save a fortune on books, and instead of taking up residence in your home, those books that turned out to be not so hot only visit you for 2 or 3 weeks.

SEPTEMBER—One Man's Trash Is Another's Treasure

Ours is a consumer society that literally discards tons of stuff every year, and face it, a lot of it is yours. Sure, a lot of it you never should have bought in the first place, but once you have it, you're stuck with it. And if you don't get rid of it, you can't get any new stuff! So you try to recycle the stuff you can; sometimes you can even talk the city into coming and picking up your toxic stuff, like old fridges and TVs. But some stuff just seems destined to go to the junkyard or landfill. However, before you just let these misguided purchases shuffle off to begin their centuries of decomposition, you can try to find a new home for as much of this soon-to-be-orphaned junk as possible. Try doing this by posting on a selling or trading site like eBay or Craigslist, or give the stuff away on Or if you're the more social type, have a yard sale. It's a great way to make a little cash and meet your neighbors. You can have friends and family participate in the sale too. Everyone's got some junk to get rid of. When the sale's over, instead of just dragging the stuff that doesn't sell back in the house or garage, arrange to have a local thrift store or charity come pick it up—many have trucks and able-bodied staffers to load it all up. The important thing is to keep it out of the landfill.

OCTOBER—Go Green When You Clean

If you're like me, the most toxic place in your house is under the kitchen sink. You probably have enough chemical solutions to start your own meth lab, which is probably a bit of overkill when all you really need is a little something to wipe off your stovetop once in a while. And the scariest part? You're spraying all your surfaces with these toxins and then making food on them. You pay top dollar to coat your kitchen in poison, then send toxins down the drain to pollute the groundwater or the ocean or wherever the drain ultimately goes. So it's time to get rid of your most hazardous cleaners and go old school with your cleaning. Almost all your kitchen-cleaning needs can be handled with baking soda or distilled vinegar. (Although not together—remember those make-your-own-volcano science projects?) If there's something these two cleaning titans can't handle, try Googling around for a green solution to your specific cleaning issue. There are message boards all over the place, and in all likelihood, someone else has found a way to solve your problem without having to resort to chemical warfare.

NOVEMBER—Veg Out Once in a While

Beef, chicken, pork, lamb. They're all delicious, and in low-fat (preferably organic) varieties, they're also nutritious. But the environmental cost of bringing meat to your dinner table can be huge. Rainforests are cut down to make way for grazing land. All those cows bred for beef create an enormous methane problem with their "exhaust gases." Plus it takes thousands of gallons of water to produce meat, not to mention that transporting it burns tons of fuel and creates tons of pollution. If everyone went vegetarian, or even better, vegan, just 1 day a week, it would make an enormous impact on the environment. A veg-out day could help cleanse your body while making things a bit easier on your pocketbook.

DECEMBER—Have a Green Christmas

The lights, the sounds, the presents—it all means the holidays are here. And even the Grinch wouldn't ask you not to indulge in your chosen annual festival of excess, but there a few things you can do to help the environment without spoiling the fun. Like try hanging LED Christmas lights instead of incandescents. You'll save a lot of energy for the planet and a lot of money on your electric bill. Buy recycled gift wrap. Or find creative ways to wrap presents that don't require gift wrap—like using reusable gift bags or making the gift wrap part of the present. (I wrap my tabloid-loving friend's presents in the latest supermarket rag.) Think about exchanging e-cards instead of traditional cards this holiday season. It's less of a hassle, saves you a lot on postage, and helps the environment by saving both paper and the fuel required to deliver the cards via snail mail. If you can't imagine the holidays without a mantel full of cards, at least buy the recycled kind. And when the holidays are over, you can cut the fronts off the cards and donate them to various charities that recycle them and sell them to raise money the following year.

JANUARY—Raid the Refrigerator

I've been in the same apartment for about 10 years. And the apartment came with a refrigerator that had been there a lot longer than that. My first clue that something might be up with the door seal was the layer of rust that pitted the length of the door. My second clue should have been that my electric bill was about $80 to $100 a month, which is pretty steep for a one-bedroom apartment, even in L.A. Finally, last year my fridge gave up the ghost and my landlord sprung for a new Energy Star-rated fridge. Not top of the line, but a decent $400 model. My electric bill dropped $60 the first month. If I had bought that fridge when I moved in, I would have paid it off in electricity savings in just over 6 months, and I would have pocketed around $6,800 that I instead parceled out to Southern California Edison over the years. Try placing a dollar bill in your refrigerator door—if it comes out too easily once the door is closed, you might have a bad seal. By having your refrigerator resealed or by upgrading your refrigerator, you can save a LOT of money, not to mention what you're doing for the planet. Refrigerators are the worst power consumers, but it's worth checking all your appliances, including air conditioners, televisions, microwaves, etc., to see if they're Energy Star-rated, or if it might be worth your while to upgrade. Some electric companies offer incentives to replace power-abusing appliances—check with yours.

FEBRUARY—Don't Be a Dim Bulb

You've probably seen more and more of these spiral-shaped fluorescent bulbs around. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) cost a bit more than regular incandescent bulbs, but only use about a quarter of the electricity—one bulb can save you up to $30 over the course of its lifetime (which is long, up to 15,000 hours compared to the paltry 750 to 1,000 hours of the incandescent bulb). Count up the light bulbs in your house—that's a lot of money saved. With numbers like that, you can see why countries like Australia have begun phasing in these super-green bulbs by law, and have started banning incandescents. But even on a voluntary basis, the "green" you save by going green should be a pretty good incentive. For those who believe fluorescent lighting is too cold and don't want their living area lit like an airport restroom, take a look at the newer CFLs—as they've grown in popularity, manufacturers have developed new ways to adjust their color temperature. Plus there are now CFLs enclosed in glass bulbs to mimic exposed incandescents in ceiling fans, or even to replace those big globe-shaped-lights-in-a-row over your bathroom mirror. People who visit my CFL-lit abode can't even tell I've replaced my incandescents—and my electric bill dropped another $5 a month. Again, check with your electric company to verify whether any incentive programs exist for replacing your bulbs with CFLs.

MARCH—Sack the Plastic Bag

Once better recycling techniques were developed for plastic bags, supermarkets were off to the races, embracing the cheaply produced plastic bags. They even put the paper bags in plastic bags for ease of carrying. The problem: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that only about 1 percent of plastic grocery bags get recycled. The rest end up in landfills or as litter, where they begin their 1,000-year decomposition process, leaching their petrochemicals into the soil and groundwater. Other bags go on to become toxic threats to wildlife and sea animals. Many stores have begun refusing to carry these ecoterrors, and almost all now offer some reusable alternative at a reasonable price. Some supermarkets offer discounts or prize drawings for customers who bring their own bags. Plus the cloth bags are a lot nicer—they don't dig into your hands. And since I keep about 20 in the back of my car (about another 10 are usually forgotten in my apartment), I always have padding for fragile items.