I have a confession: I don’t have a gym membership.
In fact, I haven’t for over a year now. Initially it was because I was travelling and moving countries and wasn’t in a place long enough to get one, then it was because I didn’t have a lot of extra funds to spend on one.
But now it’s because I’ve figured out how to be fit without one. It helps that I’m a runner, and that covering 80-100 km per week keeps you pretty fit. But over the last little while I’ve focused on other fitness (i.e. more than just cardio), and figured out that I am doing just fine without the monthly $200 expense.
Here’s how you can do the same.
Get a yoga mat – if there was one piece of equipment I would say you should get, it would be a yoga mat. Not only can you use it for any of the free yoga classes you get to go to, but it can become your floor mat at home for everything from ab exercises to stretching to planks and pushups.
Use the playground – From pull-ups to TRX to pushups, the playground just down your street is for more than just child’s play. Go for a 30 run tomorrow and then stop at the playground on your way back. Use the monkey bars to do some pullups and the swings to do a TRX workout that will leave your legs and arms burning! Then, head over to the benches beside the playground and roll out some tricep dips, push ups and step ups. Before you know it you’re sweating up a storm and you’ve added 20 minutes onto your workout time!
Use the stairs/hills – Whenever I was travelling in a city or area that wasn’t very runner friendly (i.e. on the side of a freeway, really tiny town etc.), I would find a hill or a set of stairs and just go at it. Do 12 hill repeats, completing 20 pushups and 20 squats at the top of each. Run 20 times up and down the stairs, stopping every five times to plank for a minute and do lunges. Better yet, find a hill near a playground, and do your hill repeats and then hit up the playground for some of the suggestions above!
Do bodyweight exercises – When I first started trying to build strength, this was perhaps my number one go to for at home workouts – and it’s harder than you think. Everything from
Invest in some dumbbells or kettlebells – If you want to take your workouts to the next level, invest in a set of dumbbells. It allows you to do weighted exercises such as lunges and squats, and means you can do workouts to target your arms and upperbody
Do Circuits and Repeats – Think an exercise is too easy? Repeat it 20 times, do that with seven other exercises and then repeat the whole thing 2 more times. The key to having success with bodyweight workouts or at home workouts is turning them into high intensity intervals (HIIT), or circuit training, where you have minimal breaks and exert maximal effort. Find a sequence of exercises, repeat each 10-20 times, depending on what it is, (i.e. 10 burpees, 20 squats) and then try the sequence a couple more times. As you get fitter, you can add more reps and more sets, or do it for time and see if you can do it faster each week.
Find an at-home workout program – There are tonnes of free, or very cheap at-home workout programs on the web which you can follow and let them take you through a 12 week transformation. They are often designed to be done at home, with minimal equipment, just to encourage individuals to be active and to help you reach your weigthloss goals. Have a look through Pinterest and you’ll find lots of options. Not interested in following a complete program? You’ve probably also seen the workout pins which include images and explanation for a full workout all in one pin. Start saving some of these, choose one each day of the week and you’ll have a great variety and be well on your way to getting fit.
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At-home workouts become about challenging yourself and making yourself accountable. Don’t let yourself slack off or fall below what you’re really capable of. Push yourself and you’ll see results!