Get Fit Without Paying For a Gym Membership
When you think about exercise and getting in shape, is your first thought “I better hit the gym!”? Perhaps your excitement lasts for one or two gym outings and then dies down.
If you’ve felt this way, you’re not alone: 80 percent of the 40 million Americans that have bought gym memberships aren’t using them according to Medical news today. That’s a lot of money to waste when you’re getting zero from your investment.
Luckily, there are many others cheaper and more effective ways to get and stay in shape without buying into the gym. Here are a few examples to test out.
Home Workout DVDs
Home workouts aren’t just for spandex-clad aerobics nuts or hoping to quickly get better abs or buns. These workouts are structured for all types of goals, whether it’s losing fat, building muscle, or improving cardio. For less than a price of a few months’ gym membership, you can work out from home and get incredible results.
Home workout DVDs offer many advantages over choosing the gym, like:
- Convenience of exercising from home. If you find yourself struggling to get up early to head to the gym before work, or lacking the motivation to make your way over after a long day at the office, home workouts take the hassle of travel out of the equation.
- Structured workouts without a trainer. This takes the guesswork out of which exercises and when, and frees you from the cost of hiring a trainer to guide you every step of the way. If you feel like you’re never sure about how to work out, these systems will make it easy on you. Just follow the calendar, show up at your TV, and pop in the DVD.
- Low, one-time cost. Workout DVDs are pretty cheap, ranging from $50-$200 for some of the most popular options. You won’t have to worry about canceling a membership later. In addition, there’s typically little equipment required, and you might already own some of it.
Some examples include P90X, which focuses on lifting weights and building muscle. If you’re more focused on losing weight, Turbo Jam might be a good option for you. Whatever your needs, there’s bound to be a program that will work for you.
Races and Competitions
If you’re lacking motivation or the money to go to the gym, a good alternative is signing up for road races, triathlons, and other competitions that don’t require a gym to train.
Running requires no equipment and can be done almost anywhere. To train for a 5k, all you need is a pair of shoes and a place to run. If you’re interested in a longer race or a marathon, you can find free training guides online that will take you through the process.
If you’re bored with just running, many athletes have taken up extreme races. Check out Tough Mudder, a “hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces” that continually tours around the globe. Others have found fun and fitness at Run For Your Lives, a 5k run where “ you’re running from brain-hungry, virus-spreading, bloody zombies.”
No matter what the event, these types of activities and the training it takes to complete them will surely keep your body in stellar shape.
There’s no shortage of fantastic and free content on the web, including fitness blogs. You can get some truly great workout guidance completely without cost.
On Nerd Fitness, Steve Kamb teaches you how to “level up your life.” Steve’s approach is to help normal people get fit by interjecting fun to your workout with superheroes and video games. You can find even more motivation by teaming up and getting encouragement from others in the Nerd Fitness community.
There’s no shortage of other sites out there to choose from, and there are different approaches for everyone. For more options, check out this list of 60 fitness blogs on Greatist. No matter what your interests and motivations, there’s probably a fitness site out there for you.
There’s probably no more effective way to stick with workout than making it into a hangout with friends. A great way to do that is intramural and social sports.
In New York you can join the NYC Social Sports club and join teams for dodgeball, kickball, soccer, cornhole, and more. Team up with friends or meet new people and compete in fast-paced, gym-class style sports to have a blast and get a great workout, too. Similar options now exist in other cities, too, so check in your local area.
Afterwards, you can go out and enjoy a drink with your friends after hard-fought competition on the court or field.
Eating Healthy at Home
Getting and staying fit isn’t just about working out. You need to eat healthy, too, or you might be wasting your time working out in hopes of getting the body you want.
Of course, the best way to do this is to learn to prepare healthy meals yourself from home. You can find recipes that are a great combination of healthy eating and getting in shape at Eating Well or No Meat Athlete. If you do your grocery shopping right, you can enjoy these tasty and healthy meals inexpensively from home.
Hack Your Life for Fitness
Living without a gym doesn’t mean that exercise has to get complicated. In fact, it can make getting in shape even easier. To make things really simple, figure out how you can work exercise into your everyday life.
Can you walk or bike to work instead of driving? Can you take to the stairs instead of riding the elevator? These steps don’t have to require a lot of energy or effort but a few small changes can still have a big impact.
Lifehacker has even more fantastically simple ways to squeeze in more opportunities to exercise into every day of your life.
If you’ve been inspired by these options, get rid of that gym membership and give something else a try.