There’s No *NEED* For The Gym

When I have conversations with people outside the gym about fitness, health, and weight loss they usually combat with, “I can’t afford the gym,” or, “I don’t have time for the gym.”  I understand that the gym is not for everyone.  Some people do not have a gym close enough that they would find it convenient.  Other people truly do not have time for the gym (such as they work during the only hours a close gym is open).  I get that.

However, you do not necessarily *need* a gym to lose weight, be fit, and increase your health.  Food is the number one component anyway.  Really.  What you consume has *far* more to do with how healthy your body is, and how much you weigh.

Aside from food, though (because that is not the purpose or direction of this particular post), there are plenty of options that get your body moving at home – in the office – in the park – anywhere – anytime.  Here are some examples of workouts I have discovered recently that do not *require* a gym membership, and most do not *require* any equipment at all.

I, of course, cannot do all of these exercises right now because of the restrictions for my knee.  However, these look like great workouts and would really deliver some great results (if you stick to them).

The yoga workout above is pretty intense (especially if you do the moves one right after the other) and will really work your body.  I did power yoga last Monday night with Denise and Aaron.  That was the first time I had ever done yoga, and it was seriously intense.  I was pouring sweat (literally) and there were definitely some moves I have yet to master (as in tree with your arms straight up and warrior 3).  Balance is my nemesis – still.  I have improved my balance, but it is still not a strength of mine – yet.

This plank workout is not for the faint of heart – and not for anyone who cannot hold a plank for…a long time.  I plank often (I love them, and, yes, I know that is weird) and this workout still kicked my butt.  No joke.  I ended up using 8 lb weights for the curls and 5 lb for the tricep kick-backs.  I probably could have used heavier weights for the curls, but I did not want to kill myself.  I will also admit that I was not able to run through this entire routine while in plank position.  I did the top two and then stood up.  Two more and stood…then went back for the last one.  I will work up to doing an entire run-though, but that will take some time.  (Which just gives me something to work toward.)

This pilates workout was alright.  It would probably work better for someone who has not done these kinds of moves before (a beginner, perhaps?).  I do Russian twists (similar to the first move) with a 12-lb. med ball, so just twisting like that did not do much for me.  The last move; however, was pretty challenging.  I had a hard time keeping my back entirely straight.  That probably is an indication that I still have some postural muscles to strengthen.  The side plank was pretty easy for me, although I do have trouble figuring out how to position my feet.  Once I get that figured out, I should be golden.

This leg workout is excellent (for me) because it requires no lunging…and only a chair for equipment!  This is one workout that pretty much anyone can do – even if you are just starting out.  Maybe your leg will not go as high to start, but you will still be working those legs!

Everyone has to start somewhere.  I was not able to do a whole lot when I stepped into the gym at over 300 pounds.  At that moment I felt like I was never going to be good at anything (fitness-related).  I felt like I was always going to look awkward and struggle with the simplest moves.  However, just continuing on (not giving up) improved my abilities quickly.  I found that I was doing new things every week.  I was able to squat a little lower, lift the leg a little higher, do two more reps, five more minutes, etc.  My body got stronger every day, and it felt great.

Like I said, you do not *need* the gym.  You just need to make it a priority – in your livingroom, in a park, in your office – and do not let the lack of a gym membership or equipment prevent you from working your body.

Do you workout outside of a gym?  If so, what are your favorite workouts that require little or no equipment?

-Erica

12 responses to “There’s No *NEED* For The Gym

  1. I agree as well; when I started my martial arts training – six years ago – I was still a huge gym rat. After a month of the martial arts, I gave up on the gym and never looked back – best decision I’ve ever made:)) Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:))

    • I don’t know that I’ll ever give up the gym entirely. I just love it so much – I love the people and the social time just as much as the sweating and working hard. However, as the weather becomes nicer and more consistent, I will definitely be taking a couple days outside instead of couped up in the gym. I love the fresh air!

      I do feel it’s important, though, for people to realize you don’t *HAVE* to go the gym four and five days a week to lose weight and be healthy. It just take movement, commitment, and perserverance. 🙂

      I’ve been taking a self defense class at my gym (taught by one of the trainers who has been into MMA for 20+ years) and I do find that incredibly fascinating. I want to go watch him compete sometime. 🙂

      Thanks!
      -Erica

  2. cool. I’m going to print this out. who says yoga can’t make you sweat? Some of the types of yoga I do (well, normally, when I dont have a duff ankle) kick more butt than any spin class. Hope you don’t mind if I reblog.

    • I still have yet to do “regular” yoga, but the power yoga I did Monday with Denise and Aaron was crazy! It was funny because Aaron (who was instructing all of us) asks, “How are you feeling?” My reply was, “Sorry for the next person who gets this sweaty mat.” 🙂 It was continually dripping off my face and splashing onto the mat beneath me. Excellent workout and great for me since I’m not allowed to do all the high impact bouncing and such on this knee. 🙂

      -Erica

  3. Reblogged this on Confessions of an overweight fashionista and commented:
    I live across the road from the gym but I’m on ‘membership leave’ at the moment due to my poorly ankle so these are really helpful.

  4. I love my gym, but getting in better shape & working with a trainer has helped me realize that I really don’t need to go somewhere to work out – I can do it anywhere. I’ve blogged about all of this stuff, but my quick summary in case others need inspiration/motivation:
    – Had a long wait for a flight at the airport, so I walked the terminal, end to end, back and forth, for about 45 minutes.
    – I’ve got an iPad app, Gorilla Fitness, that includes video how-tos of small sets of exercises to do each day. One day might be 4 rounds of 10 squats and 5 push-ups, which doesn’t sound like much and doesn’t take long, but which, if you do the program, really gets you somewhere.
    – Hula hoop! Jump rope! Dance in place! I have become that crazy person who dances in place while throwing the ball for my dogs. Why not?

    All of the one-pagers you see in magazines are great, too, and usually require no special equipment.

    None of us are too busy to find time to do 10 sit-ups and 10 push-ups once a day – and if we are, something bigger is wrong with the world!

    • I completely agree, Andie! I think people have the misconception that “exercise” must take a long time and must require hundreds or thousands of dollars to do. It doesn’t have to be that complicated at all! Like I said in a previous reply, I will never stop going to the gym. I absolutely *love* my gym…and all the people in it (social time for the stay/work-at-home mom – LOL). However, it is nice to have these kinds of workouts in your arsenal for time away from the gym (IE. vacation) and other times you may want to be active and just can’t get to the gym. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!
      -Erica

  5. I agree. I do have the time to go to the gym, but I definitely don’t have the money. It’s too expensive, and the public gym is really far from my apartment, so instead of that, I jog three times a week. It was hard at first, but now it’s fulfilling. It’s flexible, you can do it whenever you want to and wherever you like, and the most important thing, it’s cheap, you only need some sweat pants and sneakers.

    • I can’t wait to get the green light to start jogging/running again (not on the Neil)! I never used to even have a desire to do those things, but now I’m just counting down the days. Running/jogging really helps you clear your mind, and it gets your blood pumping pretty quickly…which helps to elevate mood. Bonus! 🙂

      Thanks for your input!
      -Erica

  6. I exercise at home using some free weights and the treadmill. So far it works well. What I do miss from the gym though are the aerobic classes – my living room just does not have the space that a fitness room has.

    • I, too, have a small weight set here at the house and an arsenal of videos/DVDs to keep things interesting. However, I still feel like my best workouts happen in the gym. At home I am too distracted with other things (namely my chicklets) who are always dying for my attention. 🙂 It is easier for me to stay focused and on-task in the gym environment. Maybe it won’t always be that way, though…time will tell.

      I do agree that the classes offered in a gym setting are attractive (depending on the gym, of course). My gym offers an abundance of classes that all look interesting to me. I can’t wait to get back into Zumba…and I’ve had my eye on some kickboxing lately, too. LOL

      -Erica

      • Financial concerns do not enable me to go to the gym at the moment. But I know when that changes, I will be enrolling just for those classes 🙂

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