Did you know a gym is not a requirement for a good workout?
Easy for me to say, right? After all, I am a runner, and 98.999% of my runs happen in a non-gym setting (and, most of those runs also happen outdoors, in all kinds of extreme temps and weather conditions).
Granted, I do have a treadmill, but it's no secret that I seldom use it. I also have an elliptical, but that's reserved more for the colder months when it's too cold or dangerous to safely be outside. I don't have a gym membership, nor do I have a viable space in my house for a home gym. I do manage to work out almost every day, though, in some capacity.
I believe if I can find a way to make the workouts happen, anyone else can too.
Here are some of the things I do to stay active and keep my fitness in check, all with very minimal expense:
Invest in a few "small" pieces of exercise equipment. I currently have three sets of hand weights...2-pound, 8-pound, and 12-pound dumb bells. The 2-pounders are so light, they don't get much use (unless I'm doing slow-motion side arm raises, in which case I can easily hold both of the 2-pound weights in one hand at a time). I use the 8 and 12-pound weights almost exclusively, though, depending on the number of reps and what kind of lift(s). I also have a 15-pound kettle bell and a variety of resistance bands. I probably have less than $100 invested in these few items, but they get used all the time.
Utilize your own body weight as resistance. You have probably heard of push-ups? How about squats, or lunges? These all can be done with nothing other than YOU as your main resistance. Of course, you can increase the intensity by adding some extra weight...by way of hand weights or a kettle bell.
Create your own HIIT workouts. I like variety, so I am constantly creating new workouts, or mixing in segments from different ones. Some of my favorite high-intensity moves are burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks and jump squats. I usually mix in either a set of push-ups, a wall-sit, or a short plank as a "recovery" move in between sets of faster exercises.
Basic calisthenics can be done anywhere. Often when I travel, I just opt to do basic calisthenics in my hotel room. Not all hotels have workout rooms, after all, but that's no excuse to sit idle. Crunches, jumping jacks, leg lifts, walking lunges, wall sits, push-ups...all can be done in a relatively small space.
Yoga...it does a body good. Unfortunately, I don't make yoga a daily habit, but I should. The simple act of flexing your certain muscle groups, while holding various poses, builds a lot of strength and balance. Yoga can be done in a relatively small space as well. A yoga mat is ideal (for padding and also for your feet to grip), but is not mandatory.
Some other things to consider:
***Exercising at home does require a special kind of self discipline. Going to a gym usually requires a bit of an effort to get there, but that also aids in the commitment to getting the workouts done.
***Working out at a gym will give you a lot of options in regards to equipment, exercise classes, one-on-one instruction from fitness trainers, as well as a broader experience in terms of socializing with fellow like-minded people.
***Assembling your own home gym may take time and a substantial financial investment, but you will have access 24/7 without needing to worry about extra travel time.
***I have not even touched on the vast array of online workouts available today...many of which don't require excess equipment to utilize.
Bottom line, I believe it all comes down to your passion to honor and take care of your body. Staying active and keeping fit can happen whenever you make the time, and it can happen without ever leaving your house.
So, talk to me! What do you prefer...going to a gym or working out at home? Ever worked with a trainer, or just done your own thing? What's your favorite at-home piece of fitness equipment?
***Some of this text (and images) first appeared on a previous post, No Gym? No Excuses!
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