Last time I went to the gym about a year ago. Got a free trial offer. The time before that, well, that was probably a bit over a decade ago. Okay, I do have a bit of a spare tire (I could stand to loose about 25lbs), but I like to think of myself as fairly cut in the legs and upper body. That’s because, while I don’t go to the gym, I do work out. So I thought that today I would share my secret of how to work out without going to the gym.
Skip the gym with body-weight exercises
The easiest and fastest way to start working out without going to the gym is by doing body-weight exercises. Body-weight exercises mean that you are lifting parts of your body. Examples include situps and crunches, pushups, pull-ups, side-bends, and more.
Pull-ups require a pull-up bar, which I haven’t bothered buying. I also haven’t bothered researching exactly how you mount those things and I have visions of pulling a door off it’s hinges or half a wall down. But there are still options.
Abdominal body-weight exercises
To start off, there are your basic situps and crunches. There are also ab workouts that don’t require laying down, such as standing bicycle crunch and the cross-knee crunch. If you own a Wii, the Wii Fit has some excellent options, both in the strength training section and also in the yoga section.
Upper-body body-weight exercises
Aside from pull-ups, I really only know of one body-weight exercise for the upper body. Those would be push-ups. I went most of my life not being able to do a single pushup. Now I can get to about 15 before I start to get winded, and can make it to about 35 in a set.
If you can’t quite manage a pushup, try inclined pushups. Try putting your hands on the edge of the couch or even bed and do pushups from an angle. You can even stand against the wall at an angle. Incline work a slightly different part of the pectorals, but they are easier.
Once you can do regular pushups, try declined pushups. They are like inclined ones but in reverse. Put your feet on the couch and hands on the floor to really feel a burn.
Most people don’t think of walking as a body-weight exercise, but it is. Standing too. I stand for up to 10 hours per day and walk anywhere between 1-5 miles every day. And my calves are awesome!
Skip the Gym with Home Equipment
Even if you buy equipment, there are still ways to be frugal and get a good workout. For most people, dumbbells, free-weights, and expensive home gym setups are a waste of money and space.
If you are serious about working out, grab some resistance bands. They are incredibly cheap and super lightweight and compact (o they can go in your suitcase when you travel and not miss a workout. They will probably come with a video to give you some workout ideas. If not, there’s thousands of YouTube videos on the subject.
I do have a set of resistance bands, that I use on occasion. But mostly I work out paleo style. I ignore most of the paleo lifestyle, but I do like the concept of paleo workouts. The paleo lifestyle is all about eating and exercising as paleolithic man did. Early man didn’t have gyms and exercise equipment. He also didn’t exercise for fun or to stay fit, but that’s a minor detail. Instead, he lifted and carried things. Things like tree branches and parts of woolly mammoths.
You can do the same thing. You probably don’t have the hindquarters to a mastadon lying around, but you probably have a vacuum cleaner, furniture, and boxes in storage. Be safe and start out light. But odd shaped things around the house will probably give you a better, whole-body workout than simply lifting free weights will.
At work, I have a fair amount of moderately weighted equipment that I have to move around. Cones weight 12lbs each, but are frequently carried 3-5 at a time. Stands weigh in somewhere around 30lbs. I like to have fun and start doing bicept curls with them while I’m walking them to where they go.
There are additional options to getting fit and losing weight like joining Weight Watchers. They bill their services as a “lifestyle change” rather than just a diet. Which, when you think about it, make more sense when sticking to it.