The gym can be an annoying, time-consuming, and straight-up intimidating place to get your sweat on. (Not to mention pricey — those gym memberships can really set you back!) From the long waits for the treadmill to that semi-awkward feeling you get when attempting, to lift weights in front of the more “experienced” gym-goers, to actually motivating yourself to get up and go, I can think of about a million good reasons why you might opt to skip the gym.
The good news is, there are plenty of alternative ways to sneak in a workout right at home, without having to leave the comfort of your own living room. Consider these five (mostly) free options:
1. Subscribe to YouTube fitness channels.
Fitness gurus like ones featured on BeFiT or Shelly Dose offer tons of free, downloadable videos on their YouTube channels. BeFiT! videos range in level of difficulty and promise to “re-shape your body, burn fat, and sculpt lean muscle” as you workout with top fitness trainers like Jillian Michaels, Denise Austin, Jane Fonda, Billy Blanks Jr., Rainbeau Mars, Bryan Tanaka, Sadie Nardini, Kym Johnson, and others.
Shelly’s videos on the other hand, will have you sweating your butt off like you’re right there in her gym class. (Trust me, I’ve tried them.) She releases 2-3 full length videos a month which incorporate high-intensity interval training (otherwise known as HIIT) with music that keeps you motivated throughout the entire session. I’ve take Shelly’s classes locally and can promise you once you can actually stand from a seated position to look in the mirror, you will see results in a short amount of time if you put in the work.
2. Download the Tabatach app.
Tabata is a form of exercise that combines high intensity intervals with short periods of rest. Each exercise in a given Tabata workout lasts only four minutes, but it will be the longest four minutes of your life. The structure of the program is as follows: 20 seconds hard work out, 10 second rest, repeat for 8 rounds. The iPhone has an awesome (and totally free) app called Tabatach that has preloaded Tabata routines targeting all body parts and even cues you when to start and stop. It’s right on your phone so you can take it anywhere and tailor the routine to be as short or long as you like.
3. Follow fitness trainers on Facebook.
Facebook can be a wealth of free information for fitness — particularly if you follow fitness trainers who are active on social media. If you follow one person on Facebook, I highly recommend Brenda Vance. Brenda is a Certified Personal Trainer, health coach, and fitness instructor who posts seriously tough workouts from her basement weekly on her Facebook page. Expect a LOT of stairs, cardio, elementary school gym-class style exercises. (I have yet to make it all the way through one of her routines but you can modify as needed or grab an oxygen mask if you have one handy.)
4. Try TRX.
TRX is suspension training equipment that you can install at home or take with you to a hotel, park, or just about anywhere to that gives you a complete total body workout with a single piece of equipment. They range in price, meaning you could spend anywhere from $150-300 for a good system that won’t wear down, but I promise it’s worth the investment. It works every body part and comes with 15 minute videos that show you exactly what exercises are possible to work every muscle group. There is a reason most big gyms have multiple TRX’s for their members to use.
5. When all else fails, Google.
Okay, this one might sound like a no-brainer, but really — if you’re looking for more body weight exercises than you can shake a low calorie cheese stick at, the World Wide Web has plenty of them. (No weights, kettle bells, or money required.) From “Best Body Weight Exercises For Beginners” to “101 Body Weight Exercises That You Can Do Anywhere,” the Internet is a Hot Pocket of information if you know where to look. Find some routines that work for you, print them out, and tape them up somewhere in your home that you can’t help but see. Sooner or later, they’ll be committed to memory.
Whether you’re short on time, money, patience, or simply prefer working out alone, I’m pretty confident these recommendations will have you sweating like no one’s business. The best advice from the professionals? Don’t get discouraged. When I spoke to Shelly she said, “The people that tell me they are ‘too old’ are always the ones that surprise me most. You are never too old to work out. Each one of us is capable of more than we think we are.”More On