Back in June I gave up my gym membership when I moved to a new city. I realize I haven’t really posted an update on how my fitness goals were shaping up since I explained my success with improving my finances and failure with becoming more fit.
Even though it’s a struggle to exercise and stay motivated without a gym membership, I’m still determined to make it work. I’d like to lose 20 lbs by my wedding next year and just be in better shape overall. I’m hoping to do this without paying for an expensive gym membership.
I Have Nothing Against the Gym
I’m not anti-gym by any means. In fact, I think the gyms and fitness centers offer huge benefits and a unique experience that you can’t get anywhere else. If you prioritize going to the gym and pay for a membership because you enjoy it and it actually helps you see results then that’s great.
For me, I was having difficulty making it to the gym regularly when I had a membership and I simply can’t afford it now. I have way too many other expenses to worry about but at the same time I don’t want my health to take a back seat. Luckily, working out at the gym isn’t the only way to get fit so I’ve been taking the more frugal or should I say free approach to exercising.
Here’s what I’ve been up to:
Setting a Clear Workout Schedule
Just like I have a schedule for work, freelancing and everything else, I try to create a schedule to exercise during the week so it’s consistent and I’m not just doing it whenever I have free time. Most days I have to exercise on weekends or during evenings when I get home from work.
Sometimes I’m super tired after work. Lately I’ve been trying to push myself to just get up and do something for 20 minutes or so.
Writing my exercise goals down for the day in my planner helps a lot though just from a mental standpoint because I know it’s something I need to get done before the day is over.
Free Workout Videos and Apps
Free YouTube workout videos are my go-to option when I need to do targeted workouts to build muscle and tone up. I have a few Shaun T videos of my own but I’ve started to save a handful of quick workout tutorials to use on YouTube. Workout routines become boring to me super quick so I enjoy all the free resources and tips I can get from YouTube.
I also use a free app called Nike+ Training Club. NTC is a free app that lets women meet their fitness goals through convenient personal training sessions they can use anywhere, anytime. The app has various different training programs led by Nike Master Trainers and pro athletes allowing you to customize a weekly program to fit your time constraints and fitness goals. I like that workouts can be as short as 5-10 minutes or as long 60-90 minutes and the programs are not mandatory. Plus, IT’S FREE 🙂
Utilize the Tools around Me
The one thing I miss about not being able to go to the gym is having access to all that wonderful equipment. I love the elliptical and I’m not a fan of running (see below) so that has really become a struggle for me.
I do try to utilize equipment that just so happens to be free for me though. While I only have free weights at home, my younger sister has a bench press that I like to use each week. Yes a BENCH PRESS in the house with weights that can combine up to 300 lbs. Luckily, one of my sisters is extremely into fitness and running track and my dad ended up giving her a bench press that I’m able to use as well 🙂
While I think I’m only lifting 20-30 pounds now, I try to visit at least 3 times per week to use the equipment and improve my lifts and squats so eventually I can start to build more muscle and take on more weight.
Trying to Learn How to Love Running
Here’s a little secret. I highly dislike running. I know that running is one of the easiest ways to get in shape for free, but most times I have to force myself to get out and run and I dread every minute of it.
I’m considering finding another way to increase my cardio and burn calories quickly like by dancing or doing Zumba. For now, I can run on the days I feel like doing it and still try to get out and go on a brisk walk in the evening on the other days.
Believe it or not, having the right shoes can actually enhance the running experience and make it more tolerable and enjoyable if you’re just starting out. Running shoes are a good investment, and don’t always have to cost an arm and a leg either especially if you catch a good sale.
Running is also good for the heart and cost you nothing so you can’t really beat that.
How I’m Trying to Stay Motivated
Since I have no fitness trainer and no gym membership, in order to do all the things I mentioned I need to be extremely motivated in the first place. When you exercise at home often times by yourself, you have no one around to motivate you or tell you to challenge yourself. There’s no one to watch your form to make sure you’re doing the movements right or to push you to do one more set. If you choose to cheat or give up, no one would know but ultimately you’d be cheating yourself.
This is why I believe a lot of people who choose to work out on their own at home don’t see a lot of positive results. I’m not going to lie, I can be a big slacker/quitter when it comes to exercising but I’m not ready to pay someone to motivate me and help kick my butt into shape.
I’ve found that the key to turn my laziness all around is to increase my motivation and find someone who will hold me accountable.
I ask my sister and my fiance to help hold me accountable for working out and eating healthier. Underneath my vision board (which also includes my goals for becoming more fit and healthy, I taped a few pictures of myself on the wall before I had my son. By no means am I trying to get back to my pre-baby weight, but just knowing that I once was super healthy and in shape help motivate to try to change my habits around and exercise more.
If you’re trying to exercise and stay fit without a gym membership, motivation and being able to implement a simple workout schedule during the week are key elements.
Do you have a gym membership? Why or why not? If you have any tips, exercises or strategies for me to implement while working out at home in order to reach my goal, please share in the comments!
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