The best way to get fit without going to the gym involves getting your food intake right, establishing a workout routine that fits your life, a sleep pattern that will promote some muscle growth, and finding the internal motivation to stick with it. If you don’t have a plan for these simple aspects, you’ll be hard-pressed to hit your goals.
The good news is, getting fit without a gym is pretty easy. The only thing that’s different, is the location of the workout. The rest of the aforementioned items don’t change. And to top it all off, the popularity of health and fitness is only increasing. This means there are a plethora of programs, workout equipment, nutrition aids, and information available all designed to accommodate people who want to get fit.
Why You Should Workout At Home?
People spend about 22 billion dollars a year on gym memberships.
The average gym cost is about $60/month. This equals out to just over $700/year.
This is just to get into the door. It doesn’t include the time it takes to drive to and from the gym, and it doesn’t include the additional gas and mileage on your vehicle. The point here is, the cost adds up pretty quickly.
For me, the time saved is the biggest benefit. Time is a valuable commodity and as I get older the quicker it seems to go. Sitting in traffic is not my idea of time used wisely.
Additionally, gyms seem to be a breeding ground for germs. I’m not a hypochondriac or anything, but when you mix hot sweaty people who are constantly touching the same bars, weight, handles, and equipment as you, it’s no wonder the gym is a commonplace to spread germs.
I don’t know the stats, but it has to be second only to daycare as far as contamination goes.
Gyms have lots of equipment to choose from. But why does it seem like people want to use the exact same equipment as me? As I mentioned fitness is only getting more popular.
This means more crowds at the gym, and more people trying to get on the same treadmill, elliptical, or gym equipment as me.
Honestly, I’m glad more people are getting into shape because obesity just hit an all-time high of affecting over 40% of Americans. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get through your workout without having to wait in line for open equipment.
Finally, and this might be the best reason why you should do a home workout is, no judgment. As a woman and former personal trainer, I’m about as confident in a gym as you can be.
I probably know more than most, and less than others, but many people (particularly women) feel intimidated in a gym. From not know what to wear, not knowing what the equipment does, how to use the equipment, and generally trying not to incriminate yourself.
When you’re at home you could literally do the workout in your underwear if you wanted (not suggested, but you get my point). Something is liberating about wearing whatever is comfortable and busting through a workout. It just feels awesome!
Proper Nutrition To Be Fit and Healthy
What you shovel into your mouth will have the biggest effect on your health. Depending on the decade you grew up in, you’ve probably heard of hundreds of diet schemes. As I’m writing this today, the Keto Diet and restricting carbs is the latest and greatest. Before it was Paleo Diets, Atkins Diets, Juicing Diets, Cabbage Soup Diets, etc…
And there is probably something to gain or learn from these, but they are all “diets.”
This is bad because historical data shows that 95% of people fail at diets!
They fail because a diet is not a long-term strategy for getting fit. They might work in the short-term, but diets will not help you. You need to learn how to eat correctly. And it doesn’t need to be done all at once. Start slowly and gradually eliminate bad foods and replace them with healthy foods that will reduce your body fat percentage.
The 3 Macronutrients You Need.
Protein – is what your body uses to build and repair muscle tissue. It’s the key component of building healthy muscle, bones, and tissue. It gives you the energy to get up and go.
Too much protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease, but the latest research suggests that many of us need more high-quality protein, especially as we age. The main sources of lean protein include fish, meat, nuts, dairy, beans, and vegetables.
A mixture of animal products and plant-based protein will give your body a well-rounded source of protein.
Carbohydrates – to some people, carbohydrates are the devil. To the rest of us, carbohydrates are a source of fuel. But there are different kinds of carbohydrates. The evil nasty kinds are those that are enriched or refined.
Examples include white bread, white rice, pastries, and soda.
Studies show that these kinds of carbohydrates can spike blood sugar levels leading to a roller coaster of a ride. Ideally, you want to be consuming whole wheat carbohydrates that are slow-digesting.
This will avoid unhealthy spikes in blood sugar. Examples of healthy carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, brown rice, and vegetables. Side note, it’s best to consume a majority of your carbohydrates earlier in the day, so your body can use them as fuel vs storing them as fat at night.
Healthy fats – these kinds of fats are heart-healthy, can reduce your risk of heart disease, and provide a healthy balance to your nutrition. Healthy fats include plant-based oils, like olive oil, or sesame oil.
Avocados and nuts are popular healthy fats that can be snacked on in between meals. Adding healthy fats to your diet can help improve your mood, boost your well-being, and even trim your waistline. Not bad for something that has the word fat in it.
By monitoring these 3 macronutrients you can properly fuel your body.
Small intake adjustments, based on your goals, should be the foundation for what you’re eating. As you progress, you’ll start to feel what your body needs to accomplish your goals.
Portion Control for Staying Fit
I love food. And honestly, I eat a lot of it. But I also work my tail off, so that I can afford to go a little crazy on spaghetti and garlic bread! Everyone knows that feeling of overconsuming.
You should be eating enough to be satisfied, not overly stuffed.
On Thanksgiving, I tend to get my yearly reminder of this. And in a way, it’s a good thing. It’s a cheat that I can deal with. I eat at least 2 helpings, plus a slice of cake or pie. By the end, a food-coma is almost inevitable, and you’re miserably stuffed.
But I also know that I’ve consumed at least 200 more calories than my body needs. When we don’t monitor how much we eat, the calories can add up and expand our waistline. There are many techniques for avoiding over-consuming and they include:
- Drinking lots of water
- Chewing your food slowly
- Eating your protein first
- Putting your fork down between bites
- Using a small plate
If you follow these tips, you’ll not only eat more nutritious foods, but you’ll also consume fewer calories.
Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy?
Some people hear intermittent fasting and think of starvation techniques. This is not true. There are many forms of intermittent fasting and I would encourage you to try it.
The most popular intermittent fasting is a 16:8 schedule.
This means, from my last meal in the evening I wait about 16 hours before eating my next meal. And then during that 8-hour window, I eat normal meals. During my eight hour window, I still eat about 5-6 meals. The only difference is the timing of when I eat.
This is important because it gives your body a break from digesting food. Our digestive system is very busy and hard-working, which requires high amounts of energy; in fact, the digestive system can even drain energy needed that could go towards building muscle or other repairs.
Fasting also allows for the body’s enzyme system to focus on detoxifying and breaking down toxins in the body quickly and efficiently without the job of heavy food digestion.
Intermittent fasting is a method to jumpstart a new eating habit. And the effects can be immediate. It can boost mental clarity, give you energy, and reinforce good habits. It can be a message to your body that you’re embarking on a new beginning, flushing out the old and bringing in the new.
Workouts You Can Do Without a Gym
As I mentioned earlier, if you have a strong aversion to going to the gym, this is an easy fix. There are a variety of workouts or activities you can do to bypass the gym.
Get a program that you can do at home. And it’s usually best to get a program that you pay just a little bit for. This will give you a vested interest in sticking to it. If you find a program online that’s free, studies show you’re less likely to follow through with it because you’re not out anything.
I’ve done and seen multiple programs and have written reviews on two programs that are perfect for beginners. They’re both easy to follow along to and they get the job done. The first program is called Bodyweight Burn and you check out my review here. The second program I would recommend is Turbulence Training. You can see my review or go straight to their website. They both have a ton of testimonials of women that have gone through the program and seen amazing results.
Find something you enjoy and get the right equipment to do it at home. If you’re somebody that enjoys cycling, get a spin bike that will fit your needs. If you’re somebody that enjoys running, get a treadmill that will allow you to run as much as you want. Whatever activity you like, there is a piece of equipment you can get to fill that gap
I love to hike up to alpine lakes, and in the foothills around my area. Hiking, tennis, beach volleyball, mountain biking, are all great examples of physical exercise you can do while simultaneously doing wonders for your mental health. Find an activity that you can do on your lunch break or first thing in the morning and get after it. Outdoor activities can be equally beneficial physically and mentally.
Grab a Partner
When you’re at the gym around like-minded people it can be motivating to power through a workout. When you decide to leave the gym behind it’s a good idea to grab a partner.
Being accountable to yourself is one thing, but being accountable to someone else is different. It’s important because they keep each other on track and push each other, more than they would push themselves. Being committed to a workout with somebody else is a great external motivation to get out and do a workout.
Getting a Home Gym
With all the money you can save from foregoing the gym membership, you can purchase an asset. If you have space, a home gym can be a great investment. This way you get the best of both worlds. You can have access to the equipment you would normally get at the gym with the convenience of using it at home. If you’re not into a particular sport enough to get something like a treadmill or spin bike, you can always opt for something that can build the entire body.
The Importance of Sleep and Staying Fit
Sleep is when your body does all the repairs on itself. If you’re not getting enough sleep every night you short-changing your body’s ability to fix itself. A minimum of 7 hours of rest is recommended per night.
If you’re having trouble hitting this number, try to go to bed earlier. I know this is easier said than done, but if you find yourself sitting on the couch watching tv or watching cat videos on the internet, you’re not helping yourself. While yes it can be relaxing to do so, but your time would be better used grabbing some much needed extra sleep.
If falling asleep is difficult there are many things you can do to help your body shut down and get into sleep mode.
Eating certain foods at night can help promote sleep. Turkey, salmon, nut butter, bananas, and tart cherry all contain tryptophan. These all convert to melatonin which is a hormone that helps tell your body it’s time to go to sleep.
Eliminating blue light 30 minutes before bed, reading, and meditation are all things you can do to help fight insomnia and get that essential 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Conclusion of Getting Fit Without a Gym
Getting fit is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself. At first, it might look daunting, but once you establish a rhythm it becomes easier. If you start now, a few weeks or months from now, you’ll be able to look back and smile at what you achieved.
What is your favorite at-home exercise? Leave a comment below.