How to Find a Gym or Workout Without One

Depending on where you are in life, a gym membership may or may not be an option for you.  If money is tight, and you can’t afford one, don’t worry, just make sure you have a pair of sneakers and you’re set.  Last time I checked, walking and running around the block everyday are still free, and you don’t need a gym to do push-ups, jumping jacks, crunches, burpees and a number of other torture-ish looking workout moves that can get you on the right path to looking chiseled. In the end, all you really need is you, and the determination to train a little harder every day.

If you’re not sure about technique well, the internet gives you access to a vast source of knowledge and Youtube has more uses than just keeping up with all those crazy Harlem Shake videos. So read a few fitness blogs, ask questions on fitness forums, and watch a few videos.  If you’re old school, you can always check out your local library for print resources, the knowledge is out there so there’s not excuse not to get started! Seriously, don’t even allow yourself to think about it, just get up and go do it.  Whatever you do don’t tell yourself you’ll start tomorrow, I’m not even kidding, don’t sabotage yourself! The longer you wait, the more that little voice in your head will distract you or tell you there’s no way you can do those push-ups or perhaps it’ll whisper that your body can’t run or jump…But trust me, it lies, so don’t listen to it. Put some music on to drown it out and get warmed up.

At first you may not be able to do many or any of the exercises you set out to do.  You may even have to modify and start out with those girly knee pushups, but trust me eventually you’ll get stronger and you’ll be doing the big girl pushups, and by that I mean triple clap one legged & on your knuckles ones.  Okay, so maybe that’s a little ambitious and RubySlippers level, but hey if she’s doing them so can I…someday not just in my dreams but in real life. The important thing is to start today, take a short walk, try a plank, some activity no matter how small is better than nothing.

Plank- No shoes required just the will to do it!

Plank- No shoes required just the will to do it!

If for some reason you’re not off your butt yet trying to plank, then at least make sure you put the food away, as in no cookies for you ever!  At this point I think that if you’re opting for this no gym workout method you should stop reading and get moving! Once you’re done that you can always come back and read some more.  Don’t waste your time looking for those magic fat burning pills or 10 minute gimmicks that promise to melt away the fat you’ve piled on over months and years because none of that will work in the long run.  Without real change, the weight will just come back once you fall back into your old ways, and I’m pretty sure that’s not what you want.

Getting fit is about lifestyle changes and choices.  I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy but it’s definitely attainable and sustainable.  If you get into the habit of working out every day, you’ll actually miss it on your rest day, true story.  And if you start making healthier food choices like say wrapping your beef burger in leafy greens instead of bread then you’ll reach your goals sooner than you think.  Who would have thought, an incorrigible Cookie Fiend advocating greens over grains 🙂

Lifestyle- It's all about the choices you make

Lifestyle- It’s all about the choices you make

On the flip side, if getting a gym membership is in the cards for you, then make sure you pick the right one.  Think of the gym membership as an investment in prime real estate.  You wouldn’t knowingly invest money in a venture that’s not going to yield any profits, so why pay fees to a gym that won’t benefit you?  The most important piece of advice I can give you is don’t get suckered into signing anything on your first visit.  Keep in mind that gyms are a business, and high pressure sales tactics are usually common practice.  So when you take a tour of your top choice gyms, think of it like going to an open house in search for your new home where you are under no obligation to buy anything and browsing is free because if you like what you see you’ll be back to make an offer soon enough.

When it comes to making the right choice, there are a few things to keep in mind like picking something that is not out of your way, be it close to your home, work or school, that way you won’t have an excuse not to go daily.  Also, ask your friends or family about their gym, sometimes having a workout buddy helps keep you motivated and accountable.  On your first visit to the gym make sure you ask all your questions, really when they are trying to sell you on their gym is probably the best time to ask about cost, hours, what’s included with your membership, classes you might be interested in and whether or not they involve additional costs.  Then try it out, most gyms have free trial memberships so don’t be afraid to ask about that too.  Some are for a free class, others for a week and some like the gym I go to even have free month trials when you are referred by a friend.  Once you’ve tried them, pick the one you’re most comfortable with, a word of caution to this tale is that you’ll probably get quite a few follow-up emails and phone calls from all the other ones you didn’t pick, but such is life.  In the end if you’re happy with your choice the rest won’t really matter.

Here are a few things I like about The Athletic Club I joined, these maybe different for you but like I said, pick the one that makes you feel the most comfortable.

1)      It’s a walking distance from my home (Location, Location, Location! But it’s also right beside an Italian bakery so temptation, temptation, temptation!)

2)      It’s open 24 hours (working out twice a day is a possibility)

3)      It has a warm salt water pool (Ok, so I like to swim and pretend I’m back in the warm tropical ocean… that’s totally normal right?)

4)      It has a women’s only area and a co-ed area, so when one gets crowded I can go to the other one. Bonus for being a girl

5)      They gave me a free trial, so I tried a few of their classes with a friend (Zumba is still a big party, and our favorite instructor is basically motivation in dance form)

6)      There’s no additional cost for signing up or hidden fees, just my monthly membership fee (You should always read your contract before you sign it, everything they offered you should be in writing…As the Romans once said “verba volant, scripta manent”)

7)     The staff at the front desk is approachable and friendly

8)      My gym membership includes access to all the classes they offer (Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, Interval Box, Chiseled etc.)

9)      Once I joined I got a free fitness assessment and a trial personal training session, which basically gave me a reference/starting point (sad, yet another incentive to get off my butt)

10)   Most importantly I felt comfortable there.  It’s a gym that caters to a wide variety of people. Everyone seems to be doing their own thing, plugged into their own music, and there are plenty of machines and weights to go around.  Granted there’s always one or two weirdos (who take too many selfies, or walk around with a plastic grocery bag while wearing bowling shoes to workout, you know, the works!), but as RubySlippers would say “I come down here to workout, I don’t care about those people or anyone judging and neither should you!”

Simple truths from Nike

Simple truths from Nike

I’m sure there are many other great suggestions out there about how to choose the right gym for you.  So do your homework, but remember theory isn’t everything.  You have to go out there and test drive your gym, that’s the only way you’ll know if it’s the right fit for you.  Plus it’s free and who doesn’t like free stuff???

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