Do you absolutely hate going to the gym? I know the feeling. Gyms can be boring, intimidating, claustrophobic, cause anxiety and can be, well, gross. What’s worse is I hate having to plan my workouts before going to the gym and more often than not I’m checking Instagram. The whole thing can be a bit monotonous. The good news is that there are great alternatives to the dungeons that reek of BO. So if you’re feeling bleh about getting to the gym and need a change, check out the recommendations below to keep you going strong.
My husband stays really fit, but doesn’t go the gym much. He aptly put it, “Why am I going to lift all these heavy weights just to put them back on the rack in the same place where they started?” His solution…martial arts training. I’m not telling you to go learn how to karate kick your way into shape (unless you want to), but his ideas on fitness are simple. Get in shape while learning something that can apply to everyday life (i.e. martial arts teaches self-defense, conditioning, flexibility and discipline). He calls it “Fit for living.” I like that. So here are some of my go to alternatives when I need a break from the gym:
1. Learn Something Useful. Try signing up for a class that provides additional benefits to fitness that can help you in other ways. Try dance, yoga, Pilates, boxing, martial arts, swimming, rock climbing, surfing, gymnastics, fencing, biking, hiking, mountaineering. You get the idea. I personally love kickboxing.
2. Home Fitness. The big benefits are time and cost. With our busy and expensive lives, it’s very cost-effective and timely to get a workout in at home. We’ve all seen QVC late night and the zillions of infomercials on the latest fitness craze, right? While most of it is crap, some of it is not half bad. This ranges from equipment to video instruction (I use perfect push up handles because my wrists can hurt doing regular push ups, a home based TRX system and I think the door hanging pull up bars are genius). Keep in mind a lot of products out there are total crap so be careful before making a purchase and definitely check some reviews. My start in the fitness world was thanks to Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo. I loved kickboxing with Billy…still do :). Here are some of the good at home fitness video I have found. Jillian Michaels, Insanity, P90X, Billy Blanks Tae Bo and Zumba. Keep in mind that you want to opt in for a program that is built for progression to your desired results. Avoid the programs that repeat the same workout everyday.
3. Sports. Have fun in a team environment. Most cities and towns have recreational sports teams you can become a part of. Basketball, volleyball, softball, field hockey, running clubs, water polo, football, soccer, kickball, tennis, squash, golf (walk the course!), the options are endless here. Remember your high school days and have some fun while getting fit and make some friends. 4. Compete. Are a competitive person? Do you like to take part in great causes? Well why not try your hand at racing? It’s easy to find 5k or 10k run or even half and full marathon races. You can compete, challenge yourself to finish line and even do some good for charity while you burn away those calories. Other fun options include Triathlons, Iron Man, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Civilian Military Combine, Color Runs and more. These are all are super fun and challenging. I personally did the New York Triathlon in 2009 and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my fitness career. I loved training with Team In Training and I made some great lifelong friends. My personal favorite (even though I’m nowhere near fit enough) is the American Ninja Warrior. I’d love to try that obstacle course one day!
Go ahead, cheat on your gym, I dare you!
Party Smart. Sweat Smarter.