MYTH: You Have to Go to a Gym to Get in Shape

Do you think you need a fancy home gym or expensive gym membership to get in shape? Think again!

The Truth: You don’t need a fancy home gym or an expensive gym membership to get in shape or lose weight. There are tons of free or low-cost ways to reach your goals!

As a trainer, I’ve heard every excuse for why people don’t exercise. One of the biggest reasons I hear is: “I can’t afford a gym membership.” I’m so sick of hearing that one — mainly because whether or not you belong to a gym is totally irrelevant! There are so many ways you can stay active, burn calories, and lose weight without an expensive gym membership. In fact, most of my workouts rely very little on equipment — and you’ve seen proof of the results. Not sure where to begin? Try these suggestions to work out on the cheap.

Look for free or discounted classes. Take advantage of free classes, personal training, and gym trials in your community, school, or workplace. You can sign up for notifications from local gyms, fitness studios, recreation centers, libraries, and fitness Web sites to stay informed. At home, get creative — strength train with water jugs or soup cans as free weights, use a wall for resistance to modify exercises like squats, or use your stairs! 

Invest in low-cost options. There are many affordable tools that can help you get started with your fitness regimen. Borrow workout DVDs, fitness books, or magazines from the library. Look for ones that offer beginner, intermediate, and advanced options, so you can continue to build on the basics.  You could also invest in inexpensive fitness equipment like dumbbells, jump ropes, exercise balls, and resistance bands.  The key is to choose valuable tools that you can rely on and build upon.

Take your workout outside. Maybe your idea of working out — say, running on the treadmill — is the last thing you ever want to do. Don’t give up all hope of getting in shape — your choices aren’t limited to cardio machines indoors. Get outside when the weather permits. Look online to map out a new hiking or biking trail, try new exercises from my free mobile app or a free couch-to-5k app on your smartphone, or go swimming at a local pool. Check with your local community colleges, city, or town too: They often offer open swimming times or use of basketball or tennis courts.

The Bottom Line: You don’t need a gym membership to get in shape. Find what works for you, invest in a few inexpensive tools that you can reuse over and over, and don’t be afraid to try new ways to stay in shape. No more excuses. Now, get moving!

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