Bored, Scared or Just Plain Sick of the Gym? Try These Gym-Free Workouts Instead!

Who needs the gym to get a quality workout in?
Sometimes the last thing you want to do is pack up a gym bag and drive 10-15 minutes to the gym, only to have to deal with crowding, smelly locker rooms, and way too much grunting. The more you think about it, the more you start to think a day off is exactly what you need, right? But in the time you spend contemplating whether or not you should go, you could have already done my workout for the day.

Instead of wasting time making up excuses not to go to the gym, just decide not to go! Exercise shouldn’t be something you dread. If you want to stick with a healthy exercise plan, it has to be enjoyable or else you’re more likely to give up on exercise all together. So cut down on your gym time (only if you don’t like it!) and try some of these fresh new ways to get exercise – gym free!

All you need is some floor space, a TV, or the great outdoors to get just as good, if not better, exercise!

1. Walk/Run Outdoors. Walking or running outdoors gives you a nice break from the treadmill, which can get pretty boring. Even if you increase the incline on the treadmill, you’re most likely not getting as good a workout as you would outdoors. Hills and uneven terrains force your body to use different muscles and burn more calories. Alternate between running and walking, or sprinting and jogging to burn extra calories with interval training. Grab a friend, take your dog, or go it alone!

2. Jump Rope. Believe it or not, jumping rope is one of the best workouts out there, and all you need is a rope! For 5 bucks you’ve got all you need for a high intensity workout. It burns over 100 calories in 10 minutes, and enhances coordination, agility, quickness, footwork and endurance! It’s a challenging workout, and can be frustrating for beginners. But once you get the technique down, it’s a fun workout that sure beats walking on the treadmill! Try jumping for one minute and resting for 30 seconds up to one minute. Repeat for 20 minutes. Oh, and if you don’t have a jump rope, just pretend like fitness instructor Denise Austin!

3. Circuit Training. All you need is a set of dumbbells or kettle bells for this strength training/cardio workout. Pick 6 or so exercises like bicep curls, lunges, squats with overhead press, etc., and move from one exercise to the next without rest. Repeat the circuit 3 times, resting one minute at the end of each circuit. If you want to lose weight, burn fat, and get in the best shape of your life, weight lifting is a must! Click here to learn more about the benefits of weight training.

4. Calisthenics. This is something you can do at home without any equipment, and no one will judge you if you’re watching TV while you’re at it. Jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, lunges and squats are a few examples of the old school technique. You’ll tone your muscles and knock out cardio all in one workout! Add plyometrics to your routine if you’re more advanced, like squat jumps!

5. Workout DVD/On Demand. If you’re no stranger to workout DVD’s, you know how fun – and intense – they can be! Exercise DVD’s tend to get a bad rep, but a lot of them offer some really great workouts. Not to mention, it’s like having your own trainer in your home, or attending a private fitness class. There are programs for all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced (P90X, Insanity), and for all interests (yoga, pilates, circuit training, dance, kickboxing…). It’s the perfect alternative to the gym, and adds something new to your routine!

6. Hiking. Take your workout to the great outdoors! Celebrities who hate the gym often say hiking is how they stay in shape, which burns about 300 calories an hour. It’s an easy way to get your heart rate up, tone your legs and glutes, and enjoy beautiful scenery. Make sure you wear sturdy sneakers, and hiking boots if you’re hiking harder trails. You can find a trail in a nearby park, or drive a little further for a more intense hiking trail. Check out for all things hiking!

7. Mountain Biking. Pedal off the pounds with biking! It doesn’t have to be rough, trail biking, or speedy road biking. For beginners, look for a relatively flat area and don’t focus on distance but on time – start off with 15-20 minute rides and increase your time as you get better at it. Hop on a bike and explore your area for some scenic trails and friendly paths! It’s a great way to get active, explore the neighborhood, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

8. Swimming. Not everyone has access to a pool, but if you do, this is about as good as it gets. Swimming is an amazing total body workout. Michael Phelps reportedly eats 12,000 calories a day to counter his 4-hour swimming workouts (not something PCM advises for anyone else). An easy swim burns approx. 500 calories an hour, while a more vigorous swim can burn 700 calories an hour. Swimming works nearly every muscle in your body, all while being easy on your joints. Plus, who wouldn’t rather cool off in a pool than sweat it out in a hot, stuffy gym?

9. Gardening. Gardening, whether you’re digging, weeding, etc., burns a lot of calories. Remember to always bend from the knees, not from your back, especially when you’re lifting heavy things. But you don’t have to have a garden to reap the benefits. Mowing the lawn burns major calories if you’re using a push mover. In fact, it’s just about as good a workout as swimming is. Raking, pulling weeds, and trimming shrubs and trees are also good workouts. Just remember to keep yourself hydrated, especially on those hot summer days.

10. Clean the house. Seriously! Cleaning up around the house can really break a sweat! Vacuuming, mopping, washing windows, and scrubbing floors and bathrooms can burn a good amount of calories – just keep moving! Throw in some lunges and squats while you’re at it, and I guarantee you’ll get your heart rate up, burn a few hundred calories, and have a sparkly clean house to relax in afterwards.


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