by Matt Weik
I’m sure there are some of you reading this who don’t own a gym membership. Some of you might have a home gym or simply do bodyweight exercises in the confines of your own home. And that’s perfect. But for many, they might not even know where to start without the thought of rolling up to a gym and paying monthly dues. For those on a budget, this article is for you! In this article, I will showcase a few ways that you can get in FREE workouts without a gym membership by simply thinking outside of the box.
I still believe that YouTube will completely destroy cable television as we know it. If you ever wanted to learn something, YouTube is the place to be. And for that reason, you could be doing some searches on their platform for some free at home workouts using nothing more than your bodyweight and some household items. Throw on your workout apparel, grab a water bottle and towel, and you’re ready to go through a free workout by watching YouTube on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
2. Fitness websites
We live in a digital world where everything we ever needed is right at our fingertips thanks to the internet. With millions of websites out there, a simple Google search for “at home workouts” will give you an abundance of workout routines that you can follow right in your own living room. While some of the websites will want you to be a member, search for the ones that do not require fees that you can follow along to their online video or go through the typed-out workout available on their website (such as on ironmagazine.com and weikfitness.com). There are way too many websites to mention in this article, so scroll through your Google search until you find one that peaks your interest.
3. Join a walking or running club
This is a do as I say, not as I do idea. Me, I hate running. In fact, if something isn’t about to kill me, there’s a pretty good chance I’m not moving. And if something is looking to kill me, you can bet I’ll run just fast enough to be ahead of someone else to survive. But, if walking or running is your thing, you can bet somewhere around where you live there’s a walking or running group/club. Google can figure out the closest club to where you live, but this makes for a great way to get in your cardio and be surrounded by likeminded people. I’d say I’ll see you there, but there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell you’ll see me running.
4. Work the system for a free trial
I can hear people groaning already, especially those who work in gyms, but hey, it works. Let’s say you have 15 gyms around where you live. All of them want your business—and money. Most gyms will offer a free week pass for you to try out their gym and all of their amenities. So, go ahead and use them. 15 different gyms equal 15 weeks of free fitness. Might you feel bad for working the system? Maybe. But in reality, you’re only using what they are offering everyone else anyway. So, don’t beat yourself up over it or lose any sleep.
5. Walk your dog
I guess the first thing we should establish is that you have a dog. If not, skip right onto number six. Otherwise, grab your dog’s leash and put on some athletic shoes, and start pounding the pavement with your pooch. Not only could you use some cardio in your life, but so could your furry little friend. Weather permitting, this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Your dog needs activity, as do you. Going outdoors for a little stroll with man’s best friend might be just what you need in your life.
6. Utilize a high school track
Find a local school that has bleachers and use them. You can bet when you get there and look all the way up at the top step that you’re questioning why the heck you’re planning on doing this, but in the end questioning your decision is exactly why you should be doing it in the first place. Not many people enjoy the thought of running up flights of stairs, mainly because it’s tiresome. For that reason, is why you’re about to do it. Winners do what losers refuse to do. Win at life, hit the stairs.
Maybe stairs aren’t your thing? No problem. Start doing some cardio on the high school track. You can walk, jog, or run. You could even do intervals where you combine low intensity walking with high intensity sprints. Turn it into a game and before you know it you’ll be done with an amazing cardio session and dripping with sweat.
7. Get your buddies together for an outdoor boot camp
Who’s up for some friendly competition? Grab your friends and head outside for a little boot camp style workout. You can do a whole bunch of timed drills right in your backyard or at the park. Burpees, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, you name it, can all be done in a group setting. I’m sure many of your friends would love to get active if they aren’t already. So, tackle fat as a team and head outdoors for some fun.
8. Use fitness apps on your smartphone
Open up the app store on your smartphone (regardless if you have an iPhone or Android) and do a search for fitness. You will find way more than you’d ever need, but look at all the free apps that are available. Some are boot camp style workouts, some are bodyweight workouts, some are specific to cardio, but regardless you can find free apps that can put you through workouts without costing you a penny. Sure, you might have to exit out of some advertisements, but that’s a small thing to deal with when you are getting free workouts at your fingertips.
9. Hop on a bicycle
Let’s be clear on something, this is the type of bicycle that you manually pedal, not the kind you hop on and twist the throttle. If you have a bike at home, make sure the tires are inflated and that the brakes actually work (as do all the gears) and go out for a ride. The bicycle is the perfect piece of cardio equipment because you get to enjoy the great outdoors and when you get winded, you can simply coast to catch your breath. You are able to spike your heart rate by doing hill climbs and then also get some rest periods in there too when you find yourself going downhill. Be smart with your rides and wear a helmet. It might not be “cool” but it’s better than doing some serious damage to your melon if you take a tumble.
10. Find a local outdoor gym
Some cities have outdoor gyms. Some are fancy while some might be pretty basic. And when I say basic, I’m talking about a chin-up bar and maybe some parallel bars. Work with what you have and be creative. Honestly, part of what makes outdoor workouts fun at an outdoor gym is being creative and working with what you have. Just because you don’t have a dedicated chin-up bar doesn’t mean you can’t find a straight frame like on a swing-set and using that as your chin-up bar. Make it fun and exciting and before you know it you’ll be through a really fun and taxing workout.
11. Take a hike
There’s something about fresh air and nature that can clear the mind of all the clutter that’s going on in our lives. Going for a hike is a great way to see the great outdoors while burning off unwanted calories. Regardless if you have locations near you that have trails or not, find a nice (safe) terrain and go explore. Be sure to know the direction in which you first started so you know your way back, but enjoy what’s around you in nature. It’s also advised to take some water with you as well. Whether you decide to carry the water bottle or if you decide to throw on a small backpack is your decision. If you go with the backpack option, it allows you to take some other small items like a first aid kit in case you trip and fall, or the ability to take some snacks should you get hungry during your trek. Or better yet, take your wife or significant other and pack a lunch for your hike. Find a nice spot to stop with some amazing scenery around you and set up camp and have some lunch before finishing off your hike.
12. Grab your jump rope
We’re getting old school now. Most people have an old jump rope laying around somewhere. And if you do, use it! Jumping rope is an amazing workout that is extremely taxing on the body if you don’t dilly dally around. Be creative and do doubles or crisscross movements to keep things fresh and fun. See how many times you can jump without getting tangled up by the rope or whacking yourself when attempting different motions with the rope. Try to beat your previous count or record. It’s just you and the rope. And from personal experience, I’d highly recommend jumping rope outside or in an area of the house that you can’t break anything or knock anything over. Doing so will land you in the dog house for a little while.