Think you need a gym to get fit? Nope.
Sure, a gym membership that provides multiple cardio machines and shiny lifting devices can be extra motivating. But you don’t need those things to start a fitness plan.
Before I had kids, I was in the gym. A lot. I would go between 4 and 6 times each week. It was my biggest stress reliever and my favorite use of “me” time.
Fast forward three years later…making it to the gym just doesn’t seem possible. Or at least, probable. By the time I take my kids to my parents’ house, drive to the gym, and drive back to pick them up, I am wasting a good 20-30 minutes that could have been spent working out. That’s more than half of my usual routine!
I really envy women that have access to gym daycare. It must be nice to leave your kids in the next room while you enjoy a nice sweat session. If you have a program like this in your community, I encourage you to try it out. But if you are like me and don’t have access to such luxuries, there are still ways that you can make a fitness change from home.
After my son was born, I lost fifty pounds in one year. I never stepped foot in a gym. Not once. I’m sure I could have achieved results in a shorter amount of time if I had access to a wider variety of exercise equipment, but the reality is this: I didn’t need any of those things to meet my fitness goal.
Here are some ways you can still lose weight without the gym.
I’ll be the first to admit, this one is not for me. I enjoy taking walks in the stroller with my son, but it is hard for me to stay committed to an outdoor routine. There are just too many variables. Weather can be a major roadblock, especially in the winter. Sometimes it can be just as difficult to find a safe and useful running location as it is to find a gym.
If you aren’t an outdoor wimp like me, then get outside! Find some challenging running trails. Hiking is a great way to burn calories without feeling like you are working out. Maybe you have a community pool that would allow you to get in some laps. Let the kids tag along as you ride bikes or jog with a stroller. Again, this isn’t for everyone (me included), but it is certainly effective.
Bring the Equipment to You
Some people might consider this cheating, but my biggest asset in achieving my fitness goals was having access to cardio equipment in my home. I have a treadmill and an elliptical trainer. You might be thinking, “There is no way I can do that.”
Actually, getting access to equipment isn’t as challenging or expensive as you might think. We were lucky in that we were able to get a great deal on a used treadmill. It is outdated and lacks the features that many gym treadmills have, but it still provides an intense workout. My mom gifted me with the elliptical machine for Christmas. I told her that it was the machine I missed using the most, and she bought it for less than $200.
You might not want to spend a lot of money on cardio equipment, but it truly is a worthy investment. Most gym memberships can average out to more than $200 in only one year! And that’s based on whether you go or not. Having a machine in the home makes working out as convenient as it could possibly be. I wait for my son to take a nap, and then I begin my routine. If something happens to interrupt my session, that’s okay. I know that I can get back to the machine at any time.
Consider buying a machine that you can use at home. I have seen several used cardio machines for sale online at cheap prices. Try Craigslist. It doesn’t have to be the newest model to get you the results you want.
I feel like workout DVDs are a new mom’s best friend. It’s something easy and convenient that you can complete in less than an hour. Again, you can get an effective workout in while your kids are napping. But does that always happen? No. There are many days when I get home from work, pop in a DVD, and start doing the moves while my son is running around the living room.
When he was still a baby, he would watch me do yoga DVDs and laugh the whole time. It’s like he thought I was playing with him. Once he got older, he would start doing some of the moves with me (or at least trying). I can’t tell you how many Downward Dogs I’ve done with my son crawling underneath me! It may not be the most graceful or relaxing workout, but it still gets the job done.
One of my favorite routines is the Pure Barre DVD collection. These little moves look easy, but they HURT! The videos also come with a little bit of equipment. In my opinion, these workouts are best used for toning and increasing flexibility. The 45 minute routine is great for busy moms.
Another great source for exercise videos is already on your TV. Do you have access to On Demand or a similar service? Different workout videos are uploaded constantly, and they are totally free! There are all different genres from cardio to strength training to dancing. This can be a fun way to change things up without paying a dime!
Research Your Strength Training
Find a stack of fitness magazines and start planning your own strength training routine. This is what I do to focus on specific areas like the lower body or my back. Most magazine workout routines only require small weights, and some don’t need any equipment. I still don’t get the variety of machines I used to get at the gym, but I’ve seen some noticeable results by following these routines. Also, look online for inspiration. There are several personal trainers that offer free or low-cost fitness plans that you can do from home.
In the future, I would like to get back in the gym. However, I know that is not possible when I am working full time and still have two children in diapers. You might be in a similar situation, but we can’t let that get in our way. Make a commitment to find a routine that works for you. That might mean researching different strength training strategies or saving money in order to buy a cardio machine.
I am not a fitness professional in any sense of the word. But, I am a busy mom that managed to lose 50 pounds from home within a year’s time. I am currently in the process of losing the same amount of weight after my second pregnancy. I will keep you posted on that journey.
Let’s talk! Like me, are you constantly trying to find ways to lose weight from home?