How to Stay Fit Without a Gym Membership

Gyms have been closed over the past few months and I’ve even joked about how much time I’ve stopped by my fridge while working from home during this time. All jokes aside, prioritizing your health and staying fit should be a priority. If you don’t have optimal wellness, it will be difficult to perform basic tasks and meet goals in other areas of your life.

Even though some gyms are now slowly opening back up, it’s important to realize that you can still get fit without a gym membership. My membership through the park district has been paused for several months now and I’ve been finding alternative ways to exercise.

Here are some alternative options to help you get fit without a gym membership.

Set a Clear Workout Schedule

Just like I have a schedule for work, freelancing and everything else, I try to create a schedule to exercise during the week so it’s consistent and I’m not just doing it whenever I have free time. Most days I have to exercise in the morning or during my lunch break. If I’m going to do a workout with my husband, I’ll wait until he gets home in the evening.

Without a gym membership, you have more freedom to schedule your workouts but this can also be a burden if you like relying on scheduled group fitness classes. The key is to create your own fitness schedule and put it on the calendar. Decide when you’re going to workout each day and be consistent.

Writing my exercise goals down for the day in my planner helps a lot though just from a mental standpoint because I know it’s something I need to get done before the day is over. Some days I have more motivation, but I often tell myself to commit to at least 20 minutes of exercise even when I don’t feel like it. Just getting started often does the trick and the time goes by fast.

RELATED: 9 Best Home Workouts to Consider 

Free Workout Videos and Apps

Free YouTube workout videos are my go-to option when I need to do targeted workouts to build muscle and tone up. I have a few Shaun T videos of my own but I’ve started to save a handful of quick workout tutorials to use on YouTube. Workout routines become boring to me super quick so I enjoy all the free resources and tips I can get from YouTube.

I’ve also used a free app called Nike+ Training Club. NTC is a free app that lets women meet their fitness goals through convenient personal training sessions they can use anywhere, anytime. The app has various different training programs led by Nike Master Trainers and pro athletes allowing you to customize a weekly program to fit your time constraints and fitness goals. I like that workouts can be as short as 5-10 minutes or as long 60-90 minutes and the programs are not mandatory. Plus, IT’S FREE 🙂

Here are some alternative options to help you get fit without a gym membership. Share on X

Get Some Basic Equipment

The one thing I miss about not being able to go to the gym is having access to all that wonderful equipment. I love the elliptical and I’m not a fan of running (see below) so that has really become a struggle for me.

I do try to utilize equipment that just so happens to be free for me though. Some of the equipment I already have includes a resistance band, a medicine ball, and a speed rope which is great for a quick cardio workout. You can build your equipment stash over time and even pick up weights, a mat and other tools from your local dollar store or a discount store like Five Below. Five Below actually has an entire exercise equipment section and it’s all under $5.

RELATED: Is Your Workout Worth the Cost? 

Trying to Learn How to Love Running

Here’s a little secret. I highly dislike running. I know that running is one of the easiest ways to get in shape for free, but most times I have to force myself to get out and run and I dread every minute of it.

I’m considering finding another way to increase my cardio and burn calories quickly like by dancing or doing Zumba. For now, I can run on the days I feel like doing it and still try to get out and go on a brisk walk in the evening on the other days.

Believe it or not, having the right shoes can actually enhance the running experience and make it more tolerable and enjoyable if you’re just starting out. Running shoes are a good investment, and don’t always have to cost an arm and a leg either especially if you catch a good sale.

Running is also good for the heart and costs you nothing so you can’t really beat that. If you do enjoy running, C25K is one of my favorite free apps and it’s designed to help you train for your first 5K with interval training.

Get Moving

One of the easiest things you can do to get fit without a gym membership is to simply get moving. I have a FitBit but you can download a pedometer to your phone to track your steps and physical activity. No matter what I’m doing during the day, I always aim to get 10,000 steps in for the day and often challenge myself to do more. Realize that you can always go for a walk each day just to get up and move. You can also try outdoor sports or ride a bike to keep your exercise routine simple but also varied. The important thing is that you move and stretch often which will burn calories and help you stay in shape.

Having a gym membership can be great, but it doesn’t have to be the determining factor in your overall wellness. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to get and stay fit without a gym membership.

Do you prefer to go to a gym or workout at home?