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What to do when you want to get in shape, but hate the gym…

I have been a personal trainer for over 7+ years and I consider myself lucky to have found my passion in this industry. I love that I can legitimately wear yoga gear 24/7, am comfortable strutting around a gym and know what to do with dumbbells, barbbells, bosu & stability balls, TRX and a whole slew of other fun fitness gear. And get this…I actually think working out is fun…yup..FUN!

But I know I am part of a minority here. I know that LOTS of people just generally dislike (or maybe go as far to say…despise) the gym. Or the (GI-ME) as my husband calls it.

So what to do? You know you need to take some sort of action to improve & focus on your health, but you really, really, really, hate going to the gym. And here’s the thing. If you hate doing something, consider what your chances of following through on doing that thing long term are? Probably somewhere around the 0.000006783% mark.

Luckily the gym is not the only option when it comes to getting in shape and improving your health. Below are 4 options for you to consider (and then hopefully act & follow through with consistently)!

1. Go for a walk – Stop over complicating things. If your goals are simply to feel better about yourself and your body, lose a few pounds, getting out for regular walks can make a huge difference. If you are starting at the beginning after a long break with exercise even 20-30 minutes of walking a day can make a huge difference. Once you build that into a regular habit, increase it to 45 min or maybe an hour. Add some hills, swing your arms when you walk, go at a good pace so your heart rate is elevated. Unless you have advanced goals relating to a race, specific sport, competition, body composition or otherwise, you really don’t need a complicated workout regime. Start and master the basics…CONSISTENTLY…and then you can build from there at a later point. But focus on getting really consistent with the standard stuff first.

2. Get outdoors – No one said you had to be in a large sweat box to achieve the healthy lifestyle youdesire. There are a plethora of options that you can do outdoors. In the Lower mainland I operate an outdoor bootcamp company. It’s likely very different than what you may be imagining in your head. There is no screaming, yelling or belittling people. A vein is not throbbing off to the side of my forehead while I tell people to drop and give me 20 push ups. That’s the image that made bootcamp popular back in the early 2000’s, but it’s advanced past that now. My classes are comprised of a very supportive & welcoming group of people who come together several times a week to sweat outdoors. It’s a group of like-minded people who like breathing in fresh ocean air and like a lot of variety in their workouts. The classes cater to all skill levels and every class can be modified depending on each person’s needs/ fitness level. There are likely classes near you as well, do a quick google search and see. Most companies will let you try out a class for free to see if it’s the right fit for you. Give it a try and attend a class or two before you make a (misconceived) judgement about it.

3. Workout at home. You don’t need a lot of equipment to get started. A small space, a few weights, maybe a kettlebell or a jump rope. There are ton of workouts online or you can hire a trainer to create a personalized program for you. What you do need though is to be consistent. Schedule workouts in your calendar and stick to them. They are important…your health is important. I have clients who have seen incredible results with a very modest home gym. The key is consistent and regular workouts along with good eating habits.

I have two posted on my blog to get you started. One here if you have a set of dumbbells and this one is great once you have purchased a kettlebell or two.

4. Focus on nutrition – Maybe your life is so chaotic that you just can’t fit in any time to go to a class or the gym, even if you wanted to, and the chances of you actually completing a workout at home are nil to none. If that’s the case, then focus your energy & attention on nutrition. It’s remarkable how much good nutrition plays into your overall health and any results you may (or may not) see. Many people think they can out exercise a bad diet, but that’s just not the case. If a workout isn’t going to happen anytime soon, choose one thing to improve on related to your nutrition and eating habits and be consistent with practicing that habit. Don’t try to overhaul it all at once, please don’t resort to detoxes, cleanses or other severe measures. Stick to the basics, do them well and do them consistently.

And a bonus #5

5. Challenge yourself (& your point of view)

Why is it that you hate the gym? Really – think about it, maybe even jot down some of those reasons on a piece of paper. Then go back and read over them and consider a) if those statements are true and b) if there is something you can do to move past it.

As an example, your list might look something like this:

  1. I don’t know what to do when I am there –> Hire a trainer for a couple sessions (or ask a friend) to come and show you a few things.
  2. I don’t like all the gym bro’s and girls in done up make up –> Eyes on your own paper! Everyone is there for their own reasons. Don’t let someone else’s goals, physical appearance, presence or anything else detour you from what you want. You do you, get your workout in, ignore everyone else and be on your way. Check yourself and see if you are there to workout or if you are spending your time judging everyone else #justsayin
  3. It’s boring –> Maybe. Also, maybe you go to the gym and spend 20 min on the treadmill and 20 min on the elipical, do a couple squats and bicep curls and call it a day. Maybe what you are doing at the gym is boring..not the gym as a whole is boring. Maybe you need a new challenge or need to learn a few things or a new way of doing stuff? Find a friend to workout with and challenge each other, try a new class, buy a book with a new training program or download an app (there are hundreds!) or of course, hire a trainer to show you a few things and put together a fun program for you.
  4. Everyone is looking at me and I feel uncomfortable/out of place/fat etc –> Stop right there. Seriously. A) it’s not true. It’s just not. People might be looking at you because you are in a public space, just the same as I look at people I pass in the grocery store or at the gas station, but no one is judging you, thinking you shouldn’t be there etc. B) Go back to #2 above.

Happy Sweating! :)