Gyms are amazing places. While their primary function is to help people get fit, stronger and leaner, they actually can do so much more.
For some, they are places of Zen and serenity, especially after a stressful day at the office or with the kids. For others, they're the go to place to meet friends and have a chat whilst working on those biceps.
Then there are those folks who just want nothing more than to beast themselves until DOMS set it.
However, gyms can be pricey and, although many avid gym fans will struggle to understand, some people just don't like them.
And that's ok! Maybe you travel a lot and simply don't have the time. Maybe, after spending the entire working day inside, you'd prefer to fill your lungs with fresh, non-sweaty air.
Or maybe, you believe the money you would fork out each month could be better spent elsewhere, but does this mean you might as well give up on your workout dream?
Hardly! There are plenty of ways to work up a sweat without the use of a gym, here's how…
Go For Suspension
You've probably seen these things advertised that look more like aerial acrobatic ropes than muscle grafting machine but the humble suspension system offer an affordable, portable and dynamic way to build serious muscle.
Just attach the system to a doorframe, or tree if you want an outdoor workout, and then use your bodyweight as resistance for both upper and lower body exercises.
Some of our favourites are:
- Suspended crunch
- Suspended push-ups
- Suspended back fly
- Suspended lunges
- Suspended row
- Suspended chest fly
Simply set your timer for 1 minute and perform as many reps as possible. Rest 30 seconds then move onto the next exercise.
If the weather is rubbish but you're itching to get in a killer workout, there's absolutely no reason why you can't in your own home.
This is where bodyweight comes into its own with things like:
- Bodyweight squats
- Glute bridges
- Tuck jumps
- Bent knee hip raises
- Mountain climbers
are all guaranteed to make your body work and work hard.
Better yet, grab yourself a chair for some knee ups to work your legs and if you can grab a few dumbbells you can even do deadlifts, shoulder press, walking lunges or rows.
Like the suspension training, set your timer for 1 minute and complete as many reps as possible before moving onto the next exercise.
As long as the weather ain't too shabby (is that sun peaking behind the cloud of rain here in the UK? Better make the most of it!) hitting the park to do some HIIT is perfect for getting your heart pumping.
All you need is an open stretch of ground to sprint – 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off.
If the flat isn't challenging enough for you, throw in a hill or two, or mix it up with burpees and push ups, and if there are steps, well feel free to go to town!
Just remember to warm up and make a note of your starting and end points, then sprint to your hearts content 5-10 times, or until you're ready to stop. Then, cool down and feel pretty darn great for doing some good.
If you're more after the social side of the gym but really don't fancy buying friends through a hefty membership, why not check out your local sports teams instead?
This way you'll still get a great workout AND get a social fix at the same time, and there are various levels too ranging from casual (more concerned with post training drinks), to super duper competitive.
From football to cycling, trail running to triathlon, walking to quidditch (yes, really!), there are tonnes of activities that will give you the perfect workout, without the stank of gym mats…
However, these activities may not help you build mountains of muscle - you'd be better going for the bodyweight training at home for that – but what they will do is help increase your speed and agility not to mention your CV fitness will get a boost too.