Fitness Update: Things I’ve Been Doing to Stay Fit Without a Gym

Another week has sneaked up on us! I realized that I haven’t written anything workout-related in a while, so today I’m going to tell you about my fitness adventures in the past (roughly) Main imagemonth and a half.

Since we moved to Washington state from Alabama a little over a month ago, I’ve enjoyed doing all of my workouts outside. The temperatures are mostly favorable – it’s cooler and way less humid than it is right now in Alabama – plus the rainy days have been falling on the days I’ve wanted to rest anyway. I’ve been trying to exercise most weekdays, alternating days of running with days of doing bodyweight exercises right on my front porch. Of course, there’s been a few lazy days when I didn’t want to do anything, but they only proved that I feel the most energetic, productive and overall positive on days that start with some type of exercise 🙂

My experience has proven something I’ve always known: staying fit and healthy without a gym subscription or lots of free time is completely doable! All you need is some dedication, Internet access (to find workouts), and maybe a yoga mat.

The Running Part of this Post

Speaking of running… I thought I was a good uphill runner until I moved to Whidbey Island and started running the crazy hilly routes around here!

When it comes to my runs, I like to go out of my front door and start running (as opposed to driving somewhere first). This worked great for me when I lived in Florida and Alabama, but the challenge I’ve had over here in Washington is that our house is located towards the bottom of a pretty impressive hill. Whenever I head out for a run, I have to start running uphill right away to get to the main road. Within the first couple minutes of the run, I am huffing and puffing with a beet-red face, hardly able to utter ‘hello’ to the neighbors sitting on their porches. The numerous deer and rabbits I see while running must be thinking, ‘This human looks so miserable!’ 

Tsunami hillOne of the hills I run up on my way back towards the house – it’s more intimidating in real life!

More hills await me as I go on, so a typical 4-mile run turns into a total butt-kicker (in Alabama I wouldn’t have even considered a 4-miler to be a decent run!). Luckily, things have been getting better the more I run here, which makes me wonder if I’ll ever get so efficient with running hills that they stop bothering me at all. Wishful thinking, he he 🙂

Thankfully, there’s never a shortage of gorgeous views on the route I run. This view awaits me in the final stretch:

The view

The Workouts – no Gym Required!

So why is it that I haven’t joined the gym yet? I have a couple reasons (they may be loosely confused with excuses):

– The closest gym is over 6 miles away, which is much further than the gym I belonged to in Alabama. So what?! – you might say, but for a while Rob and I were waiting till I get my driver’s license (long story), then we shared one car, plus I was so used to running to the gym and back (for a total of 2.5 miles) in Alabama that I now need time to settle into the new routine of just driving to the gym like all normal people do.

– I’ve found some really good online resources for butt-kicking HIIT (high-intensity interval training, that is) workouts: they require zero equipment and absolutely NO MONTHLY PAYMENT that all gyms demand for some silly reason 🙂 Since I currently generate very little income, this resonates very well with me! All I need is to commit to doing a 25-35 minute routine on my non-running days, cue in my inner Jillian Michaels.

Front porchMy front porch gym at the moment

Of course, I miss training with weights, so eventually I’ll break down and sign up for a gym. Until then, these two sites have proven to be my endless sources of fitness inspiration:

Blonde Ponytail, a blog run by Jess, a NSCA-CSCS personal trainer who loves running, high-intensity workouts, CrossFit, and everything active. Jess posts lots of great workouts that require minimal or no equipment. She has a list of gym-free home workouts over here, and constantly posts new exercise routines almost every week. I did this workout soon after we moved into our new house, replacing kettlebell swings with 20 burpees for each round and adding tricep dips. My muscles were sore for a couple days!

5 for 5 Training, a blog that I stumbled upon on Instagram and got instantly hooked on! The idea of 5 for 5 training routines is to do a five-movement circuit five times as quickly as you can, with 10 reps of most movements. This way, you get your heart rate up while strengthening your body all over and spending less than 20 minutes on the entire workout. So next time someone tells me they have no time to exercise, I’ll be sending this link to them!

My favorite part: Chris, the creator of 5 for 5 Training (who’s a vegetarian, by the way!), posts 15-20 second videos of the routines, so you get the idea of what each exercise looks like without spending too much time on YouTube. I appreciate the abundance of exercise videos available on YouTube these days, but I just don’t have the time or patience to spend 10 minutes or more on each video to figure out what those workouts are all about. 5 for 5 Training makes it easy to get a workout idea in no time!

Question: Do you have any favorite sites with lots of great workouts? Do share!

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About Alina

Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Being vegan eventually opened her eyes on the issues of animal welfare, environmental protection, human rights and feminism. Alina hopes that her blog will help its readers on their path to making this world a better place.
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8 Responses to Fitness Update: Things I’ve Been Doing to Stay Fit Without a Gym

  1. Chris Bell says:

    Great post, thanks for the mention and if there is anything I can contribute please let me know.

  2. Samara says:

    I just tried my first at home 5:30am workout this morning and love the energy I have now! Often go to the gym at lunch, but I plan on trying a few of your recommendations.
    thanks!

  3. Olivia Clark says:

    These are great tips. As much as I love staying fit and healthy I really hate going to the gym, Something about the gym atmosphere makes me feel uneasy and for some reason I get easily tired doing exercise there. I can jog for hours and I wouldn’t even mind the time but when I’m at the gym I can feel every second that I’m there. I feel like when I see nature it energizes me that’s why I always prefer exercising outdoors. Thanks for the tips! I’ll definitely try them.

    • Alina says:

      I hear ya, Olivia! I’ve been gym-free for almost two months now, and I didn’t expect that working out outside would be so enjoyable.

  4. Jessica says:

    benderfitness.com is one of the best at home workout sites I’ve seen. They are all free and require very little equipment.

  5. Pingback: Pawz by the Sea 5k Recap (Langley, WA) | Vegan Runner Eats

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