You’re not the only person who has toyed with this decision. The answer depends on a number of factors like your personality, financial situation, and goals. But if you don’t get a gym membership, are you missing out on something? Or can you get just as fit without it?
Do You Need to Join a Gym?
The short answer to this question is (drumroll please) no… I mean, it’s not like people were just completely out of shape before the gym came along, right?
But does the gym offer you more than what you can achieve on your own? Absolutely not! You have all the tools you need to maintain a high level of fitness without the gym.
It’s possible to shape up by going running, doing sit-ups, or any outdoor activity. The gym isn’t necessary, as long as you have the right determination and the proper techniques.
Pros of Joining a Gym: What Would You Gain?
Of course, the gym offers some excellent tools specifically designed to help you get fit or target problem areas. What are the main advantages of going to a gym?
- The gym opens up more options for you when it comes to working out. They usually have a whole range of equipment designed to help you slim down or build muscle.
- It’s more practical in some ways. A treadmill, for instance, can be used when it’s raining.
- Others find the environment and the atmosphere inside the gym motivates them even more to reach their fitness goals.
- The gym can be a great way to relieve stress. By putting yourself in a setting where your focus can turn directly towards your goals, they’re easier to reach.
- The gym can offer knowledge from trainers or other members that might be hard to gain anywhere else. You can learn how to properly use the equipment, how to warm up and cool down, and about trusted tricks and techniques.
The gym can be considered a dedicated place to focus entirely on your goals without distraction. Some people need this motivation to achieve their goals. Indeed, the gym can be thought of as a sacred temple for the development of a healthy body and mind.
Cons of Joining a Gym: What Are the Downsides?
The gym is a great space, surely, but it’s not for everyone. Here are some decisive downfalls of joining a gym:
- Gym memberships come at a price. For some people, the money could better be spent elsewhere – such as on investing in nutritious meals.
- Gyms tend to get busy at peak times, meaning the equipment might not always be available to you when you need it.
- You may be self-conscious of working out in public, and the gym can be a veritable catwalk and insta-obsessed space. This can end up causing more anxiety about who might be watching or judging you than focus on your goals.
- It might be unrealistic to fit going to a gym into your schedule, and may cause a feedback loop of discouragement if you aren’t able to find the time to go regularly.
- A gym might simply be too far away from where you work or live to make buying a membership reasonable.
Easy Ways to Stay Fit Without the Gym
You’re right to toy with the idea of whether a gym membership is necessary for your own goals. The main thing is that you keep your fitness levels in good order, meaning you can avoid health problems and feel happier in your own skin. So what are some ways to stay fit outside of the gym, if indeed you decide it’s not for you?
Well, it’s good to first consider what your end goal is – are you looking just to be healthier in general? Or are you more concerned with building muscle? Either way, this will determine what kinds of exercises you do, and what equipment you may need to purchase.
Alternate Cardio and Strength Training
Whatever you decide, it’s a good rule of thumb to dedicate at least three days a week to some form of cardio exercise for at least half an hour. You can try running, swimming, jumping rope, aerobics, etc.
In between your cardio days, mix things up by doing some strength training. Again, it’s good to alternate between your upper body and lower body while keeping your main focus on your core. A good technique is to do three sets of 10-15 repetitions of each strength- building exercise.
For your upper body, try push-ups, overhead dumbbell press, or resistance band exercises. For abdominal muscles and your core, try planks or sit-ups, and build lower-body strength with squats and lunges. Pushups, pull ups, arm curls, dips, squats, lunges, sit ups, and crunches are all great exercises to build upper and lower body strength.
Plan a Healthy Diet
This applies to everyone, not just those who don’t want to go to the gym — but planning a healthy diet can be a good way to change your routine and outlook. It might just help boost your motivation to get off the couch and grab that jumping rope!
Beyond this, a healthy diet is integral to getting fit and staying that way. Your body craves the nutrients and vitamins only a healthy diet can provide, and these are necessary to help burn fat and build muscle.
Make a Routine
It might seem almost effortless to simply skip out on exercise at home if you’re not compelled to get your money’s worth from a gym membership. Setting goals and solidifying a routine can all get you in the mindset to stay determined without an external push.
So, figure out when the best time to exercise is, dedicate a spot in your home to the task, and record your workouts. This will help you keep track of what you’ve done, what you have yet to do, and everything you’ve accomplished.
Becoming fit outside of the gym is possible with the right mindset and right dedication. Remember that you need to focus on what will work best for you, inside or outside those gym walls. Getting fit isn’t just about showing up to a spin class every other week. It’s about making little positive changes to your lifestyle and sticking to them — with or without the gym.