In order to get fit, shape up and reclaim your body, you’ve got to join a gym. Makes sense, right? After all gyms have got all the gear, the expertise and the companionship you’ll ever need. Despite this, however, the number of people who are opting out of the fitness center route in their quest for physical improvement is ever increasing. Many are ditching the artificially confining spaces of the gymnasium and taking their work-outs outdoors. So, why are so many choosing to skip out on a gym membership? And is it really possible to get an effective work-out by going solo? Let’s investigate.
4 Benefits of Going Gym Free
- Convenience: For a lot of people the commute to the gym takes longer than the actual work-out. Then, once they get there, a lot of time – and work-out momentum – is lost waiting for equipment to become free. At home, though, you take your work-out then and there – and you won’t be standing around waiting for some pimply-faced 18 year old to exit the leg press machine.
- Cost Savings: Gyms love to lock clients into a contract. That’s because they know that most people will give up before their term expires. So, they’ll continue paying weekly while their floor space is taken by another paying customer. Great for the gym, painful for you. And you can bet that you‘ll be paying a premium for that post-work-out smoothie that the trainers keep foisting on you. Add in fuel costs and working out at home just makes better economic sense.
- Privacy: You’re exercising because your body needs work, so it’s not surprising that you aren’t too keen on having an audience while working on your jiggly bits. At least at home you can close the blinds.
- Hygiene: In a gym, perspiration is flying everywhere. And, despite what the message on the wall says, most people won’t be toweling it up once they step off a piece of equipment. That means that the next exerciser will be swimming in the body fluids of another. Then there’s the shower room. Most gym shower facilities are a fungal nightmare just waiting to happen.
3 Benefits of Taking Your Work-Out Outside
- Nature’s Way: The very fact that you’re outdoors, soaking up the sun’s rays and enjoying the cooling effects of a slight breeze rather than sweating it out under artificial light and an electric fan, has a feel good factor that is impossible to quantify. What scientists do know is that exercising outdoors lessens the incidence of post-work-out headaches, enhances endorphin release and improves cardiovascular fitness.
- Space: To get a good cardiovascular work-out you have to cover some distance. That’s the one thing a gym doesn’t have. So they pack their facilities with treadmills, cycles and steppers designed to emulate the effects of covering distance. But they are simply not as good. In fact, a 1 mile run on a treadmill will burn 20% fewer calories than a real run in the real outdoors – and you’ll be staring at a brick wall the whole time!
- Functional Movement: Everything you do in a gym is a simulation of real movement. As a result, it’s not as good as the real thing. Exercising outdoors allows you to do the real thing, whether it’s dragging a tire up a hill or sprinting through the waves down at the beach.
2 Ways to Rev Up Your Motivation
- Team Up: Asking your bestie to be your work-out buddy is a smart move. Just knowing that she’ll be waiting is a great motivator to get you up and on the way. During the work-out you’ll be able to push each other to be your best.
- Boot-Camp It: Outdoor Group Fitness classes tick all of the boxes – you’re exercising in the great outdoors, you’re challenged at your level, you’ve got your peers and a qualified trainer to motivate and push you and you’ll even get nutritional guidance.
1 Key to a Killer Work-Out Every Time
- HIIT It: High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) is scientifically proven to be the most effective fat burner out there (1) – and it’s designed for the outdoors. It simply involves 20 seconds of hard out cardio work (sprints, cycling, skipping, etc) followed by 10 seconds of recovery. Do this for between 6 and 10 sets, but be sure to warm up thoroughly first.