Five Simple Ways to Get Fit Without Gym Membership
Long gone are the days when exercise meant throwing on an old pair of tracksuit bottoms and blasting out Eighties dance tracks while doing some lunges in your living room.
As fun as that might sound, today’s fitness industry is marred by exclusivity, with some gyms charging £200 or more for monthly memberships and boutique fitness classes going at £30 a pop.
Hence there’s never been more demand for at-home workouts that can be performed at your leisure and won’t cost an arm and a leg.
So, we spoke to industry experts at some of London’s most exclusive fitness spots to find out how you can join the fun and get fit without spending a fortune on gym memberships - it turns out there are endless ways to create a gruelling workout without the gruelling price tag.
1. Make the most of 'empty' time gaps at home
There are plenty of exercises you can do at home during natural gaps in time.
For example, Alex Crockford, personal trainer on interactive fitness app Fiit, suggests performing a short set of press-ups or mountain climbers while waiting for the kettle to boil.
“Wait in a plank or bust out some pushups or squats,” he told The Independent.
He also advises using the sofa for exercise when you’re watching TV. Why not catch up on First Dates while popping a few squats: "sitting" down before coming back up again?
2. Try barre
You may have heard about the painstakingly difficult ballet-inspired workout, credited for honing the bodies of celebrities and Victoria’s Secret models.
While some of the key moves require small weights or exercise balls, the majority are fairly simple and shouldn’t require any equipment at all, making it the perfect at-home workout.
Tash Wynn, instructor at Barrecore, advises performing the following two moves:
- Stand with your feet wider then your shoulders and your toes slightly turned out.
- Bend your knees, making sure they stay over the toes, into a balletic plié, then stand up again, squeezing your glutes. Repeat eight times.
- Hold the plié, then drop one inch and lift one inch in tiny movements. Repeat eight times.
- Keep holding the plié, but lift your heels to balance for at least 20 seconds.
- Place your forearms on the floor and extend your legs behind you, ensure that you’re not dipping in your lower back by drawing your navel to the spine. Aim to hold for a minute.
- For an extra challenge, raise one leg just a couple of inches off the floor.
3. Invest in a skipping rope and try shadow boxing
“You don’t need a punch bag or an opponent to use boxing as a form of fitness at home,” explains Niko Algieri, co-founder at boutique fitness studio Equilibrium.
“A skipping rope and a rocky soundtrack will suffice,” he told The Independent.
“You can use shadow boxing to mimic all the combat movements and the skipping rope to add an extra metabolic element to the session. He suggests trying six rounds of three minutes of shadow boxing and five minutes of skipping followed finally by some core work.
"If you do that three times a week, you'll be fighting fit in no time."
4. Discover the convenience of bodyweight exercises
Don’t underestimate the power of your own bodyweight when it comes to compiling workouts, explains Sandy Macaskill, co-founder and master trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp in the UK.
“You can take the following five moves, perform for 60 seconds each and for three sets and you’ve got yourself a 15-minute at-home full-body circuit before you even know it,” he told The Independent.
"Lean against a wall and slide down until your knees are bent at right angles, heels directly under them. Push back into the wall and hold for 60 seconds as the burn builds. To advance the move, lift toes of both feet up and down repeatedly as you hold.”
Modified push up
“Start in a regular push up, hands under shoulders, on toes or knees if you need. Lower to floor then press back up, as you do so rotating so the right hand and right foot come off floor and towards ceiling. Try to touch your fingers to your toes without bending your leg, and return to floor. Repeat on other side.”
“The great thing about a squat jump is you can speed it up for a great cardio hit. Stand with feet hip width apart and push your hips back, lowering your bum towards the floor while trying to keep your chest up. Explode back up to a standing position with enough momentum for your feet to leave the floor. Land by cushioning your knees and immediately flow into the next squat.”
“Sit on a bench or chair and place hands on the edge with fingers pointing forwards, your legs extended straight in front. Slide your butt off the chair and lower towards the floor, keeping lower back as close to the chair as possible.”
“No at-home session is complete without a burpee - add the push up to the squat and you have the best full bodyweight move there is.”
5. Try an app or hit up YouTube
If all else fails and you're still struggling to get motivated, online workouts are an endlessly brilliant resource.
Many of these are available on YouTube, with personal trainers and fitness experts taking you through all sorts of tough routines to suit your tastes.
“You can virtually have a teacher hold your hand and guide you through your own home practice, step-by-step providing all the tools and tips to create a program that fits around your day,” explains Richie Norton, personal trainer at Fiit.
“My suggestion to anyone that's not yet experimented with this method of coaching yet is getting online to try a few out in the comfort of your own home without getting distracted or worrying about anyone watching.
“Try a few different teachers to get a feel for the way they provide instruction, ideally with an interactive platform that gives you the option to provide feedback and coaches that offer some variety of styles and workouts for different levels of ability and goals.”