I don’t know if you’re lucky enough to be one of those people like Khloé Kardashian or Kelly Ripa whose “happy place” is the gym, but I certainly am not. I have to bribe myself with promises of pasta and chocolate cake for dinner to get to the gym in the morning (also known as reversing the effects of a workout), and you can forget about any workout classes after work (I will dread it all day to the point where I’ll talk myself into believing it’s worth the $10 skipping fee).
But no matter if a repetition of lunges and weighted squats brings confidence and happiness or soul-crushing boredom and anger (yes, that is how much I detest the gym…), we all want to look toned, and, most importantly, be healthy and fit. Luckily, there are ways to achieve all your fitness goals while avoiding the dreaded workout.
Incorporate your “workout” into your daily routine.
If you hate going to the gym, don’t go! Instead, add brief exercises into your daily routine. Twenty push-ups when you wake up and 20 more when you’re making dinner, 10 squats every time you take a bathroom break, a few lunges while you brush your teeth: these are all easy exercises that take seconds out of your day, but when done consistently, can actually make a big difference in your body.
Take the stairs and WALK!
When given the choice between an escalator and stairs, always take the stairs. This could even be enough to burn as many calories as a workout at the gym would (if you take stairs enough). Taking a quick Uber from Point A to Point B may be tempting, but walking when able will burn calories and save money or gas. Schedule walking into your daily plans so that you’re not caught at the last minute with somewhere to be (and therefore forced to drive to make it on time). Schedule the extra time to walk to work, restaurants, or errands, and you may never need to step foot in the pesky gym again.
Consider a standing desk, or learn how to sit.
This may look strange to your coworkers, but the benefits of a Standing Desk might be worth it. Standing for even just three hours a day can help you lose weight. If you can’t buy a standing desk (or it feels a little too silly), transfer your laptop/work over to a filing cabinet top, higher table, or your kitchen island, and stand for a few increments every day. If this doesn’t work for you, there are multiple tricks you can use to tone up while you’re sitting down (no, it’s not too good to be true).
Find a class that feels more like fun than exercise.
Thankfully, there are limitless options to the kind of workout class you can take that are not crazy-intense Crossfit or exhausting Orange Theory (While both are amazing workouts, I am in no mindset to love running or weight lifting…). If you enjoy peaceful, mindful activities, do some sun salutations in a yoga class (motivation: ending in Shavasana). If you love getting your groove on at the club, a barre or dance class might feel more like a night out than a work out. If sports are more your thing, sign up for local sports teams (we particularly love beach volleyball), or play to your competitive side with competition-driven classes like Cyclebar. If none of these seem appealing, there is a wide range of studios that offer trampoline workouts or surfing lessons that feel more like having fun when you were a kid than it does exercise. One of them will be right for you.
Perfect your posture.
Besides making you look confident, sophisticated, and friendly, having good posture tones your muscles too (including the abdomen for that six pack). Good posture stimulates your muscles, resulting in toning them while also giving your metabolism a boost — and you look great while doing it! Check out a guide to perfect your posture here.
Get fit through food.
Focusing on adding vegetables and eating healthy are both crucial to your overall BMI and well-being. But there are certain foods to eat that will make you look more toned and help you to build muscle or lose fat. Stubborn belly bloat hides ab muscles. Get a flat stomach by incorporating foods that aid with digestion and reduce bloat like peppermint tea, bananas, cilantro, kefir, ginger, and kiwi. Certain foods like kale, millet, quinoa, cottage cheese, and avocado boost blood flow to your muscles, making them work more efficiently, and therefore, look more fit overtime.
For more inspiration, or if you’re especially tech-driven, check out these Online Workout Classes (some are completely free!) — one of them just might be the motivation you need.