I have certainly never been like Khloé Kardashian or Kelly Ripa whose “happy place” is the gym. I have to bribe myself with new workout sets or my favorite Starbucks drink as a reward to get to a workout class, and you can forget about exercising at the end of the day (I will dread it all day to the point where I’ll talk myself into believing that skipping the class is worth the $10 cancellation fee). But no matter if a repetition of lunges and weighted squats brings confidence and happiness or soul-crushing boredom and anger, we all want to be healthy, fit, and feel toned. Luckily for the other exercise-adverse out there, you can achieve all your fitness goals without going to the gym (no really). Read on for tips to get fit if you hate working out.
Incorporate your “workout” into your daily routine
PSA: If you hate going to the gym, you don’t need to 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, and a few lunges while you brush your teeth are all easy exercises that take seconds out of your day, but when done consistently, can actually make a big difference. Overall, add more non-exercise movement to your life. Even if you have a typical desk job, walk your dog more often, stand while working, try gardening if you have a yard, clean your house more, walk everywhere you can, dance while cooking or getting ready, stretch while watching TV, and get outside to take conference calls.
Take the stairs and walk more
When given the choice between an escalator and stairs, always take the stairs. It’s like a session on the stairmaster built into your day. Likewise, taking a quick Uber or driving may be tempting, but walking when you’re able to will improve your health and save money or gas. Even if you don’t want to go on walks as pure exercise, schedule more walking into your daily routine, whether it’s taking the further train station and walking an extra few blocks, or picking a bar in walking distance to meet friends. Schedule the extra time to walk to work, restaurants, or errands, and you’ll naturally be way more active in your life.
Consider a standing desk, or work on posture
It 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 dramatically help improve your health. If a standing desk is not an option and you’re sitting at a desk 24/7, you can still be working your muscles and healing your body by simply being mindful of your posture. Proper posture not only prevents injuries later down the road, but sitting up tall with your shoulders back relies on your abs, back, and leg muscles when done correctly. Being mindful of how you sit, stand, and even lay down is can be incredibly effective for the body.
Find a workout that you actually enjoy
If you dread and put off exercise, it might just be the wrong kind for you. 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. There’s also a wide range of workouts that use items like trampolines or hula hoops that will remind you of having fun as a kid instead of doing squats in a stuffy gym. Remember: workouts should be enjoyable. If the exercise you’re doing isn’t fun for you, find one that is.
Turn chores into a workout
Oh, you didn’t think laundry or doing the dishes could also give you envy-worthy biceps or strong glutes? Think again. Some of the most common household chores require some built-in physical activity that can work every part of the body. For example, washing heavy dishes in the sink will work your arms, squatting to pick up the laundry basket of dirty clothes will work your legs, and sweeping can work your obliques. Don’t even get me started on scrubbing the tub, vacuuming the floor, or gardening. And if you do a bunch of chores in a row, it will get your heart rate up to count as cardio. Bonus tip: Turn on your favorite playlist and dance around while doing chores for a little extra movement and motivation. Your home has never been cleaner!
Get fit through food
There’s a saying that abs are made in the kitchen, and it’s true that diet is one of the most important pieces of your health and wellbeing. Eating more of the natural foods from the earth that our bodies were meant to eat, and less of the products, ingredients, and chemicals that our ancestors wouldn’t have recognized as food, is crucial for not only how our bodies look, but more importantly how they feel. Know that whole, healthy foods give you the energy to workout (no pre-workout supplement necessary) and will help muscles respond to any form of movement you do. If feelings of sluggishness or uncomfortable bloat are keeping you from feeling fit, talk to your doctor and keep a food journal to find patterns in certain foods that may be negatively affect you.