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Exercise without a gym: 13 creative ways to avoiding gym memberships


Exercise without a gym: 13 creative ways to avoiding gym memberships

Exercise without a gym: 13 creative ways to avoiding gym memberships

Many of us have been conditioned to think that we can’t exercise without a gym. Exercising at a gym can be a fantastic place to achieve your fitness goals. It provides a structure that allows one to perform strength training, functional training, cardio, and even fitness classes. Some also use the gym as a place to socialize, relax, and make new friends. Despite all the benefits, going to the gym isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.


In today’s modern world, don’t think your fitness should and need to be limited by traditional options. Whether you’re looking to avoid gym fees, want to change up your routine, or don’t have the time to drive to the gym, there are plenty of other ways of meeting your fitness needs. All in all, If you’re not feeling the gym, don’t sweat it. Try these creative alternatives instead.

1. Running


Exercising without a gym by running outdoors.

There is no need for a fancy gym membership when you can run for free anywhere and just about everywhere. Running burns many calories improves mood, boost your memory, improves endurance, promotes cardiovascular health, and much more. All around, running can have various mental and physical health benefits. For extra motivation, consider joining a runner’s group o signing up for a competitive race. You’ll be able to pick up tips and tricks from more experienced runners and have others around to hold you accountable to your running goals.


  • Start mall by walking and jogging every day to create the habit of running.
  • Investing in a good fitness tracker can help keep track of your time and distance so you improve your performance.
  • A quality running shoes is also a great investment to help protect from the impact on your knees and hips.

2. Bicycling


Mountain biking outdoors.

Bicycling is another way to add a tremendous amount of fun to your workout without the commitment of long-term gym memberships. This is a great alternative for someone that is looking for a workout that can be both challenging and rewarding. You can start off on a budget and eventually work your way up to a top of the line bike.


  • Bike to work to save some money, if the distance and time allow.
  • If you live in a cold weather climate, try to invest in an indoor exercise bike. Investing in a spinning bike can be a great alternative exercise without a gym.
  • Great way to connect with friends to discover some trails around your city.

3. Body weight exercises

Push-up, body weight exercise

Body weight exercises (Push-ups).

No gym equipment? No problem.

Bodyweight exercises are also a great way to make quick gains or tone your muscles in all the right places. This can be done by anyone, anywhere, and it doesn’t cost a penny, taking the money excuse out of the equation. Body weight training can improve posture, balance, increase flexibility, and can even reduce the risk of an exercise-related injury. Bodyweight training has also been proven extremely effective for muscle gains and improvement in fitness performance of all types. Some examples of effective bodyweight exercises you’ve probably already done are push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, sit ups, and similar exercises.

Even just a few minutes of bodyweight circuit training consisting of such exercises, especially training incorporating HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts, burns fat quickly and provide a surprisingly powerful workout. By adjusting reps, rest times, adding ballistic movements, and through other simple adjustment techniques, bodyweight exercises can easily be modified to fit any fitness level. These makes bodyweight exercises ideal for incorporating into your regular fitness routine, as they are highly effective exercises that will “grow” with you. Whether conducted at home or in your hotel room, a little bodyweight training can go a long way!


  • Try finding a park around your house that has a pull-up and dip bar to add more variety to your workouts.
  • Perform multiple sets without rest to work your cardiovascular system.
  • Push your sets to failure for best results.

4. Strength training


Strength training can be used in conjunction with body weight exercises to crush your workouts. One of the fastest ways to build muscle and burn fat is through weight training. The key is to start at low weight levels appropriate for your level of fitness and build your way up. Over time through progression, you’ll get stronger, build bone density, up your metabolism, and increase the strength of your connective tissue, muscles, and tendons. Plus, with so many variations, you can easily switch up your routine to keep your body guessing and your boredom at bay. All you need to get started is a small set of dumbbells, which can be had cheaply online.


  • Invest in a good quality low and medium weight dumbbell at first, which will depend on your current strength and fitness level.
  • Your lighter dumbbell should allow you to perform anywhere from 12-25 reps.
  • You medium dumbbell should allow you to perform a minimum of 8-12 reps.

5. Kettlebell training

Kettle bell training

Kettlebell exercises.

Like strength training, kettlebell training can be an affordable way to add unique exercises that will engage all your large muscle groups to burn more calories. Not to mention that Kettlebell can provide numerous health benefits. In fact, it combines cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training together by working your lower back, legs, and shoulders engaging your entire body at one time.


  • Start off with these 7 quick kettlebell exercises for beginners. These 7 kettlebell exercises don’t require a gym membership.
  • If you are a beginner, try starting with a lower weight and build your strength before attempting heavier weights.
  • Mix bodyweight exercises (pushups, pullups, burpees, and others) with your kettlebell training for even better results.

6. Swimming


Swimming in open waters.

Assuming you have access to water, swimming can be a great alternative training without a gym. Swimming, which utilizes nearly all your body’s muscle, is another fantastic all-body exercise. In fact, a few laps around a pool has many health benefits, including building endurance, muscle strength, and promotes cardiovascular endurance. Swimming also is a particularly good exercise for those with back pain or injuries, as it provides less stressful manipulation of the muscles and virtually no impact on the joints.


  • Find the best place to swim around your town (Swimming pools, lakes, or at the sea).
  • Connect with friends that enjoy swimming.
  • Build your endurance over time.

 7. Workout videos

Workout videos

Exercising at home with workout videos.

The Internet is a magical place and a great resource for fitness! Don’t feel like lugging it to the gym? Tune into a fitness video, instead. Ranging between a few minutes to full-fledged workouts of 30-60 minutes, you can find thousands of free exercise videos on YouTube and elsewhere online. Most home workout videos focus on exercises you can do with minimal equipment, so don’t worry about not having a home gym to accompany your routine.


  • Set up yourself up for success by separating a space in the house for your home training.
  • Find and subscribe to fitness channel you enjoy online.
  • Try a variety of workout to figure what you like best.

8. Group sports

Group exercises

Group sports with friends.

Some people find they work out best in regimented, competitive environments. Others enjoy the freedom to exercise through a hobby like a football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and others are a great way to exercise and socialize at the same time. Finding time to routinely exercise through group sports can help you stay in shape while having fun. Keep in mind regimented needn’t mean strict—but some find the routine of regular practices and games paired with team spirit just the thing they need to keep them motivated.


  • Make friends that like playing the same sports as you do.
  • Schedule a weekly time to play to maintain your commitment level.
  • Try out different sports to challenge yourself.

9. Martial arts

Martial arts (Brazilian jiu-jitsu)

Martial arts (Brazilian jiu-jitsu).

For peace of mind and power of the body, look no further than martial arts. With dozens of art styles to choose from, from Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay Thai, kung fu, karate, to tae kwon do, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes. Martial arts by nature provide total-body workouts that will burn calories, build stamina, muscle tone, balance, strength, and flexibility. Most martial arts are both a solo and a team sport, providing a unique combination of individual self-improvement techniques as well as group training.


  • Figure out your fitness goal and motive before choosing which martial art works best for you.
  • With any martial art, there is always the chance of getting hurt. Figure how much pain you want to endure.
  • Try out a convenient location to allow you more time to get to your training.

10. Kickboxing and boxing

Closeup male hand of boxer with red boxing bandages. Fists of fighter before the fight or training in sport gym.

Kickboxing and boxing.

If you’re looking to get ripped, look no farther than kickboxing and boxing. Similarly to martial arts, kickboxing and boxing help build muscular endurance, core strength, improved overall strength and power, stress relief, and more, boxing, the perfect blend of bodyweight training and a cardio workout, is a fantastic solution. Boxing is a great choice for cardiovascular fitness that not only builds your body but your confidence as well.


  • You can also invest in boxing equipment and train from the convenience of your house.
  • Always start your boxing sessions with cardio.
  • Invest in quality training gear.

11. Dancing

Romantic dance at sunset by couple in swimsuit

Romantic dance at sunset.

Getting your groove on is one of the best ways to get a full body workout. Dancing will get your blood pumping, burn lots of calories, and improve your balance, posture, flexibility, and rhythm. Fast-paced modern style dances are particularly good choices for sweating it out. As a matter of fact, watch your worries melt away as you rock out to the music—and get a top notch workout at the same time. If you’re doubtful, don’t be. Getting started is the hardest part.


  • Mixing alcohol with your dancing will ruin your results and defeat the health benefits.
  • Choose a style of music you like and dance away.
  • Learn to some moves at home or try a dance studio.

12. Fitness apps

Fitness apps to track running statistics

Fitness apps.

This is the 21st century and there is no escaping the preponderance of technology, so why not take advantage of it? Fitness apps are a great way of getting in shape. Load your phone up with fitness apps that’ll teach you exercises, motivate you, keep you to a schedule, send you reminders, and more. Many fitness apps are also tracking tools, where you can log workouts, track calories, record health status, and monitor your improvements. Some are also competitive, motivating you to work harder by competing against others for prizes and points. It’s a big world of apps out there, and one well worth exploring if you’re technology savvy and looking to get fit!


  • Start with the free apps that make sense for your fitness goals.
  • Don’t allow your app to slow you down. Try and keep no more than 30-60 seconds between sets.
  • Use your app in conjunction with other activities, when applicable.

 13. Pilates

Close-up of attractive young woman folding blue yoga or fitness mat after working out at home in living room. Healthy life, keep fit concepts. Horizontal shot

Pilates at home.

Pilates, which pairs strength with flexibility through stretching exercises, is a great method of avoiding injuries. Promoting improved respiration, flexibility, energy, vitality, and mental well-being, Pilates that can be enjoyed throughout your lifetime. It can also be practiced outdoors, at home, or in a studio. If you’ve never tried it before, look on a coupon website such as Groupon or LivingSocial—often, local studios will offer promotions for newcomers.


  • Find a fitness instructor that you connect with.
  • Give it a try even if you are skeptical about it.
  • Find online workouts and invest in your Pilates gear to stay on budget.

You have no excuses not to exercise without a gym

Overall, we completely understand that exercising at a gym is not for everyone. There is much more to life than simply showing up to the gym every week. You shouldn’t allow a boring routine, traffic, or an expensive gym membership push you away from your fitness goals.

Instead, try out some of these 12 creative exercises that don’t require a gym and figure out which one fits you best the most.

As a matter of fact, try something new to experience a new and fresher way to exercise that makes the most sense to you.

Consider these 13 creative ways to exercise without a gym, next time you think about joining a gym.

After all, when you do something you love and it won’t even feel like exercising!

  • Running
  • Bicycling
  • Strength training
  • Workout videos
  • Martial arts (Brazilian jiu-jitsu)
  • Kickboxing / boxing
  • Dacing
  • Pilates
  • Kettlebell training
  • Running
  • Bicycling
  • Strength training
  • Workout videos
  • Martial arts (Brazilian jiu-jitsu)
  • Kickboxing / boxing
  • Dacing
  • Pilates
  • Kettlebell training

Bruno earned his B.S. in Exercise Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Houston. Bruno is fully committed to applying concepts of exercise science and human nutrition to help others live a healthier lifestyle.


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