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No Gym, No Problem! 3 Simple Tactics to Stay Fit Without a Gym

Jun 21,2021

The gym is closed. What do you do now?

Eighteen months ago, the majority of the world’s population were forced to navigate how to stay fit when gyms closed.

Some people rallied to keep on the fitness path, and many did not.

Gym, or no gym, there are three things you should focus on to crush your fitness goals:

  1. Diet
  2. Walking
  3. Exercise

By staying on point with calories, accumulating a solid number of steps per day, and exercising using several different techniques, you may find yourself canceling that gym membership.

Diet is King

Diet is so important. It can’t be overstated.

What you’re eating (quality) and how much of it (quantity) has a drastic impact on how you look, feel and perform.

Energy balance describes how many calories you’re taking in versus how many calories you are expending.

Understanding the role calories play with fitness, body transformation, and general health will change your life.

Here’s how energy balance impacts body weight.

Weight Gain

Consuming MORE calories than you burn or a calorie surplus is a recipe for weight gain. The amount and rate of weight gain will depend on the size of the calorie surplus and time spent in this state.

Weight Loss

Expending more calories than you consume or a calorie deficit is a recipe for weight loss. The amount and rate of weight loss will depend on the size of the calorie deficit time in this state.

No Change

Consuming the SAME amount of calories as you expend balances the equation, putting you in a state of maintenance. No weight will be lost or gained.

Here are some simple diet tips:

  • Choose water
  • Aim to get your calories from meals, not snacks.
  • Opt for healthier snacks like fruit or minimal ingredient health bars.
  • Increase protein intake
  • Learn the basics of cooking (boiling, frying, sautéing, etc.)
  • Grocery store shopping tactics (shop the perimeter)
  • Table push-aways (learn when to walk away from the food!)

All of these tips can naturally help you keep calories in check.
Key takeaway: Diet, particularly calories in and calories out, impacts look, feel, and function in a big way.

Walking is Powerful

Walking is joint friendly, burns calories, doesn’t induce overwhelming feelings of hunger (the way exercise can), gets you outside while recharging your mind and body during long days of class and studying.

Magazines and news media avoid reporting on the effects of walking because it’s not a fascinating topic.

Walking is lower intensity exertion. Therefore people often think it’s a waste of time for fitness.

Let’s take a closer look.

Walking 1-mile takes about 15 minutes for the average person. Fifteen minutes of walking can burn roughly 100 calories.

If you included two 15 minute walking sessions each day, you’d burn a total of 200 calories.

If you stayed committed to walking twice per day for seven days a week, burning 200 calories per day, you’d burn 1400 calories per week.

With four weeks in a month, that’s 5,600 calories per month.

Simply from walking.

We underestimate the impact of doing little things consistently.

Accumulating 10,000 steps per day is a great target to aim for.

One study found that walking 8,000 steps per day vs. 4,000 reduced all-cause mortality by 51%. Sufficient daily step count decreased the risk of death by half.

If you’re looking for a place to start, walking is the perfect activity.

Key takeaway: Adding walking steps to your day burns calories, reduces all-cause mortality, and is gentle on the joints.

Leverage Your Bodyweight for Fitness

You can make incredible fitness gains in a short amount of time, with minimal equipment, using nothing but bodyweight exercises.

The most effective workouts are simple and focused.

Here are some of the best elements to mix into a gym-free workout regimen:

  • Mobility Training (build joint integrity, control, and range of motion)
  • Ground-Based Movement (crawling, natural movement, floor exercises)
  • Resistance Training (movement patterns, core training, etc.)
  • Cardio Training (workout finishers, aerobic, interval training)

Each of these elements can be modified and adapted to any fitness level, space, or environment.

Mobility training will improve your active range of motion, joint strength, and control. Improving active range of motion will allow you to move freely, without restriction. People who suffer from nagging aches and pains, imbalances, and other weak areas experience excellent results from consistent mobility training.

Ground-based movements are natural movements that require balance, stability, coordination, timing, rotation/twisting/reaching, jumping, etc. Crawling and inline walking are examples.

Resistance training builds functional strength and muscle using movement patterns like lunges, squats, push-ups, chin-ups, pull-ups, rows, and core training. You’ll never regret improving your strength, and muscle is a crucial component of body transformation.

Cardio training strengthens your heart, improves endurance and work capacity. Running is certainly a great activity, but there are other ways to get your cardio in. Combining bodyweight exercises into circuits can also elicit a powerful total body cardio training effect.

Designing a Workout

There are unlimited options for organizing a daily workout.

What your workout looks like for the day depends on your goals, available time, know-how, space, and resources.

Here’s a basic template to help you visualize what a total body workout might look like:

  1. Mobility and Ground-Based Movement x 5-10 minutes
  2. Resistance Training x 10-15 minutes
  3. Cardio x 8-10 minutes

This workout template covers everything.

In 35-45 minutes, you’re able to:

  • Improve joint health and performance
  • Boost coordination via challenging ground-based movements
  • Build strength and muscle
  • Condition your cardiovascular system

Workouts following this simple yet effective outline are time-efficient, practical, requiring minimal or no equipment.

Not every workout has to be all-encompassing.

Another workout strategy is involves dedicated more time to improving fewer qualities.

Here’s how you might consider organizing a whole week of workouts:

  1. Monday - Resistance Training and Cardio
  2. Tuesday - Mobility and Ground-Based Movement
  3. Wednesday - Rest Day
  4. Thursday - Mobility and Ground-Based Movement
  5. Friday - Cardio
  6. Saturday - Rest Day
  7. Sunday - Resistance Training and Cardio

Rest days could include other activities like Yoga, hiking, or recreational sports.

Using this method, you’re mixing up the activities each day, keeping it fresh, and giving your body time for rest and recovery.

Bodyweight-based training has a lot to offer. There are ways to make any exercise harder or easier, depending on your fitness status.

Try this Workout!

Here is an example of a five exercise workout that combines cardio and strength training:

Air Squats x 15 reps

Push-Ups x 10 reps

Single-Leg Hip Lifts x 8 reps per side

Crab Reach x 6 reps per side

Lateral Lunges x 6 reps per side

Forward/Backward Crawl x 30 seconds

Hollow Body Hold x 30 seconds

Work your way through the exercises from top to bottom. Take minimum rest between each exercise. Focus on maintaining exercise technique. One pass through all exercises makes one round. Complete 4-6 rounds.

For the time-strapped, this workout takes 15-20 minutes.

You Don’t Need a Gym to Stay Fit

Staying fit need not be complicated.

The absolute truth about gyms is they are luxuries. You don’t need a gym to elevate your fitness and stay fit for the long term.

The tried and true fundamentals of fitness don’t require a gym and still deliver the predictable results most people are chasing.

Consistency is the key, day in and day out.

Be mindful of calories, accumulating walking steps, and putting in the work with exercise.

Work the plan. Practice makes perfect. You got this.

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