5 Reasons You Don’t Need A Gym Membership To Lose Weight
by Nathalie Sanderson
Let’s face it, gym memberships can be expensive. Beyond the expense, going to the gym can be a hassle as well. The high pressure sales tactics, the commute, the sweaty people, the wait for a free bike station or treadmill, the $50 deducted from your bank account every month – it’s enough to make one wonder if they should be going to the gym at all.
If you really stop and think about it, gyms are extremely recent phenomena.
The first commercial gyms didn’t even exist until the mid 1950s, and regular people didn’t start going to the gym until the 1970s and 80s.
And despite what the local gym salesperson would have you believe, there were plenty of extremely fit people before the existence of commercial fitness gyms!
If you’re thinking about getting started on a weight loss program but want to avoid the expense and hassle of the local gym, here are 5 reasons why you can lose weight without a fancy gym membership:
1. Weight Loss Starts In The Kitchen
The truth about weight loss is that no matter how many times a week you exercise, your success will ultimately be determined by your diet. Just to burn off the calories from a single McDonalds Big Mac meal that takes you 10 minutes to eat, you would need to walk 10 miles!
Without a strong focus on your diet and nutrition, you would need to spend all day in the gym just to keep yourself from gaining weight. Start your weight loss journey by focusing on healthy nutrition and portion control – you’ll see great results without committing to a year of monthly deductions from your bank account.
2. Running Is Free
The same goes for walking, cycling, hiking, swimming, rollerblading, and any other variety of outdoor exercises. If you’re simply going to the gym to use the treadmill or elliptical, consider actually doing the exercises you’re paying money to simulate at the gym.
Even if lousy weather is keeping you indoors, there are lots of creative ways you can get a cardio workout indoors. Running up and down stairs in your house or apartment building, doing calisthenics, or doing aerobics are all great ways to burn calories and build up your cardio without expensive machines.
3. Bodyweight Exercises Are Free
Bodyweight exercises should be part of any weight loss (or strength building) program. Pushups, dips, lunges, pull-ups – whether assisted or not – build strength, burn calories, and increase your metabolism.
The benefit of bodyweight exercises over simple cardio workouts is that the stress placed on your muscles forces them to grow. In the process, this will cause your body to burn more calories – long after your workout is over. This is why everyone trying to lose weight – man or woman –would benefit from incorporating a weight training routine to go alongside their diet and cardio regimen.
4. Dumbbells Are Cheap
Whether you’re a man or woman, a weight training program is a great way to burn calories, boost your metabolism, strengthen your muscles and joints, and feel great.
Serious weight training is probably the only reason you need basic gym equipment, but if you’re just getting started with weight training, just a simple set of dumbbells can get you a long way. Either way, you don’t need the fancy weight machines that fill up most gyms.
Even for advanced weight lifters, a squat rack, bench, a barbell and some free weights are pretty much all they need.
5. Do What You Enjoy
One of the keys to sticking to a regular exercise program is to do what you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy going to the gym, why bother going when there are so many alternative ways to get great exercise? Take up a recreational sport, start jogging or cycling, join a yoga studio – you’re much more likely to exercise regularly if you’re doing something you actually enjoy.
That being said, not every aspect of losing weight and exercising will be fun. If you have a good reason to be at the gym, or if you like going to the gym, then getting a gym membership may be worth it. But if you don’t like the added expense or the hassle of going to the gym, there are plenty of other alternatives that are just as good – or better – than heading down to your local fitness mill.
(Nathalie Sanderson is a personal trainer who focuses on helping men and women lose weight (having been overweight herself not too long ago). You can find her blogging about weight loss and fitness over at “http://exfatchicks.com”.)