Zsolt Molnar: How Do I Stay Fit Without Going to the Gym?

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Stay Fit: Strategies for Going beyond the Gym

When I talk to people around me about their fitness goals, they tell me that they want to stay fit, be energized and feel confident, but that they don’t like the gym and prefer to train at home or outside. When I asked why, they said because gyms can get intimidating, they don’t exactly know how to use the equipment, gyms are crowded, and there is no fresh air.

I am a firm believer that one should be encouraged, motivated and enjoy fitness and exercising; therefore, the approach should be flexible and go beyond gym walls if needed or preferred. Staying active is possible anywhere, anytime.

You shouldn’t let your busy job schedule or preference for being outside the gym stop you from staying fit. Here, I share with you some great ways to stay fit and be active without going to the gym. You may want to start with an active lifestyle. However, there are other great ways to be active, such as hobbies, training outdoors or at home.

Are you curious to learn more? Let’s now shift our focus to examining each of these methods.

Maintain an Active Lifestyle

I like to keep moving to add physical activity throughout the day. I highly recommend you follow this, as all that activity adds up by the end of your day, meaning you can burn an extra 100–200 kcal, stimulate your muscles and help with your mental wellbeing and stress relief.

Just a few examples of what I do:

  • I walk or use my bike instead of my car or public transport.
  • If I go to work with my car, I park it further away so that I have to walk as well.
  • If possible, I take the stairs instead of the elevators or escalators.
  • I wash and hoover my car.
  • I walk to do grocery shopping.
  • Unfortunately, I don’t have a dog, but if I had, I would run with her.
  • If I order food, go and pick it up myself.
  • I clean my house instead of hiring a cleaning lady.

This is my favourite, and it can be fun. I always tell my clients who do sedentary work to do 1 minute of bodyweight exercise every hour. It is only 1 minute, much less than a cigarette break. On Monday, you can do 30 squats every hour. So if you are at work for 8 hours and every hour you do 1 minute of squats (just do 30), then you can do 240 squats by the end of your work.

Imagine you do this Monday to Friday and every day something different, like Tuesday you do 240 abs crunches, Wednesday you do 80-100 pushups, Thursday you do 120 back extensions, and Friday you do 80-100 shoulder press, biceps curls or triceps extensions with a 2 litre water bottle in each hand.

By the end of the week, you will have done a total body workout. You also included some abs and back training to strengthen your core, as this is important for sedentary people.

Give it a try! At first, your colleagues might worry about you, but once you explain to them how many repetitions you do by the time you go home and how many extra calories you’ve burned, they might start to follow you.

Take Your Workouts Outside for Fresh Air and Sunshine

During the COVID pandemic, businesses closed down, including gyms. I had no other choice with my clients but to go outdoors in the park. I had TRX, boxing pads, Thai boxing pads, a core bag, resistance bands and a mat. We could carry on the training using these simple pieces of equipment and doing bodyweight exercises.

My clients loved it; it was different, fun, enjoyable and challenging at the same time. Sweat was pouring from their bodies. You can visit the park with these sporting equipment as well. The outdoors can offer many other options. It’s about creativity. You can use the benches to do your bulgarian split squats or triceps dips, for example.

Here Is a Quick Workout for You

Do 4 rounds of the following:

Find two trees, or it could be just 2 objects about 50 metres (54 yards) from each other. Run from tree (object) A to tree (object) B, and on the way back from B-A do walking lunges. When you arrive, use the bench and do 10 repetitions of the Bulgarian split squat on each leg. Have 2 minutes of rest, breathe, and drink water. Do three more rounds. I am sure it will get you.

You can stay fit by using your body’s resistance effectively with bodyweight exercises. If you look around, you may find that nature­ provides an ideal fitness setting, and I think the beauty of bodyweight training is that it is always challenging, no matter how masculine or big you are. For example, push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks—these moves challenge muscles without weights.

 

Would You Like to Do Cardio Training?

Try this next time:

Do the following exercises for 10 minutes with no rest until the 10 minutes are up:

10 repetitions Star jumps

10 repetitions of squats

10 repetitions Abs crunches or sit-ups

Don’t Miss Warming Up and Stretching

Please make sure you do a 3-5 minute light jog as a warm-up first, and then do dynamic stretches on every muscle at the beginning before you start your main workout. A dynamic stretch is when you move the muscle while you are stretching. You can do 10 repetitions on each muscle group. This is to avoid injuries and prepare your muscles for work.

A static stretch is when you hold the muscle in a stretched position for at least 15 seconds. Please make sure you do a static stretch on each muscle group at the end of your workout.

If you have joint or spine problems, perhaps a herniated disc, then avoid high-impact exercises. High impact is when one or both of your feet are in the air and you land on your feet. It has an impact on your joints. I recommend you do low-impact exercises in this case. Your feet don’t leave the floor with low impact.

Some high-impact exercises:

Running, jogging

Star jumps, also called jumping jacks

Lunge jumps

Squat jumps

Tuck jumps

Burpees

push-up with a clap

A few low-impact exercises:

Brisk walk

Squats

Lunges

Push-ups

 

Beyond Four Walls: Outdoor Hobby Adventures

I think that outdoor activities can be a nice change from the usual gym routine, offering many health benefits. You have quite a few fun hobbies to choose from, like hiking, biking, rock climbing, and kayaking, which provide a whole-body workout while letting you enjoy nature.

Hiking is great cardio and works the legs and even core muscles, reducing stress too. Cycling strengthens leg muscles and improves joint flexibility. Rock climbing combines physical and mental challenges, requiring strength, agility, and problem-solving skills.

Kayaking or paddleboarding target the upper body and core for balance on the water. Another hobby can be dancing. Taking dancing classes can be really fun and give you a fantastic cardio workout. Trying outdoor hobbies instead of gym workouts to stay fit can boost your mood and mental health while keeping you active in a fulfilling way.

“Make time for it. Just get it done. Nobody ever got strong or got in shape by thinking about it. They did it.” – Jim Wendler

Sweat It Out at Home

Home workouts are another excellent way to stay fit. I remember that during the COVID pandemic, I trained my clients at their homes as well as in the park. Even I trained at home with my wife.

The web has many fitness tools for you. Using online resources, you can exercise at home easily. Videos, apps—they have all kinds of workouts. Yoga, high-intensity intervals, dancing—take your pick. There are workout plans for any budget or experience level. Finding fun home routines is simpler than ever nowadays.

However, the only thing you must keep in mind is to find a workout video or online fitness coaching done by a professional, qualified personal trainer or fitness coach. Unfortunately, I have seen many videos done by “influencers” showing exercises with the wrong technique and without even explaining proper form.

Besides your own body weight, the tools you can use for home workouts are:

TRX (suspension fitness trainer)

Core bags

Bulgarian bags

Kettlebells

Resistance bands

Vipr (Tube with handles on it)

How Do You Stay Fit Without Going to the Gym?

In summary, you don’t need to go to the gym to stay fit. Get creative, move in new ways, and even mix them up. One day you take a dance class; another two days you train at home and in the park; and the fourth day you go cycling. There, you have a 4-day workout a week, plus you incorporate an active daily lifestyle.

If you want to stay fit, keep being active. So put on your shoes, head outside and explore fitness beyond the gym. Consistency is key, so make fitness a habit.

So, your next step is to think about the following:

What activity or exercise makes you feel most energised and alive? Go and explore!

 

By Zsolt Molnar

Zsolt is a professional personal trainer, fitness coach and sports nutritionist who has 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. He has been training since he was 16, including San Shou kick-boxing and kayaking. He is the owner of Fit Body Mission Online Fitness Coaching.    Besides keeping up his pulse, he enjoys listening to jazz, blues, funk and soul music and loves to read nonfiction books.

https://www.facebook.com/ZsoltPT

https://www.instagram.com/fit_body_mission/

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