5 Alternatives to Joining a Gym

Female friends running downhill through sunny meadow summer sport

This year, for the first time in many, many years, I’ve given up my big corporate gym membership. For me, it was more a safety blanket than anything else… my preference has always been to train outdoors, and/or in a smaller, more boutique environment. I bet there’s a lot of people out there in a similar position – holding onto a gym membership ‘just in case’ or because they really don’t know what the alternatives are. So today, in celebration of the termination of my long-standing contract, I’ve put together a list of five workout ideas that are excellent alternatives to a gym membership.

Spin studio

I’m not a fan of bikes in general, so sitting in a dark, smelly room while music blares, strobe lights flit around and an instructor yells at me is not my idea of a good time. But over the last couple of years, the spin industry (is that a thing?) has undergone quite an overhaul, and there are now some super cool options out there. Scenic Cycle in the CBD is my current go-to – you get to cycle some of the greatest cycling tracks in the world (which keeps me distracted) plus they throw in a lifting track in the middle, so you give your shoulders and arms a cheeky little workout while you’re there. I also love Pelotone in Bella Vista for the premium experience (they provide HR monitors, shoes, snacks, toiletries & more) but unfortunately it’s too far outside my Eastern suburbs bubble to get to very often.

Reformer Pilates

OK I don’t want to overstate things but reformer Pilates will change your life. A challenging, and uplifting form of exercise, you’ll see big improvements in your core strength and stability – practice a few times a week and the physical transformation will come seriously quickly too. I love One Hot Yoga in Potts Point – the timetable is extensive and the instructors are great too… plus it’s just around the corner from me! Dynamic Pilates in Glebe is also very cool – I’m taking my 6-Week Challenge girls there next weekend and we’re all super excited.

workout ideas

Outdoor group training

OK so obviously this one is going to be in here, given I run 6 and 8-week challenges on the reg. There’s a reason I’ve never set up inside a gym though – training outdoors is a much more pleasant sensory experience, especially at this time of year. Pick a small-ish group if possible (it’s important that the trainer is able to keep an eye on your form), and find one that suits you and your mentality. I’ve just started my final Challenge for 2016 but if you’re in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and interested in getting involved in 2017 then shoot me an email! Otherwise a quick Google search and some DD will help you find a quality group I’m sure.

Get app-y

Depending where you are on your training journey, you may find that an app can give you everything you need to stay on track. I wouldn’t recommend it for newbies, but if you’ve been training for a while, feel confident in your form and are mainly looking for some workout ideas then go for it! Zova is an Australian-developed app that is winning awards all over the place, and the 7-Minute Workout app is a fantastic option when you’re short on time and space. For stretching purposes, you can’t go past Stretch HD.

Run club

Fun fact: you don’t need to be a professional runner to join a run club. I was pretty nervous the first time I turned up at an organised run group and absolutely positive that I was going to be the slowest person in the group by far [side note: not a healthy thing to be worried about anyway, should have been focusing on myself and not everyone else]. As it turned out, there was a huge breadth of speed and fitness across the group and it really didn’t matter how I compared… what mattered was that in 10 weeks I improved plenty, absolutely wrecked myself every session, and met some super cool people. I can highly recommend Runlab if you’re in Sydney or Newcastle.

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