‘Join a gym’ is easily the top new years resolution made by out of shape individuals across the western world and with good reason. We are currently facing a global obesity epidemic and alongside our progressively unhealthy diets, the largest contributing factor to this perpetual ‘inflation’ is sheer laziness. The modern world is full of conveniences that have made it possible for those with a proclivity for sloth to spend days or even weeks sat at home. Exercise is more important now than it ever has been and unfortunately for many of us, exercise means “The gym.” It takes a certain kind of individual to actually enjoy the gym, but for the rest of us it’s an expensive dungeon where our exorbitant monthly outlay earns us naught but crippling feelings of humiliation. A humiliation perpetuated by those who have seemingly dedicated their lives to achieving abdominal perfection.
What if you were told however, that you don’t NEED a gym membership in order to not only get fit and healthy, but build the body you’ve always wanted? Whilst it’s true that the gym provides certain incentives that you just can’t get at home (it is a communal experience after-all), for those who are possibly a little more body conscious, there is no reason why you can’t transform your home and surrounding area into your very own gym.
Let’s start with the basics. If it’s a nice day outside and you have a decent pair of trainers to hand (or more aptly ‘to foot’) then why not try walking or jogging for a few miles? Whether you live out in the countryside or in the midst of the city, walking or jogging is free, anyone can do it and it’s great for burning calories and toning your legs. If it’s raining outside you could even simply jog in place or do a few laps of your home, it might not be particularly exciting but it should do the trick, especially if your home has a staircase.
Cycling is an incredibly rewarding and (crucially) enjoyable exercise, which could even develop into a fulfilling hobby. Start small by actually getting your bike out of the garage, dusting it off and checking you actually remember how to ride. Then start local, keeping to quiet roads and less demanding cycle paths. As your stamina improves, you’ll find yourself more comfortable with venturing outside of your immediate area, and before you know it, you’ll legitimately be into it and will be ready to tackle your first big cycling adventure. We suggest a London to Paris Cycle, as the route takes in plenty of flat roads, but a lot of gorgeous sights too. Plus, who doesn’t love Paris?
Squats, Lifts, Crunches and Push ups
There are many exercises you can do at home that won’t require you to purchase any extra equipment. Jumping jacks for example are great cardio work and can act as a decent warm-up exercise too. Leg lifts and squats meanwhile are perfect if you want to build strength in your legs and all you need in order to do them effectively is a comfortable floor and a chair. For abdominal work the best exercise for building your strength and definition will be crunches. Crunches might seem daunting for the uninitiated but you don’t need to get your head all the way up. As long as you can feel your muscles stretching then you’re on the right track. Push ups (perhaps the most feared of all exercises) meanwhile workout a number of areas including your pectorals, triceps and deltoids (pecs, arms and shoulders) and don’t have to be as difficult as they’re made out to be (on television at least). If you can’t manage a traditional push up then there’s no shame in doing them on your knees or standing up against a wall. Do these less challenging push ups for a few weeks and you might eventually feel confident enough to start playing with the big boys.
There are hundreds of fitness supplements on the market that work using a variety of natural compounds to help facilitate muscle growth. Most supplements are essentially powdered protein which contain primarily natural compounds such as whey powder and hemp seed. Creatine is also a standard bodybuilding supplement that was popularised in the 70’s thanks to endorsement from actor, politician and ex “Mr Universe” Arnold Schwarzenegger. As these are natural elements, side-effects are not common.
We’re not talking gigantic dumbbells here, just a set of small, 15kg weights will give you all the flexibility you need to undertake a wide variety of strength based exercises. If you can’t bring yourself to splash out on any weights you could even use household items as replacements such as jugs of water and milk or frozen peas. Combining light weight lifting with supplements is the best way to gain decent, long lasting muscle definition.
Once you’ve started to develop some results and can feel your stamina building, you might want to consider signing yourself up for a marathon or similar fitness challenge. Whether you’re looking at Charity Challenges, or just a range of events that will help you prove to yourself that you’ve finally started getting somewhere results wise, there are hundreds of events across the UK fit for all fitness levels, all ages, and all abilities.
If you feel your muscles aching a lot then be sure to rest for at least two days. This time is known as “Overcompensation,” where the muscles you’ve been working on are actually given time and space to grow. If you don’t allow yourself this overcompensation period then you could seriously damage yourself.
It’s not only possible to achieve the body you’ve always wanted without ever stepping foot outside your front door but it’s also incredibly convenient. So don’t fret because you can’t afford a ridiculous gym membership. The only thing standing between you and the body of your dreams is you!