Being fit and having lean muscle that will make almost anyone swoon as soon as you flex doesn’t necessitate an expensive gym membership or the leering glances of intimidating gym rats. While there is no cure-all to fitness struggles, if you incorporate a variety of activities into your life, eat well, and are consistent in creating healthy lifestyle habits, you can be fit AF without ever stepping foot in the gym.
With the holiday season underway, being healthy and fit is something that will soon be at the forefront of television commercials and online ad — no one wants to carry around extra weight from splurging on holiday foods and having one too many drinks when out with friends. If you’re willing to throw out the excuses and get serious about taking care of yourself while achieving a magazine-worthy physique, these ten fitness tips will keep you on track with your goals.
The more time you spend on taking care of yourself and your body, the better your self-esteem and body image will become. You don’t have to look like a competitive body builder to have an attractive body. When you make being healthy and active a regular part of your everyday life, you will make smarter choices about your fitness and nutrition which will get you closer to your goals. Whether you need to shed 100 pounds or you want to increase your muscle tone, getting fit without a gym membership is possible if you’re willing to commit to the body you want.
10. Health Apps and Fitness Bands
A weight loss app and a fitness band won’t magically shrink your waistline, but it can be a useful tool in your weight loss arsenal. They allow you to track how many calories you eat and understand what your daily macros look like and how your exercise routine (or lack thereof) is getting you closer to (or farther from) your goals. Each fitness app and band has its own abilities and limitations, but the key with using these is to not become so tied to tracking your calories, exercise, and macros that you stop enjoying your life. Tracking just one or two days in a week will give you a good idea as to where your strengths and weaknesses are, allowing you to tweak your routine as needed.
Yes, you read that correctly. Sex can help you stay buff. How? By burning calories. In an online article titled “How Many Calories Do You Burn During Sex?”, Men’s Health Magazine cites a University of Montreal study that found that, on average for a session lasting around thirty minutes, men burn around 100 calories while women burn around 69 (lolol). Increasing the time or frequency also means increasing the caloric burn. While sex shouldn’t be your primary form of exercise, it is one that gives a bonus of being both enjoyable for you and your partner while simultaneously burning calories.
8. Calisthenic (Bodyweight) Workouts
Calisthenic workouts are simple yet effective exercises that use your own bodyweight to get you in shape. Burpees, push ups, sit ups, lunges, and mountain climbers are just a few examples of these rigorous, shape-giving activities. While these exercises may give you flashbacks of high school gym class, they’re effective. With proper form, rest, and repetition, calisthenic exercises can get you sweating quickly. Like any other exercise that targets a specific area of the body, be sure to rotate your calisthenic exercises to avoid unnecessary strain or injury. If you do lunges one day, give your legs a bit of a break the next day by doing sit ups or push ups.
Swimming is a great way to exercise because it allows you to get a good calorie burn in without putting painful stress on your joints and muscles. As Shape Magazine notes, swimming can burn about 500 calories per hour with just moderate effort. Not only does swimming give you an excuse to go to the beach often, but it lets you get in a solid total body workout that is easy enough on your body to avoid most injuries that you could experience with other total body workouts. Whether it’s in a pool, a lake or the ocean, swimming will keep you cool and get your body moving.
You only need to look at a professional cyclist (or even a recreational enthusiast) to understand why cycling will keep you in tip-top shape. While cyclists aren’t typically as bulky as body builders, they are covered in lean muscle and have incredible endurance. Like swimming, cycling is a low/no impact sport, meaning you can get a hardcore workout in without putting extra strain on your body. When you ride a bike on the road or on trails, you get the added bonus of transportation. You can make the sport as adventurous as you wish, cycling long distances or for every day transportation. In cold climates, stationary bikes and spin classes are a great way to keep yourself on the bike and stay lean.
5. Year Round Activity
Keeping your body toned and in shape should be something you commit to year round, not just when it’s convenient or when you’re strutting along the beach and want to look hot. If you live in an area where snow and cold temperatures are an everyday experience in the winter, adjust your activity to fit the weather. Run at well lit times on a track or on well maintained trails. Try winter specific sports, like skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding. Not only will participating in a winter specific sport help get you outside in the colder months, it will keep you on track with your fitness goals.
4. Group Sports
Do you long for the warm summer nights of playing baseball or shooting hoops until it’s too dark to stay outside any longer? If so, you should consider a adult sports league to get yourself back in the game. Whether you’ve got experience in a sport or you’re new to it, recreational adult sports teams will allow you to join a team that meets your activity and experience level while keeping your body active. If you are having trouble finding a sport in your area, consider starting up your own team with friends and post on social media to get the word out.
3. At Home Essentials
Achieving and maintaining at home fitness means planning ahead. Investing in some at home equipment (that you can buy for good prices if you shop wisely) will allow you to keep your fitness levels high while also giving you necessary variety in your workouts. Examples include a pull-up bar, swiss ball, and resistance band. A pull-up bar allows you to do pull-ups in your doorway, using your own bodyweight for resistance. A swiss (or stability) ball allows you to do various abdominal workouts. Resistance bands are a versatile alternative to dumbbells or weight machines you’d find at the gym. With many at home equipment options being light weight and portable, you can use these items to get your workout in, then store them in a convent place that won’t make your living room look like a gym.
2. At Home Workout Programs
At home workout programs are a thriving and longstanding business. You can do at home workouts with free online workout instruction videos, like the ones offered through the FitnessBlender or Blogilates YouTube channels. You can purchase DVD programs like those of Jillian Michaels or Beachbody’s programs like 21 Day Fix, Body Beast, Insanity, and P90X. These are all at home workout programs that provide the structure and variety of workouts and that will give you results if you follow them well. Although these programs do not provide a live trainer, these professionals give tips and tricks during the workouts to help you get ripped while working out in your living room.
1. Eat Healthy (most of the time)
Nothing is more crucial in keeping your body lean (and sexy!) than proper nutrition. As the President’s Council on Fitness and Nutrition website’s “How to Eat Healthy” page notes, you should fill half of your plate with veggies and include plenty of whole grain foods in your diet. Avoid overly salty foods and refined sugar to keep cravings low. Eating nutrient dense foods like leafy greens and brown rice will help curve cravings while giving your body the nutrients it needs. While nutrition alone won’t get you buff, you can’t outrun or out exercise a poor diet. Your body requires proper nutrition to stay healthy and function properly. As they say, “abs are make in the kitchen, not the gym.”