The No Gym Workout

Wednesday, October 1, 2008
What's more fitting than starting October by spending the morning driving through the fog?

I just had a great morning session, admittedly inspired by last night's Biggest Loser.

You see, on last night's show, all the contestants went on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. They camped outside, except for one lucky couple that won the contest to spend the trip in an RV. Everyone was outside in an area that is just one big nature hike. They were also given medicine balls and resistance bands. And do you know what they did?


That did virtually no exercise because they all thought they needed their gym. This is one of the biggest reasons I don't like gyms - people begin to think that they can't exercise without them. But make no mistake about it, we were much healthier before gyms were ever even conceived.

This morning, I took my clients through a bodyweight only workout. They didn't even get medicine balls or resistance bands. It was just them and their desire to work hard. The sheer number of exercises you can do without any equipment at all makes me wonder what was going on in the minds of the contestants. No one thought of doing some pushups, squats or wind sprints?

When the contestants got back to the ranch, Bob and Jill were both amazed that they did so little on their road trip. It made sense to me - virtually every exercise montage I see on the show involves the contestants on treadmills and using barbells and machines with weight stacks. Granted, they are exercising so much that they must be doing some exercise that involves just bodyweight, but it certainly doesn't appear to be the most common method used.

If you're thinking about investing in a gym membership, I strongly encourage you to reconsider. You're wasting money. Instead, invest in some resistance bands and a couple dumbbells. Or heck, don't buy any equipment at all - you don't need it, but sometimes it's nice to have to vary up the exercise a little bit. Gym memberships don't provide you with any accountability or education, which are the two biggest obstacles to everyone's fitness. Health clubs are more than happy to take your money, even if you get no results and never show up (which is how it works for most people).

If everyone took the time to learn some basic bodyweight exercises and kept one another accountable to their goals, gyms would become obsolete in no time. And to be honest, I'd be okay with that. It's worth noting that I oftentimes work out in the weight room of the school where I coach. It's also worth noting that you should always make exercise enjoyable, and if you enjoy working out at the gym, do it.

Whatever you do for exercise, make sure that a) you get your money's worth, and b) you do it!

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