How to Get the Best Workout Without Going to the Gym

Do it at home, do it yourself.

The gym is great, kind of. It's where you do tough workouts to improve your conditioning. But pretty soon, it starts to feel like you're jumping from one fluorescent box (work) to another (the gym). All the while, you miss out on good things like sunlight and fresh air. Since gyms don't come with retractable roofs, it's time to take advantage of warmer weather. Here, 

Why To Do It Outside

You'll Probably Enjoy It

In a study from Exeter, researchers had two groups of people walk the same distance: one group indoors and the other outdoors. As you would imagine, exercising outside led to more enjoyment—more enthusiasm, pleasure, and self-esteem, as well as less tension, depression, and fatigue.

Why? When it comes to exercise, perception is everything: If you perceive something is difficult, it will be difficult, and visa versa. Despite the fact that exercising outside is actually harder—considering humidity, wind resistance, terrain, and dodging pedestrians—there was something about being surrounded with nature that made the participants feel relaxed and at ease. In your case, you will be able to go longer and push yourself harder without as much fatigue as inside a dusty gym.

You'll Save a Lot of Money

This one is self-explanatory. Good gyms can be expensive, and the way many people have their fitness arranged, they pay for a gym, yoga studio, and spin studio. That's like $400 a month right there. Meanwhile, exercising outdoors is free. Have a spin membership that you don't use often? Ditch it and go biking outside. Driving all the way to a gym just to do bodyweight moves? Find a park and do them in a field of grass. Also, if you want to improve your outdoor training, invest in a weighted vest—it will add far more resistance to typical bodyweight exercises for more strength gain and fat loss.


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You'll Benefit from the Sun

Sunshine gives you Vitamin D, which is crucial in reducing heart disease, diabetes, and even prostate cancer. While you can find Vitamin D in foods and supplements, the easiest way to get it is via the sun. Sunlight also helps keep your biological clock ticking correctly and stimulates more melatonin production at night so you can sleep faster and deeper. There's even research that suggests sunlight on its own can help prevent obesity and diabetes. (Just make sure to wear sunscreen if you will be outside for longer than 10 minutes.)

You'll Stay Germ-Free

What's cleaner: a run through a park or on a treadmill that gets wiped down every hour? I'd take my chances at the park. Big corporate fitness centers have dumbbells, yes, but they also have MRSA. One study found that gym equipment has over 350 times more bacteria than a toilet. And as someone who worked in several gyms, let me warn you: Regardless of how often we cleaned, gym members did some questionable shit.

How To Do It Outside

The Warm-up

Follow this quick warm-up to open your joints and improve your mobility, no equipment necessary.

1. Deep Squat Breath

5 breaths

2. Bent Over T/S Rotation

6 reps each side

3. Lateral Lunge

6 reps each side

4. Walking Lunges with Overhead Reach

6 reps each side

5. Squat to Stand

6 reps

6. Bear Crawl

15 yards

The Workout

These exercises will give you a total-body workout and improve your conditioning sans equipment, just like the warm-ups. Not only can these moves be performed outside, but they also prevent you from having to roll around on the ground.

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For 16 minutes, do as many rounds as you can with as little rest as possible.

A1. Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat

Reps: 8 each leg

A2. Spiderman Push-ups

Reps: 8

A3. Pike Push-up

Reps: 8

A4. Alternating Split Squat Jumps

Reps: 8 each leg

B1. Skater Squat

Sets: 3; Reps: 8 each leg

B2. Pull-ups

Sets: 3; Reps: 8

(Skip if you don't have bars.)

B3. Low Crawl

Sets: 3; Reps: 20 yards

C1. Hill Sprint

Sets: 3; Reps: 20 yards

(Just a gentle hill will do. Do not, for the love of God, carry heavy objects or wear a weighted vest on a hill sprint.)

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Anthony J. Yeung
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