Health and Fitness

8 Workouts for Men Who Hate the Gym

Workouts that don't feel like work...and where to sign up.
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Do you find yourself unmotivated when you step into the gym, surrounded by people pumping iron and running treadmills? Well, maybe the typical “bakal” gym isn’t for you.

The good news is that there are plenty of fun ways for you to improve your health and wellness; it’s just a matter of finding which one floats your boat. Check these out and give them a go ASAP!


“Calisthenics is the art of bodyweight training. In the simplest terms, it’s working out without using any equipment or machines,” says Marj Marcelo, a calisthenics coach at Calibarzz, Maginhawa Street, Quezon City. This includes squats, pull-ups, dips, push-ups, and other moves that utilize your own body weight. “The best part about it is that you can do this anywhere—at your house, the park, your office, anywhere!” And this kind of training offers huge benefits, like improved strength, mobility, balance, coordination, plus control and awareness of your entire body, says Ton Vergel De Dios, founder of Sparta Calisthenics Academy on Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong. “It gets you improved back and arm muscles and can also be made fun as you learn to move,” he adds.


Kettlebell classes

The kettlebell is a Russian exercise tool that you can pull, press, and swing. Kettlebell workouts typically consist of movements that improve both your strength and cardio at the same time, like the popular kettlebell swing. “Kettlebell exercises are compound in nature, meaning you stimulate more than one muscle group at a time, unlike your usual isolation exercises (like bicep curls),” says Timothy Ayson, head coach at Kettlebellista, Parañaque. Translation: Work muscles works in less time.

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Be it indoor or outdoor, cycling can do wonders for your health. Given that our Metro isn’t really biker-friendly, the indoor variety has quickly gained popularity. “Indoor cycling classes provide a high-intensity, low-impact, and full-body workout,” says Cam Lagmay, an indoor cycling instructor at Ride Revolution, Steps Studio, Shangri-La Plaza. Such classes can also be a refreshing change from your typical workout. “It’s fun because you get to do it without the hassle of being on the road with the vehicles, and the upbeat music helps you increase your adrenaline,” says Mervin Santiago, a champion triathlete for Team Sante Barley and an indoor spinning instructor at the EDSA Shang Health Center.

Strongman training

Want to workout like “The Mountain” of Game of Thrones? Then it’s time to get your Strongman on! “Although most of us see Strongman training as big men lifting refrigerators or pulling trucks up a hill, the fact is the sport has evolved significantly. It can be used for body composition, to prepare athletes for competition, or as a fun substitute for your traditional gym workouts,” says Francis Madore, a Strongman instructor at CrossFit MNL in Eastwood. Strongman workouts can be fun as you use Atlas Stones, truck tires, and sledgehammers to build formidable and functional strength.


Martial arts

Martial arts training will train your cardio, strength, and power, says Allan Co, a Jiu-jitsu and Judo black belter and instructor at Fight Factory Manila in Greenhills. “And because it isn’t boring, it becomes sustainable,” he adds. It also helps that martial arts practitioners gain useful self-defense skills and not just improved health, according to Alvin Ramirez, a professional MMA fighter who offers private MMA lessons through his Kastigo Fighting System.


Functional training

If you’re not so into building bulk, then you may want to try functional training, which has an end goal other than mere aesthetics. “Functional fitness is more of a mentality that you are training for something to better your function, whatever that may be,” says Chappy Callanta, C.S.C.S., head coach and fitness Program director at 360 Fitness Club. “True functional training will equip the body towards the goal of being able to move and perform well in any task that it might encounter.”


Parkour takes you out of the gym and turns the world into your playground. “The movements we do such as running, jumping, vaulting, climbing, swinging, and doing flips are natural movements and require no equipment to do. Therefore, a parkour practitioner’s body becomes toned and explosive,” says Robby Apelo, owner and trainer at Ninja Academy in Pasig City. “It’s fun because you get to discover what you’re body and mind are able of, because the obstacles and environment are different each time.”


Combat circuit training

Whether it’s a boxing bag class at Flyweight, BGC or an MMA-based circuit at Ultimate Fitness, Metrowalk, combat-based circuits are a great way to get fit. Since martial arts athletes do explosive movements over a stretch of time, it’s important they have cardiovascular strength and endurance, as well as muscular strength and endurance. And these are what combat-based circuits offer as you do martial arts moves in a circuit, without having to actually fight anybody. “These classes allow you to experience the physical challenge that fighters go through in every fight without any physical contact,” says Erwin Tagle, a former pro MMA fighter and owner of Ultimate Fitness.


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Gabriel Pangalangan
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