One of the first things many people do when they want to get in shape is to join a gym. But it’s no the best option for everyone. If you don’t have the spare budget available for a monthly membership or don’t live near a decent gym, you might want to explore other options.
On top of that, if you’re traveling for business, on vacation, or simply prefer exercising in the open air at the park or the beach, a monthly gym membership might not be for you.
In this article, we’ll show you how you can stay in shape and even build your fitness levels without spending a fortune on subscriptions or equipment. Welcome to minimalist fitness.
Sourcing equipment on a budget
Okay, so you don’t need a garage full of gym equipment, but there are a few essential items you’ll need to get hold of to make your minimalist workouts comfortable and productive.
You’ll need some lightweight clothing that doesn’t restrict your movements. No need to spend big money on fancy brands; just buy what you can afford, but make sure it’s comfortable.
Again, no need to drop a fortune on shoes, but you will need some good all-purpose training shoes to work out in. Make sure you ask at the store for a gait analysis to ensure that you get properly fitted footwear that is suitable for your running style.
Minimalist fitness involves a lot of bodyweight work, which means you’ll be doing some floor-based exercises. A simple gym mat or yoga mat will help avoid sore knees, elbows, or hands, and it’s lightweight and easy to bring along wherever you go to work out.
These are the only piece of specialist equipment you need, no more dumbbells or barbells. A resistance band like this one is a versatile tool that allows you to vary the difficulty of all types of exercise and build tone and strength.
It’s essential to stay hydrated, so make sure you’ve always got your water bottle filled, chilled, and ready to go. If you’re short of money, just reuse a plastic bottle, but if you can afford it, an insulated container or flask is excellent if you want to keep your water cold for hours at a time.
Minimalist fitness relies on two main groups of exercise, both of which you can do with only the equipment mentioned above.
Calisthenics are bodyweight exercises, where instead of using weights, you rely on the force of gravity acting on your body to provide resistance.
To take it up a notch, use your resistance bands to add an extra level of difficulty without the need for bulky free weights. Think push-ups, pull-ups, dips, squats – the list goes on.
All you’ll need is your mat, some space to work out, and maybe a chair or bench for some exercises.
To ensure heart and lung health, you should also incorporate some cardio into your minimalist workout routine. You can pick whatever suits your routine and your budget best.
If you’re near the sea or a lake, swimming is free, and a great way to build strength or speed. If you have a park nearby or you’re out in the country, running might be a better fit for you.
Even hiking and hillwalking can count as cardio if you keep up a brisk pace. Think of the world as your gym and identify the opportunities open to you in your local area.
Of course, going to the gym isn’t just about accessing the equipment, or sitting in the steam room after a long workout.
Many people see their gym membership as an important source of motivation to keep working out regularly, either because they don’t want to feel like they’re wasting the subscription cost, or they’re more likely to go if their friends are going, or their personal trainer will call them and remind them if they miss a session.
But in the modern world, you don’t need a gym to keep you motivated. There is a huge selection of resources out there to help you set and stick to your workout goals.
If you have a smartphone, you’ll find a variety of apps on the Apple Store or Google Play Store, covering everything from running to weight training to Crossfit, to swimming. Most of them will allow you to set up a workout plan and measure your progress, and they’ll even send you a notification to remind you of the next session.
Similarly, there are specialized podcasts for all types of exercise. These work really well if you find yourself getting bored or distracted during a solo workout. They can help keep you engaged and motivated and offer handy tips and tricks for improving the quality of your exercise.
The most effective way to avoid that lonely feeling of working out alone is the most traditional – buddy up with a friend. You don’t have to maintain a gym subscription to work out with other people. Just find one or two friends who are into the same sports or activities as you and plan out a weekly schedule that works for both of you so you can meet up to exercise. Enjoy!