I recently cancelled my gym membership.
Until March this year, I had been going to the gym five days a week for nearly three years. Not because I loved it, but because I was trying to stay fit.
And fit people use a gym.
Each week $15 would come out of my account, which was good value and didn't bother me anyway as I considered a gym an investment into my health.
In mid March this year, a trainer asked me if I would like to do some one on one sessions with him. It would be $50 for 30 minutes and we would do four sessions. He said he would teach me the 'ins and outs' of the exercises and make sure I was doing it all with the correct technique.
I started to wonder if we'd overcomplicated the fitness process.
He asked me what my goals were in the gym, and I told him I was happy with where I was at. I didn't want to add size, I just wanted to stay in shape and be fit and strong. I wanted to be fit, not massive.
By the end of our talk about training, he realised he probably didn't have much to offer that I was interested in, and I realised I probably didn't need to be at the gym.
That was three months ago now. I haven't used the gym since.
I haven't lost weight, and my strength is great.
Now, my gym session goes for 20 minutes each weekday.
And it's free.
I do variations of the below exercises.
Push-ups: I didn't do this exercise regularly when I was at the gym. So naturally, when I started focussing more on these, it was a real challenge. I've gradually been increasing the amount that I can do. Right now I can fairly comfortably do 4-5 sets of 30 with about a 30 second break between sets. Incredible exercise for the chest, core, and triceps.
Chin-ups: This is probably my favourite exercise. I rotate my grip from day to day which means some days it's more focussed on my biceps, whereas other days I focus more on my back. It also gets your abs firing which I love. Right now I do around 4 sets of 10-15 in a session.
Squats: Body weight squats are so underrated. They allow you to get a full range of movement. It's good not only for the quads but also for core stability. When I was using weights I was doing 4 sets of 8 squats. Now I am focussed more on doing more reps. Currently I average about 4 sets of 30 squats each session.
Dips: Great exercise for the triceps. Gradually add weight to make the exercise a little more difficult. Right now I average around 4 sets of 15 dips.
Walk: A stress free way to enjoy exercise is to get outside and walk. If you have joint pain, walking is more stress free than running. Also doubles as a chance to burn some calories and enjoy being in nature. Take a one hour walk each day and watch how good you feel.
By the end of this session, I feel as though I worked harder than what I did when I spent an hour and a half at the gym. It's simple, and can be done anywhere. Sometimes I find something heavy around the house and lift that.
Combining this simple program with Yoga, Walking, Running, Meditation and Natural Food, I have never felt better than I do right now.
Let's not over complicate the fitness scene.
Don't bypass consistency in the search for the 'right program'.
A gym membership doesn't make you fit,
Exercising consistently does.