How to Get in the Best Shape of Your Life Without a Gym
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There is a common misconception that the only way to get in shape is by going to the gym. That’s just not true. You can 100% transform your body at home, whether you have a lot of equipment or not.
Working out at home not only saves you time because you no longer have to leave your home to workout, but it also saves you money. There are several free and very affordable alternatives out there that can all be done from the comfort of your own home. And the best part is; you will still see great results!
You no longer have to worry about being judged, finding time to drive to the gym, or wasting money because you couldn’t make it to the gym. All thanks to these amazing home workout plans. 🙂
How to Get in Shape at Home: Workout Videos & Fitness Plans
Workout videos are the best alternative to working out in a gym and will teach you how to get in shape. Not only are they significantly cheaper, they also don’t require you to leave your house. Talk about a time saver! This also makes it so much easier to fit in a workout since it doesn’t require such a big chunk out of your day.
Another plus to workout videos is the fact that you buy them once and can use them for years to come. You can’t do that with a gym membership!
Below are some very well-known workout videos that will get you results. The time it takes you to start seeing any change depends on how much work you put in during the workouts, how often you workout, and the foods and drinks you’re consuming. You need to have a good balance between the 3 or else your results might not be that noticeable or take forever to appear. But that’s how it is whether you’re working out at home or in the gym.
Remember, you are investing in your health. These workout videos are one-time purchases and you can use them for years to come (or sell them once you’re finished).
Now let’s learn how to get in shape without a gym!
1. Tony Horton’s P90
If you’ve tried P90X or heard about it, you know how challenging it can be. That’s what Tony created P90. P90 is designed for anyone of any age or fitness level, so if you’re a beginner, you should start here. These workout videos are shorter than P90X, as well as simpler, more doable, and less extreme. But, they are just as effective!
This set of workout videos is set up in 3 phases; Phase A shapes the foundation, Phase B overpowers your limits, and Phase C completes the transformation. Each phase consists of 3 videos; sculpt, sweat, and ab ripper. Since this is P90, it’s meant to be completed in 90 days. Therefore, Phase A videos are done the first 30 days, then Phase B the next 30, and Phase C the last 30 days. As you progress through each phase, the workouts become more challenging so that you get the most out of them. Tony really slows things down in these videos and offers modifications to exercises that may be challenging to beginners. This is awesome, as it makes the videos less intimidating and more achievable.
This also comes with some great bonuses. You get a bonus workout called the Saturday Special, which is a super-efficient workout that can be knocked out quickly on the weekend. Also included are the Simple Kitchen Nutrition Guide, 4-Step Power Plan, “How to Hit It” Tutorial, a Pro-Grade Resistance Band, 6-Day Shred, and a 90-Day Workout Calendar.
The great thing about P90, or any other workout by Tony Horton, is how upbeat and fun they are. Yes, they are challenging, but that’s what you want! You need a challenge or else you’ll never push yourself and see the great results you want. Tony has such a great attitude and is extremely motivational, and it’s the main reason I choose to do his workout videos.
I highly suggest buying the P90 Base Workout Kit and giving it your all. You WILL see results if you stick with it! And you can do these videos over and over again to keep building muscle and maintaining a healthy weight. 🙂
2. Tony Horton’s P90X
P90X is our favorite set of workout videos out there. End of story. They are very intense, each video is different and leaves you sweating like crazy, yet they’re still really enjoyable! Just like in P90, there are alternatives to a lot of the exercises, making them friendly to all fitness levels. And Tony always gives you motivation to keep going, which I love.
P90X uses a Muscle Confusion technique to help shed weight and build muscle. This helps speed up results by constantly introducing new moves and routines, thus not allowing your body to plateau. P90X consists of 12 very diverse and intense workout videos to incorporate this technique.
In addition to the workout videos, the P90X Base Kit also includes a Comprehensive Nutrition Plan, Workout Calendar, Fitness Guide, and the “How to Bring It” DVD.
Whether you’re in a gym or working out at home, you need to give it your all. That means eating right, sticking to your workout schedule, and pushing yourself to keep going. You are guaranteed to see results if you try hard enough. P90X sets you up for greatness, and it’s something I highly recommend investing in.
3. Tony Horton’s P90X3
P90X3 is a step up from P90. The purpose of these videos is to get you “ripped” in just 30 minutes a day. These workouts are more intense than P90 and definitely make you sweat like crazy.
P90X3 is divided into 3 different approaches; classic, lean, and mass. The classic videos are designed to help you get ripped and strong; lean will help you tone without adding bulk; and mass helps you increase muscle mass. So whatever your goal is for your body, P90X3 will help get you there.
This workout set includes 16 workout videos, meaning your workouts are always different and exciting. There are 6 Muscle-Building Resistance Workouts; 3 Cross-Training Power Workouts; 3 Fat-Burning Cardio Workouts; and 4 Core, Flexibility, & Balance Workouts.
Also included are a Fitness Guide, Nutrition Plan, Workout Calendar, “How to Accelerate” DVD, a Pro-Grade Resistance Band, and 24/7 Online Support.
Some things to note: The actual workouts themselves are 30 minutes long, with the option of a short or long warm up and cool down. Once you factor in the warm up and cool down, you’re looking at close to 45 minutes to an hour total. Just keep that in mind when deciding which option will fit your needs best.
4. Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred
If you’re short on time and want to get in a great workout, I suggest Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. Just like Tony Horton’s P90 Programs, you will get your sweat on almost immediately.
Jillian packs an intense HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout into 20 minutes, but don’t think you’re getting off easy. With HIIT workouts, you are constantly moving to keep your heart rate up and make the most out of your 20-minute workout. The workouts are a 3-2-1 Interval System combing strength, cardio, and abs, optimizing your weight loss and increasing your muscle mass.
The 30 Day Shred is broken down into 3 fitness levels. There is one video for each level, meaning you continue with one until you’re ready for the next. This does get somewhat monotonous, but the workouts are still effective which is all that matters. Each video contains a short warm up and cool down, which I personally feel are way too short. However, you can pause the video and extend the length of these stretches to make them more effective. Problem solved.
My only other complaint is how annoying Jillian can get. Thankfully, this is easily fixed by muting the video and playing some upbeat music.
Overall, I think the 30 Day Shred is definitely worth it, especially considering it’s less than $10. You will get a great workout, lose weight, and increase muscle mass. So if you’re looking for a very cheap alternative to the gym, I highly recommend this.
5. Jillian Michaels App
If you’re a fan of Jillian Michaels, you should look into the Jillian Michaels App. It contains several different workout programs, all the way from Fitness for Beginners to Dad Bod to Wedding Warrior (plus more). You can choose which exercises to include in your plan, so if you need a modified version of something you can add it in. Each plan includes videos for each exercise so you can follow along and make sure you’re performing them correctly. The videos are more for your guidance and are broken up by exercise, so they aren’t one fluid workout video like those mentioned above.
Also included are meal plans with shopping lists. There are omnivore, pescatarian, vegan, vegetarian, and paleo/gluten free meal plan options, so anyone can use them. In addition, you can track your progress in the app or sync up with Apple Health. I really enjoy the variety of meal plan options and the delicious meals included in each.
While I really enjoy the meal plans and the many different customizable workout plans, this app does have some flaws. The first is the fact that it’s an app that can’t be used in a web browser. I can only use the app on my iPhone, making it sometimes difficult to see the videos.
My last issue is the fact that the videos aren’t full videos, as mentioned above. For most people I’m sure this isn’t a problem; I just prefer having a full workout video, as that’s how I like working out best.
But overall, the Jillian Michaels App is a great way to stay fit and track your progress. You can try it FREE for 7 days to see if it’s something you think will work for you. There are several different plans to choose from, and they’re all fairly affordable.
Beach Body on Demand is essentially an “online” gym membership full of all the workout videos you could ever dream of. The best part – it’s super affordable. You can access over 600 workouts, including Tony Horton’s P90 Programs. The workout programs can be filtered by your fitness level, your optimal workout time, the type of exercise, and specific trainers you like.
In addition to access to over 600 workouts, a Beach Body on Demand membership includes meal plans to help you eat right, accountability tools, trainer tips, clean eating solutions from FIXATE, plus more.
There are several different memberships to choose from, and you can try it FREE for 14 days. If you pay for an annual membership, you’ll be getting access to everything mentioned above for only $99 for a whole year. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a steal. It’s significantly cheaper than a gym and includes way more benefits. Not to mention you never have to drive anywhere to use it; Beach Body on Demand can be accessed anywhere as long as you have internet access.
If you’re on a strict budget, you can find several great FREE workout videos on YouTube. You can do them from home, on vacation, at school, where ever you have an internet connection.
Here are some popular ones:
If those don’t float your boat, just do a Google search of “workout videos” and you’ll be sure to find something.
FreeTrainers is exactly what the name implies: it’s a free trainer.
It’s a fairly simple website to navigate and the workouts are tailored to your needs. That means you can decide which workout routine to do, when you want to do them, and it gives you options on different exercises to work each muscle group (unless you’re doing cardio).
There are actually several different plans to choose from: gym training, at home, cardio, 12-week mass & strength, resistance bands, exercise ball, circuit training, and first time in the gym workout programs.
You simply create an account and select the workout program you want, choose the level of difficulty (beginner, intermediate, advanced), the days you want to workout, and generate your program schedule. It gives you plenty of different exercises to choose from and instructions on how to perform them. When you create an account (totally free to do), your workout calendar gets saved, making it easy to access.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been using the at home workout. It is a really great routine and I have definitely seen some muscle growth! Yes, after just a few weeks! I’m looking forward to where it’ll take me the longer I pursue it.
What to Do When You Don’t Have Equipment
Chances are you don’t have any workout equipment at home. If you do, that’s great! If not, don’t worry; there are tons of affordable options out there. Remember, these are ONE time costs and you get to keep them forever. Or, if you no longer need them, you can sell them and make some of your money back.
Check out some of my related posts below if you need some extra money paying for anything:
1. Body Weight
There are a lot of exercises that only require your body weight. However, adding in more resistance will help you achieve your goals quicker. If you can’t afford weights, there are tons of alternative that will still provide you with great results. See the next section on weight alternatives.
The truth is, weights are expensive. We spent at least $100 buying a set of 10lb, 15lb, 20lb, 25lb, and 30lb dumbbells. I should also mention they were on sale. Needless to say, you’re going to spend a pretty penny buying weights.
What I suggest is buying only what you need for now if you can afford to do so. So if you’re a beginner, this set will work perfectly until you’re ready for more weight. If you can’t afford that, there are alternatives you can use, which I’ll cover in the next section.
Another option is looking for used weights on Craigslist or in Facebook Groups (just make sure you clean them thoroughly!). You might even be able to find some on Black Friday or Cyber Monday for cheap. Another option is asking for weights as a Christmas or birthday gift. That way you don’t have to pay for them at all!
Using weights will help you see results much quicker than without any, so I highly suggest investing in a few sets of dumbbells if you can.
3. Medicine Balls
Most exercises don’t require a medicine ball, so you shouldn’t need to buy these. However, if this is something you tend to work with at the gym, you can buy one or two in the weight range you think would be best. You can always try some out at a sports store to help you make your decision.
4. Ankle Weights
Similar to medicine balls, you don’t need ankle weights. But, they can definitely help improve your strength and provide noticeable results. Ankle weights are great for improving lower body strength, as they add resistance when moving your legs. Whether you’re doing box jumps, split squats, or donkey kicks, they’ll aid in your workout. These Gaiam 5lb Ankle Weights are very well reviewed and will help kick your workouts up a notch.
1. Resistance Bands!
In the P90 programs, Tony shows a ton of dumbbell alternatives using resistance bands. Some of his workout kits even include a band. We have a few different weighted resistance bands that we use since our ceilings are too low for pull-up bars. They provide some decent contact and you’ll definitely feel them working.
There are different types of resistance bands. These leg resistance bands are great for lateral leg lifts, fire hydrants, donkey kicks, and more. They really help with building a booty.
This set of resistance bands is great for working the upper body. They are a great, affordable alternative to dumbbells.
2. Water Bottles / Jugs
Water bottles filled with water, sand, pebbles, rice, or anything similar work great as weights. Depending on how much resistance you need, you can add or subtract whatever substance you choose and voila! You’ve got yourself some great makeshift weights.
You can get a small concrete brick weighing 4.5lb for less than a dollar. These work as decent dumbbell alternatives, as they’re roughly the same size. You can use a larger paver that weighs more for added resistance when doing squats or similar exercises that require one weight. Obviously, you should try and get real weights, but if that’s not possible, you can always give this option a try.
4. Your Pet
If you’ve got a pet that doesn’t mind being held, why not pick them up and do a few squats? A pet definitely won’t replace weights all the time, but it’s a fun alternative to use sometimes. My cat makes the perfect 10lb weight for squats!
1. Bike Trainer Stand
Chances are you own a bike, so you can make your own inexpensive indoor exercise bike. All you need is a bike and this bike trainer exercise stand. Simply hook your bike up to the stand and ride. You can do this while watching TV, listening to a Podcast, or following along to a spin class video.
2. Cheap treadmill
If you normally use a treadmill when you workout and it’s something you don’t think you can live without, you have some options. You can buy a low-end treadmill for $200-$400, or something nicer for upwards of $600. Another option is buying a used treadmill from Craigslist or searching in local Facebook Groups. You’re still going to pay a bit of money buying one used, but it’s significantly cheaper than buying it brand new.
The last thing I can think of is skipping the treadmill and just walking up and down your stairs. It’s like having a StairMaster in your home but not having to pay to use it. 🙂
As you can see, there are so many affordable alternatives to a gym membership. Now you know how to get in shape at home and make the best out of your time and money. Which option are you going to choose? I promise, you won’t regret any of them!
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