How to Get Fit Without a Gym

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Exercising at home is convenient, effective, and eliminates excuses! You can get in shape and improve your health by doing your workouts from home! It’s time to get fit without a gym.

August 2023 Update: Right now I am obsessed with free YouTube videos and am working on a new blog post where I can share them. In the meantime, here’s a post detailing some favorite free high-quality videos from YouTube you can check out today.

Exercise is one of the foundations of My Think Big Life. Not only does exercise make me look better; it makes me feel better. Moving your body in positive ways creates lots of positive energy.

But what do you do if you hate going to the gym and you have no interest in hard-core workouts? You can do what I do–use at home workouts to get fit and healthy.

Get Fit Without a Gym

I love moving my body and try to do something every day. Because I do gentle forms of exercise, I don’t have to wait a day in-between.

Plus, because I have a desk job and am on the computer a lot, I find daily exercise vital to feeling good and gets all the kinks out of my muscles.

You might be thinking, “Hey, that sounds great but does it really make you fit?”

It sure can!

Picture of mature woman working out at home with the words: no gym? No problem! Get fit at home

5 Reasons to Work Out at Home

  • It’s the most convenient way to work out. No wasted time on travel, traffic, or parking!
  • It’s inexpensive!
  • You can tailor it exactly to your fitness needs
  • You have privacy and don’t have to worry about other people, what they are doing or what they think!
  • It’s always there and available. No excuses!

Do at Home Workouts Work? Can You Get Fit at Home?

With a combination of easy walking and my in-home workouts, I was able to do some rigorous hikes this summer.

One was 10 hours up and down a mountain with a pack. Another was 6 hours up a mountain carrying what I needed to sleep and eat on the mountain.

In addition, I’ve been cycling and to-date my best ride is 41 miles.

And I did those things without any special training beyond my usual workouts. I really did get fit at home and without a gym!

With so much to do and not having a lot of extra time to work out, I really depend on working out at home and making the best use of my time to stay fit.

Read on to find out my take on how to get fit without a gym.

Why Choose to At Home Workouts

Hate to go to the gym or do hard core workouts? Or maybe you simply don't have the time. You still want to be in great shape though. Me too! Here's how to get fit without a gym.

I hate going to the gym. And because I now know that about myself, I don’t make any pretense that joining a gym will ever be an effective way for me to stay in shape.

So, I don’t have some hidden gym workout that gets me fit while telling you I do it all at home. I really do get fit without a gym membership.

I also enjoy walking and while it is leaving your house, for many of you, you don’t have to get in your car and go somewhere and it’s a great addition to any fitness plan.

I love walking and the occasional bike ride. However, as much as I love walking, I still need strength and stretching all over for my body to feel great.

Here are some of my tips for Making Walking More Effective.

How to Get Fit Without a Gym

However, most of my working out truly is done in the small living room. I’ve been an avid in-my-house exerciser for over twenty years.

When my kids were little, I would put them to bed and pop in a Kathy Smith or Jane Fonda workout video.

Even though I was a stay-at-home mom, we always had workout videos in the budget since I used them consistently and even better, they worked.

Since the good ole video days, you can now get your in-home workouts on DVDs or online.

I mostly use online streaming to get my workouts but I also use YouTube to find good quality workouts too.

Here are My Favorite At-Home Workouts!

I’ve been working out at home for 20+ years and I love the convenience and variety I get with DVDs and online streaming. When you can easily work out any time you want–it takes away lots of the excuses!

Ellen Barrett At Home Workouts

If you have a desk job then you need to try Ellen Barrett!

Her workouts are hands-down the best workouts for getting the knots out of all your body parts. I love that I can do her workouts barefoot. Yes—I AM too lazy to put on shoes sometimes.

Just kidding. I like the barefoot part because her workouts actually work your feet.

That might seem silly but if you ever get foot or leg cramps, these workouts take care of that. Ellen’s workouts leave me always feeling great from head to toe!

Her videos are available through Amazon as well as through a paid online subscription.

I’ve been using her workouts for over ten years now and I still love them. 

I use her online streaming service. It is AMAZING and I’m not an affiliate. You can try a week for free.

This is hands-down one of the best deals around for a variety of safe workouts that are not only fun to do but work every inch of your body.

It’s $5.99 a month and she adds a new workout every month. Each workout is 15 to 45 minutes long.

You can always find a workout that matches your time and energy.

In Home Walking

Leslie Sansone does the best walking videos of any I’ve tried. With Walk at Home, you can do them in a small amount of space and you can get a decent workout with them.

They come in different miles lengths. 2-3 miles is usually perfect for me, though if you only have fifteen minutes, you can get a quick mile in!

With the Walk at Home app, you get access to all the videos. You might have some from back in the day that you love; they are here.

But even better, there is new content made every month led by fun walking leaders. These workouts can be as challenging as you want.

I love the variety and options available! When it’s too hot or wet to walk outside; these are life savers.

You can get a week to try for free. I did that and was totally HOOKED. It’s still almost 100 degrees in Houston, and I love these walking videos.

If you check out her website, you can see what videos are available. I use this site several times a week. WALK AT HOME.

Body Groove

This is the newest online exercise program I’ve joined. It came up on my Facebook feed and I was intrigued. I watched some of the demos and I signed up on the spot! I’ve been Body Grooving since.

This is the first workout that I actually look forward to. I think about it and find myself anticipating how good it will feel to move. Even though it feels easy, the more I do the more I can feel my muscles working.

Each workout has several different routines. Some are more cardio and some are very relaxed. As important as getting a “workout” is, relieving stress in your body is just as important.

I’ve never considered myself a dancer, or coordinated, or musical. Yet, this program gets past all these things I think I am not and just allows me to have fun moving my body in a lot of different ways.

The workouts are all around 30 minutes but that is NEVER enough time for me.

I usually do a few more segments because I just can’t stop moving. There are lots of free 3-4 minute workouts so you can try before you buy. I just did a solid 30 minutes of these!

To try the online streaming, go to Body Groove.

Free Online Videos

I am also a fan of using YouTube to find new workouts. There are thousands and some are great and some are not-so-great.

I’ve worked out to a lot of them to find the best. I look for good quality, easy to follow, and a great workout.

I’ve rounded up my favorites in The Best Workouts for Weight Loss.

How to Get Fit Without a Gym

The best exercise is the exercise you will actually do on a consistent basis. I wrote this post almost three years ago and I’m still using these same videos!

At 61, I love feeling strong, balanced, and flexible. Exercise isn’t just for weight loss; it helps create a better quality of life!

Picture of Sara getting ready to workout
Sara ready to workout!

For me that is workouts that combine strength, toning, stretch, and cardio all at once. Obviously, I’m not going to look like Jillian Michaels but it does the trick for me to stay in shape.

I get great workouts and lots of variety by working out at home.

I’d love to hear how you stay fit, especially if you do it outside the gym!

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I'm a certified life and weight loss coach who helps women feel better and get the most out of their lives! The process of life coaching teaches you to love yourself and gain self confidence in a safe effective way.

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  1. Lolly on October 2, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    We are a lot alike. We have similar workout habits and philosophies.

    I’ve been working out with home videos/DVDs since 1986. I started with the FIRM workouts. I had a bunch. I did them for about 25 years. By 2015, though, they became too tough on the knees and too exhausting and not much fun. I also hit the peri-menopause era and ballooned up. All the strategies I used in my 30s failed to produce results and I figured I’d be stuck at this uncomfortable size forever.

    After too much computer time I started getting a chronic sore shoulder. I complained one day to my friend and she recommended Miranda Esmonde-White’s Classical Stretch/Essentrics videos. I tried them and totally revamped my fitness routine. Totally and utterly a 180 from my old workouts because it’s not jumping up and down and I use my own body weight instead of dumbbells. I officially retired and got rid of my old videos and invested in 2 DVDs of Classical Stretch. I alleviated my shoulder pain in about a week.

    Meanwhile, Husband developed a pinched nerve that would not go away with chiropractor visits, massages, and Ibuprofen. One day he was seriously considering going to the doctor and I said do the Classica Stretch workouts 3 times a day (23 min workouts) and, oh, yeah, we’re going to go for a walk. I do not know why I said we were going for a walk. I think just to get his bum off the sofa.
    So he followed my “prescription” and his shoulder pain disappeared after two weeks. And we kept up the walking.

    We’ve been walking every evening for 3 months now. OMG, my tight pants are sliding off! Two people have noticed a body change, though I haven’t lost any weight. Husband and I have worked up to walking 2.5 miles, 4 x a week and one 3 mile-er on Sundays. So we’re getting 45 to an hour workout most days of the week. The beauty is we have built-in high-intensity workouts because we have a hilly neighborhood.

    So reading your blog is just reconfirming what I intuitively suspected. The magic is in the consistent walking.

    • Sara on October 3, 2018 at 7:30 am

      My chiropractor would “prescribe” walking for almost anything in my body that was hurting. Thanks for sharing how your gentle exercise and walking are helping! I will definitely have to check out the Classical Stretch workouts. P.S. I used to do the Firm workouts too!

  2. alchemist on September 16, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Have you tried Sarah Beth for yoga? She has a lot of free content on YouTube and she has a paid app. She’s the best online yoga teacher I’ve found by far.

    Thanks for reminding me about Ellen Barrett. I actually have several of her workouts on DVD (possibly all the ones you’ve mentioned), but I’ve haven’t done them in a while for some reason.

    • Sara on September 17, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Thanks for the yoga tip! I will check her out. Since I wrote that post, Ellen has changed her site to a subscription site. But you get all her videos plus new ones for the monthly price. I do them regularly, so it’s a good deal for me.

    • Denise on July 4, 2020 at 3:48 pm

      I love your healthy life style routines and tips…I’m 53 and feeling great…I started strength training just before turning 50 and after a rough time due to sudden estrogen crash…I feel better than I did at 30. I practice most of your eating tips. My one struggle is my own mind as I am so afraid of looking too thin and dry up. Your article is refreshingly encouraging.

  3. […] How to Get Fit Without a Gym Here are the exact workouts I use to stay in shape enough to keep up with grandkids, hike, and cycle. […]

  4. […] P.S. I keep in shape for life, cycling, and hiking all without a gym. Need ideas of workouts you can do without a gym–here are the things I do. How to Get Fit Without a Gym […]

  5. […] In addition, I work out at home–never in a gym. I love in-home workouts and detail the exact ones I use here. […]

  6. suzanne on February 19, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Love these ideas! I’m all about using what you have and getting fit at home. So good and easy!

    • Sara on February 19, 2018 at 6:45 pm

      It’s the only thing that works for me!

  7. Maria on February 18, 2018 at 8:22 am

    I love going to the gym but I these are awesome alternatives to the days when maybe I don’t feel like it or I am on vacation!

    • Sara on February 18, 2018 at 9:26 am

      Gyms have so many great machines and alternatives but I just never seem to get there.

  8. Melissa on February 18, 2018 at 12:10 am

    These are some great ideas. I’ve found it hard to make time to exercise with two little ones in our house, but I know my biggest hope for fitting it in is to start exercising at home. Thanks for the tips!

    • Sara on February 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

      I used at-home exercising almost exclusively when my kids were really young. It really does help!

  9. Amy on February 17, 2018 at 10:17 am

    I need to incorporate these suggestions into my daily life! Especially the walking. I honestly think it would make a huge difference for me, but it’s been so cold I can’t get motivated to go outside!

    • Sara on February 17, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Here it gets too hot to go outside. It’s great to have some indoor options.

  10. Lori Geurin on February 16, 2018 at 10:14 am

    I love Leslie Sansone walking videos but haven’t heard of this one before. I’ll have to check it out! She is so positive and energetic and she makes it fun. When I was teaching we had a group that would meet after school and workout to her videos. I liked it so much I bought some of my own for home. Thanks!

    • Sara on February 16, 2018 at 10:21 am

      I used to do them a lot more when I had a dvd player connected to my TV. They are great when you can’t get outside for a walk!

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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life coach, I can help you create a life you love. Visit my life coaching page here.