Most people don’t have the time or energy to join a health club, and they often don’t want to spend time away from their spouse or girlfriend. So what do you do? You can stay at home, watch TV and pack on the pounds. You can ditch your significant other at home, and hit the gym with your buddies.
You could both join a health club, but that just doubles the costs and there is no guarantee you will inspire each other to fall into a good routine, and there is even less of a guarantee that you will both be able to tune your schedules so that you can both go at the same time.
One option that gives you the best of both worlds is to pursue healthy activities outside of the gym, all of which are cleverly designed to replace your gym workout.
So if you want to keep your relationship intact while keeping off the pounds, keep reading and learn how to integrate your life and your health.
Assessing Your Needs
Before you embark on any new fitness regime, you should analyze your current situation. Here are some tips:
- Try to determine you exact caloric intake, and then determine how many calories you are burning off with your current routine. You will need to either replace your current caloric output, and/or reduce your caloric intake. Check these sites to get an idea of how to measure each category: www.my-calorie-counter.com or www.nih.gov.
- Come up with your daily schedule to determine how many hours you have each day to devote to your new regime, as some of your replacement activities might require travel (Ex. Hiking or skiing).
- What costs are associated with your new activities? The last thing you want to do is increase your weekly overhead, so make sure you are not adding in events that are expensive – like golf club memberships.
- Are you both currently at the same fitness level? If you are ripped and she is just starting out, you might have scale back some of your fitness plans. However, you can still turn something like a day hike into a strong workout – all you need to do is carry all the gear.
- Indoor/outdoor. Weather will most likely play a factor in your decision on what activities you can do, so make sure you investigate all of your options before you get started.
- Talk to each other! Keep her involved in the planning, so that you both are on the same page when it comes to deciding on what to do. Be flexible!
Replacing The Gym
Once you have assessed your needs, the time has come for you to plan out what activities are feasible, based on time, location, energy, and interest.
Gym: Treadmill/ Stair climber/ Elliptical / Stationary Bike: A typical 30-minute workout on either of these machines burns off about 300 calories.
- Walking burns off almost the same amount of calories as running, without the stress on your body. Increase your pace to burn more calories.
- Hiking is like walking, but the terrain is often more rugged. This helps to tone muscles, as your body is forced to work a little harder.
- Jogging can be done anywhere, but try and run on gravel or grass to reduce the wear and tear on your body.
- Trail running combines jogging with hiking, and is usually done in wooded areas. The footwear required is a mix of cross-trainer and aqua shoe, as you often get wet as you tear through the forest. This might be a good exercise to try on the weekends, as travel will be required if you are a city dweller.
- Gardening? Yes! Lawn work and gardening help with cardio as well as weight training. You might want to come up with one or two projects each year, just so you have a few weeks to do each spring. You should also sell all of your gas-powered equipment and start doing everything by hand. The extra effort will result in strength and toning, as well as extra calories being burned.
- Co-Ed Sports. You can walk to the park and play Frisbee; join numerous leagues (volleyball, softball, golf, etc.); or play against each other (tennis, squash, basketball, etc.).
- Use the stairs at work to burn off extra calories.
- Walk instead of drive.
- Replace sedentary activities with active ones. (Ex. Instead of going to a movie, go on a walking tour of your city).
Weight Lifting Replacements
Gym: any weight routine
- Buy a second hand or new set of plates, a cheap bench, and bar. You can set up the free weights almost anywhere – even your garage. By doing these exercises at home, your partner will fell less intimidated by them. Plus, you can do so many different exercises with free eights, that you can eliminate most of the machines people use in their day-to-day gym workouts.
- Chin up bars are easy to install, and they are very inexpensive. Most fit between a standard doorframe.
- A short length of elastic tubing can be attached to a door handle or the ceiling, and then can be used to do lat pull downs, triceps, and more.
- Sit-ups and push-ups can be done anywhere, anytime. Extras
- Make sure you warm up before you start lifting, as you can injure yourself in your basement just as easily as you can in the gym
The most important thing to do when you try to integrate your life more effectively with your health routine is to understand and appreciate compromise. Your significant other might not be as keen to do some of things you want to do (at first), so make sure you are ready for a little give and take. Check out what is available near your area – like sailing lessons, kayaking, league sports, etc. – so that you can both sit down and decide the best way to spend those 6 hours of gym time that you just freed up.