gym free

J is for Jumping

 

J is for Jumping

It may seem silly, but there are two things you can do to workout ANYWHERE and ANYTIME. Working out doesn’t have to be complicated, a gym membership isn’t necessarily needed, and you don’t have to drive somewhere to get fit. Sometimes all you need is to return to the basics.

These two activities are perfect for people that want to work out at home, or if they are on the road traveling and don’t have access to a gym. When I workout at home my typical workout includes the bike trainer + a circuit of jumping jacks, jump rope and weight lifting. In fact, in a few weeks I’m going to start doing the home workout again to avoid the overcrowding at the gym.

JUMPING JACKS

You don’t need anything to perform these. Perfect! Jumping jacks work your quadriceps (thighs) , your hip abductors/adductors, and is a great cardio workout. This is a “plyometric exercise that uses explosive movements to elevate your heart rate. (source)”

It seems silly that something so simple could burn so many calories, doesn’t it? But it’s true. The activity can build and tone muscles. Here’s a sample workout or try this:

1) 10 Pushups
2) 10 Crunches
3) 10 Reverse Crunches
4) 10 Triceps Dips
*Add 10-20 jumping jacks after before every pushup set and get some cardio benefit out of it.

You can do the jumping jacks in your normal workout, or do it during commercials when you’re watching TV. If you can only do a few at a time, switch off from jumping jacks to ab work on the floor or do some squats, then back to jumping jacks. Really, it’s all about staying in your target heart rate zone and burning those calories!

If you’re a crossfit junkie, they often incorporate the jump rope and jumping jacks into the routines. Lots of people are doing ’em!

JUMP ROPE

The jump rope is the same concept as jumping jacks. It elevates the heart rate, burns calories and trust me, by the time you’re done with a set your arms will be aching.  The best part about the jump rope: it’s cheap. I bought a jump rope at Ross for about $3. I bet the Dollar Store has them too. Pick one up to have on hand for the next time you work out at home.

When I was running a lot I sometimes took a break mid-run to do some jumping jacks. It kept my heart rate up but gave me a quick break from the mileage. If nothing else, it was variety.

Of course, the jump rope takes a little more coordination than normal, and definitely more than jumping jacks! It can improve coordination, agility and endurance. Here’s another workout suggestion for jumping rope. Next time you’re short on time and don’t think you can make it to the gym, try doing these two things for 20-30 minutes at home and see how you feel!

Note: Obviously consult your doctor first. Jumping jacks and jump rope exercises can sometimes aggravate knee issues.

QUESTION: Do you utilize these at-home workout routines? Any other suggestions for gym-free workouts?

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals *

The Battle of the Gyms

Going gym-free made me anxious. I felt unsettled about the whole thing. I need a place. A place that’s mine, that I feel comfortable, that I can say “It’s Sunday, this is where I go swim” etc.

Choosing which gym to join after my old membership expired was complicated. The biggest issue: the pool. I had to have access to a pool. I needed other things gyms have to offer but they weren’t priorities. I rarely do classes. I can technically workout at home or at the free gym at work. While I prefer weight machines at a gym and access to treadmills when the weather is nasty, they aren’t the end-all-be-all. I have access to free weights at home and a track next to my house. I could suck it up and run in the rain all winter long. There’s a lot of outdoor things I can do to stay fit, including biking to work.


So it really did come down to the pool issue.

The Negotiations

The negotiations didn’t go as expected for 24hr fitness. I went in there with a practiced speech and strong intentions. The sales girl took me back and asked me if I’d had a chance to try their new “super sport” features. I said, “Yes I have and I’m not impressed with any of the upgrades, so that’s not a selling point for me.”


Before I could even continue my speech, she told me my best bet was to buy the Costco deal for two years. It was my last resort–my only card to play. I was going to negotiate for the Costco rate or a little less if I could pay them directly and skip Costco (then they get all the money and don’t have to give Costco a cut). She said no go. Basically, there’s no deals, no negotiations, no specials beyond the month-to-month rate that I would be Grandfathered in at, or Costco Deal. Funny, huh? Apparently no one is hurting for business in this horrible economy that they can turn away business and money. Weird.

The Break Down

24 Hour Fitness

  • Positive: Close to both home and work.
  • Positive: Convenient hours.
  • Positive and Negative: Costco has a 2 year deal for $599.
  • Positive: With Costco deal, I’d have access to the nicer, newer version that’s near work.
  • Negative: “Upgrades” did not upgrade quality of gym, just doubled the price.
  • Negative: Expensive.
  • Negative: Dirty, lots of broken machines all the time.
  • Negative: Crowded, busy, parking sucks.
  • Negative: Hot tub/spa/sauna frequently broken.
  • Negative: weird clientele.

LA Fitness

  • Positive: Clean, new.
  • Positive: Not as busy as 24hr, machines not broken all the time.
  • Positive: A few friends workout there.
  • Negative: Inconvenient location to both home and work.
  • Negative: Not as many locations to choose from that are convenient.
  • Negative: Shorter hours than 24 Hour Fitness.
  • Negative: Couldn’t get a 7 Day pass to test the gym.
  • Negative: Middle of the road in terms of cost.
  • Negative: Negative experience with salespeople.

Bally’s Total Fitness

  • Positive: Cheaper than most.
  • Positive: Good location for both home and work.
  • Negative: No pool.
  • Negative: Internet rumors about how impossible it is to cancel membership there.

Mt. Scott Community Center

  • Positive: It’s my old gym/pool. Comfortable, familiar.
  • Negative: Inconvenient location to both home and work.
  • Negative: Rather expensive compared to other places.
  • Negative: Dealing with screaming children at the pool.
  • Negative: Inconvenient open hours, inconvenient lap swim hours.
  • Negative: Trying to plan my swim schedule around kid swim lessons, water aerobics, swim team, etc etc.

Clackamas Aquatic Park

  • Positive: Nice pool, fairly cheap.
  • Positive: Decent location.
  • Negative: No other workout facilities beyond the pool.
  • Negative: Dealing with screaming children at the pool.
  • Negative: Inconvenient open hours, inconvenient lap swim hours.
  • Negative: Trying to plan my swim schedule around kid swim lessons, water aerobics, swim team, etc etc.

 Various Local Gyms

  • Negatives: Inconvenient locations, time, no pool or restricted lap swim times.
  • Positives: Not a “big name gym.” Not much of a positive, huh?

I feel discouraged. It should be a simple process to find a gym. Yes, I knew going into this that I’d have to be prepared to walk away if I didn’t like the deal–and I have. I walked away several times and had no problem doing that. Until I started looking for other pools and seeing my options dwindle. I’d have to radically change my entire workout routine for the community pools to work for my schedule.

See my problem?

So in the end: I decided to go back to the familiar, more convenient gym. It was the right choice. I feel happy that I’ve made a decision, even if I didn’t last long going gym-free. This challenge taught me something: I DO need a place. Sure in a pinch I can do other activities at home, but that’s just not my preferred method to workout. I want to physically go somewhere and do my workout, then come home. I think part of this is the “process” and “ritual” of going to a gym for my 1.5 hour session. It’s part of the routine, it’s the norm.

If this is the equation that has made me successful in keeping off 100 pounds for over 3 years, I need to keep doing it. 

I am now the happy owner of a 2 year gym membership. No more stress for 2 years!

QUESTION: What are the negatives and positives of your current gym? What equation helps you?