summer is coming

No Gym Membership Required: Three (Free) Apps To Help You Stay In Shape Anywhere

Get fit. Anywhere. Anytime. No excuses here, people!

As a former New Yorker, I’m used to living across the street from my gym, and finding motivation to exercise in said gym’s workout classes (spin! yoga! boot camp!) and fitness equipment (treadmill all the way!). So, when I kicked off a year of travel last August, I knew that the lack of consistent close proximity to a gym meant I had to reconsider my workout routine. And reconsider I did: After six months in, I can proudly say that I’ve been able to stay in shape without stepping foot into a gym. Here, some tips and apps to help you stay in shape and feel healthy—without the cost of that gym membership.

What you need:

  • Running shoes
  • Smart phone with headphones
  • Yoga mat or towel

What to do:

Allot one hour every morning for working out before you start your day. Most of us don’t have to be anywhere until 8am, so get up at 6am, work out until 7am and leave yourself an hour to shower and get ready. (Choose your wardrobe the night before or earlier that week; it saves a lot of decision making and wasted time.)

No matter what form of shape you’re in, you can start off slow and work your way up. The point is to break a sweat and to get both the blood and metabolism going before you begin your work day. My favorite workout is a 30-minute run followed by a 15-minute body-weight workout (no gym equipment needed) followed by a 10-minute yoga stretch and meditation. All of that takes under an hour and allows me to stay in shape, check out my new surroundings as I travel, and feel healthy.

If you can’t run for 30 minutes, jog a block, then walk a block, and repeat—or simply walk until you feel comfortable increasing the pace. (If you are in a place where you can’t run or walk outside, stick to the body weight workouts and yoga.) Use the app Map My Run to track your run’s distance and time; mix it up and add intervals every other day. Try to increase pace and/or distance. Listen to music while you run or walk, or even listen to a free podcast. The time will fly by.

After your run, get back to your hotel room or apartment, and roll out your yoga mat (or towel). Pull up the Freeletics: BodyWeight app on your phone, and choose the workouts that don’t require equipment (like Dione and Aphrodite). If you have a yoga mat, excellent. If not, roll out a thick towel to use under your hands and feet during the burpies and under your back during the sit-ups. I wear my sneakers, even on the yoga mat, since a lot of the exercises have you bounce up into jumping jacks.

And finally, pull up Daily Yoga on your phone. Download a free yoga track like Quick Yoga Fix’s ‘Yoga for Runners’ or Health Enhancer’s ‘Quick Stress Relief’. Both of these are ten minutes. Either follow along with the video or just use the photos to remind you of the poses. Put on meditative music to help calm you down, and clear your mind for the ten minutes of stretching.

Afterwards, drink a glass or two of water, eat an apple or orange, and hop in the shower.

This simple wake-up routine will keep you in shape, keep you hydrated, and keep you regular by getting some natural fiber in your system before you even start your day.


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