Affordable Ways To Do Strength Workouts Without A Gym
Updated: Apr 27
Getting fit without paying a ton of money for a gym membership is possible! While many people do like the gym, there's plenty of reasons you might prefer not going to the gym to get your sweat on and like staying at home instead.
Maybe you don't like crowds or waiting for equipment, your schedule just doesn't allow you to get all the way across town to your favorite gym, or maybe you can't justify hundreds of dollars on a membership that you can only use here and there.
Honestly guys, I get it. I need a gym to do my Olympic-style lifts and finding one that worked for me after college track was really kind of a hassle. Dealing with membership levels, parking situations of gyms in the area, and just finding a vibe I actually liked took longer than I'd like to admit.
While I'm happy with my decision (finally), I'm writing this post to compile great ways to workout without having to deal with purchasing a gym membership. I keep this list in my back pocket for days I can't get to the gym or I want to do a workout that doesn't require a gym.
(Oh, and for when I retire from my life as a professional runner!)
Check ’em out below!
I don't have to tell you that YouTube is the holy grail of... everything. A whole world with almost all of the answers. Workouts on YouTube are no exception!
Many YouTube channels are run by individuals who love to help their community stay in shape. This shows in their content; they keep things fun and interactive, while really making you get after it. I actually love popping onto YouTube when I need a quick at home workout. Its up to you to decide whether it can replace a gym membership for you, so here's some pros and cons:
Pros To Using YouTube For Gym-Less Workouts
It's free! Other than donating some of your time to the viewing of commercials (most of which you can skip pretty quickly) this is a wayyyy cheaper alternative to the gym.
There is almost a never ending variety of workouts on YouTube. Yoga and meditation, body weight strength, core routines, running drills... you name it!
Workout on YouTube where you want to when you want to...so that you can stay in shape without sacrificing the rest of your schedule.
The Cons Of Replacing A Gym Membership With YouTube Workouts
Relying on YouTube for your fitness needs most likely means you won't have a comprehensive fitness plan. Most workouts are stand-alone, even if done by the same creator. There are probably exceptions to this, but either way if you're someone who uses fitness instructor or personal training features at your gym, this one-on-one plan curation won't be found on YouTube.
Commitment: Its easy enough to pull up a workout video and follow along, but how often you do this is entirely up to you! A gym membership is something you pay for, so you're going to want to use it. Same with personal trainers that come with some gyms, they'll hold you accountable. With YouTube, you have to commit to pulling up the workouts and avoid falling down a black hole of cat videos.
Some Really Great YouTube Fitness Channels To Check Out
Madfit: Real time follow along at-home workouts, dance workouts, and many options for minimal equipment workouts. Maddy quit the gym to workout at home, so she knows what it takes!
Yoga With Adriene: An extremely popular channel because she offers a huge variety of yoga techniques with the goal of making yoga more accessible for people of all ages and situations.
Pamela Reif: Featuring different levels of workouts, dance fitness, and stretching ideas, her channel draws in millions of views each time to follow along.
POPSUGAR Fitness: This option is a bit different than those above because its a brand with many instructors, but it has a large variety and very up-tempo workouts to get you super motivated.
My Fitness Pal
MyFitnessPal is a free (mostly), online/app fitness tool with the main goal of helping people lose weight and get into shape. This app tracks calories, food intake, micro/macro nutrients, and workouts. While diet and nutrition are very much a priority for this platform, it does have exercise routines and fitness advice and ideas as well.
Again, depending on your fitness goals this may or may not be the best option for you on your search for a gym membership replacement.
Pros To Using My Fitness Pal
Community: MFP can be used like a social media, if you wanted it to. There are message boards for all sorts of topics and support and you can add friends by usernames.
You can track everything. The best part of this app is that you can log your workouts and meals pretty easily. If keeping track is huge for you and your fitness, you'll love these features. You can easily search foods to see how much of any given nutrient they're providing you, including taking pictures of labels!
There is a large variety of workout types, with instructors of various backgrounds. Learn from top fitness instructors, runners, etc and follow along on some of the routines they love.
Premium membership is still pretty affordable, costing $9.99 per month or just $49.99 for the year.
Cons To Using My Fitness Pal For At-Home Fitness
Workouts are there, but I wouldn't really call it a priority on the app. That's to say, if you want larger quantity, YouTube obviously wins.
It's free...but only to a certain extent. The main features of the app that revolve around tracking nutrition are free, while only so many workouts are available without upgrading to the premium membership. Premium membership with MyFitnessPal is $49.99 per year.
Special Home-Safe Equipment
The list of home and apartment friendly workout equipment these days is quite long. With something for almost every work need, you can put together a budget-friendly, space efficient home gym of sorts pretty easily.
Here are some really cool at home workout equipment pieces that I love.
Exercise bands that go in your door:
Set these resistance bands up in under 10 seconds by closing them into your door. With varying resistance levels and a handle strap option for both hands and feet, you can get a good workout in with these.
A great tool for home workouts because they don't take up much space (especially the smaller version) and can up your workouts by adding the element of balance. There are so many ways to use this great strength tool that come with the manual and plenty ideas online.
Make Your Bike Stationary With a Bike Trainer
I mean, this trick always takes the cake. If you already have a bike and don't want to spend a lot of money on a bulky workout bike for your home, this is really the move. It goes on and off pretty easily, folds for storage and has a rather friendly price point.
Home Friendly Equipment Can Change Your Home Workout Routine
From yoga mats to small dumbell sets, setting up a small, budget friendly home gym in place of a gym membership can be a really great idea. I realize there are some unavoidable cons to this idea, but if you have any qualms here are some ways to rectify.
-Unable to lift heavy weights: This can't really be avoided, but buy lighter dumbells or bars of a few varying weights or use resistance to make things harder.
-On your own plan: No personal trainer can be a challenge, but YouTube workout channels could maybe help you out here.
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Oh Insta, you either love it or hate it, but there's no denying that its a wealth of information. Which should actually be noted. Anyone can post anything on there, and people certainly do. Be careful who you take fitness and health advice from on the platform, and take it with a grain of salt from lesser established creators.
(read: I am not referring to number of follows, when I say established. I am referring to certifications and qualifications. Just pay attention to the content you inhale)
More than ever, at-home workout ideas and accounts flood our timelines. Outside of wanting to use heavy lifting machines, I'm honestly wondering who even needs a gym anymore. Hop on your favorite fitness instagrammers profile for video after video of workout ideas and advice.
Body weight circuits, cardio, running form, lifting form, yoga, you name it. Again, a major con is not having a curated workout plan just for you. It can be hard to know what you need just by looking at a social media platform.
Consider virtual classes or the services of trainers found on the platform. Many who put out workout content offer professional services for their workouts to help you stay safe and workout effectively.
Have you been successfully working out without a gym? What ways do you build strength and fitness without splurging on a membership?