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5 Ways to Get Fitness In Without Spending Hours In the Gym

sam vander wielen diy legal templates health coach resources fitness

Hey, guys! Sam here… still resting up while my friends hook me up with some awesome posts. Today’s post is brought to you by my friend Monique who blogs over at Burpees to Bubbly! I’ve followed Monique for years and love her posts about fitness, bubbly (obviously), and her travels. I also love how Monique so openly & honestly shares what it’s like to balance her full-time job, exercise, family, her husband, & all of life’s other responsibilities. 

Today, Monique’s going to help us figure out ways to get fitness in (or what I call movement!) our day without spending hours in the gym. Because let’s face it, we have email sequences to write, landing pages to design, and clients to coach. So ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Take it away, Monique! ?

Hi there! My name is Monique and I blog over at Burpees to Bubbly, where you can find workouts, travel recaps, wine & restaurant recommendations and tips for how to stay active while working a desk job. 

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When Sam asked me to guest post for her, I started to wrack my brain to figure out what might be of interest. Something that’s been a growing passion for me lately has been how to make fitness and exercise routines work for you with your busy life. While magazines and some fitness trainers/professionals may tell you that you need to go to a gym for physical activity, or work out for an hour 5 times a week, etc., I realize that with a full-time job, after-work commitments, kids, spouses, friends, etc., that type of exercise format is not always an option (not to mention it’s hard to stay motivated and truly listen to your body while you have a million other things going on).

Most of us don’t have the ability to do hour long workouts at a gym 3-5 times a week, right (especially not long term)? Here’s the thing: that’s OK!

You don’t need to spend that much time at a gym in order for a workout to be considered a workout, and to reap the health benefits of physical fitness (despite what you may have heard, exercise is SO much more than losing weight, worrying about calories burned, or weight loss). When I was younger and had essentially no commitments besides a 40-hour a week job and going out on the weekends or occasional date night, sure, I had the ability to spend hours a day at the gym.

But, as I get older and have more things going on in my life, I just don’t have the need or want for that anymore. I want to be done my workouts in 45 minutes or 30 minutes and I don’t want to have to rely on going to a gym in order to get my workout in.

There are so many ways you can still get fitness in even with a busy lifestyle, which is why I want to share my 5 favorite ways to get fitness in without spending hours in the gym:

1 // Invest in a medium set of dumbbells and a resistance band so you can workout at home.

Having strength trained for years, I can tell you that the beauty of at-home workouts is that you eliminate the time it takes you to get to the gym and back home. Granted, some exercise programs do require a gym if you need to use a barbell and heavy weights, but if you’re just training for life and to be strong, all you need is a few sets of weights and you can achieve that in the comforts of your own home. In the spring, summer, and fall I like to take my workout to my back patio!

If you need inspiration for at-home workouts, check out my page, my friend Lauren’s blog and my friend Athena’s blog – combined, we have HUNDREDS to choose from.

2 // Grab a friend and take a walk, but with a twist!

Instead of just walking, add in 10 squats, 10 push-ups (inclined if there’s a bench!) and 10 triceps dips every 5-10 minutes to really get your heart rate up. The beauty of working out with a friend is they hold you accountable to show up and get a workout in AND it’s more fun (especially when you can catch up on your new favorite TV show)! Plus, you can kill two birds with one stone by getting in movement and catching up with a friend or friends.

If you’re a runner, you can also do this with running instead. I have some run/walk bootcamp workouts here if you’re looking for some ideas. 

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3 // Pick your 4 or 5 favorite exercises and do 10 reps of each for 15-20 minutes (or however long you have).

This is usually what I opt for when I’m short on time and/or don’t have the motivation to workout. Rather than trying to psych myself up for a 45-minute class or gym workout, if I tell myself I just need to move for 15-20 minutes AND I get to do my favorite exercises, it’s a much easier way to get me moving. For me, this usually means squats, push-ups, burpees, lunges & sit-ups because it hits all the major body parts: legs, upper body, core & cardio. Another favorite is a countdown workout where I’ll do 50 jumping jacks, 40 high knees, 30 squats, 20 push-ups and 10 burpees. I’ll do that circuit as many times in 15-20 minutes as I can. A couple of really accessible workouts I recommend involve a stationary bike or a jump rope because of ease of use and low cost.

4 // Stairs!

Stairs are one of my favorite ways to get movement in while getting to be outside. I love them because there are so many different ways to use them – you can walk up and down them, jog up and down them, hop up and down them, skip stairs, wide step, etc. I usually like to do a stair circuit and then a bodyweight circuit and repeat until my allotted time is up. Check out these posts for suggestions: San Francisco Stair Workout and Stair and Total Body Circuits

sam vander wielen diy legal templates health coach resources fitness

5 // Find free outdoor fitness classes near where you live or work.

I know that in the Boston area, there are TONS of free fitness classes happening on various days all over the city. The program with the biggest amount of free classes is called Seaport Sweat and I absolutely LOVE getting to teach two classes a week through it! You get to be outside, sweating with friends and it’s FREE – doesn’t get much better than that!

If you’re not in the Boston area, I would suggest doing a quick google search because I’m sure there are similar types of free classes in other cities, too. 

{editorial note from Sam: if you’re from Philly, here are tons of free outdoor workouts!}

sam vander wielen diy legal templates health coach resources fitness

There you have it! If you’re like me and don’t have the ability (or desire!) to spend hours a day in the gym but still want to be active, I hope you’ve found these suggestions for how this can be achieved helpful!

Fitness doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment, expensive or something you dread. For it to stick and for it to be sustainable in your life, you need to find out what works for you, and if you’re finding that the gym is just not working for you because of the time and/or money commitment it requires, I hope you try some of my suggestions in this post.

Big thanks to Sam for asking me to guest blog!


Thank you so much, Monique! I was so happy to have you here. I absolutely love to workout because, at least for me, motion totally changes my emotions. As someone who has a touch-and-go relationship with anxiety, it’s key to helping me manage my day-to-day stress and emotions. 

But I also don’t have hours to spend per day in the gym. So these suggestions are spot on! As someone who’s transitioned to working from home these days, I’ve definitely gotten creative with movement and started exercise quick bursts. I take lots of short walks, stretch, or do a set of 10 pushups or some jumping jacks to move. 

What do you guys think of Monique’s tips? What are some ways you could get in more movement to your day that doesn’t put you in the gym for hours? 

xo – Sam

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