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I was talking to someone the other day who was telling me about their struggle to lose weight. There was a turning point in our conversation in which this person got emotional and said to me “I just wish I loved working out.” It took literally all my willpower to not roll my eyes, and tell this person a few of my opinions.

  1. I think very few people love the actual process of working out, they like the results and the way it makes them feel.

  2. Many people who struggle to lose weight struggle with their diet, and don’t need a drastically different fitness routine.

  3. The healthiest people I know live by a maximum: you don’t need to go to the gym to work out.

Especially if you dislike the environment of the gym. The uncomfortable forced conversations, the sterile smell of alcohol wipes and that one guy who insists on jumping in between sets. I get it, truly I do. I can’t stand those things. So, I have had to find ways to sweat without the stress of shared company.

Don’t take these suggestions as the end all be all of ways to move, but as tips that have helped me not only to get but stay healthier than when I was confined to the walls of a gym.

For the love of the game. 

If you’re anything like me, the first time you fell in love with a form of movement, it was a game. I played sports all of my life, so it was weird for me when one day it just stopped. Find yourself a league, play pick up games with friends or join a local Facebook group which connects people with common interests to shared events. From soccer to basketball, you can almost always find pick up games with competitive levels for everyone. Be sure to stretch though, no pulled hammies!

Need a little assistance? Cycling is growing in popularity at a crazy pace. 

From road to gravel and of course, mountain biking, participation has reached a fever pitch with bike brands selling out of their recent models in mere minutes. The technological advances are also impressive, making bikes lighter, faster and in some cases electric. E-bike models deliver a customizable level of pedal assist and are available across a wide array of bikes including road, gravel and MTB. These bikes will hurt you, well your face, from all of the smiling. You can climb higher, faster and reserve your energy for other things. Purists will say it’s cheating, but it will be hard to hear them as they will be so far behind eating your dust.

Take a walk. 

Walking has long been looked down on as an exercise for old people or pregnant women. Walking has numerous benefits, especially when done first thing in the morning. First and foremost, just getting out into the sun can align your circadian rhythms and allow ample exposure for vitamin D absorption. Second, walks are shown to boost creativity and increase productivity. So the next time you need to take a call, and can afford the luxury of being off video, throw in the headphones and go for a walk. If you need more of a challenge, throw a weighted vest on or grab a light pair of dumbbells and go for a walk. Start the day with a walk, finish the day with a walk or just be sure to walk after your largest meal of the day. You’ll be shocked at how much better you feel.

Stand For Something, Sup? No, SUP.

As in stand up paddleboarding. Have you ever heard of it? Of course you have, it’s what Instagram dreams are made of. And it’s a great way to get a workout in while taking in a beautiful view. Paddleboarding is a great core and arm workout and you can bust out a few miles per hour if you move at a good pace. In fact, the Apple Watch has an activity sensor especially for SUP. Plus, there are a lot of benefits to standing for an extended period of time on a paddleboard, including working on the strength and stability of the balancing muscles of your feet, ankles and hips. Need more reasons? Check out this article by Guy Fattal about how SUPing helped him reconnect with nature.

Find a New Game.

I have always wanted to play tennis, but have lacked the skills necessary to really rally with other players. That’s when I found pickle ball. Played on a much smaller court, with small paddles and a wiffle ball, this game is fast paced and fun and anyone can play it. But my point here isn’t that you should play pickle ball, but that you should try new things. Say yes when that one weird friend asks you to do something you’ve never done before. From frisbee golf to white water rafting, there is an endless array of activities to take advantage of. Take lessons, play with the pros and take a chance on a new activity that can pull you out of your fitness funk.

So there you have it, you don’t need a gym to sweat, it’s just important that you get a move on!

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