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The Joy of Fitness At Home

About 20 years ago, I decided to give up my gym membership. This was a hard decision to make, because the gym had been such an important part of my life for so long (nearly 15 years). But the truth was, I just wasn’t enjoying going there anymore. Once I fully realized this, the choice to leave was easy! So I cut the ties and ventured out to find my own fitness life.

I felt a sense of freedom and excitement, but I had a big question. How can I maintain my fitness without access to fancy gym equipment, and the fitness classes I had become accustomed to? At that time, I didn’t have any exercise equipment at home, other than a yoga mat and a strap for stretching. 

First years of no-gym fitness

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I decided the best place to start was walking and hiking. I had always loved these activities, but going to the gym hadn’t left me much free time to do it. So this became my main source of exercise, along with daily stretching. At that time, I was fortunate enough to live right next to a nature preserve. All I had to do was literally walk across my parking lot to a trailhead! When I was spending so much time at the gym, I didn’t have much time to go hiking. But with my newly found freedom, I could go hiking any time I wanted to. I also lived in a nice neighborhood, so I had a choice of many different walking routes. 

For quite a while, walking and hiking were my daily exercise activities. I thought I would miss the gym, but I really didn’t. I was getting so much enjoyment from just moving my body out in nature! It was great to breathe the fresh air, and to watch and listen to the birds and other animals on my daily walks and hikes. 

Making changes

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After a few years though, I started to miss lifting weights. I knew I couldn’t afford to buy a bunch of equipment (and didn’t really have the space to set up an entire home gym). But I could at least afford a pair of 5 lb dumbbells, so I started there. Then a few months later Christmas came around, and I asked for a pair of 8 lb dumbbells. So this was the start of equipping myself to begin doing strength training at home. 

I started doing some of the exercises I used to do at the gym, and it felt good to be challenging my muscles again in that way. But I started to kind of miss having some direction in my fitness. 

One day I was at the library, and it suddenly occurred to me to check the DVD section to see if there were any exercise videos. And sure enough, there were many! I borrowed a couple that looked interesting, and this began my journey of working out to exercise videos. Every couple of weeks I would go back and get different ones, and pretty soon I found my favorite instructors, and would get their videos specifically. I was having so much fun doing the video workouts! It was almost like taking classes at the gym, but without the hassle of having to drive and be there at a certain time. Any time I wanted to, I could pop in a video and have a great workout! 

I got into a routine of alternating days of cardio or strength video workouts, and doing my walks/hikes. I even started purchasing my own exercise DVD’s, and built up my own home library.  This workout routine worked really well for me for a good number of years. 

Discovering online fitness

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Exercise has been such a huge passion of mine all my adult life, and I have always loved reading and researching all the different aspects of fitness. I remember the time I first found out about HIIT (high intensity interval training) in an article online, and I was very intrigued. There had been a lot of studies done, and there were apparently lots of benefits to this type of training. The more I read, the more excited I was to try a HIIT workout!

 In one article there was a link to a video workout. I clicked on it, and it took me to a YouTube video. This was in 2015, and believe it or not, I had actually NEVER been on YouTube before! The workout looked really good, and it seemed so different from any other type of cardio training I had ever done. I tried it out the next morning, and LOVED it! 

So it was that first HIIT workout on YouTube that introduced me to a whole new type of training, and also opened up a new (for me!) way of accessing workout videos. Gone were the days of checking out exercise DVDs from the library. All I had to do was get out my laptop, and literally thousands of workouts were available to me, at my fingertips! 

Today

Now 8 years later in 2023, HIIT is still my favorite type of training, for both cardio and strength. And YouTube is still my primary source for workout videos. Over the years, I have tried many different workouts on YouTube and narrowed my list of favorite instructors to just a few. 

There are A LOT of people making YouTube workout videos, but not everyone is qualified to teach exercise safely! The few instructors that I follow are very highly qualified and experienced in their field, and I always know I am in safe hands whenever I workout with them. Of course, besides being safe, a workout has to be fun and effective too! I am happy to have found my favorite exercise instructors on YouTube that I have been working out with for a number of years now. 

Even though the gym eventually lost its appeal for me, it wasn’t the end of my fitness journey. On the contrary, it was a new beginning and a fresh start! Giving up my gym membership gave me the opportunity to branch out on my own, to find my own way of staying fit. 

I absolutely LOVE working out at home! It gives me the freedom and flexibility to do the kind of workouts I like, whatever day and time I feel like doing them. What could be better than that?

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and/or questions in the comments below.

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