how to get fit without using the gym

5 ways to get fit without using the gym

how to get fit without using the gym
The gym isn’t always an option, whether its due to time, cost or other circumstances. However, you don’t always need the gym to stay fit and active!

Here are some alternatives to using the gym that will help you maintain and improve your fitness!


Use Home Workouts

Many of the best workouts used by the military and athletes are bodyweight exercises that can be performed by just about anyone with enough space, without the need for gym equipment.

The beauty of these workouts is they can be tailored to suit your goals, whether it’s cardio or strength you’re trying to improve or both!

They can also be completed in a short space of time. Rather than spending time walking between equipment like you would at a big corporate gym, these exercises can be done from your living room.


Here’s an example of a whole-body workout from our very own Security and Compliance Officer, and former military instructor Mick Hillman!


how to get fit without using the gym

Whole-body workout

30 seconds for each exercise, repeat the circuit 3 times*

  1. Press Ups
  2. Star Jumps
  3. Crunches
  4. Lunges
  5. Leg Raises
  6. Toe Taps
  7. Half Sits
  8. Burpees
  9. Tricep Dips
  10. Dorsal Raises


Perform each exercise one after the other with no rest.

*The length of time for each exercise and the number of times you perform the circuit can be changed to suit you! It could be 20 seconds or 45 or more if you prefer.

How many times you perform this workout during the week is up to you, however you should look to improve in some way on the last time you performed the circuit! So, if you performed each exercise for 20 seconds and completed the workout, aim for 25 or 30 seconds the next time.


Alternatively, you might want to split your home workout routine into different workouts for different days for different areas of the body to improve strength.

Here’s an example of an upper body workout.

how to stay fit without using the gym

Upper Body Workout

Perform each exercise with a 1-minute rest between sets.

  1. Push ups

5 sets of as many reps as you can perform

  1. Dorsal Raises

5 sets of 8 reps

  1. Shoulder Taps

5 sets of 10 reps (tap each shoulder 10 times)

  1. Shoulder Press Up

5 sets of as many reps as you can perform

  1. Single Arm Doorframe Row

5 sets of 20 reps (20 reps with each side)


Again, this workout can be tailored to suit your level. Regardless, aim to improve on the last time you performed the routine!

Finding a bodyweight exercise to target the bicep muscle is difficult unless you have a chin up bar to hand. This is where you might need to buy some simple equipment to help you along, which can be bought relatively cheaply. We go into a bit more detail about this further on in this article!


Here’s an example of a lower body workout you can perform at home.


how to get fit without using the gym

Lower Body Workout

Perform each exercise with a 1-minute rest between sets.

  1. Squats

5 sets of as many reps as you can perform

  1. Climbers

3 sets of 20 reps for each side

  1. Side Leg Raises

5 sets of 10 reps for each side

  1. Glute Bridges

5 sets of 20 reps

  1. Lunge Step Ups

5 sets of 10 reps for each side

  1. Donkey Kicks

5 sets of 10 reps for each side


Try these routines out and tailor them to suit you! Then, look to improve on them each time you perform them. Each routine shouldn’t take too much time out of your day and will definitely improve your strength and fitness!



Use YouTube and Online Video for Workouts

300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. There’s also a huge fitness community on YouTube as well as Instagram.

There are millions of hours of high-quality fitness content available through both YouTube and Instagram, with videos out there for just about any area of fitness!

If you want to know how to perform a certain exercise, there’s a tutorial out there for it.

If you’ve got a specific training goal in mind or a specific event you’re working towards, chances are there’s something on YouTube or Instagram for you.

The age of fitness DVD’s is over, utilise sites like YouTube and Instagram to find a workout or set of workout routines to follow to suit you!


Cycle to Work!


Cycling to work is a great way to incorporate exercise into your day!

While it may make your commute longer if you travel in by car or public transport, incorporating exercising into your journey to work means you don’t have to use your evenings or lunch break for exercise.

As an exercise itself, it’s a great lower body workout and is also great for cardio depending on your route and the intensity at which you cycle.

You can also use apps like Strava to tailor your route to and from work. If you’re more of a beginner, start by planning an easier route with Strava and build up to more difficult routes with more hills and climbs. By doing this, you’ll continually improve your leg strength and endurance.

For cycling home, there’s more scope for introducing longer, more challenging rides, particularly in the summer months when the evenings are lighter for longer.

The only thing to consider in this case is the weather. You can of course weatherproof yourself for those rainy days and there’s plenty of cycling equipment out there to help you with this.

Another concern for many when it comes to cycling is the cost of a bike. However, while the cost saving through fuel will pay for the bike itself over the long-term, there’s also ways of reducing the cost of buying the bike in the first place.

The Bike to Work Scheme, which we offer through our Salary Extras employee benefits platform, gives employees the option to save up to 42% on the cost of a brand-new bike and accessories, while spreading the cost too. You can find out more about the scheme here.

Lots of employees recommend our bike scheme to their employers. To recommend our scheme to your employer, simply direct them to our Contact Us page or ask them to contact us on or call us on 0333 2000 104.


Join a Club

Joining a club for your chosen exercise might seem a little daunting at first, particularly if you’re a beginner. However, there are loads of benefits to joining a club and it’s simple and easy to do.

If you’re looking to get into a cycling club for example, expect to learn from others who are at different levels of experience when it comes to cycling.

You’ll hear of stories from those who have taken a similar path to progression as you are about to take, and you’ll pick up plenty of tips and expert advice along the way!

You’ll also meet people who are on a similar skill and experience level to you with similar goals. Working towards a target gets a little easier when you’ve got a training partner to aim for them with!

Joining a club also generally makes the exercise more enjoyable. If you’re struggling or need to push yourself that little bit further, having someone to motivate you rather than having to motivate yourself can make things a little easier and help you achieve that little bit more!


Exercise clubs or groups can be found through Facebook or through more dedicated platforms like

You can also use fitness apps like Strava to connect with clubs and people in your local area interested in your chosen exercise.

You can also use the England Athletics website or other similar platforms to find a club local to you!


how to get fit without using the gym

Use Home Equipment

Remember the home workouts we mentioned earlier? They can be made more effective using some simple and inexpensive equipment.

For example, a set of dumbbells are simple to get a hold of and can help you step up your workouts.

Resistance bands are also a very cheap and simple way to add something more to your workouts and are used by professional and Olympic athletes.


If you want to step up your workouts even more, you can get a workout bench and a barbell and set up a mini home gym.

For cycling, you can get a turbotrainer that is relatively inexpensive to hook your bike up to that can be used from home.

If you’ve got a bigger budget, an exercise bike could be a great investment!

You might not even need to pay for a brand-new exercise bike if you’ve got friends or family you could borrow one from.

By working out and exercising at home you can create your ideal environment. Some people find setting up the turbotrainer or exercise bike in front of the TV works best for them. For some, headphones and a workout bench are much better. Either way, in your own home you’re free to set up your environment however you like!


The gym is great, but it isn’t always a necessity! Try some of these out and set out a plan for yourself that works around your schedule and suits you.

If you’re looking to use cycling as a way to keep fit instead of using the gym, and you’re interested in getting your company set up with a Bike to Work Scheme, get in touch!


Looking for a comprehensive employee benefits platform? We’ve got you covered.

If you liked this article, check us out on TwitterLinkedIn & Facebook for more!