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Hate the gym? Try these options

Brinda Sapat | March 01, 2006

Is your gym training getting too boring for you?

Are you looking for an alternative exercise routine?

Try these fun workout options that may be more your style. 

Before we begin, it's important to know there are three types of workouts that MUST be part of your training routine. The absence of even one will result in a lack of complete fitness and prevent you from reaching your fitness goal.

image ~ Cardiovascular workout

This is the one where you get your heart pumping at a high rate and break into a sweat.

~ Strength training

This works on your muscular strength and endurance levels. It includes exercises done on the spot using weights or other resistance equipment such as tubing, ball, bands (these are resistance equipments you can get in any sports shop; they will generally carry a description of how they can be used, or you can get more information online), etc.

~ Stretching

A stretching routine is done towards the end of your workout to ease the muscles and, more important, improve overall flexibility.

Cardiovasular workout options


Walk three to four times a week for 20 minutes to begin with if you have never done it before. Then, gradually build it up to 60 minutes.

Try to increase the time by five minutes every week. The pace should be brisk. You need to walk slowly for the first five minutes to warm up, and then pick up pace.

You can walk on a treadmill at home, or outdoors in a park where you can breathe fresh air.

Make sure you wear walking shoes and walk on an even surface. Avoid the roads and pavements.

Make it MORE fun: Take along some brisk music to play on your Walkman.

Walk with a friend, but walk in opposite directions meeting once in every lap, since your pace won't be the same.


image Swimming is a great cardiovascular workout since it is water-based and requires more strength and stamina. Also, it is the best form of exercise for those suffering from joint problems (bad backs, knees, arthritis, etc).

Swim three to four times a week for a minimum of 20 minutes to start off with. Make sure you don't stop between laps.

Remember, you want to keep your heart rate up. Like walking, increase the time by five minutes every week and swim at a faster than comfortable pace.

Warm up by swimming slowly the first five minutes.

Make it MORE fun: Try an aqua aerobics class or water aerobics; there are clubs that offer these facilities.

Group exercise classes

Better known as 'aerobics' classes, this is one of the most fun ways to workout. Do a 60-minute class three times a week. This form of workout is sure to get you moving at an intense pace.

Most studios will offer different levels of classes -- beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Start off with a beginner level class and move on as you gain stamina and are able to do the moves with ease.

Look out for a class that gives you three different workouts in one week. This way, your body continues to respond and you don't get bored.

Kickboxing, salsa aerobics, hip-hop, spinning, step (these are different forms of cardiovascular workouts) and cardio circuits (these are different types of workouts offered in a group exercise class) are just a few of the wide variety of exercises you can choose from.

Make it MORE fun: Get your friends to sign up for the same classes.

Home exercise videos

If you prefer to exercise alone in the comfort of your home, exercise videos are a good option.

It is best to order them from international companies through their web sites. Check the instructor description to ensure the instructors are certified. Pick a basic aerobics video to start off with.

Get two or three different workout videos so that your workout doesn't get monotonous. Make sure you choose the correct level -- beginner, intermediate or advanced.

Workout three times a week.

Aerobics workout must be done on wooden or carpeted flooring, wearing aerobics shoes, to avoid joint injuries.

Make it MORE fun: Get your neighbour/ friend to workout with you.

Note: Any sport such as tennis, football, cricket etc is NOT a cardiovascular workout since the pace is not sustained continually for 30 minutes.

Strength training options

image Home exercise videos

There is an enormous variety to choose from. This includes a basic body toning video, to tubing workouts, ball workouts, weight training, to the more elaborate ones such as core board training. These are all body toning workouts that challenge the muscles using these different pieces of equipment. You can do a search online to see what each is about.

Do a search online (this is an example) and read the description of each video carefully.

Again, order two to three different workouts. Make sure one includes weight training. Do this workout three times a week.

You will need to invest in equipment that is required according to the type of workout you purchase.

Group exercise classes

Again, a real fun way to strength train is in a group setting. Body Toning, Body Conditioning, Strength Training, Body shaping are all names of classes that address strength training.

The classes in most studios will include working with a variety of equipment such as weights, tubing, bands and balls.

Different kinds of workouts are conducted three times a week such as Power Pump, Circuit Training, The Ball, Rep Reebok, Partner Workouts and more.

Again, make sure you choose a class that gives you this variety all three days of the week.

Personal training

If you prefer one-on-one training, a personal trainer is your answer. You can get in touch with a trainer through a reputed gym.

They will make you do different kinds of strength training workouts. Start off with two to three sessions a week.

Make sure the trainer you hire is certified and get references from people before you hire him/ her.

You will need to invest in equipment the trainer recommends.

Make it MORE fun: Get a friend to exercise with you. That way you can save on cost and you can enjoy yourself more.


imageStretching goes hand in hand with strength training workouts.

It is done at the end of a workout for about 15 minutes. The stretches go according to the muscles worked in that particular workout.

However, if you would further like to improve your flexibility, a yoga class or videos on stretching exercises will be of help.


Now that we have options for cardiovascular and strength exercise and stretch training, let's see the possible combinations.

~ You can do cardiovascular and strength training on the same or alternate days, depending on how comfortable you are with it.

~ Walking three days a week + home strength training video OR personal training OR group strength training exercise class three days a week.

~ Swimming three days a week + home strength training video OR personal training OR group strength training exercise class three days a week.

~ Group exercise classes three days a week + home strength training video OR personal training OR group strength training exercise class three days a week.

~ Home exercise video three days a week + home strength training video OR personal training OR group strength training exercise class three days a week.

For ideal exercise benefits, change the combination of exercise every few months. That way your body will not plateau and you will continue to see changes in your body and fitness level.

Brinda Sapat is a fitness trainer, currently running classes at Gold's Gym, Napean Sea Road. Certified with Training Zone & Progressive Fitness (USA), she has been a group exercise instructor for the last nine years.

Are you a fitness freak? Like to discuss your exercise programme with other fitness wallahs? Join the Gym Lovers Discussion Group

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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: it is very good method to be fit

i felt really happy after reading this article we can be fit even without any gym we have just follow these rules

Posted by rajnikanth

Sub: very informative

Thanks a million..It was very informative..Iam too lazy but after reading this i really feel I can do it..I will..Have to pull by husband too.. ...

Posted by Sonia David

Sub: cant loose it

hi i have a very odd problem. every time i start loosing wt. it starts increasing atleast 5 kgs each time. now i m 95 ...

Posted by gagandeep singh

Sub: Time to generate awareness

As the Present life style of young generation is becomoing more and more prone to sitting in office and watching TV on home this is ...

Posted by Puneet Saini


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