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The gym wasn't right for me - so what did I do instead?

Are you struggling to find time to get exercise into your daily routine? Whether it be time constraint, financial limitations, or fear of public gyms. I understand!

As a busy sole entrepreneur, I have struggled with finding time for exercise over the years. As well as, having "gym phobia", I was determined to find SOMETHING that works for me. I'm sharing my story with you all to hopefully inspire you to find what works for you! Read on for my tips and tricks to leading a healthier life.

Wandering about:

First, I had tried the 24/7, come-and-go, do-your-own-thing gyms. I would arrive with my gym shoes, water bottle, and a exercise plan in my head. As soon as I walked through those doors, anxiety would sink in and that perfectly plotted plan went flying out the window. I wound up wandering from machine to machine not fully focused. I was more concerned with who was watching {judging} me than getting a workout even started! {Gym-phobia} I would end up leaving the gym without even exercising. So not only was this a complete waste of my very limited time, but it wasn't an effective form of exercise for me.

Organized agony:

Next, I thought I would try the organized exercise class thing. My gym-phobia was purely the result of thinking everybody was judging what I was doing in the gym. But in an exercise class, we all are doing the same thing so nobody should judge me {This is how my brain works anyway}. It somewhat worked for me, I had less anxiety in a class setting because

A) the instructor was telling us what to do {no more wandering, not sure what to do}.

B) everybody was doing the same exercise so we all "looked" the same.

I didn't love it, but it was better than the first option I tried. Ultimately, the class setting didn't work out for me due to TIME. My schedule is so limited I couldn't make it to 90% of the classes offered. It came down to me making it to just one or two classes a week. Obviously, this wasn't working well for me either.

X Marks the Spot:

Between the time factor and gym-phobia I was at a loss what to try next. I had bought the at-home exercise DVDs in the past, but was looking for something more. But decided that working out at home was probably the best option for me. One day, I stumbled onto YouTube and searched for workouts. Behold the Holy Grail! I pressed play on the first video I found and got the best workout I had gotten...maybe ever! I was hooked! I could workout on my own time, when it works best for me; and I was in the privacy of my own home! No more anxiety! Best of all, it's FREE!

How I got started:

I first started out doing videos that used strictly bodyweight movements, because A) I was a beginner and needed to start slow and small B) I didn't have any equipment besides some 5lb hand weights. I was surprised how sore I was after doing bodyweight exercises! I really thought I needed to lift weights or run to feel any kind of soreness the next day. I was wonderfully proven wrong!

Now, time was still a factor for me, I was only working out 3 days a week, but it was effective for me! I finally was moving, sweating, and finishing workouts! This was new territory for me.

How I do it:

Commonly asked question

"How do you find motivation to work out at home?"


I found something I love to do and it WORKS for ME! Working out at home isn't for everyone, but when you find something you enjoy doing, you will WANT to do it! These online workouts are so fun for me, that I crave it! Now I am human, and I do have my days where I just do not feel like exercising after a long day on my feet. That's when I turn to Pinterest or Instagram and search for inspiration. These social media platforms are incredibly positive for me with endless inspiring posts! I actually do not follow anybody I personally know on Instagram- by choice! I choose to follow people who post their

exercises, healthy recipes, and other health inspiring posts! Now be careful of Pinterest! There are plenty of other images on Pinterest that can derail you from your next workout. When I open the app, I quickly click past the doughnuts and sugar packed recipes and go directly to the search bar for "fitspo" or "workouts." Life is all about mindset!

What I do:

I suggest creating a YouTube account- if you have a gmail account already you can just use that! What I did was then create playlists to categorize workouts. So I have playlists titled:

  • Abs (all ab videos go here)

  • Lower body (all lower body videos go here)

And so on and so forth. This helps speed up the process for me when I go to choose which exercise I want to do that day. If my legs are still sore from two days ago I'll go find an upper body video from the appropriate playlist. I used to have it all saved under Favorites and wound up scrolling through tons of videos which didn't help my OCD brain or time management!

What videos are my favorite?



I enjoyed POPSUGAR in the beginning of my fitness journey, but found they got too "easy." So I personally believe they are a great beginner option. Currently, Fitness Blender is my absolute favorite channel for workout videos! I prefer their format over other channels and Kelli always leaves me sore for a few days! Most of BodyRock videos are still just too hard for me to do, but they still make the list!


I haven't actually tried any of the BeachBody Programs, but I have talked with many who have and they love them! BeachBody is the company that put out Insanity and P90X. You can still order the DVDs, but now BeachBody offers an OnDemand Program. You buy a year membership and have access to all their programs! There are a few different membership options, but the most common option is a 12 month plan for $99 +tax. That is a great deal when some of their DVD packages are $70-$100. BeachBody also has nutrition help on their website. Find healthy recipes to get you out of a cooking rut!

Attention Spin Lovers:

I absolutely love indoor Spin Class! After taking a class 7 years ago, I was hooked! But I always struggled with finding a class that fit into my schedule, so I decided to purchase a bike for home. Unfortunately, I was not as disciplined when it comes to spin exercises. So after years of having my bike collect dust from non-use, I was relieved to hear about the Peloton app. My client told me about it- it's an app where you can watch live or on-demand spin classes that take place in real life at a gym in New York. I tried it once and will never turn back! It's incredibly affordable at $13/month, which is a great deal when you compare it to local drop-in rates and/or memberships.

My advice to you:

If you've tried all the things I've tried and they aren't working for you either, consider looking into the home workout option! If you really can't see yourself sticking with it, maybe look into getting a personal trainer at the gym. Or I have heard of people going to the gym and doing a YouTube or BeachBody video there. Some people need to get out of the house to have the motivation to exercise.

I reached a point in my fitness journey where I needed to step things up a level and needed some equipment. I have a tiny house (840 sq. feet) so I can certainly relate to the space issue, but I got creative. I discreetly store everything behind my sectional couch and just pull it out every time I go to use it. Sure, I would love a home gym and keep everything set up all the time, but I don't have that luxury...yet. So for the time being, I work with what I've got.

Here is a list of useful equipment that I've slowly gathered over the years.

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