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Exercise Program for Non-Gym Goers

Even though gym is the ‘in’ thing nowadays, it is not for everybody. Therefore, I dedicate this post to those who do not intend to sign up for gym but wants to be fit:

1. Conduct your own research

  • If you have cable TV that has exercise programs on it, check it out.
  • You can go to bookstores, internet or library to browse on the types of exercise programs available.
  • Once you have identifed the type of exercises that suits you, you can browse in YouTube to get visuals on how the exercise works- just to ensure you do not do it wrongly.
  • You can also purchase some exercise tapes once you check out exercises that you like as one downside of YouTube is that you cannot download the videos.

2. Plan your exercise program
After you have conducted your research, you can now proceed to plan your own exercise program.
Your exercise program should be realistic & with good variety:

  • not too intensive that you get discouraged and give up easily
  • not to relaxed- that you will not lose any weight at all and end up feeling more negative about yourself.
  • variety will stop you from becoming bored with your program.

During the initial stage, you may want to start with 3 times of 1-2 hours exercise per session or break it down to 5- 6 times of half hour each.

3. Be disciplined

  • the success of your exercise program depends on how disciplined you are. After a while of repeated slips up and self made excuses, it’s really easy to give up and resort back to your inactive ways. After all, you do not have reminders that you are literally burning your hard earned money if you do not show up at the gym.
  • There are many people who do not go to the gym and are very fit & healthy. You can see these people at your normal hiking trails and parks. Years ago, when I was still studying in Penang, I used to spend the evenings hiking up a popular hill area. There, I see uncles, more than double my age, hiking up the hills with literally no effort at all. They love exercise and they love the nature.
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4. Get exercise buddies

  • Ask around for colleagues or friends who really like to exercise or play games such as badminton, squash, futsal.
  • Plan to meet in parks and jogging trails. You can motivate each other to train towards a marathon, long distance cycling trip, mountain climbing, etc. I have seen cycling groups and a few of my friends are avid mountain climbers- they don’t go to gym but they practice by going for hiking and jogging.

5. Don’t sabotage yourself- watch your diet

  • the calories that you burn while exercising on your own (unless you are a long distance marathon runner) will tend to be less compared to the same time you spend at the gym. Why? Take a look at running at the park vs running on the treadmill. Treadmill has preadjusted speed- if you plan to run 10 minutes at 8km per hour, you cannot slow down on a treadmill or else you will risk tripping. But if you run alone at the park or in your neighbourhood, you have to slow down to avoid the car, check and cross the road or avoid running into other joggers.
  • An example I wanted to share is my brother- he was jogging around the neighbourhood for more than a year- and he did not lose much weight. But the moment he joined a gym, he lost 10kg within 5 months and looks much leaner
  • So, make sure you watch your diet. It does not mean that you can help yourself to a plate of fried noodles or nasi kandar after an half hour hike on the hill. You really need to have more self restraint and work on portion control if you want to see results.
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Sample: My exercise program

The following is something that I might plan if I decide to quit the gym. Use your creativity and expand on the exercises that you want. I will invest in some dumbells and Swiss Ball if I am exercising at home.

Monday:

  • Morning: rest day
  • Evening: turn on my YouTube dance playlist and dance away (1hr). Else, will alternate with some exercise tapes (tae bo and active moving).

Tuesday:

  • Evening: Go walking with my colleague- a colleague of mine have been trying to put up the evening walks sessions for friends after work. If it rains and could not make it, will come back and do some Pilates exercises while watch TV

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday:

  • Morning: watch Discovery H&H (exercise shows starts at 4.30am)- if get up late, then switch to MTVs and do yoga/aerobic dancing (duration: 1.5hrs to 2hrs)
  • Evening: Pilates or yoga while watching TV (1/2 hr)

Friday:

  • Morning: if feel tired, then will do some streching or light yoga (maybe sun salutation exercise for 20 repetitions).

Saturday:

Morning/Evening: organise with friends to go to park for hiking/walking. Else, can also organise as a family outing with family members to the park, club or swimming pool.

Sunday: Optional. But try to squeeze in some time for at least 1/2 hour of Pilates or yoga.

The intensity of the exercises above is a lot lesser than what I am currently doing in the gym. So, I will need to watch my carbs intake and stick to light dinners- should be alright for me as I am used to not eating rice for my meals.

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