How to exercise when you hate the gym

Ever since I first came to college, one of the things I’ve had the toughest time with is getting myself to exercise. I set some form of an “exercise more” goal every time I do some goal setting, but it’s often the goal I falter on the most. A lot of my friends will go for runs outside or trek to our campus rec center for a cardio and weightlifting session. I’m always amazed by people who have the motivation to make it there because, truth be told, I hate working out at the gym. I don’t like running, I don’t like weightlifting, I don’t like playing ball sports. Despite my constant struggles, I think I’ve cracked the code this semester on how to motivate myself enough to actually exercise more. I’m not sure if there’s anyone else that hates the gym like I do, but if you also hate working out in the traditional sense, you’re in luck. In this week’s post, I’ve got my best tips for motivating yourself to exercise when you hate the gym.

It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you don't like going to the gym. Here are my tips on creative ways to get around your gym aversion! | HOW TO EXERCISE WHEN YOU HATE THE GYM | HONEYBEE JOYOUS

{These are four ideas for some unconventional ways to get your body moving! Leave me a comment below telling me which tip is your favorite. If you have another suggestion, leave it in the comments too! I’d love to hear from you.}

1. Just walk!

One of my favorite ways to exercise is to just go for a walk. Whether it’s around campus, in Colonial Williamsburg (which is right next to my school and is awesome!), or in the woods around campus, walking is a super underrated form of exercise. Walking is a form of exercise that’s great for all ages and can help keep you fit without trying too hard.

I walk everywhere on my campus because it’s fairly small and I don’t have a car and all that walking has definitely kept me more in shape than I would be otherwise. If your campus isn’t super walkable (or if you’re just looking for a change), try finding a nearby hiking trail and take a friend exploring. You could even walk laps of your local mall! Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise to do when you hate going to the gym because all you need is a comfy pair of shoes and an adventurous spirit.

It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you don't like going to the gym. Here are my tips on creative ways to get around your gym aversion! | HOW TO EXERCISE WHEN YOU HATE THE GYM | HONEYBEE JOYOUS

 

2. Exercise somewhere that makes you feel comfortable

Maybe you don’t dislike the gym because you dislike traditional forms of working out. Maybe you dislike going because you just don’t feel comfortable in that environment. It can be hard to be in a place full of other people working out, especially when you’re just getting started. Some people find that atmosphere motivating, but I think it can definitely also be intimidating.

If that’s the case for you, I think moving your exercise to a location that makes you feel comfortable is your best bet. That might mean doing sit ups, push ups, planks, and stretches in your dorm room. It might mean doing yoga on a lonely dock by the lake. It might mean bringing some handheld weights to a little clearing you found on your walk in the woods. It might even mean doing stair work in your favorite lecture hall after classes are done for the night.

Whatever it means for you, instead of adjusting your workout to being in a public place like the gym, try taking your workout to a place you already love.

It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you don't like going to the gym. Here are my tips on creative ways to get around your gym aversion! | HOW TO EXERCISE WHEN YOU HATE THE GYM | HONEYBEE JOYOUS

 

3. Take a class or join a club

This tip is what really did it for me this semester. I grew up both dancing at a studio and doing color guard all year round. My predominant form of exercise for most of my life has been attending some sort of dance class. I realized that what I was really missing in my college workouts was the element of instruction I was accustomed to receiving.  I find it a lot easier to motivate myself to work out when I don’t just have to rely on myself — there’s somebody else there to help me be my healthiest self.

For some people, that might lead them to hiring a personal trainer, but I don’t have the money or like weightlifting enough for that. For me, this revelation meant signing up for Modern Dance when I was scheduling classes. I know a graded dance class isn’t necessarily for everyone, but I realized that this was going to be the best way to motivate myself to exercise. I’d be doing something I loved and there would be consequences if I didn’t show up for class.

If you don’t want to (or can’t) take an actual class, your school’s rec center or your local gym might actually offer some fitness classes. I’d recommend checking those out. These days, gyms are offering classes in everything from Zumba to Barre to Cardio Dance. Having an instructor and classmates can be a really motivating force for those of us who are accustomed to getting our exercise through a class format.

If that still isn’t for you, try checking out the clubs and organizations at your school. My school has multiple dance clubs including ones for salsa, swing, ballroom, modern, a wide variety of traditional dances from different cultures, and more. There’s also a yoga club, a running club, and a huge variety of club sports. Maybe inserting yourself into a team type atmosphere is just the motivation you need to start working out!

It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you don't like going to the gym. Here are my tips on creative ways to get around your gym aversion! | HOW TO EXERCISE WHEN YOU HATE THE GYM | HONEYBEE JOYOUS

 

4. Get creative.

If none of the above tips appeal to you, get creative! Make use of your surroundings and adapt your exercise routine to them. Maybe there’s a crazy staircase on your campus that you can do some cardio on. Maybe your dorm’s study lounge is always empty in the mornings and the chairs are the perfect height to be a makeshift barre. Maybe your apartment has a balcony that’s the perfect size for you to do yoga on. Sometimes just getting your creative juices flowing can be a motivating force in and of itself. Think of an exercise you like to do, think of a cool way you can adapt it to the places you have available to you, and go out and do it!

It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you don't like going to the gym. Here are my tips on creative ways to get around your gym aversion! | HOW TO EXERCISE WHEN YOU HATE THE GYM | HONEYBEE JOYOUS

 

{What’s your favorite way to exercise? Tell me in a comment down below!}

  • Love this post! Ever since I moved back home to NY, I’ve been walking miles each day. I’m also planning to get a yoga mat and do at-home workouts and yoga since I’m a more private person by nature. Great read!
    -Emily
    http://norepeatsorhesitations.com

    • Thanks for reading Emily! That sounds like a great plan. And being in a place where driving is hard/inefficient can definitely make exercising easier because you’re walking all the time!

  • I hate the gym — I feel so uncomfortable, so this is perfect!
    xo, Lily
    Beauty With Lily

  • Ahahahhaha this post is me. I HATE the gym! The only exercise I’ve found that I really like is Pure Barre! Great tips – I need to start walking/hiking more.

    • I’ve heard of Pure Barre — I think I’d be really into it! I’ll have to give it a try. Hiking tip: take your best friend or your partner with you! It can be super fun when you have somebody to talk to in order to pass the time.

  • I always hated GOING to the gym, but it was fine once I was there. I made this super easy for myself by joining the gym that was the closest to my work (its in the same building) so now there is no good excuse to not go to the gym since I’m already heading there anyways for work! I need to start taking more walks too before it gets crazy snowy

  • Angeline Holub

    Walking is my favorite! If I have to run, I’m much more likely to find something else to do instead.

    • Exactly! And walking is way easier to fit into your schedule. You can always choose to walk to the grocery store rather than drive (if it’s nearby of course) but running can be tough because you don’t want to show up places sweaty.

  • Yes! All of these are good ideas, but “just walk” resonates the most with me. I really enjoy going for walks around the neighborhood I nanny in, with the kids in the stroller. It’s fairly refreshing and very good for me!

    • I definitely agree with that! Walking is such an underrated form of physical activity, but running is just not doable for some people (like me lol my joints are too messed up from years of dance to run)

  • Classes make going to the gym more exciting in my opinion. I always feel more motivated there.

  • Ah it’s so good to break the mold and do something different! I can get sick of the gym after doing the same workouts there for too many months at a time. My favorite outdoor workout is to just take a nice hike 🙂 Some where with some scenic view or rolling hills. I enjoyed reading your post, thank you for sharing!
    xxx,
    Mary
    http://www.uniquely-mary.com/

    • Thanks for reading! And I would definitely agree with that. Hiking is the best way to get outside in nature and is such a good workout.

  • Walking is my go to! It doesn’t feel as harsh as the traditional working out but I always feel great after a nice long walk!
    -Nicholle
    http://www.nichollesophia.com

  • Such great tips! I hate going to the gym too.

  • Nicole Coppins

    This was soo necessary for me today! I need to get into a better workout routine despite my hatred for the gym, haha

  • Anna Hubbard

    These are great tips! I always try to walk everywhere on campus + I’m actually taking a spin class at my school’s gym!

  • Kristine Circenis

    Th one thing that kept me moving while I was in college is that I exclusively walked everywhere on campus. Our campus was pretty expansive so some days I would come home having walked 7-10 miles that day.

  • Classes have seriously helped me get back into working out!

  • Macarena Ferreira

    I hate the gym too! I love Barre3 and that’s the only way I can workout!

    xo // http://www.thematerialgirl.co

    • I’ve been wanting to try Barre! I think I’d like it if I gave it a go.

    • Tori Dunlap

      Girl I’m obsessed with Barre3! They’re my absolute fav.
      Tori || Victori Media
      https://www.victorimedia.com