How to overcome Inconvenient Circumstances.
Being in the health/fitness industry, I’ve heard it all. From can’t find a babysitter, to I can’t or don’t want to pay for a gym, don’t have time for the gym, or I live in an apartment with no space to workout from home. I get it. Sometimes exercise isn’t the most convenient thing, unless we make it a priority in our lives. I’m here to show you how to overcome those excuses and that it is possible to get in shape no matter where you are, how much money you have, whether you have kids or not, or how crammed your space may seem.
I truly stand by my No Excuse approach to fitness and I’ve put it to the test this last year. Most health professionals (my previous self included) have access to all sorts of tools, gym space, equipment, etc. To those outside of the fitness industry it may be easy to think, well of course they’re ripped, they live at the gym. Well I want to address this stereotype and give hope to those people who may view their circumstances as not quite ideal for getting their body into the shape they’d like. I can’t completely speak for mothers with kids since I don’t have kids of my own yet. However, the majority of my clients are mothers and I’ve learned quite a lot from working with them on how to juggle schedules with kids, and that if made a priority, it can be done. Not only can it be done, but fitting in a workout can make you a better momma giving you more energy, endorphins, releasing stress, and not to mention you’ll be setting a good example for your kids to live a healthy life as well! Even if its just 15 minutes, it makes a difference. You can workout right from home while the babies napping, and the other kid is on your back (I’ve seen it done :) And if you ever feel dumb or embarrassed that you don't have all the cool gear or clothing or whatever the hype is, just owne it haha. Last week I went to a Yoga class in Paris and I don't even have a mat here because we can't really buy stuff like that since we don't have room to take it home. So I was the only one in the class slipping around on my raggedy towel haha. Oh well, I got a good laugh out of it. I could've let that stop me, but I just embraced it.
This last year my husband and I have been living abroad in Europe. We started traveling last June from Salt Lake, to New York, to Iceland, then made our way to Germany where we lived for 6 months. In January of this year we moved to Paris where we will be for another 6 months. It’s been amazing. We’ve had some trying times, ups and downs, but the growth and experiences have been irreplaceable. One of the differences with adjusting to life here has been not having access to a gym. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. Starting off our travels, I was coming from a schedule where I was working out hard at the gym for at least an hour each day, with full access to any equipment I wanted for free. When we were first on the road I was struggling. I go a little crazy if I don’t get my workout in for the day. But we walked a ton and I lowered my consumption of food. (remember the equation of exercise more = eat more & exercise less = eat less. Typically your hunger levels will reflect this). When we got a little more settled in Germany I searched around for gyms but it’s just different than in the states. We were in a smaller town so there weren’t really gyms in our area. Another important detail is the fact that we have been living on an extremely tight “Intern in Europe” budget. We haven’t really had room in our budget to pay European gym prices. So in the mean time, I got out my energy with morning runs exploring our new home. I scoped out some awesome playgrounds nearby that have turned into my favorite gyms. Circumstances that are not ideal lead us to practice creativity, which I’ve totally embraced.
I brought a few easy to pack items from home with me. These are items I recommend investing in. They are affordable and make for an easy hotel room workout when you’re on the go. A ‘perform better’ booty band, a heavy resistance band, my homemade felt sliders, and thats about it. With those small and simple items, combined with body weight, and our neighborhood play ground, I’ve been able to keep my body in tip top shape (or at least at a happy place) and get in some serious butt kicking workouts. Three months into the internship I got a job with a small women’s gym in the city where I had access to some equipment and gym space for free. It came in good timing for the colder months which was really nice. I took full advantage of the weights while I had them. I love body weight exercises and cardio, but I crave lifting heavy and I love the way it shapes my body and the way it makes me feel. So I did have that which I know was a nice and convenience, but not a necessity which is the point I’m trying to make.
So fast forward a few months to Paris. Its January, its cold, we’re on an even tighter budget, and we have a small apartment. I can’t get a job at a gym because I don’t have a work visa. So a few more things going against us this time. But again, where there’s a will there’s a way. We were blessed to find an apartment very close to an amazing park. It has hills, stairs, benches, playgrounds, and open space. This is stuff you can typically find at any city park near you, and it’s really all you need! You can check out my Sculpted for Summer 8 week program for demo pics of all these exercises at the park. I use the playground swings to do my TRX suspension trainer exercises, I use the benches for step ups, decline push ups, box jumps, the list goes on and on. I use the surroundings for hill sprints, stair drills, lunges, and they even have a pull up bar at the play ground to work on my pull-ups, chin-ups, hanging ab exercises, you name it. You can even use monkey bars to play around with. I use my resistance bands at the park as well, mixing body weight, bands, and swings. In our tiny apartment I’ve managed to put in some work with the small space. I use my sliders, our step latter, I even rig up the resistance band in the window, and the couches and chairs are always there to change up the angles of my push ups or planks. About a month into this I was craving some weight again. My husband and I were brainstorming, what can we use for weight? I had filled up my camelback backpack with water, used some giant water bottles for arm work, but this still wasn’t cutting it. We did some more brainstorming and finally found it. We built our own sandbag. It’s been awesome (I have a complete how to guide with my 8 week program). Its about 50 pounds. We use it for squats, chest presses, kettle bell swings, back rows, sled pushes on our kitchen floor, and basically any move you can do with dumbbells, but it gets way harder due to the floppiness of the sand. Everything quickly becomes a full body exercise, with a focus on the core. It’s great because we can dump out the sand and take it with us. We plan to take it on our trip to the coast this weekend and fill it up on the beach there for some post-surf morning workouts.
So there you have it. Some extra ideas and proof that it doesn’t take fancy equipment or a lot of money to get in shape, or maintain your shape, depending on what stage you’re at in your fitness journey. Whether you’re low on time, money, babysitters, or whatever the excuse, I know you can do it! And if you’re wanting a little extra motivation and direction, download my 8 week program here. You can see pictures of me at the park demonstrating each workout and how you can make it work with the equipment you have available to you. Our health is the best investment we can make! Our bodies are our permanent homes here on earth, lets give them the maintenance and love they deserve.