6 Ways to Work Out When You Hate the Gym

By Sara Farias

“These sweatpants are all that fits me right now.”

- Regina George 


Yes, Winter is here. And while many of us feel the natural urge to retreat to our rooms, wrap ourselves in giant blankets, eat pasta and watch Netflix until March, don't forget to give your body some much needed natural endorphins. To beat human-hibernation mode and staying active, finding ways to work smarter (not harder) is the name of the game!  
Here are my top 6 ways to work out when you hate the gym:


1. Make it Sports-Related

For me, working out has always been sports-based. It wasn't until my college days that I actually learned how to use the machines in the gym and perform those exercises correctly, so prior to that, it was all about what I did know which was playing sports.

Sports can be fun, competitive, and a fantastic way to workout without feeling like you are. There are usually various intramural, city leagues (both indoor and outdoor) you can sign up for with a group of friends or better yet alone and make a new group of friends. If that’s not an option, there are countless exercises and drills you can put yourself through that mirror those found in sports. Incorporating activities such as shuffles and sprints like in basketball or soccer, volleyball squats, jumps, blocks, swimming laps, rollerblading and skating are all amazing workouts.  I recently started to learn how to skateboard and it has been a fun challenge and surprisingly a great workout!  


2. Try an Interval Sampler Platter!

When I workout, I constantly switch up my exercises and equipment to avoid losing interest and getting bored. A circuit consisting of 8-10 stations–using machines or bodyweight– that targets upper and lower body, core & stability, will give you a perfect, full body workout. Time yourself at each station for a minimum of 20 seconds (up to a minute per interval, depending on your endurance level) followed by a quick break. Your breaks should last no more than twice the amount of interval training time (example: 30 seconds of squats, max 1 minute of rest).

Perform your circuit 2-3 times and voila! You’re done and can get on with the rest of your day.  One of my favorite bad-ass fitness pro’s is Hannah Eden. She is all about interval training using simple equipment or body weight and the exercises she demonstrates are powerful and efficient. You can check out her youtube page for countless exercises to fire up your workouts!

If her style isn’t quite what you’re looking for, I would highly recommend taking a look at Kayla Itsines, Alexia Clark, or simply typing “HIIT Exercises” into youtube and find something or someone you like!

3. Take a Class

Classes are a great way to take the thinking–and the sometimes hard to come by self motivation– out of your gym visit.  If you don’t have a gym membership, I highly recommend checking out the app "Class Pass". This monthly membership gives you access to hundreds of studios around your city, allowing you the opportunity to experiment and sample different places, classes and instructors! With so many options to try, you’ll never be bored. You might also learn to like something new and unexpected!


4. Hire a Personal Trainer

Similar to classes, having a personal trainer will take the guess work and thinking out of your workouts. To ensure you’re getting the most out of your sessions, discuss your needs with your trainer at the beginning so that they can cater the program around your specific goals. Having a gym membership AND hiring a trainer can easily add up, so to alleviate some of that cost, you might consider putting your gym membership on hold while working with a trainer who can work remotely or in the privacy of your home.


5. Start a Buddy System

Teamwork makes the dream work! Find a friend who won't convince you to blow off the gym for happy hour or brunch and hold each other accountable!  Even if your schedules only match up 3-4 times a month, the mutual expectation to show up is a huge incentive to get you out of bed at 5am! Whether you take turns coming up with different workouts, attend classes together, go out for a walk/jog, bike ride or play a sport, it’s always motivating to have someone to push you and partake in some friendly, healthy competition.


6. Get Creative

If all of those options sound appealing to you - do them all! Play a sport (or do more sports related exercises) one day, do interval training the next and supplement your solo-time with a class or personal training session! Find what works for your body and start where you are. Remember, working out shouldn’t be something you do once in a blue moon, nor should it be punishment; Working out should be a way of life.  Our bodies were made to move - so move on from the mundane, boring routines into something that challenges you, is fun, and makes you feel energized and grateful for your health and beautiful body!


Sara Elizabeth Farias, (aka Saratonin' Fly) is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor who has trained in some of the most elite fitness facilities in the downtown area, such as Equinox Fitness in Lincoln Park, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, and Soho House Chicago.  She brings a positive, holistic, and energetic approach to fitness, inspiring those around her to take control of their lives through a solid commitment toward better health and finding what works best for them. She graduated from The University of Notre Dame in 2009 with a BA in Graphic Design and background in Marketing. Whilst there, she participated and was a top boxer on the women's boxing team. She's also a huge movie and music buff who enjoys just about any outdoor activity and spontaneous adventures.  Her happy place is in the burning sun near some sort of body of water, or anywhere she can be surrounded by pure nature. Some of her latest ventures include skateboarding (a life-long goal come to life at age 30), becoming vegan and starting a blog!  



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