Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way – No Gym Needed

I used to think that I wouldn’t be able to get fit and lose weight without a gym membership. That’s what I told myself to justify my actions (or lack thereof) when my self-image was low. “I need to go to a gym to exercise well and lose weight. Everybody who really wants to get fit goes to a gym.” But you know what?

That’s just not true.

Sure, a gym could make it easier because it has all this cool stuff you can use and there are classes that could do wonders to motivate you for whatever reason (Zumba? Hello! Seriously fun!). But getting fit doesn’t require going to the gym. It can make it easier for a lot of people, but it’s not necessary.

Just like new, cute fitness clothes aren’t necessary for exercising…though they can go a long way in making you want to exercise.


POPFlex activewear by Cassey Ho. http://www.popflexactive.com

I can’t afford a gym membership. I can’t buy those clothes. I’m going to save whatever money I get for however long it takes to save enough, but I’m not going to put my fitness journey on hold while I do it. I have exercise clothes that are perfectly good and before I had them, I had an over-sized t-shirt and a single pair of stretchy shorts. My non-super-sporty shoes came from either Payless or Walmart.

And, yet, with only a few over-sized t-shirts, a single pair of stretchy shorts, and a pair of cheap-as-dirt shoes, I was able to lose about 70 lbs. During that first bout of weight loss, it’s true that I was taking an aerobics class, but it was a credit-based college class. It was the hardest thing I had ever physically done at the time.


I lived off-campus and had no car or bike so I walked everywhere. That includes the grocery store so I majorly cut back on how much I ate so I wouldn’t have to walk 2 miles round trip carrying groceries every week. On any given day I was walking at least 3 miles round trip.


So, previous weight loss attributed to:

  • college aerobics class
  • walking 3+ miles nearly every day to get to and from classes
  • necessity-enforced diet

None of that has anything to do with a gym. Everything I did was for college and my GPA.

Fast forward about 8 years or so. I’m married, have a car, have a job, and a baby…and 20 extra pounds. And, no, it wasn’t baby weight.


I tried to walk and/or jog every day for myself and for the baby (let’s hear it for the stroller!) as well as do fitness DVDs. Eventually I found Sparkpeople and religiously followed the workout plans they gave me. The site also allowed me to control my diet by counting up all the calories, protein, carbs, etc in everything I ate.

hip hop partyAfter awhile we splurged on a treadmill though we couldn’t afford it. It was worth it. I logged many a mile on that sucker. Even my husband did a few. A friend of mine is a personal trainer over in California and she gave me a good starter plan for running. (Thanks, Kimi! I’ll never forget it!) I lost the 20lbs I had gained and had tons more muscle.

2nd bout of weight loss attributed to:

  • walking/running with a stroller
  • fitness DVDs
  • Sparkpeople.com
  • an at-home treadmill

Still no gym required.

We were able to get a gym membership after awhile and that lasted for several years, but we haven’t had one in over a year now. I’ve gained weight. Again. I had stopped exercising and my diet deteriorated.

cassey-hoBut for the past month I’ve been pushing myself like I used to, not as much with the diet (though that has changed as well) as with the exercise. I have a tiny space to exercise in but it’s enough. I’ve made it be enough. When the weather’s nice, I go out for walks and jogs again. I do Cassey Ho’s POP Pilates and her new PIIT program on the internet. There’s a recumbent bike I can use (and I do) and apps to make my workouts more interesting.

With so much free stuff on the internet, exercising at home has never been easier.

Here are some good places to turn to:

While I haven’t lost a lot of weight (diet’s far from perfect or even good at times), I am improving.

January 1-31 measurements:

  • Weight: 187.8 lbs -> 185.6 lbs (2.2 lbs lost)
  • Upper Arms: L 12″, R 12 3/4″ -> L 11 3/4″, R 12 3/4″ (1/4″ lost)
  • Chest: 32 3/4″ -> 32″ (3/4″ lost)
  • Waist: 35 1/2″ -> 35″ (1/2″ lost)
  • Lower Belly: 42 1/2″ -> 41 1/2″ (1″ lost)
  • Hips: 44 1/2″ -> 44 1/4″ (1/4″ lost)
  • Thighs: L 24 1/2″, R 25″ -> L 24 1/4″, R 24 1/2″ (3/4″ lost)

Total inches lost: 3 1/2″

Not a huge change but a change nevertheless. And one made without a gym.


About Katie St. John-Shin

I believe in living life and not letting it pass you by. I mean, come on, if you really want to do something but don't have the courage to do it so you let the opportunity disappear, you may regret it for the rest of your life. How can you know what you're capable of unless you go for it? Like every writer, I naturally plan on becoming world-famous (not really). I love reading, writing, fitness, coffee, watching my favorite movies/shows, listening to music, and trying new things even if they're sometimes terrifying. I'm a writer, a group fitness instructor, a personal trainer, and a nutter for doing all of the above.

Posted on January 31, 2016, in Fitness, Personal and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This is such a good post. 🙂
    Congrats! Restarting is always hard. Restarting in limited space/time/funds arenas is even harder. Go you!

    • It took me months to accept and deal with the fact that the amount of space I had wasn’t going to change. But after my pants stopped fitting, I was all, “OMG! I need to adjust my cardio and suck it up if I ever want to wear clothes again!” lol I need to move to a nudist colony. Then I won’t have to worry about pants not fitting. As I watch snow endlessly fall outside, I know that this colony cannot be in Colorado. Ever. I’ll “settle” for somewhere in the tropics. 😉

      • Hehehe. Me too! Although when you posted on my blog about my butt, that reminded me that my pants haven’t fit in a year. Which was both depressing and a relief – here I thought I’d gained a ton. I’ve gained a lot, but not as much as I was worried about. But I hear you on the nudist colony. Pants are for suckers in cold climates.

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