8 Practical ways to workout no matter what your excuses are

8 Ways to workout no matter what your excuses are

Every day I hear numbers of "reasons" (cough, excuses) why people can't workout. Life is busy, the timing isn't right, you're waiting on something. Maybe on everything? I have good news and bad news. 

The bad news: The timing is never going to be right. Your life is never going to just calm down and give you extra hours. You'll always be busy. You'll always be traveling. You'll always have responsibilities. You'll always have a million things demanding your time, attention and priority. The stars are not going to align just right to finally give you the time, knowledge and motivation you've been waiting for. 

The good news: All those reasons you're telling yourself you can't workout REALLY ARE excuses. Excuses can be overcome. You have more control than you think. You can make your own stars align. And today we're going to do just that. 

Here are some of the specific excuses we're going to overcome today: 

  • "I don't have enough time."
  • "It takes too much time." (you REALLY need to ready this)
  •  "I travel too much."
  • "I don't have a gym pass."
  • "I don't know how to workout in a gym."
  • "I sit at a desk all day."
  • "I don't have any equipment."
  • "I don't like gyms."
  • "I don't have time to leave my house."
  • "I don't know what to do."

My philosophy: you need to learn how to create your own workouts. If you do, you'll always be fit. Why? Because you won't need the perfect gym, the right location or your favorite instructor. All you'll need is you. Until you get to that point, I'm giving you 8 practical ways you can workout, no matter what your excuses are -- plus 3 full body workouts you can download for free! Time to get rid of those excuses.

Working out at home

We're starting out with an easy one. Working out at home. There are so many resources today that I hope this doesn't seem like a foreign concept. Today it's easier than ever to workout at home. As far as formal resources go, here are a few options you could easily use:

  • Workout DVD's - my favorite is still P90X but admittedly I haven't tried too many
  • YouTube videos - my go to is HASfit
  • WiiFit
  • Free yoga channel on Hulu Plus (or regular cable)

You also have a lot of "stuff" around the house that you can use for exercise: 

  • Run stairs if you have them. 
  • Use canned food or water bottles instead of weights.
  • Use a chair to do dips. 
  • Do body weight exercises (push ups, sit ups, lunges, air squats) when you don't have much space. 

You can utilize lots of your regular household stuff for your exercises. I once used a rolled up rug like I was doing a barbell military press. Have you ever lifted a rug? They're heavier than you think. 

Working out in a hotel

Hotels can be tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it's really not bad. My first preference is to stay in a hotel with a gym.

And granted, not all gyms are created equally. Here's a quick, general hotel gym guide:

  • Some hotel gyms only have cardio equipment (which isn't even necessary because you could always run outside if you're looking for cardio).
  • Other small hotels have cardio equipment and free weights. Although it's not a ton, you can get a lot done just with free weights and cardio. 
  • Larger hotels will often have cardio equipment, free weights, and machines. 
  • Resorts and vacation condos often have full health clubs. 

If you're staying at a hotel without a gym, you can look for local gyms. It's best to do this at the time you're booking your hotel. Does your home gym have agreements with gyms in other states? Can you get a guest pass? Can you get a free week pass near your hotel? Can you pay for a one week or one month pass? Call ahead so you can plan appropriately. Planning ahead is 90% of the work. 

If there are no gym options, two easy pieces of equipment to take with you are: a jump rope and a resistance band. They're both small and easy to pack. They allow you to workout in small spaces, but they're really effective.

If these options still aren't working for you, you can use a lot of the same tactics mentioned in the above "working out at home" section.

Working out in a park

If there's a park around, there's a way to workout. Have kids and need to get them outside anyway? Take them to the park so they can run around and get in your own workout while you're there. Or simply opt for a park workout one day just to mix things up. Bonus points if the park has a track. 

Here's some standard park equipment that you can use to get in your exercise: 

  • Monkey Bars: Do pull ups on the monkey bars -- or hang upside down by your knees and do hanging sit-ups. 
  • Park Bench: You can do dips, one legged lunges, "box" jumps, or inclined push ups on a park bench.
  • Park Track/Perimeter: Run laps on the track or laps around the perimeter of the park. If you don't like long distance, you can try sprinting along one side of the park, walking the next side, sprinting the third side, walking again, and so on.
  • Playground Steps: If there's steps climbing up the playground, you can do modified stairs. You can also do a squat, stay in that position, walk up one step, then back down. 
  • Swing: Want to focus on that core? Put your feet on a swing, your hands on the ground and do a plank, push ups or pull your knees/legs in toward your upper body.

Want to snag 3 free workouts? You can get your instant download right here.

Working out outside

Is it a nice day out and you just want to get outside? I totally understand that! The other day I did a full workout in the middle of my street just because it was nice out and I wanted to get some fresh air and sunshine at the same time. 

You can really workout anywhere. But if you're looking less for a "traditional workout" and more for a creative, fun way to get outside and exercise, here are a few ideas: 

  • Get out the rollar blades
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Go for a walk with a friend
  • Go hiking
  • Go running
  • Go swimming
  • Stand up paddle boarding - great for balance and overall body strength
  • Summertime? Go long boarding. 
  • Try kayaking
  • Try surfing
  • Wakeboarding/Wakesurfing/Kneeboarding/Water skiing

There's really no limit to the number of activities you can do outside. If you need exercise and you want to enjoy the outdoors, try one of these activities, play an outdoor sport, invite your friends and have fun!

Working out at a desk (or in an office)

This one is obviously a bit more difficult and less conventional -- but it CAN be done! If you're stuck at a desk all day, it's really important to move around. If you can, take a quick break every hour. Get up, walk a couple of laps around the office -- or even better, go outside and walk a lap or two around your building. It's good just to move. 

If you're at your desk, here are a few things you can try: 

  • Do 10 squats in your chair every time you get up and come back to your chair (or once every hour or so if you never leave your desk). 
  • Get a standing desk and a slow treadmill to walk on.
  • Point and flex your toes throughout the day - it's like doing sitting calf raises. 
  • Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair.
  • If you bring your lunch, do squats or lunges in the break room while you wait for your food to warm up. 
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go up and down an extra time just get in a bit more exercise. It'll literally only take a minute or less.

Working out without equipment

Do you feel like you have to have equipment to workout? Guess what? You don't! Equipment might be nice, but it's not necessary. You can use a lot of the same exercises from other sections in this post.

But if you're looking strictly for body weight exercises you can do, try some of these:

  • "Air" Jump Rope
  • Burpees
  • Jogging in place
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Lunges
  • Planks
  • Push Ups
  • Sit Ups (all kinds of variations)
  • Squats
  • Stretching
  • Yoga

Working out in a gym

Admittedly, working out in a gym is my favorite way to workout -- but that wasn't always the case. Once I learned how to actually use a gym, I started working out more and more and eventually got hooked. 

I love gyms because there are so many resources and lots of equipment. You can take classes, workout with a trainer, find a workout buddy, play racquetball, basketball, tennis or utilize other sports courts the gym has available. 

No matter how you're working out, it's always easier if you make a plan first. This is especially important if you're working out in a gym. How do you create your own workouts? I personally use Pinterest. I choose the muscle groups I want to exercise, the type of workout I want (quick pace, circuits, etc.), then I hit the Pinterest boards. I look for exercises for the particular muscle groups I'm going to work on the next day. Then I put all the exercises together into an Evernote document. I can record the workout in Evernote on my laptop, then reference it on my app as I'm working out -- it's great! 

In fact, you can grab 3 free full body workouts right here! That's right - I got you covered.

If you're not sure how to use a specific piece of gym equipment, take time to read the instructions on the side of the equipment. I still read those instructions on occasion. All equipment is different. There's no shame in it! If you're still unsure, you can always ask a worker how to use it. 

A few other pieces of equipment that I love, and are sometimes only available when you ask the front desk: 

  • Bosu ball (you can use it in almost any stationary exercise for added balance and difficulty).
  • Exercise ball
  • Jump rope
  • Medicine ball
  • Resistance band

30 Minute workouts you can do anywhere without any equipment

If you're not sure how to use a specific piece of gym equipment, take time to read the instructions on the side of the equipment. I still read those instructions on occasion. All equipment is different. There's no shame in it! If you're still unsure, you can always ask a worker how to use it. It's better to ask than to end up hurting yourself.

A few other pieces of equipment that I love, and are sometimes only available when you ask the front desk: 

  • Bosu ball (you can use it in almost any stationary exercise for added balance and difficulty).
  • Exercise ball
  • Jump rope
  • Medicine ball
  • Resistance band

Keep variety in your workout so you and your muscles don't get bored.

30 Minute workouts you can do anywhere without any equipment

By now, you should have a good idea of how to get your workout in. If you're short on time, you can still have a really effective workout -- just make sure to use your time wisely. If you're short on time and don't have equipment, don't use it as an excuse to not exercise. Instead, get in a quick, intense workout. You'll feel better afterward! 

If you're short on time, do a simple, quick circuit 3-5 times through (or more). Try to take as little time as possible to rest since you only have 30 minutes to get in an effective workout. If you rest for a minute after every exercise, you'll only get 15 minutes of exercise. Do your best to push through the workout - it's only 30 minutes. If you have 20 minutes, fill the 20 minutes with as many circuits as you can get in. 

I recommend doing something like this: 

Circuit (do 3-5 times):
30-60 seconds Jump rope
10-15 push ups
10-15 sit ups
10-15 burpees
10-15 lunges
10-15 push ups
25-35 jumping jacks
30 second plank
10-15 squats

Use your body weight to your advantage, get in as much as you can in the time you have and get started right away!

Bonus - #9

And the 9th way to make sure you workout? Download these 3 free workouts. No excuses. Now you not only have 8 ways to workout no matter what your excuses are, but you also have 3 full body workouts that are ready and waiting for you. All you have to do is download them.