When we mention fitness training our minds tend to normally waver towards hours on the treadmill, waiting for your turn on the weights machine, sweating it out in a spinning class or perhaps doing some funky moves at home to the latest workout craze…but getting fit and staying in shape doesn’t have to be all about the gym with reps, and sets and timings.
It should be about enjoyment and living your life.
So I have listed out my 10 favorite alternative approaches that not only will get you in amazing shape but also offers the opportunity to learn a new skill set, make new friends, get out of your comfort zone, vastly improve your health and generally become a more interesting person than ‘Jenny , I spend hours at the gym looking in the mirror and taking selfies more than I do working out’!
1- Mixed Martial Arts
MMA fighters are arguably some of the fittest athletes out there. Their style of fighting is a combination of boxing, kick boxing, Jujitsu and wrestling to name but a few. Even if you don’t have any desire to be a fighter, simply training to be one will place you in the best shape of your life. I’m not talking about doing an MMA class with your local fitness Instructor, I am talking about enrolling in an actual MMA gym and training as if to become an actual fighter.
The benefits of MMA style training include:
- A full body workout
- Brutal cardio sessions
- Builds Strength & Power
- Improves coordination
- Improves flexibility
- Learn to realistically defend yourself and build self confidence
- Burn calories FAST
- Instill a sense of discipline you can carry over to other areas of your life
- Its fun & safe
- Make friends and become a part of a family
Here is a little motivation if you feel like you wanna be badass!
2- Parkour ( Free Running )
Parkour, also known as free running, is an activity that involves negotiating the surrounding environment (usually urban) and over coming obstacles in your path physical abilities such running, jumping, swinging, rolling and even climbing are required. It’s is a fun and exciting way to exercise and anyone can enjoy it.
The benefits of parkour training include:
- Full body workout
- Promotes quick-thinking skills
- Develops creativity
- Boosts confidence
- Skill related fitness – Skill-related fitness includes agility, balance, power, speed, coordination, and reaction time.
- Builds core strength
- Bone strength – due to the nature of the impact the sport has – helps to build bone strength which is important as we age.
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Anyone can do it
There are many great tutorials on youtube that can get you started.
3 -Pole Fitness
Originally pole dancing was something you would expect to find in sleazy men’s clubs – but pole fitness has now become a worldwide phenomenon – and for good reason, not only is it sexy the physical aspects are demanding and require huge amounts of strength & flexibility.
The benefits of pole fitness include:
- Burns calories FAST
- Great for stress relief
- Builds self confidence
- Doesn’t feel like a typical workout so MOTIVATES you to want to do more
- Increases mobility & flexibility – super important as we get older
It can make childbirth easier – Pole dancing develops exceptionally strong back and abdominal muscles, which helps minimize back pain during pregnancy and actually helps you have a smoother and less painful childbirth.
- It strengthens bones and joints
- It strengthens the arms, tones the legs and builds a solid core.
- Your will have a better posture and balance.
- IT’S FUN!
Many studios are opening up so – try to find one near you – I ‘m sure you will become addicted. this video gives a good example of what you may expect to learn.
4 – Dancing
Dancing can incorporate many different styles, all offering a great way of working out the body through fun and rhythmic exercise set to the beats of pounding music. Workouts include hip hop, zumba, break and house to name a few
The benefits of dancing for fitness include:
- Builds stamina
- Amazing cardio workout
- Burns calories
- Helps develop flexibility and balance
- can build upper body strength and tone the muscles depending on the style of dance you choose
5 – Rock Climbing
Rock Climbing is a physically demanding sport that can be done indoors or outdoors. As a climber you will require strength, endurance, agility, and balance along with mental control. The most convenient way to get into climbing is to join a local indoor climbing gym. the are two types of climbing , roped and bouldering.
- BOULDERING is a style of climbing that requires only a pair of climbing shoes and some chalk to keep the hands from sweating. It involves either ascending or traversing routes no higher than 5 m and will have crash mats at the bottom to safe guard you should you fall. Bouldering tends to have a more gymnastic feel to it as the moves can be quite powerful and dynamic.
- ROPED is as it says – climbing using a rope for protection – which allows the climber to scale up to heights of 30 m or more- making the challenge longer thus requiring more endurance. this leads to more exhilaration as it is associated with being up high.
The benefits associated with climbing are:
- Combines cardio and strength into a single workout
- Strengthens and tones muscles
- Increases flexibility
- Builds mental strength and problem solving skills
- Reduces stress – when you are climbing – you are thinking of nothing else in that moment!
- Burns calories
- Can help prevent chronic diseases
- helps conquer fear and bring you out of your comfort zone
- Its sociable and fun.
This lady explains it well –
Ditch the spinning class – when I say biking I mean Mountain biking – off road, dirty muddy exhilarating challenging and fun.
The benefits include :
- Builds leg strength – Using a bike can help tone your quad, calf and glut (buttock) muscles as well as strengthen your tendons, without any load bearing. Far better fun than working out on a stationary bike in the gym.
- Enjoy nature – Japanese researchers have shown that being out in nature (what they refer to as “forest bathing”) improves relaxation and reduces stress. A busy urban environment has exactly the opposite effects of stimulating the fear and anxiety centers in the brain.
- Improved balance and coordination – mountain biking is a dynamic activity that requires the rider to constantly adjust to varying terrain, pitch, and elevation. Staying steady and secure on a mountain bike not only keeps you from crashing, but strengthens neural pathways and reinforces muscle memory
- Works the cardiovascular system -Your heart and lungs make up the cardiovascular system and the fitter you become, the more efficiently they work. This means better flow of blood through your body and an increase in oxygenation.
Non-load-bearing so reduces risk of injury – Another advantage of mountain biking is that it is a non-load bearing form of exercise. The very action of sitting means that a degree of pressure is being taken off your joints, meaning there is a reduced chance of injury
Optimizes fat burning– Fat burning takes place when your heart rate is at around 65 to 75 per cent of your maximum heart rate (your maximum is 220 less your age for men and 225 less your age for women)
- Increases fitness: Just one hour of trekking can burn well over 500 calories, depending on the level of incline and the weight of the pack you’re carrying.
- Tones the whole body: Normal walking can tone your butt, but taking on sharp inclines, and over climbing over rocks gives your body an all-over workout.
Helps prevent and control diabetes: Regular hiking helps you control, or even prevent, diabetes by lowering your blood sugar levels.
Lower blood pressure and cholesterol: Hiking on a regular basis decreases blood pressure and cholesterol, thus reducing the danger of heart disease, diabetes and stroke for those at high-risk.
- Hiking heals: A study showed that breast cancer survivors who exercised regularly — many in the form of hiking — believed that physical activity complemented their recovery from cancer treatment.
- Is a social activity: Hiking with a community encourages you to engage with your workout as a lifestyle, rather than a chore, which will make you more likely to stick with it
- Increase creativity: Research shows that spending time outdoors increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.
- Increase happiness levels and curb depression: Research shows that hiking can help people with severe depression feel less hopeless, depressed and suicidal.
- Commune with nature:Helps to bring out peace of mind and a sense of self, as well as connecting you back with and appreciating the environment.
8 – Stand up Paddle boarding
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is an offshoot of surfing that originated in Hawaii. Unlike traditional surfing where the rider sits until a wave comes, stand up paddle boarders stand on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water.This activity doesn’t have to be done by the coast however,any body of open water such as canals and lakes work just as well.
The health benefits of SUP include:
- Improves balance – You need to stand upright on the board, which requires a lot of core stability and leg strength to maintain balance.
- Full body workout – Almost every muscle in the body is used at some point during paddleboarding.
- Low impact – Standup paddling is a very low impact exercise. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will do damage to the tendons and ligaments of your joints.
- Reduces stress – Water naturally soothes the body and exercise helps to reduce stress.
- Cardio workout – spending enough time on the board will give you a good cardio workout. Racing your friends while paddling to make it a bit more motivating and challenging will also add to this.
- Improves endurance – Once you notice that your balance is improving and your muscles aren’t getting quite as tired, then you know your endurance is increasing.
- Better cardiovascular health – Because paddle boarding is similar to running, aerobics, and even cross-training, you’ll have improved cardiovascular health and less risk for related diseases.
- S U P YOGA! – You can even practice Yoga on the board for an increased challenge -and its also a lot of fun!
Kayaking or canoeing is a great way to connect with nature be it on open water like a lake or the sea or for a more challenging and thrilling experience running down a river!
A kayak is a boat you sit in or on and uses a paddle with two blades to propel you through the water , whereas as canoe ( think of Indigenous tribes) use a paddle with a single blade and you either kneel or sit on a raised seat.
The health benefits of kayaking are:
- Weight loss – To move a kayak requires a lot of energy, four hours of paddling is going to burn up about 1,600 calories!
- Reduces stress – As your boat glides through the water ,spending time under the sky watching the colors of nature is all a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
- Upper body workout – Paddling incorporates every muscle in the upper body so, no matter what your fitness goals are, you are going to tone up almost every muscle in your upper body.
- Mental health- Aerobic exercise triggers the release of brain chemicals that can quickly improve your mood,paddling a kayak can provide a relaxing workout
- Community – Kayaking is unique as it’s suitable for singles, couples and friends.
- Great source of vitamin D: the “sunshine vitamin” can be one of the toughest to get from foods, and many of us actually take in over 80% of it from those golden rays.
- Builds positive self-image – kayaking leads to increased social skills and sense of self, as well as an overall boost in self-satisfaction
- Core strengthening – The core is strengthened through the control and balance required to maneuver the kayak. Each turn of the kayak results in the use of these muscles and, over time, builds this area.
- Tones legs – Pressure applied by the legs assists in turning and balancing the kayak. The tightening of the muscles in the legs for this purpose acts as an isometric exercise.
- Improves heart health – The continuous movement raises the heart rate and increases cardiovascular health.
10 – Aquatic Workouts
Exercising in water can be every bit as intense as exercising on land, and studies show it offers equivalent benefits
Water workouts are low to no impact, excellent for cardiovascular fitness, strength training, and fat burning, as well as rehab.
The short video below offers but just a glimpse at just what you can do!
My name Is JAiSHA KANiZ,
I am a Transgender Female
I am a certified Personal Trainer
Should you wish to learn more contact me on:
I specialize in STREET WORKOUT techniques, home workouts, kettlebells and Interval training methods. I firmly believe YOU are your own gym and nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.
STRENGTH iS BEAUTiFUL..and so are you!
Let’s do this together…