So you want to get swole, but your spending has swollen far beyond your budget. A gym membership will set you back $700 per year on average, and a top-of-the-line gym in Los Angeles costs five times that—which is money you’d rather spend on...well, anything, because going to the gym is the worrrrrrrrrrst. Literally. Honestly. It sucks.
Two-thirds of people with gym memberships never actually go, and it’s no wonder. The machines are usually occupied by some HGH-filled bro on his nineteenth set, you’re exposed to zillions of germs, and the same naked senior citizen always seems to be in the locker room no matter what time of day you show up, just standing there. Naked. Always. We’re not age-shaming or even nudist-shaming; it’s just odd. Are they lost?
Anyway, the point is that you don’t need a gym membership for a gym workout. You can hit your abs workout, your cardio workout, and all of your other workout plans without a recurring fee. Here are some ways to build lean muscle, even in lean times:
Los Angeles is the most beautiful damn city in the world, so turn off Netflix and get some sunshine. Whether you’re in the mood for an easy hike at Runyon, a medium trek in Malibu, or summiting all 4,000 feet of Mount Baldy—which’ll work your quads, glutes, and calves for sure—you only need a decent pair of shoes, a water bottle, and some trail mix. Maybe a dog?
If you aren’t into yoga, do you actually live in L.A.? Google around and you’ll find plenty of free outdoor meetups; now that’s stretching your money! (Sorry.) Grab a yoga mat, hot yoga towel, yoga strap, two yoga blocks, and figure out how to downward dog.
Install A Pull-Up Bar
Photo by Michelle McSwain
Not an outdoors person? Hustling too hard to even go outside? That’s okay, it’s a zillion times easier to exercise at home.
Maybe you haven’t done a pull-up since phys-ed in elementary school. And if that’s the case, then you might struggle with them at first—but you’ll build up strength quickly, because it’s a compound exercise that works numerous muscle groups at once: chest, arms, and back. (A chin-up, with your hands facing you, is even more effective for biceps.) Probably ask your landlord if it’s cool to drill holes in the doorway first, though.
The Real Indoor Gym Experience
A pull-up bar is good for upper body strength, but it won’t do much for your lower body. And, to quote countless online fitness buffs, you never skip leg day.
You likely don’t have room for a Bowflex, but if you’re serious about home gym workouts, then we’ve got your (bulging) back. Try a TRX workout, which offers resistance training through suspension straps. And if you’re really hardcore, the BodyBoss Home Gym is a squat rack for your apartment.
So, skip the gym. Best part is, the only naked person in the bathroom is you.