Feel Good

Get fit without a gym membership

January can feel like everyone is joining a gym on a mission to get fit. But for some, the cost can be out of our budget and the thought of gym equipment is too much! So we've found some alternatives.

Written by High Life North
Published 17.01.2020

By Charlotte Cooper

January 2020 represents a fresh start to a brand-new year and a new decade. The ‘new year, new me’ motto is a never-ending phrase we hear people say often followed by their plan to get fit and healthy. The multiple adverts and posters that started popping up before Christmas to join a gym before the January rush give us that terrifying thought of not being involved in the mainstream cliché that to get fit, we need to go to the gym.

For some of us, the cost of a monthly gym membership is not in our budget. For others, just the thought of getting hot and sweaty in front of others is too much. So, HLN has put together a list of ideas to help you get fit without having to step foot in the gym.


Walking is the most effective way to burn fat, with an average of 250 calories burnt in a sixty-minute walk. The body’s internal belly fat (visceral fat) is one of the target areas which walking helps to reduce, alongside trimming your waistline and lowering the risk of diabetes.

However, we aren’t just talking about that casual stroll you take getting your morning coffee; you need to be walking fast enough to raise your heart rate and long enough to see the benefits of a walking exercise. The appropriate amount of time is often around 45 minutes of heart-pumping exercise.

An easy way to start is by walking to/from work. Whether you usually travel by public transport or drive yourself there, you can get your heart rate up before your day has even started. Either get off a couple of stops before you usually do or park a little further away. If you want to push yourself, try the full walk from door to door and get fat burnt in no time.

Virtual Training

Perhaps the most significant and fastest-growing way to get fit is through the use of a virtual trainer. There are many ways to do this, whether you invest in a specific app or get tutorials online; all forms are helping you keep fit and healthy.

Fiit.tv is basically the Netflix for fitness as it allows users to access trainers from across the country. The video-led workouts can take place from anywhere, which is perfect for those of us who find it challenging to find a spare minute, never mind forty-five. The premium membership package is £10 a month providing you with the Fiit device which tracks your calories and heart rate as well as access to unlimited classes.

The Johnson and Johnson 7-Minute Workout is another virtual training platform where the app can be downloaded for free straight onto your phone. Unlike the gym, this virtual exercise app doesn’t require any monthly payments but still offers workouts you can do anytime, anywhere, and best of all for only seven minutes. Johnson and Johnsons director of exercise physiology, Chris Jordan, shows you the ropes in the video tutorials while your own music keeps your mind focused and motivated. This is the app that allows you to fit fitness into your life.

Finally, YouTube is a fantastic, free way to access thousands of fitness videos, from Yoga to HIIT workouts, all from the comfort of your own home. 

Join a Team

Getting back into exercise can be a little intimidating, especially if you haven’t taken part in a while. Fear not though, as joining a sports team could be the perfect solution. Whether netball was your favourite PE lesson at school, or you have always wanted to try your hand at football, there are hundreds of team sports across the region for you to get involved. 

A fantastic benefit of getting fit and healthy being involved in a sports team is the relationships you build with fellow players. Group activities are excellent for those lacking in confidence or for those simply wanting to meet new people. Not only will you be having fun playing the game, but you will be getting fit along the way with the support and encouragement of the people alongside you. Find out what team you could be a part of this year at Get Active North East: www.getactivenortheast.co.uk


A lot of people shy away from going for a run to get fit. The beauty of running, however, is that you don’t need any fancy equipment to get you started, all you need is a pair of trainers, and off you go. In 2019 Public Health England released the Couch to 5K app presented by four celebrities who have taken part in the 5K challenge themselves. Choose your motivator from Olympian Michael Johnson, BBC presenter Jo Whiley and comedians Sanjeev Kohli and Sarah Millican as they talk you through each run prompting you to walk, run or rest. Nine weeks of 30 minutes of walking and running is one of the best ways to get you fit, and loving running. Alternatively, a running partner could benefit you. The North East has several running clubs for you to choose from on the Northern Running Guide website: www.northernrunningguide.com/area-focus/north-east/clubs

Or, if you want to start small and with an all-female group try the These Girls Can Run beginners’ group: www.thesegirlscanrun.weebly.com which is open to everyone no matter your running standards or experience. The ten-week beginner’s courses are only £30 and designed to take your running journey from 0km to 5km.  

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