Consulting Fitness, Featured, Fitness, Health & Wellness, Nutrition

Getting in Shape Outside of the Box

We all know the standard ways to get into shape. Get to the gym, lift heavy weights, and get on that treadmill and run mindlessly for a bit. When people want to get into shape, the first thing they say is they have to get into the gym. There are other ways that are as good, and in some ways easier than doing the traditional gym. Some are faster and take almost no time, some are less taxing on your system and some are just more fun. Open your imagination for working out, the gym isn’t the only way. Here are some of our favorites.


Tabata is named after the Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata. It is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) system. The basic of it is you exercise for 20 seconds and take a 10-second rest, then repeat. The goal is to do this for 4 minutes, or 8 sets. The exercise section can be anything, jumping jacks, running in place, or waving your arms, anything, but the key is to give it everything you have. The closer you are to getting to 100% output the better. 4 minutes does not seem like a long time, but if you are giving 100% effort, we bet 4 minutes will seem like a lifetime. It will probably take you a month or more to work all the way up to those 4 minutes. Tabata, unlike just normal aerobic exercise, will also give you an anaerobic benefit as well. That 4-minute workout will give you more benefits than a 30-minute aerobic workout. Time is precious, but how cool is that, compressing 30 minutes of exercise into 4.

Occlusion training

This is one of those things that is hard to believe. The gist of this system is taking elastic bands or cuffs, and wrapping them around your upper arms or upper legs and reducing the blood flow out of the limb, but not cutting off the flow into the limb. This is done with a tightness of 7 out of 10, with 10 being as tight as you can get. You would lift at about 20% with high repetitions. 50 reps, break, then 25, break, and 25 again. This will give you the equivalent of a full workout with heavy weights. This has a much lower impact on the body, and it is extremely good for those of lesser health or of an older age to get started. If you work out with weights already, it is also a good finishing set of exercises that can improve your results rather dramatically.

Learn to dance

Dancing is one of the best cardio exercises there is, and the best part is you do it without even knowing. If you take a dance class, such as swing dancing, and then let loose, you will do an hour or more of heavy cardio and sweating without feeling like you are bored and working out. Who knew cardio could be so much fun.


Fencing, that Errol Flynn swashbuckling thing, is a great cardio. You compete with another fencer and have to give it your all. Fencing is all about speed and accuracy so you will be going 100% output for short bursts. You are doing HIIT training but as a sport.

Video games

Video games that are made for exercise are also a great way to work out without really noticing. Some of the new VR games are quite amazing. You will enjoy the game, perhaps standing in the ring boxing, and the next day you might find you can barely move your arms as you didn’t realize how much effort you were putting into it. You can find many different exercise games and with the Virtual Reality ones, it can be full body movement. There are more games coming all the time.

Play again

Learn to play like a child again, like you did when you were a kid. Sure, people might look at you a bit funny, but in reality, they are probably dying to join you in their hearts. Get a hula hoop and give it a go. Jump on and off things, climb on things just because you can, make up imaginary games. Walk a low wall and imagine you are in the clouds. Remember all the things you did when you were young and reenact them. The benefit is it will also exercise your brain and improve your creativity getting in touch with your inner child.

Get hot

Having a hot sauna, at about 170F, will increase your production of growth hormones more than anything else you can take, other than injecting them directly. If you inject growth hormones, they will actually shorten your life and stop working after a few months. With a sauna, it will make your own body produce the natural growth hormones without any of the negative health benefits from injecting. A 30-minute sauna can increase your growth hormones by up to %400 and that is amazing. That will help you put on muscle faster and turn your clock back. You will feel younger and stronger, and we all want that.

Get cold

Thermogenesis is the body’s ability to produce heat. When you are cold and shiver, that is your body’s way of firing your muscles to create heat. It is very calorie intensive. One of the reasons that swimmers have to eat so many calories is not for the exercise they do swimming, but for the body to replace the calories it burns keeping them warm in the cold water. Spend 10 to 15 minutes in a cold shower or in a cold tub, and it will burn off a large number of calories as well as keep your metabolism running hot for many hours.

There are just a few out of the box ways of getting in shape. Anything that you want to do that makes you sweat and has a purpose other than exercise is a good way to exercise without feeling it. The above ideas, such as Tabata and occlusion training are full workouts that will give you amazing results with a lot less stress on your body. They are not easy, but they can be a lot easier and faster than more traditional methods. Give some of them a try and see what it can do for you.