Top 10 Ways Writers Can Sneak in a Workout

My husband and I haven’t been super happy with our local gym, so recently we made the decision to drop our membership and sign up elsewhere. We had tried out the Aztec Recreation Center at SDSU on a free week-long trial membership, back when we first moved to San Diego, and thought their facilities were really great, so we finally made the switch.

Why didn’t we do this sooner?

The ARC is a huge improvement over our former gym membership, and costs about the same, too. Now, instead of just getting access to cardio and weight machines plus free weights for our monthly fee, we also get access to all of the following:

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  • Indoor courts for volleyball, basketball and soccer
  • Climbing wall
  • Group fitness classes (yes, they’re included with your membership!) like spinning, yoga, Pilates, Zumba and barre workouts
  • Tennis and racquetball courts
  • Track and field privileges
  • Bowling lanes (I am super excited for this, as a bowling nerd with her own ball and shoes)
  • Aztec Aquaplex (pool) passes
  • Watersport recreation classes for just $5 (including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, wakeboarding and surfing lessons)


And you can also join recreational sports leagues and check out various equipment like kettlebells, jump ropes and weight belts, too!

How cool is that?

Needless to say, I’m super excited about all of these new athletic possibilities. Not only am I no longer crammed into the tiny space my previous gym had allotted for cardio machines (seriously, there were only three elliptical machines, and if anyone else was using one, you’d basically be touching them while working out – EW!), but there are plenty of different types to choose from. They’ve got upright and recumbent stationary bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, stairmasters, and one that mimics cross-country skiing (I’m not sure what it’s called, but I am a huge fan of this one).

Speaking of huge fans, the ARC also has huge fans circulating the air, which is way better than our previous gym, where they kept the AC at 76 degrees and it felt more like 80 because of the lack of circulation.

All in all, I’m super pumped by my new gym membership, so I thought I’d write up a quick list of 10 ways that we writers can sneak in some exercise, in between pumping out those words.

10 – Stretch it out

Health and fitness experts say that every hour you should stand up, step away from the desk and stretch. They advise that “sitting is the new smoking,” because our sedentary lifestyles will cut years off our lives. Fight back by doing some shoulder and neck rolls, arm and leg stretches, and walking around your home office a bit every hour or so.

9 – Bust a move

Ever hear of a Flash Dance Party? Combining elements of the “flash mob,” where people seemingly randomly (but actually planned beforehand) converge on a specific spot for a quick, predetermined action (usually something weird or eye-catching), and a fun dance party, the Flash Dance Party is a chance for you to bust a move to your favorite tunes. Check out The Fitness Marshall’s YouTube channel for some inspiration – and some cool new moves!

8 – Stand and deliver

Standing desks! How crazy is this concept? Pretty crazy. But at the same time, why do we really need to sit down to work on a computer? Why not switch it up every now and then by bringing your laptop over to a kitchen counter and typing away while you’re standing up instead of sitting on your fanny?

7 – Go chase Pokémon

The latest video game craze is actually… good for you? That’s right: all the kids out chasing Pokémon on the new Pokémon Go app are actually getting their exercise by playing this game. Check out a blog post by my fitness trainer friend, Linda, over at Grab My Wrist to learn more!


6 – Walk and talk

The treadmill desk is a great way to sneak in a workout while you work. Okay, to be fair, this one requires a bit of equipment. Specifically: A treadmill. But since everybody seems to have inherited one or been gifted one after a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, I bet you can find one pretty cheap. Then, just strap a board across the top, set up your laptop, and start walking. (Or read these instructions for how to make a treadmill desk for under $20.)

Alternately, if you’re treadmill-free, here’s another option: just go for a walk while you’re on your phone meetings. Use a hands-free headset to your advantage, so you can walk and talk.

Or, for the truly brave, just stake out that treadmill at the gym and set up shop until the management kicks you out for hogging their equipment.

"walking desk" via Flickr user Casey Bisson
“walking desk” via Flickr user Casey Bisson

5 – Skip rope

For $5 you can buy a jump rope at your local drugstore. (Trust me, I did it.) Or you can buy a fancy one on Amazon that will never get tangled. Either way, jumping rope is something you can do almost anywhere, without a lot of equipment, and it’s great cardio. So hop to it!

"Jumpin' rope on I-80" via Flickr user Tom Kelly
“Jumpin’ rope on I-80” via Flickr user Tom Kelly

4 – Take a hike

Get out of the house and go for a walk! A 30-minute walk burns anywhere from 80 to 300 calories, depending on how quickly you haul that butt (and how much junk you’ve got in the trunk).

3 – Personalize your training

Need a little extra motivation? Maybe some personal assistance? Download the FitStar app and see how their personal trainer-in-your-pocket can help get you moving. And, at $39.99 a year (or $7.99 a month), this app is way cheaper than joining a gym! (Works on both iPhone and iPad – and you can even stream the workouts on your TV via AirPlay.)

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2 – Breathe deep

Not into heavy cardio? Give the FitStar Yoga app a whirl, and feel the burn. At the same low price as the original FitStar app, you’ll get unlimited yoga workouts, tailored to your needs – so you’ll never get bored!

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1 – Pick a workout – ANY workout!

The best workout is, ultimately, the one that you’re willing to stick with. So here’s a list of the 50 Best Free Workout Resources You Can Find Online, from the Huffington Post, to give you a wide variety of choices.

Whatever you choose to try, just keep moving! I’ve got a Fitbit wristband that keeps track of my fitness levels throughout the day, and I try to remember to record my gym visits as well so I can see how I’m doing on a weekly basis. They’ll send you free weekly reports, and you can track everything from your sleep cycles to the amount of food and water you’re ingesting. While I’m not always as active as I’d like to be, I also know I’ve got plenty of tools to keep myself on track, and I try to use as many as I can.

So, what’s your favorite workout?