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Here’s why you should stop paying for your gym membership, ladies

Blogger.  New Yorker.  Feminist.  Social media junkie. Wannabe photographer.  Single lady.  

Ah, it's January. Let me guess: your New Year's resolution is at least one of the following, if not all: Lose weight, go to the gym, stop being so lazy.

Heard that. But guess what? Gyms, especially at the beginning of a new year, are the literal worst. They're crowded (because of people like you and me who "forgot" to work out for the past few months) and it's really difficult to find a machine or get into a class because of all these newbies.

And lest we forget how friggin' expensive gyms are. I once belonged to a hoity-toity athletic club in New York City and even though I went a few times a week, I just couldn't justify paying upwards of $100 a month for my membership.

So, what do we do? We want to get healthy, we want to fit into our skinny jeans, and we want to feel good about ourselves. Sure, our diet is a huge part of that, but exercise is key, too.

But the thing is, you don't need a gym. In fact, the workouts you can get outside of one can be some of the best. I learned this when I moved into an apartment by myself last year and had to make some financial decisions that would allow me to live comfortably. One of those decisions? Cancel my gym membership. And then I had to get creative.

DVDs

I admittedly was never on the workout video bandwagon, but I inherited some exercise DVDs from my mother who wasn't using them, and quickly realized: Holy crap, these are hard.

If you think you can't get a good workout in the middle of your living room then you are sorely mistaken. And you clearly haven't met Jillian Michaels, former coach/trainer on NBC's "The Biggest Loser" whose workout DVDs have me on the verge of tears and doused in sweat once I'm done.

Oh, and the best part? You're essentially taking a really awesome class without actually having to be near other people, watching them screw up and having them distracting you or even smelling funny.

I also love that workout DVDs come in a variety of different times and levels of difficulty, so depending on your skill level and how in shape you are, you can choose something that's a little more beginner level or super hard. And if you only have 30 minutes to exercise, there are plenty of videos that are shorter and still kick your ass.

Free weights/at-home exercises

Let's face it: Having to go to the gym is annoying. You've got to drive or walk there (possibly in bad weather conditions), you have to find a parking spot, you have to change in the locker room and you have to deal with a myriad of annoyances since you're in there with a bunch of other people.

When you get to work out in the comfort of your own home, all of that is a non-issue. You can wear whatever you want, look however you want and not actually have to step foot outside (a bonus in the frigid winter months).

So if you invest in some free weights (I have a set of 5- and 8-pound weights) and Google some at-home exercises, you're good to go! I've even found myself doing a freestyle of different things, even the "elementary school" basics like crunches and jumping jacks. Hey, it's better than nothing.

The good ol' outdoors

Are you in solitary confinement? No? Good. Then you have access to the outside world where the possibilities of working out are endless. Brisk walking, going for a run, a bike ride or a hike are all workout options that don't require a fancy gym membership. Sure, it's challenging in the winter and you might have limited cardio options when there's snow on the ground, but I've found that a good power walk can be done in most weather conditions, gets the heart rate up and can make you feel great afterwards.

Image: UNE Photos/Flickr
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