I used to work part-time at the front desk of Gold's Gym. I LOVED the fancy gym environment; I loved all the equipment, I loved the classes, I loved the fancy locker rooms, I loved the smoothie bar (90% of my meals back then consisted of smoothies I made myself during work... yum).
Once I quit that job and no longer had a free membership, I signed up for an actual paying membership, and HATED it. I hate monthly fees for anything, and I hate contracts. I still loved the gym itself, but I hated paying the fee and being locked into a contract.
So I cancelled my membership (once the contract was up, ugh) and have been gym-membership-free for 4+ years.
I like to think that I am still in pretty good shape, even without having a fancy gym membership, and I want to share my current workout routine with you in case you think it's impossible to be in shape without a gym membership.
NOTE: I am a big believer in investing in your health, so if you really do get tons of value and happiness from your monthly gym membership, and can afford it, then by all means keep doing your thing! I frequently debate signing up for a yoga membership somewhere because I really like taking yoga classes, so I'm definitely not opposed to paying for workouts. This is just what's working for me right now!
Walking is by far my biggest form of exercise at this point in my life. Walking is SO GOOD FOR YOU. We are lucky* to live in a super walkable, super cutesy area and take walks all the time. It's fairly normal for us to walk 6+ miles on a weekend day just for fun. Before I lived here, I did still take walks, but it wasn't nearly as enjoyable because there wasn't anything exciting to look at. BUT I STILL DID IT. I love walking and listening to audiobooks (downloaded for free from the local library) or podcasts.
I try to walk hourly at work (just for a few minutes up and down the hall) and go on a 10-15 minute walk at lunch time. Mike and I also started doing 15ish minute long walks after dinner, because I read in a book that it's really good for you after eating to walk around. I try to keep my phone with me when I walk so I can keep track of my daily walks using the pedometer in my iPhone (I refuse to give in and get a fitbit). I aim for a walking total of 3.5-5 miles a day, or 10,000 steps!
*brief side note- I wrote the word "lucky" then immediately knew I shouldn't have used that word. There's no luck in this situation at all; we prioritized living in a walkable, cute area and in order to make that happen, we are spending more money on rent and less money on other activities. Not luck, just prioritization. But I left the word "lucky" in there as a teachable moment to myself :) It kind of reminds me of this post I wrote a loooong time ago about jealousy.
2. Circuit Workouts.
I used to be obsessed with this workout from Nerd Fitness. Now I've gotten hooked on some of the Fitness Blender HIIT workout videos (for example, this and this) or this video from Jessie James Decker (I loooove her). I try to do these circuit/HIIT workouts 1-2 times a week.
3. Occasional running.
Truth time: I feel slightly bad when I think about how much I used to run, and how little I run now. Back in 2011/2012, I was doing a ton of half marathons. I liked training for them; it gave me something to focus on, especially when I wasn't so happy with my living situation. (house full of random craigslist roommates - not my happiest time) Running gave me an escape from being home. But then I met Mike, and we moved into our own place, and suddenly I had my own home where I actually LIKED being there! So escaping to go run for hours wasn't necessary anymore. I sometimes get bummed that I'm not running as much, and maybe I'll get back into it one day (Mike keeps threatening to make us start doing long runs on the weekend again), but for now, I like going on occasional ~2 mile walk/runs, 1-2 times a week.
Our previous apartment building offered a free yoga class once a month that I went to. Because of that, I've realized that I really like yoga but I only like it when I'm in a class. I will occasionally do a Yoga with Adriene video now that I don't have the free classes anymore, but it's not quite as awesome as a real class :(