Lifestyle feature: Getting fit without paying out

Organised walks are a great way to motivate yourself
Organised walks are a great way to motivate yourself

How many of us wish we could click our fingers and teleport to and from the gym without any of the dreaded parking, changing or queuing associated with any gym session?

A lot of the time, this extra to-ing and fro-ing, is time we just can’t spare and is often the reason many people ditch their fitness regimes after January.

The good news, however, is that increasing your activity levels does not have to involve lengthy gym contracts and inevitable disappointment.

For those who can’t face going outside on cold nights, half-hour indoor high-intensity training, also known as HIT, is just as effective as an hour on gym machines and can be done in the comfort of your living room.

High intensity work-outs involve working as close to your maximum effort as possible, with short 300 second rest periods between each exercise.

Commit yourself to 15-30 minutes at a time and choose from the following list of exercises: star jumps, mountain climbers, burpees, lunges, sit-ups and squats.

There are plenty of HIT regimes on YouTube.

Why not make yourself a playlist to make your work-outs as stress-free as possible?

HIT can also apply to running.

Find yourself a good pair of trainers and a flat stretch of ground then run as fast as you can for one minute followed by 30 seconds of rest.

Aim to repeat this six to eight times to begin with.

As your fitness improves, you can increase the length of running time and decrease the rest periods. Research shows these short bursts of high-energy are just as effective as a mid-pace longer run.

Complement these high-intensity sessions with a toning activity, such as a yoga or pilates DVD. This will tone and strengthen your muscles and provides a great change of pace for days when you’re feeling tired.

You can maximise these work-outs by making small changes to your day.

Small steps

The classic taking-the-stairs-instead-of-the-lift or finding a quiet spot to do 100 squats during your lunch break will help you to see results and spur you on.

Walking or cycling to work might not be an option every day, so why not commit yourself to two days a week? Small, sustainable goals are more likely to keep you on track and keep you motivated.

Jessica Walker, wellbeing officer at Chichester District Council, said: “For some people, having regular access to a gym is a godsend.

“But others need something a little more flexible that fits around their lifestyle.

“It’s all about finding something which suits you and sticking to it.”

If you want something to work towards, the council’s sport and leisure team are organising triathlons for the weekend of July 12-13 in and around the Westgate Centre.

Sports development officer Jamie Fellows said: “The pitfalls for people starting a fitness regime is keeping it fresh and not getting stuck in a rut.

“The triathlon is suitable for beginners and is a great way of building up fitness with lots of variety.”

Entry to the event is a one-off fee of £46, which also includes a monthly nutrition and training plan put together by a fitness expert.

Group entries are also available with three people sharing the cost of entry and performing just one leg of the swim, cycle and run each.

Anyone feeling up to a challenge can also look at signing up to the Children on the Edge half marathon, set to take place on Sunday, October 12.

Signing up to a charity event is a great way to motivate yourself to train and pounding the pavements is free.

Heart Smart

For those who prefer something with a slightly lower pace, Heart Smart Walks is a local walking group that provides the company and security of walking in numbers.

Led by trained volunteers, the walks are held locally, with the group providing the routes so you don’t have to.

Despite what expensive advertising campaigns suggest, fitness and the gym do not necessarily go hand in hand.

Time getting to and from the gym is time that could be put towards your health and wellbeing, not to mention helping your bank account.

So what are you waiting for? Start working-out on your own terms and reaching your goals.

For more information on the Natures Way Triathlon series, organised by Chichester District Council, visit the leisure and culture section of

For more information on Heart Smart Walks, visit the same website and go to the health and wellbeing section.

To sign up for the Children on the Edge Half Marathon, visit