Recommend a subscription fitness program that keeps me healthy and mixes things up?
November 9, 2012 12:35 PM   Subscribe

Are there good programs out there that will help me stay fit without getting bored when I'm not participating in a team sport or working towards a specific goal? I'm willing to pay a small amount or make investments in equipment, but ideally the monthly cost should be less than a gym membership.

In the past, I've managed to stay engaged in fitness programs by participating in a team sport, where the desire not to let down the team motivated me to show up and work hard even when my heart wasn't in it. But my schedule now makes that hard -- I have enough time for exercise each day, but not always at the same time each day.

I've also been motivated by goals -- strength training so I can do a pull up, running a 5K, then a 5K at a certain speed, then a half marathon. But when I accomplish whatever my goal is, I'm no longer interested in the often boring tasks that helped me achieve it. And honestly, my underlying fitness goal is not to look different, run faster/farther or lift more -- it's to keep exercising often because it's good for my health and it makes me feel good.

Right now I'm doing the Jillian Michaels "30 Day Shred" video, and I'm enjoying it. But what comes next after 30 days? Repeating the same three workouts over and over every month sounds dull. I don't really want to have to spend $20-$50/month on fitness videos just to keep myself exercising without getting bored.

I know that I'm capable of devising my own program. I've got a shelf full of books about weight training, heart rate training, etc. But devising my own program takes so much time and effort that the process of coming up with a plan destroys some of my motivation, and then pretty soon I'm bored with whatever I came up with and I have to do it again.

I guess ideally I'm looking for the fitness equivalent of The Fresh 20 -- I'm paying $5/month, and every week I get a list of ingredients to buy at the store, some prep work to do ahead, and recipes to cook. Somebody else does the hard work of planning for me, and my meals are healthy and varied, so my body is healthy and I don't get bored while eating well.

Is there a similar service in the exercise world? Something that for a small monthly fee comes up with rotating 30-60 minute workouts to try, so I stay healthy, feel good and don't get bored out of my mind?
posted by croutonsupafreak to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I keep trying the 100 pushup plan and failing. But maybe it'll work for you?
posted by Grither at 12:42 PM on November 9, 2012

Go dance,

ballroom, merenge, salsa, have fun and fitness is a side effect
posted by kanemano at 12:42 PM on November 9, 2012

I really liked P90X.

Yes it is primarily a focused 90 day workout (actually there are three 90 day programs made up of the same ~10 DVDs) but now that I'm done with the program, I do about 4 of the workouts a week or just make up routines using exercises in the workouts.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:43 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

2bucksplus: Is P90X do-able without installing a pull-up bar in my home? That would be a deal breaker for me.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 12:59 PM on November 9, 2012

also crossfit for after you do p90X twice but it helps if you like pain.

edit: you can do P90X with rubber bands (resistance bands) if you do not have a pullup bar
posted by kanemano at 1:00 PM on November 9, 2012

I have a ~20 bar that slides over the mantel of a doorframe that works fine. You could also just use resistance bands anchored to something (the bands I bought came with such an anchor).
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:01 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I gather that there is a team sport that you will do in the future, so this is the off season. What do dedicated athletes do in the off season? They train. Can you feel motivated by starting the season in good shape, versus whipping it into gear? Alternatively, can you feel motivated thinking of your rivals getting soft in the off season? If you can get motivated by this then you have this thing solved for the whole year.
posted by dgran at 1:11 PM on November 9, 2012

dgran: No, I had to quit my team sport because my work schedule does not allow me to take a full day every 2-3 Saturdays for half the year to compete, plus two hours at specific times three times a week to practice. I can put in that many hours, but not always at the same time on the same days, and you can't practice with a team if you can't be in the same place at the same time as they are there.

Thanks, 2bucksplus. I live in a small condo and it looks from some of what I've Googled like my home may be too small for P90X. There are no door frames accessible in sight of my television. My workout floor space is about 4 feet by 6 feet. My ceiling is only 8-9 feet off the ground -- I'll definitely hit it when trying to do the vertical leap outlined in the "are you fit enough for this" document here. Any thoughts on this?

kanemano: My impression is that Crossfit is for people who are trying to be bad-ass super strong and commit many, many hours every week, not folks who are happy to be fitter-than-average and just want to be healthy and do what's right for their bodies. Am I mistaken? Also, isn't it expensive and doesn't it require going to specific gyms at specific times? I need a portable, affordable system that I can use at home or when traveling, whether I have more time in the morning one day or at night another.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:15 PM on November 9, 2012

Is P90X do-able without installing a pull-up bar in my home? That would be a deal breaker for me.

You can pick and choose different videos to make your own exercise plan rather than following theirs, so you could just cut out the pull-up videos. You can also use a pull-up bar that doesn't "install" but just sits in the doorway and you can take it down right afterwards (I have one, it's perfectly secure and non-damaging). Resistance bands are another alternative.
posted by randomnity at 1:16 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh with your update, maybe you could consider a league which is less demanding time-wise, or playing at a lower level than you're used to? Many recreational/intermediate leagues play once a week, which might be easier to fit into your schedule. And then you could use that as extra motivation to do some solo drills/training exercises tied to your sport.
posted by randomnity at 1:22 PM on November 9, 2012

You could also try Insanity. You don't need any equipment for that.
posted by nooneyouknow at 1:35 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

the crossfit WOD is about 20 minutes and even though it accommodates the "super bad ass Fit" people who can't stop telling you how much they can dead lift it scales down to those who enjoy our beer and sausages in more than minimal amounts.
posted by kanemano at 1:45 PM on November 9, 2012

Check out Warrior X-Fit. Each day of the month is a different workout. Only equipment you need to a resistant band.
posted by tman99 at 2:33 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

See if your local library carries any workout DVD's, that would make your investment minimal if you wanted to try a bunch of stuff. Also, if you have netflix you can try that, although I don't know what there selection is like anymore.

If you have a smartphone, and you like jogging, you could check out Zombies, Run!, which is more like an audio book than a game, but makes jogging a little more interesting (assuming you're into zombies at all).
posted by markblasco at 3:52 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Tennis used to work for me, and that or a similar sport might hit the spot for you.

Organizing and scheduling that is a lot more flexible than for team sports, and there are still people you made plans with so that helps with motivation. Plus it's inherently fun and exciting, unlike just running or working with weights.

Joining a club or doing a class can help you to meet lots of people that you could potentially play with, and that's a good thing because then you have options for playing on different days of the week and different times of the day to suit your schedule, etc.

A side benefit is that it's quite social, and you meet a lot of interesting people of varying ages and both sexes.
posted by philipy at 7:03 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bike & walk everywhere?
posted by akgerber at 9:40 PM on November 9, 2012

I would also recommend CrossFit. Yes, those folks are bad-ass, and I can't come close to doing the weights that they do, I just scale it down to my level so I don't hurt myself. I like it because it really is a quick work out that builds good all-around strength. And every day is different, which helps me because I get really bored with doing the same run around my neighborhood, and someone else just tells me what to do.

It does require some equipment, which you can get for reasonable prices on Craigslist. I usually skip around and choose the workouts that I can do with the equipment I have, and mix it up by doing a run or bike ride on other days for the cardio. The website is a great resource and has recommendations for alternative exercises for when you don't, say, have a rope to climb up or free rings in your garage. It also has video demonstrations so you can figure out what the hell you're supposed to do.
posted by feidr2 at 11:01 PM on November 9, 2012

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