If you've been avoiding exercise due to gym-based loathing, we've got just the thing: fresh ideas to help you get your booty in shape again without setting foot in a health club. Ladies and gentlemen, the atrophy is over.
1. Train Rocky-Style
According to a new survey released by the American College of Sports Medicine, curls, crunches and Rocky-style pull-ups will be one of the most popular fitness trends of 2013. And since you only need yourself, body-weight training is the kind of workout you can do in your p.j.'s. It's win-win! Feeling envious of the Khaleesi's perfect body while watching "Game of Thrones"? Bang out 40 push-ups (or 20, or five) for rock-hard triceps, core and shoulders. Instead of scrolling through an ex's Facebook page, spend 10 minutes squat-thrusting to strengthen your leg muscles and back. Soon you'll be too winded to care about that past romance.
2. Let A Group Cheer You On
CrossFit, which involves jumping on boxes and doing pull-ups while people literally clap for you, is one of the most popular workouts right now, says Gregg Cook, Equinox NYC fitness instructor and Cycle Master guru. Cook also recommends group gyms or classes "that encourages a culture of teamwork, friendly competition and a feeling of community." So you're a little shy and hate staring in the mirror as you sweat? Here's what Gregg advises: "Get a training partner. It's much easier to hold true to your commitments when someone else is counting on you. Plus, it's just more fun to share the experience."
3. Become A Kickball Legend
Yep, kickball is exactly like you remember. Except now it's much cooler, because a) you get to choose wacky team names (e.g., The John Cougar Mellencamps; Recession Aggression), and b) it can involve post-game socializing over cocktails. Sign up for weekly practice by joining a kickball league -- you can find one in many hipster Meccas, including Brooklyn, Austin and San Francisco. (Brooklyn Kickball even has its own field.) Keep an eye out for fun kickball offshoots, such as glow-in-the-dark kickball. Though it doesn't provide a targeted workout, kickball's all cardio -- and if your team kicks ass, you could end up with a trophy.
4. Forget Hardcore Kickball: Try Mojo Kickball
Kickball too competitive for you? Eric Heiberg, of Austin, Texas-based Mojo Kickball, thought the same thing. So he invented his own sport. Described like a strange college acid trip ("Imagine if Kickball was out drunk one night and started making out with Tag..."), Mojo Kickball involves strategies geared towards people who aren't "into the whole running thing." It might not be the best workout you ever had, but chances are it will be the funniest.
5. Ride The Waves... Indoors
Riding the RipSurfer X, a machine that looks like a real surfboard, has become a super-popular workout for those wanting to get the core strength of a surfer. It's also great for surfer wannabes who aren't into, you know... shark attacks. This one works on the lower back and abs. And if you're an actual surfer jonesing for a wave, it'll improve your paddle and help you perfect your pop up.
6. Raise The Bar And Focus On Your Core
Not only is Bar Method the only indoor workout that this writer has ever committed to, but I credit Bar's "core, baby, core" focus with finally healing my ongoing back injuries. With its killer reverse push-ups, core-toning and serious glute-lifting features (five whole minutes are devoted to "butt dancing"), think of Bar as a mix between body-weight training and muscle lengthening. "Lots of people have commented that they never found a workout they liked and wanted to stick with... and then they found Bar," says Shannon Albarelli, co-owner of the Montclair, New Jersey, Bar Method. "At Bar, you don't have to think -- and in 60 minutes, you've worked out every muscle." Bar's only con: It's a little pricey (about $20 per class), so look for discount packages.
7. Just Go Outside
If nothing on this list interests you at all, then just go outside. Not only will sunshine help cure any mild case of the blues you may have, but according to research published in Environmental Science and Technology, exercising outside decreases "tension, confusion, anger and depression." Plus, says Chris Grover, the head coach of the U.S. cross-country ski team, "It's a lot easier to run an hour outdoors than it is to run an hour on the treadmill."