Struggles Anyone Who Exercises Away From The Gym Understands

February 8, 2018  |  
1 of 14 athletic girl running up a large flight of stairs in San Diego, CA.

I, personally, am not a gym person. I know everyone says they don’t have time but I literally do not have time. The only way I could make time would be if I slept less, but that would be more harmful to my body than the time at the gym would be beneficial. I have just enough time to start my workout the second I need to exercise. Translation: I don’t have time to drive to the gym, find parking, check into the gym, and wait for a machine. By the time that happens, I eat up all of the time I had to exercise. I’m someone who, also, doesn’t plan on being a fitness model or bodybuilder. I just need a decent amount of cardio—enough to keep my doctor off of my back—so spending money on the fancy equipment and trainers that come with gyms doesn’t seem like a smart investment to me. But, if you are like me and you do all of your exercising anywhere but the gym, you know the struggles. Here are struggles only people who exercise outside the gym understand.

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Disturbing your neighbors

You’d like to run up and down your apartment building’s stairs but the pounding of your feet disturbs the neighbors. You wouldn’t mind trying some more advanced dance workouts on Amazon Prime or Netflix, either, but you’re afraid the pounding of your feet would upset your downstairs neighbors, too.


Running into people

When you do your exercising around your neighborhood or out on popular running paths, you always run into someone. If that person is also exercising, they suggest you run together and that just ruins everything. In the gym, people tend to respect that it’s your alone time.

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Hogging the TV

It’s never a good time to use the big screen to watch your workout video. Your partner is always watching the news or a sports game, or your roommate needs it to binge watch a show. So you watch your workout tape on your little laptop screen.

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Accidentally going too far

We’ve all done it: started out our jog, all gung-ho about it, only to find we are out of energy, and still need to turn around and jog home. We also may or may not have called an Uber at this point.



If you’re a woman who jogs, power walks, or performs any type of exercise outdoors, then you’ve experienced the joys of a cat call terrifying you so much that you fall out of the stretch you were in the middle of.

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Nowhere to keep your things

You don’t have the convenient cubbies and holding areas of a gym. You have to find creative ways to keep your house keys, cell phone, water bottle, headphones, and more, on your person. This may or may not result in the all-dreaded fanny pack.

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Being aware of your surroundings

You can’t really put your headphones in and blast your favorite, energizing music because you must always be aware of traffic driving up behind you, some kid on a scooter whizzing by, or a dog making a lunge for your leg.

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The weather

You don’t have the nice climate control of a gym. There is really only one type of weather in which it’s nice to exercise, and that’s a temperate, 60-degree day. Anything more makes you sweat through your clothes and anything less is too cold.


People try to talk to you

People walking by don’t seem to respect that you are clearly in the zone. Tourists will stop you, mid jog, and ask for directions. Men will stop you to hit on you.

Feeling judged

You just know that people sitting in cafes and walking their dogs are judging you—your form, your speed, how much weight they think you should lose or gain, the sounds you make.

It's Shady Out There Sometimes

Portrait happy smiling african woman in colorful clothes and sunglasses in profile


You have to wear sunglasses! Unless you want wrinkles and sun damage to destroy the skin around your eyes. And this means you have to get one of those silly strings that hold your sunglasses onto your head.

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You have to be incredibly on top of your sunscreen game. You might spend anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes a day outside, exercising, and missing sunscreen just a couple days a week can lead to serious damage.


Gym pushers

A lot of people just don’t understand why you won’t join the gym. It almost seems to bother them that you won’t join—as if you are judging them for being a part of one. They try to push and push you into joining one.

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Surprises in the grass

Sometimes you think it would be nice to do your stretches on the grass, in a park, so you do. And you find gum, dog feces, and all sorts of other lovely things there.

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Slow walkers

Don’t people realize you are trying jog out here? And here you have a family of five, standing side by side, taking up the entire width of the sidewalk, and strolling at a pace that would make geriatrics laugh.

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