Operation ‘no gym’ Week 1

If you’re new to Project Salud or missed my most recent blog post, let me catch you up to speed. I’ve decided to put some skin in the game, and really ‘walk the walk’ for why I started this blog-being active shouldn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. Going to a gym can be expensive, time consuming, or just not your thing. While I have always been a gym-goer, I felt that I needed to experience what it’s like not having a fitness center at my disposal, and I have officially frozen my gym membership for 4 weeks.

I feel like there was no better time to start this little experiment because it’s forcing me to stay diligent and be creative as it has been a crazy week-something that parents, college students, and many of us can relate to regularly. As new Philadelphians, I’ve been on the job hunt for a couple of months and have been waitressing for income in the meantime. I feel fortunate that the restaurant I’m currently at is a 15 minute walk from our house, and an active position with lots of walking. That being said it is also a very taxing job, and with it being Restaurant Week in the city (3 course meals for $35/person brings out evvvvvveryone and has been non-stop every minute of every day) I often get home late and exhausted from a long shift where the last thing I want to do is wake up early, be productive, and exercise. But it brings me comfort to know that I’m not alone and am more diligent on eating well and getting the sleep I need to take care of myself in a well-rounded way. I’ve been journaling a little bit with each day, because I want to give you raw insight into this experiment.

Below you’ll see a summary of my physical activity (yes, this includes any active commute or leisure walking). If you keep reading, you’ll read snippets from each day that were influential to my activity.


Sunday 9/23
Activity: 3 hour hike in the Pocono Mountains

Sunday was our 1 year anniversary, and while living in Philadelphia has been great so far, getting out of the city is truly a breath of fresh air. The edge of the Poconos are 1.5 hours away and worth every minute of the drive. We hiked Glen Onoko Falls where there was a lot of scrambling, a lot of uphill, and a lot of off-trail hiking (we got a little lost, ha). The trail was along a gooooooorgeous waterfall and near the top was a quiet forest with a peaceful lookout (see below). The next day my legs were heavy and even a little sore from what felt like an hour on the stair stepper. The rest of the day wasn’t very active at all between the drive and the anniversary couples massage, but it was a Sunday well spent and just what the doctor ordered.


Monday 9/24
Activity: 6.5 mile run with the rocky steps, and lots of walking (commute to work and walking in the restaurant)

Sometimes the best thing you can do is be a tourist in your own city. I’ve been to the Rocky Steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum and I’ve walked along the Schuylkill Trail, but when there’s a crisp autumn breeze and coffee-induced motivation, it’s an entirely different experience. A hustled run to the Art Museum had me feeling great, so I ran up the Rocky Steps skipping every other step. Once I got to the top and took a moment to look out, I felt like I could, and should keep going! My breath and legs were heavy, but I caught my breath, braced my mind, and went up twice more. By the third set, it was a struggle to push myself up the steps. While I felt my legs become increasingly heavy, I knew I needed to clear the lactic acid that had built up so I finished the last 3 miles at a nice and easy pace. Running is something I was never ‘good’ at growing up. I played softball and was in dance- neither of which required running more than 200 feet at a time. My point is, I understand that not everyone loves to run…I once hated it, too. But running has become something very near and dear to my heart that is difficult to put into words. You might feel transcendence with other activities and while it’s the same idea, in running they call it the “runners high.”

Tuesday 9/25
Activity: 30 minute yoga flow, 15 minute stretch, and lots more walking (commute to work and walking in the restaurant)

As I mentioned, it’s Restaurant week in Philadelphia and Tuesday I was scheduled to work 11:00am -Close [11:30pm]. It was a long day, to say the least. I had every intention of doing a HIIT workout from home, but I could feel my body needed a break. Lately I’ve been neglecting my stretching routine post-workout and Monday’s run had my body really aching, so I listened to my body and stretched it out wit a yoga flow on the TV. I think a lot of us forget about youtube or home workout videos, but they are GREAT!- especially for something like yoga. I am certainly not a master of yoga or anywhere near that, but I love keeping my body balanced, and as a runner I desperately need yoga in my life. I turned on a yoga video on youtube using our AppleTV and let that be my guide. I felt a little guilt for not smashing a tough workout, but reminded myself to be kind with the busy days ahead and let the body repair.

Wednesday 9/26
Plenty of walking (commute to work and walking for work)

The delayed onset muscle soreness, truly got the best of me this day. My legs were feeling like lead from the hike, the long run, and a 12 hour shift spent on my feet in previous days. I still spent 9 hours on my feet, got in over 15,000 steps, and had been eating my best so while there was no ‘workout’ and I didn’t spend the day getting stronger, it was an active day.

Thursday 9/27
: 4 mile run, HIIT workout, and plenty of walking (commute to work, and walking in the restaurant)

It had been a long week at this point, and the last thing I wanted was to work out. But it was a picture-perfect 65 degree day that I refused to spend inside. My body was craving some strength training as it felt a little achy. I took Baxter (the pooch) on a 2 mile run to an area where he could be off leash while I supplemented my short run with a HIIT workout. My HIIT work out included jump squats, skaters, lunges, burpees, push-ups, core work, stair sprints, and more. Knowing I was a little over 2 miles away from home, I conserved enough energy for a slow and easy jaunt home and finished my workout flooded with endorphins.

Friday 9/28
: 6 mile bike ride, and walking for commute and work
Feeling very sore (again), I was tired of being on my feet. In most major cities, bike rentals have become accessible and cost-friendly. In Philadelphia, you can rent Indego Bikes like a monthly subscription-this includes unlimited 1-hour bike rides for $17 per month. Since I sold my car, this whole bike-rental thing is a much cheaper option, and less maintenance… big fan. I utilized the Schuylkill trail, meant for bikers and foot traffic, and enjoyed a 6 mile bike ride through the cloudy and crisp autumn afternoon. Since I was never a “cyclist,” and don’t even own my own bike, I find riding to be pretty challenging. Let’s just say, it’s a humbling reminder when a 6 mile bike ride tires out my legs much more than a 7 mile run. Still! I’m really enjoying the bike rides as a more efficient, yet active way of seeing the city.

Saturday 9/29
Activity: Active recovery via walking (to Farmer’s Market, grocery store, commute to work, and walking for work
Getting to the end of the busy week I allowed myself to sleep in, take a nice walk to the farmer’s market with the fam, and enjoy the fall sunshine before another evening of work.


To recap week one without gym access, it is definitely a challenge but also certainly doable! I’ve found that I truly enjoy my time working out and end each activity feeling more connected overall. Planning is was the most important piece of workout execution. If I don’t plan and schedule my workouts or activity, the day can easily get away from me.

In the upcoming week, my goal is to incorporate more strength activities and plan the workouts ahead of time. In the meantime, I’m still journaling and logging my activity-you can follow along daily via Instagram or wait for my weekly updates. (: Feel free to contact me or connect with any questions, comments, or concerns.