My minimalist approach to work out

I am not a big fan of fitness studios, those places actually seem like a nightmare to me: artificial, alienating and energy draining. Also, I don’t want to pay. 🙂 However, working out is important, and if you are the type that likes going to the gym then more power to you! But if you are searching for something more sustainable and easy going, then look no further. I have learned through the years to keep my fitness routine as simple as possible in order to stick to it. I am in no way a workout junkie, insanely fit or an expert for that matter – but I do workout every day and like it!

Incorporate movement into your daily life

Commuting by bike is a great way to go more sustainable and fit instead of driving a car or public transport to work. I bike to University in the warmer part of the year. It’s almost an hour one way, but I love it. My tips for commuting by bike:

  • Choose a scenic route instead of the shortest one. On my way to University, I follow a hidden lovely street rather than one that is busy with traffic and plainly dangerous (I am looking at you, Sonnenalle!). The other half of the route crosses Tiergarten, the inner-city’s forest.
  • Get a bike basket. I always put my bag in a basket to avoid the extra weight on my back and, well, sweating.
  • Have a refreshment kit. I always bring an extra shirt, my deodorant, a bottle of water and sometimes makeup. I change my shirt and wash my face at the University toilet and give myself 5 min to breathe.

If I don’t bike, I try to walk as much as possible, like to buy groceries. When I am riding the train, I try to always take the stairs instead of an escalator and sometimes go off two stations early to walk home if I feel like it. I’d love to work somewhere I could commute by foot (Litterless wrote about her walk commute here).

Do it at home

minimalist work out yoga mat water bottle

For years, I was taking yoga, pilates, and other similar classes but they quickly turned into just one more obligation. Even though I like the activity, I hated going somewhere on a particular day, at a particular time, changing my clothes at the wardrobe and always waiting for someone else’s instructions. So I started doing a combination of yoga, stretching, and workout in the comfort of my own home. My tips for starting a home workout:

  • Do it daily and at the same time. It would never turn into a habit if I would not do it absolutely every day. I like to do it in the morning because it wakes me up and makes me feel great.
  • Keep it short and simple.  I searched the web for some basic yoga poses and started there. My workout lasts only 10 min, but since I do it every day it definitely leaves results.
  • Make it easy to start. I keep my yoga mat on the floor of the living room, like a rug.  Mat is so comfortable, guests sometimes sleep on it, so double use!

Do it outside

Just being surrounded by nature is already relaxing and healthy. I don’t get why you’d go to spin class to pretend to be on a bike or run down the treadmill if you can do it outside. In the warmer part of the year, I will go jogging in my favourite parks. I tend not to jog in the winter as the cold air gives me a cough fast. Instead, I will go for long faster walks around lakes in the forest. My tips for a jogging routine:

  • Find a nice place. Go somewhere, where it is actually green, quiet, scenic, or my favourite – surrounded by water.
  • Find the best time. Afternoons are my favourite time when the sun is going down.
  • Think of music. I actually don’t listen to anything because it distracts me too much and I cannot run.
  • Don’t track yourself.  My only goal is to break a sweat and enjoy being outside.
I also love swimming in lakes in the summer and there are many possibilities for wild swimming in Berlin. When in Slovenia I like to go hiking and if there is snow I do cross-country skiing.

Play games

minimalist work out bag ping-pong equipment


In one of my favourite books, Play: How it shapes the brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown, I read: “lack of play should be treated as a malnutrition – it’s a health risk for body and mind”. My tips for more play:

  • Find active hobbies. Good idea is to start thinking about the games you liked as a kid. I am up for badminton and basketball if the occasion arises. I play ping pong with my boyfriend around my neighbourhood and we have tournaments lasting all summer.
  • Socialise with sports. Meet new people by joining new activities or find active hobbies to do with friends.  I participate in the local urban gardening project, mostly just to hang out with the people.
  • Find cheap second-hand equipment online. Or search your parents’ basement.

So what about you: Anyone else practising a minimal workout routine? Commuting by bike? Hating work out? Going to the gym and loving it? Let me know 🙂

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