The Frugal Gym (1st Steps (over and over))

So a few months ago, I finally cancelled by membership in “SportCity” not because of any issue with them, but because I didn’t use it enough to justify the cost.   (The money then went as an extra payment towards my mortgage).

I was able to figure out ways to get a workout at home with hardly any expense. (There are a few things I use to help (see below)).

Instead I started doing very simple and inexpensive things at home.  (Of course use common sense when working out (talk to doctor before starting ,etc), this is mostly what has worked for me):

Walking the Stairs

[This is my original, activity]

Our house has 2 stories (plus a built out attic),  it is a Dutch house so they are a little steeper than American Houses.  (It is not as steep as some of the houses you find in Amsterdam).

I when I get up… I simply set a 10 (now higher) timer on my iPhone and then…… go back and forth between the ground floor and the floor above … for the full 10 minutes.

When I originally started doing this…. it was hard.  (Yeah I was in such <sarcasm>great </sarcasm> shape, also it might be easier in a US House).

Making it Easier

So walking up and down the Stair for 10+ minutes, can be boring easier.  To help the time pass easier, I will usually listen to last nights news cast. (Time difference with the US means its on at midnight my time).

Tracking it

Many years ago I had a problem with tachycardia (basically my heart rate would shoot up to 150+ unexpectedly*), so I want to keep track of what my heart is doing. It also give me a good idea of the intensity of the workout.  So originally I used a Bluetooth Chest Strap Heart Monitor, which I had bought many years ago.

During the work out pair the monitor with my iPhone and use a program called “Polar Beats” (Polar makes a lot of the fitness equipment at the gym, the more modern equipment also supports Bluetooth allowing the heart monitor to link to them at the gym).   This tracks my activity and allows tracking your workouts.  Looking at the PolarFlow website, I can see that last week I worked out for just over 3 hours and burned 2182 Kcal. (I’ve obviously gone beyond the 10 minutes, I initially suggested).  The program will work with most bluetooth heart monitors and even an Apple Watch.

Also during the workout, if I see that my Heart Rate is too high, (The “Maximum” gets lower as you get older 🙂 ) I can taken a quick breather.


I did notice a few benefits, mostly in weight. I dropped from about 107 kilo to 103 Kg. (Almost 9 pounds, all of the scales here are in Kilo “for some strange reason” 🙂 ).

My wife also started commenting that my posture improved and  looked much better.

Also, my wedding ring started slipping off of my finger, so I moved it to a bigger one.


I also started trying to walk stairs in my daily activity. (i.e taking the stairs at the Metro Station instead of the escalator and maybe 1x a day taking the stairs to the office at work (11 stories), that is tedious. (I need to be more diligent on both of these)

The chest strap worked well, but it was kinda annoying to put on/take off, etc.  So last week I went and bought a Polar OH1 Optical Heart Monitor. (Yeah I know the title says “Frugal” but this is optional, and it was a 1 time expense (vs the gym which is every month)). The OH1 goes on your arm is much easier to put-on/take-off, it can also be worn, more comfortably, for a longer period of time than the just strap. (One thing to be aware of, is the battery on the OH1 lasts for only abut 12 hours, so when done just plop it in its recharging cradle).


Before staring working out be in good health and get permission from your doctor.

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