by Lakshmi Sadhu

Disclaimer: I am not a certified fitness expert. If my article so happens to motivate you to exercise to an almost overzealous level, please do first keep in mind your unique physical and medical limitations before commencing any of the fitness programs mentioned below. Respect your body, and it will respect you back. 

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” ~ Henry Ford

Working out can mean different things to different people. For some, fitness is just that loathsome hour they begrudgingly take out of their day to hit the gym only because they rationally know it’s good for their health. For others, fitness is freedom and a way of life; the weight of the barbell pressing down on their shoulders or the wild pumping of their heart mid-sprint, is their idea of therapy. Fitness helps them unplug themselves from the world and all the burdensome obligations that come with it.

Popular media would have you believe that the only real reason you should hit the gym is so you can rock that pair of high-waist ultra skinny jeans or be “bikini body” ready for summer, which by the way is a phrase that never made much sense to me to begin with.

For a “bikini body”, put a bikini on your body. Congratulations, you now have a bikini body!
(Image source)


Fitness is more than just about looking great or feeling confident, it’s also about feeling powerful and indomitable. The elliptical, weight room, or swimming pool are not places where you beat your body into submission. It is where you get the opportunity to test your mettle, to find deep within you the fire to challenge yourself to accomplish what you thought you weren’t capable of. The never-say-die attitude that a dedication to fitness helps cultivate, spreads to even other areas of your life. You will find yourself more capable than ever to deal with professional or personal problems head-on.

Knee-deep as we are in the age of information, no one is unaware of the well-touted benefits of exercise. Yet, despite our rational understanding of what is good for us, we don’t always do what is good for us. Human beings are funny like that. Understandably, life just gets in the way sometimes. While University of Toronto has brilliant, well-equipped fitness facilities that all students have access to; Hart House, Athletic Centre, and Goldring Centre, it’s sometimes quite a task in itself to wake up early and, depending on how far your live from campus, travel to the gym, or find time in between classes and assignments to work out at these facilities. This problem is exacerbated in winter, when you don’t want to leave your warm house to go out into the bitter cold even for your classes, let alone the gym. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard my friends (or myself) complain about how hard it is to find motivation to go to the gym when it’s freezing outside.

Of course, nothing stops some people from working out, come snow, hail or rain. There’s always that one Nike-clad person on the street running in the middle of a snow or rainstorm leaving you simultaneously awestruck and ashamed.

Maybe you can’t relate to this.

But maybe this is more like you.

For those of you who can relate to Edward Norton more than they can to Miss Spider Monkey, I have a solution for you. It is rather remarkable what ingenuity, and a whole lot of resolve can accomplish regardless of the seeming obstacles in achieving your goal. There are ways to stay fit and active that don’t require you to go to the gym! You can set those quads on fire and work up a solid sweat session, all in the comfort of your own room!

As chock-full of information as the internet is, it is easy to get overwhelmed with where to begin. Therefore, for the benefit of my lovely readers, I’ve done research so YOU don’t have to!

Presenting, my top three favourite fitness instructors on YouTube! All of them have diverse styles of fitness routines, are equipment-free, and tailor their videos to welcome people with different levels of fitness and physical limitations. All you need to do is follow along to their helpful FREE instructional videos!

1. Cassey Ho

Founder of “POP Pilates”, her workout videos on YouTube are tailor-made for busy people. The fun pop music playing in the background of her videos and Cassey’s chirpy persona will definitely drive away your winter blues.


2. Yoga with Adriene

The best no-nonsense yoga instructor on YouTube. Perhaps you’re struggling with back pain, or maybe you’re looking to just wind down after the end of a long and stressful day, Adriene’s channel has something for everybody!


3. Fitness Blender

Husband and wife team Daniel and Kelli create more traditional fitness videos, think high-intensity interval training and intense bodyweight cardio! They also have workout videos that are low-impact and thus geared towards people with joint mobility issues.


What are you waiting for? Give these videos a shot!