What makes you look forward to a workout? Is it the endorphin rush you know you’re in store for? The opportunity to wear a new gym outfit? A chance to socialize or connect in a class? Doing something new? While these are all awesome motivators, personally, what keeps me coming back to exercise day after day, even when I don’t feel like working out, is the workout’s inherent fun factor. If you throw it back to your younger years, you’ll find lots of entertaining ways to tone up–all without going to the gym. As luck would have it, some of our favorite little-kid pursuits offer major fitness benefits. And though the nostalgia-based sweat sessions to come SEEM easy and enjoyable, many of them are actually quite challenging now that you aren’t shopping at Limited Too. Sounds crazy, right? Read on! Here are the tools to torch calories, tone up, burn major fat, and increase your overall fitness…just like you did when you were little. 


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Trampolines aren’t just trampolines anymore, guys. They’re “rebounders”. Thanks to this rebrand, everyone’s favorite childhood activity now touts fitness enhancing advantages! Jumping on a mini trampoline is a strenuous, full-body workout that almost doesn’t feel like a workout at all! Rebounding does it all: It’s great for fat burning, but gentler on your joints than running or typical plyometrics. It enhances both cardiovascular fitness, and increases overall strength. It increases circulation and encourages detoxification and lymphatic flow. In short, rebounding is amazing. You can read even more about the benefits of rebounding in this post from Live Bold and Bloom.

Get started: You don’t need a giant backyard trampoline to reap the benefits of rebounding! Get started with a mini model! This entry-level folding trampoline by Stamina features a fold-down design for under $40, and the $139 Urban Rebounder trampoline has a 300-pound capacity and comes with a workout DVD and stabilizing bar. If you become absolutely obsessed with trampolining, the JumpSport Fitness Trampline 370, which sells for $379(!!!) offers adjustable tension via elastic cords instead of springs, is probably the ultimate splurge.

Jump rope.

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When did jumping rope suddenly become SO difficult?! When I was eight, I swear I could jump for hours, entertain myself, and hardly ever have to take a break. Now…Well, things are different. For those of you who are doing Kayla’s BBG, you know how torturous just two minutes of skipping rope can be! Torture aside, jumping is worth a minute or ten of your precious time. It burns an obscene amount of calories, is totally portable, and strengthens your heart, upper, and lower body. Make sure you have ample room, a good pair of shoes, and a bottle of water nearby before you start hopping!

Get started: Grab a jump rope and check out this fat-blasting workout from SHAPE for further inspiration!

Hula hoop.

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Obviously, I saved the best for last! Nothing has shaped my waistline like a daily hula hoop session. While scoring a killer tummy probably seems like an obvious perk, hooping also works your coordination, core stability, and endurance. Of course, since you’re always relaxing and contracting your abdominal muscles as you move, developing and maintaining tight toned abs is a given, but the benefits go even deeper!  The constant oscillation increases flexibility in the hips and spine, enhances digestion, and ups circulation. It’s seriously a total-body workout! It’s one of my favorite things to do while watching mindless TV. Bonus: Once you get really good with the hoop, you can even read an ebook or text while you do it.

Get started: Hooping has options! Start out with a cheapie hoop from your local Target, or go for a more serious “sport” hoop, like the specially-designed and weighted Trim Hoop from Amazon. For those looking to get extra fancy with hooping, Hoopnotica makes a great series of hula hoop DVDs!

…Now if only I could find a SkipIt.



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