Raquel at the As1 Fitness Workout in Manhattan, 2012

We are gearing you up for our paleo challenge (happening next month!) and it’s important that we arm you with as many tools as possible to be successful. And while what you eat is an important part of getting healthy and fit (6-pack abs are made in the kitchen, after all), how you move will make all the difference. You might think you need a gym membership to accomplish a good workout, but you don’t.

Here are some alternatives to get you started:

The Park. Wherever you live, there has to be a park (hopefully a safe one) where you can workout. In some areas, like Washington, DC, there are parks built specifically for exercising complete with stationary benches and instructions. But even if you don’t, playground equipment is good for pull-ups, planks and running, and even has that cushioned flooring that will keep you from hurting your feet and knees during high impact movements.

Stairways. Last year I gave up elevators and committed to taking the stairs whenever I could. Any substantial stairway near you–indoor or outdoor–can be a great place to exercise your heart muscle (and legs and glutes…). Think of subway stairs at a not-too-busy station, or the bleachers at a local outdoor field, or if you live anywhere near Riverdale in the Bronx, the step streets at West 230th Street.

Lakes, Rivers, Creeks. Swimming is a truly amazing way to get in a good workout, and if you’re lucky enough to live near a clean body of water, dive in and do a few laps.

Your Home/Apartment. A long hallway, a doorway, the space right next to your bed; somewhere in your dwelling there is space to get in a good yoga session, do some push-ups and pull-ups, or if you don’t have downstairs neighbors, some high knees, dancing, jumping jacks or any DVD or online workout available to you.

At Work. If you sit at a desk like me all day, it can benefit you to forgo your chair and sit on an exercise ball. This will strengthen your core while you chip away at your To Do list. It’s not that intense of a workout, but every little bit helps.

Can you think of any other alternatives to working out in a gym?