Just ten years ago, most gyms were sweaty little dens frequented only by hardcore, muscle-bound mavericks. The average person had zero interest in entering their heavily mirrored interiors. Grunting under the dead weight of a hefty iron bar was seen as being a sign of excessive vanity at best, and at worst, a sign of a decided lack of sanity. Up to the nineties, the only formal exercise most people took was a jog in the park or a walk with the dog.

But attitudes have changed, and most people now have a better idea of the important benefits that regular exercise brings. And with the explosion of lycra-clad hotties marching up and down the nation’s streets, it’s clear that more people are now leaping, squatting and lunging onto the exercise bandwagon!

Staying physically fit is definitely important for both physiological and psychological well-being, and it’s very helpful for giving you the energy and pep to explore the world on regular BUCKiTDREAM-inspired vacations. But what if you can’t stand gyms?

Don’t worry, you have plenty of other options. There’s now more alternative types of exercise available than ever before. Here is our BUCKiTDREAM list of five of the coolest, most fun alternative forms of exercise. 

Bouldering This is an alternative form of rock climbing when you climb up low heights, such as boulders, with no rope or helmet. It can be done outdoors, or (more commonly and much safer) on artificial indoor climbing walls, and it is possibly the most fun you can have with your clothes on! It’s also highly addictive and extremely satisfying, as your session to session progress is unmissable.

Each day you can feel an improvement as you gradually undertake and complete tougher and tougher problems (color-coded routes up and across the walls). It is very good exercise, especially for the biceps, legs and core. A few months of bouldering – even without downing endless tins of spinach – and you’ll have biceps like Popeye! 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu BJJ has been referred to as ‘human chess’ – and the moniker is apt. This form of grappling or ‘rolling’ is subtle, multi-layered, and as complex as you want it to be. Just like chess, you can learn new, more detailed and more refined moves and combinations indefinitely. As a skill, BJJ is incredibly empowering. It’s also famously known in martial arts as being the form that best allows small people to incapacitate much larger opponents.

Every BJJ class involves some drilling of new techniques, and then about 30 minutes of full sparring, so as a form of exercise, it is second to none. It will work wonders for your flexibility, core strength and conditioning.

Pole Dancing Over the last five years, pole dancing has absolutely come out of the shadows. Once strictly deemed for strippers in seedy strip clubs, it’s now practiced in bright and airy community centers, dance studios and even church halls all across the country, and by everyone from high-powered business women, to housewives, grannies, and even a few brave men! (We say ‘brave’ because pole dancing is a brutal form of exercise).

It is undoubtedly fun and addictive, but it’s also wicked hard on the thighs, arms and core. Flexibility is also greatly tested (and therefore increased). So, if you want to be as strong as an ox and super bendable, just take up pole dancing.

Hot Yoga This exercise is exactly what you imagine it to be – yoga in a heated room – and it comes in many different forms. Bikram Yoga is a formalized series of movements that is identical in every class. Other forms are changeable and depend on an individual teacher’s whims on that particular day.

You sweat A LOT during any type of hot yoga class, which is very satisfying (good riddance toxins), and after a class you feel cleansed, calm and light. Hot yoga is excellent for flexibility, core strength and muscle toning. It’s also very satisfying to feel yourself getting stronger and more able to hold the positions as the sessions go by.

CrossFit A CrossFit ‘box’ is a little bit like a gym, but fear not – the atmosphere is vastly different. There’s no posing or pouting into mirrors, or taking sneaky (or brazen) selfies going on in a ‘box’. There is only deep camaraderie and an ‘all in this together’ spirit as everybody takes part in the WOD (workout of the day) and wills each other over the finish line. It’s like being part of a Navy SEAL platoon for an hour or so! CrossFit can be intense and difficult, but it is excellent exercise and a great way to build new friendships.

That was our BUCKiTDREAM list of alternative forms of exercise for those who despise going to the gym. Hopefully, you now feel inspired to give one (or a few) of them a try. Whether you are scaling the walls of your local bouldering center like Spider-Man, or choking-out people twice your size on a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu mat, don’t forget to motivate your friends by sharing your alternative exercise experiences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and using the hashtag #BUCKiTDREAM. Then when you’re done exercising, reward yourself with a trip to one of the Top 10 Bars in the World.