The Roach Motel of Home Fitness

roach motelputrid cockroach image via Wikipedia creative commons

Back in the day when I was young, dumb, on my own, broke as hell, and living in a rickety-ass apartment that literally had a hole in the wall…. I bought a can of green beans from the ghetto grocery store.

Got home. Grabbed my can opener. Opened the can.

And what did I behold?

There was a dead roach trapped inside from canning at the green bean factory. He had been in the can for so long, his body turned green, same color as the beans.

And you know what?

I was so hungry, I just picked that roach right out the can and ate the green beans anyways. Didn’t even think twice about it (I know. Gross, right?). The upside is that I lived to tell the tale and did not contract some sort of flesh eating roach disease. The green bean juice must’ve purified the contamination. Yes?


Now I know the mention of a roach motel may not seem like a savory subject, but home fitness can be much like the story I just told. The Roach Motel of Home Fitness is the spirit of making due with what you’ve got to make fitness happen despite any limitations. Accomplishing a workout in the roach motel is much better than doing nothing at all.

Ain’t got no fancy gym equipment? Think you need to have X, Y and Z before getting serious about transforming your body?

Nope. WRONG!

The beautiful thing about Roach Motel status is that it’s usually only temporary. The accommodations can slowly morph into the palatial estate of home fitness you’ve always wanted if you make that a goal.

I remember starting out at home with only a pair of 5 and 8-lb weights and a few fitness DVDs. That’s it. I built my home workout arsenal slowly and, although I’m still building it today, I’m pretty pleased with the home workout tools I’ve amassed so far. But it took time! I finally have my “palace”.


If you don’t have extra money right now for a full workout system or a certain piece of equipment you really want (Kettlebells are expensive), you have alternatives to get in an epic workout anyhow.

Chillin’ in the Roach Motel doesn’t mean you have to live in fitness-squalor. Make due with what you have and keep it movin’. So long as you have the ability to move your body and the will to get yo’ ass up & active, that’s all you need to get fit. The fancier stuff will come in time.

  • If you don’t have a speed rope, use your “invisible” rope instead.
  • No kettlebell? Then swing a dumbbell. M’kay?
  • Got physical limitations? Don’t abandon the entire workout — improvise & modify the moves!
  • Don’t have cash to be sinking into popular (freaking expensive!) fitness programs? Then lurk on Youtube and find some free workouts.

I’m not just blowing hot air when I say this. I’ve done all of the above at one time or another.

There is always a way. There is never NOT a way. If you truly, for-realz, honestly can’t workout because the dog ate your sports bra or your ingrown toenail is squirting out pus, you still have the ability to control your eating. Diet is more than half the battle anyways. But please refrain from slurping on canned roach juice if you can.

So tell me… ever done your workout at the roach motel? Or have you always had super-fancy workout accommodations?







  1. blackhuff says:

    I’ve done a workout in a roach hotel before. I’ve done similar things that you mentioned here :)
    I think I too would have been badass and ate those beans if I were broke and HUNGRY
    blackhuff recently posted..Coach’s words: Your brain telling you that.

  2. What great advice! I’ve had to do roach motel fitness before, and you know what? It’s all good! Like you said, what’s most important is that you’re exercising, not how fancy or expensive it is!
    Lex @ Flecks of Lex recently posted..Energy Bits: Review & GIVEAWAY!

  3. Allie says:

    Roach motel for sure!!! Even when I first started running I had crappy running shoes but you know what? I ran anyway! If you want to be fit, seriously, JUST DO IT! It’s never going to be ideal, you just have to be so hungry for fitness (like the green beans!) that you will make due with what you have. There are at least 30 million body weight/no equipment needed, workouts on YouTube.
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – Vermont Ski Week

  4. Brooke says:

    Hi Josie,

    Great site. I’m shocked at your progress since you had your 4th kid!

    Keep it up!!!

    <3 Brooke
    Brooke recently posted..5 Awesome (And Easy) Habits For A Healthier Life

  5. Valerie says:

    I’m with you – if you REALLY want to get fit and lose weight, you will improvise.
    If you want to interval train and don’t have access to a bike or treadmiill, stair step.
    If you can’t afford weights, use your body weight.
    There’s no excuses (according to Jillian!).
    Valerie recently posted..A 10-Day Super Nutritional Makeover To Detox, Eliminate Food Addictions, and Lose Weight

  6. I’m one of those spoiled brats whose always been lucky about having enough resources to get what I need for workouts, but I do hit the road and have to deal with roach motel situations and I agree–where there’s an obsession, er, I mean a “will”, there’s usually a way.

    But I do think it’s easier to deal with willpower issues when there are lots of shiny options, so I know how damn lucky I am to have ’em.
    crabby mcslacker recently posted..Gamblin’ Again

  7. Kim says:

    Yep – spent years in the roach motel of fitness. Basically I had about the cheapest running shoes on the market and my body but it worked and I did what I could.
    You’re so right – no excuses!!
    Although, I probably would have pitched the green beans – just reading the story pretty much grossed me out!
    Kim recently posted..Time to Make a Few Changes

  8. LuckyMama says:

    Wow – GREAT POST!
    I have plenty of equipment – most of it from either Freecycle, second/third-hand, or Goodwill. I only have one piece of equipment bought new.

    There’s only one problem….me. Silly me.
    I can’t seem to maintain a regular exercise program of any sort.
    However, it will have to be part of the LMIP, so I gotta figure something out!
    I have taken 5217 steps so far today and it’s only lunch time. Does that count? 😉

  9. mimi says:

    You’ve described my style — use what i have, get a bit more when i can.
    mimi recently posted..Can you believe it?

  10. CindyB says:

    Well I grew up poor so yeah you ran around in shorts and a t-shirt with no shoes and just had fun, everybody took turns using the skates or sled in the winter but to me even into my 20’s it was just having fun. I didn’t think in terms of fitness or exercise until I was introduced to all the shiny equipment that had rules about what you were supposed to do with them.
    I’m pretty good about doing what needs to be done but I have never been so hungry that I would eat roach seasoned beans.
    CindyB recently posted..Snowshoeing!

    • yumyucky says:

      roach seasoned beans. Since you put it that way, I’m sure somewhere in the world that’s considered a delicacy.

  11. I definitely agree that you got to make it work with what you got. More importantly I am so sad because I saw a picture of my biggest fear now I am a mess! Lordy warn a sista next time!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted..Mattel Must See Toys from Toy Fair 2014 #wannaplay

    • yumyucky says:

      …and I take it your biggest fear is a Coca Cola & cigar combo? I knew I should’ve censored that part of the pic.

  12. I’ve picked some foods that I dropped on some really naaaaasty floors because I was looking forward to eating it. Yep, I can get down with the “throw it away and put it out of your mind” there. :)

    I can get a great workout with nothing but a yoga mat/towel and 30 mins. You don’t need fancy!
    AdjustedReality recently posted..The Messy Middle

  13. Leah says:

    Did you read my mind? Just thinking of this last nite. I just started my herbalife program with an amazing coach. I was thinking well i can’t join planet fitness (cheap) til my daughter is 13 so she can go with me. But I can walk. Walking is free and even though I live less than a half mile from the cities poop factory and the air gets wafting just right sometimes, I can still do this. I also have an old but still works great elliptical machine (I am dead sexy when I am on that machine). I put on my $15 Walmart tennis shoes and get walking or on that elliptical. No more excuses.

  14. You really are an inspiration Josie! I joined 24 hour fitness when it was family fitness eons ago & got a rate that can’t be beat so I am lucky for that!
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Gratitude Monday & THIS! SuperSeedz Giveaway Winner

  15. misszippy says:

    It’s ok–I still drank my smoothie the other day after the dog took her own drink. I know.

    You are so right on the working out-there’s so much we can do regardless of what we do or don’t have. And I’ll take a home workout over the gym any day.
    misszippy recently posted..Sounds like a fun race, no?

  16. OMFG OMFG!!! I eat canned green beans all the time, and I never really look at the contents as I shovel it in… I could have eaten 50 billion roaches at this point. Perhaps this is why I am … ME?!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..Academy Award Winning Appetizers

  17. Oh my word I LMAO so hard but still a bit grossed out by the roach in the can! Yeah I started out just like you and did the roach motel workouts. Still do even though I have a not bad home gym and workout DVD collection, not to mention a gym contract. Sometimes I still like to go back to the basic stuff…give my body a bit of a shock now and then, also it keeps me grounded and not bored with workouts.

  18. Oh my goodness. You didn’t!!? Really?? Wow I can’t decide if that was brave or what! I woulda thrown it out! But I do get it and understand, coz I been there before too (without the roach). Its also how I started with workouts. Ya gotta start somewhere right?
    Danielle Hughes recently posted..Adonis Golden Ratio scam or truth? How Health and Nutrition link to Lean Bodies

  19. mike from saginaw says:

    Don’t know whether this will get me to exercise more …. a break from the bitter cold would for sure help with my old-age walking …. but it will certainly put me on a diet as far as consuming canned goods …. am already shying away from fast food because of the spitting/phlegm possibilities …. meanwhile …. Am supposing this is not exactly comparable, Josie, but me once purchased a pack of Archway cookies, and written on the white cardboard backing was, “Help, I’m being held hostage in an Archway cookie factory.”

  20. Holy cockroach! Wow girl! Speechless on the roach thing, but like how you put it bluntly about working out. Good point and point taken. Will get my butt in gear!
    Caroline Combs recently posted..The Venus Factor Diet and Leptin Resistance

  21. Carla says:

    Ive been in the RoAcH motel for the past 16 months.
    and I like it :-)
    Carla recently posted..Puffer fish anyone?

  22. Coco says:

    You know how much I love you since I clicked on a post with a ROACH as the featured image??? I wonder if they cook the beans in the can, so you might have thrown out some good cooked protein when you picked out roach? I usually stay at decent hotels, but sometimes they gyms wouldn’t be fit for a roach. One place had an exercycle that could have been salvaged from I Love Lucy ….
    Coco recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday (The Danish Food Edition)

  23. KalleyC says:

    I love this! So true, if you want to get fit you’ll do what you have to do to make that happen. I cannot always do everything I would like to do, but I improvise, and it does get the heart pumping. I even do baby squats (yup, while I play with my 16month old I’m squatting) and let me tell you squatting with 25lb baby, is more than a work out!
    KalleyC recently posted..Musically Monday: Dude Looks Like A Lady!

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