Using an Old Spare Tyre to Get Rid of My Old Spare Tyre(s)

Today, I traded in my spare tyre (aka muffin top, belly flab) for one that was even bigger. It made perfect sense.

On a Saturday morning, I found myself in a children’s park on the other side of Hong Kong. I sorely needed to get back into shape for upcoming national dragon boat team tryouts, so I went to a circuit training class. One of the exercise stations involved lifting and turning over a very large car tyre.

I nodded as the trainer explained how to work the tyre. At one point, it dawned on me that used car tyres don’t commonly appear in children’s play parks. “Did you guys carry this thing all the way here for our class?” I marveled.

“Um. We found it,” said the trainer. “There’s a lot of old tyres around this area.”

I blinked and looked at the tyre again, suddenly noticing that it wasn’t the cleanest surface. The germaphobe in me was all aflutter.

We were given workers’ gloves to wrangle the thing. Once I convinced myself that few people actually sneeze on unwanted tyres, I found that working out using this piece of junk was quite physically challenging. You really can do a lot to get fit by using a block of unwanted rubber, including box jumps of all sorts and even propping your ankles on the tyre for extra-challenging pushups.

But what else can you do for fitness if you don’t have a massive tyre handy, or you haven’t got the space for one in your living room? Plogging is apparently a popular movement that began in Sweden. An English-Swedish combination of the words “plocka upp” (Swedish for “picking up”) and “jogging”, plogging involves cleaning up litter while going for a run. Rather than jogging by when they see garbage littering a street or trail, ploggers pick up and dispose of the rubbish correctly. There are even whole online communities so people can meet up and plog together as a treasure hunt event. (Note: If you walk instead, it’s “plalking” Trash talk is welcome). Talk about using the power of the critical mass.

For an extra challenge, some ploggers even squeeze in extra exercises as they bend over to pick up litter. You too, can look really cool as you squat and lunge for that empty crisp packet.

Want to know how many calories you torched while running and picking up rubbish? There’s an app for that.

Lifesum allows its users to input and track the calories a person burns from plogging, which reportedly is around 288 calories for an hour of effort, compared to just 235 calories on average for 60 minutes of regular jogging. The effort is in the bending over and the arm strength required to hold all the garbage as you run along.

What if you don’t want to make your run all about rubbish collecting? And isn’t it difficult to run with a sticky bag of old wrappers swinging about? Melanie Knight from Canada says tries a “ten minute tidy”: she sets her timer for ten minutes during her run and only collects debris till the timer is up.

And what about perching on rubbish? If you want to know how intense that tyre-ing workout was (joke), my fitness watch showed that I zapped 434 calories in 59 minutes.

You really can get fit by using a block of unwanted rubber… try box jumps and propping up your ankles for killer pushups.

For those of you who wondered what eventually happened to the helpful tyre, Terence Li, the trainer in my workout class, admitted that they weren’t able to take it home with them. They had to abandon it on a roadside again.

Terence comments that he actually re-uses it quite regularly for staying fit, as it was something he found near his home.

When asked if they would use an old tyre again for future exercise classes, Terence said they definitely would implement that again in his group workouts with O2OSportcoach.

It isn’t quite like plogging, where one actually aims to totally pick up and remove rubbish, but I considered that repurposing a discarded item, if only for a few hours a week, was a pretty good start to encouraging eco-friendly exercise within a local urban area.


  1. Be creative with your workout: Box jumps in various directions, squats while balancing on the tyre, jumping over the tyre, vertical jumps while balancing your landing, plank-and-pushup combo moves.
  2. Safety first: Be sure to wear protective gloves and exercise some caution when using found items for your gut-busting moves.
  3. Want to make group workouts more eco-friendly? Bring your ideas to your coach or trainer, or buzz your chat groups to get the conversation going. You’ll be surprised at what you can brainstorm when people come together for a common cause!

Know of any workout groups in your area or online community that includes a clever use of rubbish in their exercise moves? Leave your comments below, we’d love to hear more ideas.

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