It’s time to get into the best shape of your life! And it is easier than you think! You do not need a gym. You do not need an expensive home gym. You do not need machines. You do not need group fitness classes.
All you need is your body and spirit.
While going to a gym has many benefits, it can also come with downsides. Gym membership can be expensive, at times too far away from home, or too busy during peak hours.
But don’t worry. You can get into shape at home with an intense body weight exercise routine.
Bodyweight exercises are great because you can do them literally anywhere at any time. Meaning, you have no excuse for not doing a workout each day.
A bodyweight workout can be done at a high intensity so that you get both a strength and cardiovascular workout that helps you build muscle and burn fat. So instead of running on a boring treadmill for an hour, you can kill two birds with one stone by doing a bodyweight circuit.
If you have muscle or joint injuries, bodyweight exercises allow you to progress along in a safer way while you rehab. In addition, bodyweight training allows you to implement new exercises into your workout routine quickly without delay since all you need to do is change your body position. This is commonly referred to as circuit training.
Circuit training is when you do one set of exercises and immediately go to another so that you build muscle and work your cardiovascular system to improve your heart, burn calories and stay leaner.
For example, in a typical circuit you would go from a jumping squat and after completion of that set you would immediately, with minimal rest, go into another exercise such as a pushup. Once that is done, you would immediately go into another excise such as a lunge with minimal rest. The variations of bodyweight exercises are endless and so are the muscles you can train.
You can train with bodyweight circuit training at home before work, during your lunch break or even in your office during downtime. There is no excuse for not training! Here is the 3 step process to successfully completing an effective bodyweight circuit training exercise program.
Part 1: The Warm-Up
Before beginning bodyweight circuit training, ensure that you are adequately warmed up to avoid injuries to muscles and joints.
Take 5 minutes to jog in place, do jumping jacks, or simply jump rope. If you have access to a stationary bike, use it. Or just go for a jog outside.
Get your heart rate up and your muscles loose. Do not overexert yourself. Remember, you want to get loose and your mind focused so that you can train effectively.
Part 2: Bodyweight Circuit Training
Your circuit will consist of you doing each exercise listed below in sequence. You will go from one exercise to the other.
Do not rest. However, if you need a rest, take a brief one. If you can do the circuit with no rest, this is great news, so only then takes a rest after you complete the entire circuit.
After you complete exercises A-H, only then take a 1 minute rest. Then repeat the circuit.
Aim to do this high intensity bodyweight circuit training routine 4-6 times for an intensely rewarding muscle building and fat burning workout.
The Best Beginners Body Weight Workout Circuit
- 10 Burpees
- 15 Push-ups (use your knees if you need assistance)
- 10 Jump Squats
- 20 Back Extensions with Towel
- 10 Switch Lunges
- 20 Mountain Climbers
- 20 Lying Toe Touch Crunch
- 10 Single Knee Crunch (5 reps each leg)
You are going to do the most difficult exercises first when you are fresh which is why a burpee is done first and abs focused on last.
If these are too hard, then reduce the number of repetitions and please take a longer break between exercises to avoid hurting yourself.
Do this routine 3-4x a week and give yourself a day of rest in between each workout. As you build stamina you can do this workout routine as much as 5 times a week and add more sets so that you do the circuit 6-8 times total. Overtime add some weights for more resistance.
You can even try other routines by using a gallon from your refrigerator. Try a water gallon workout at home.
After you finish working out then cool down for 5 minutes with a light jog, and then stretch to avoid any muscle injury.
Part 3: Post-Workout Nutrition
Your workout efforts are in vain if you have a terrible diet. Once you are done then head home and drink a whey protein shake containing at least 20g of protein to refuel and rebuild your muscles.
Maintain a calorie deficit so that you burn more calories than you consume so you can burn fat. Increase your fiber intake so that you are able to stay fuller for longer.
Drink a gallon of water a day to stay full and hydrate. Most importantly, keep your protein intake high as much as 1-1.5g of protein per kilogram of your bodyweight a day.
Keep your fat and carbohydrate intake low to maintain that calorie deficit. With each meal eat protein and a source of vegetables so that you stay lean with protein and fiber.
Also, avoid alcohol as well as smoking or illicit drugs. And if you do notice that you binge eat, remove all junk food from your house to avoid cravings.
At the end of the day, you really do not need a fancy gym to get lean if you stick to a consistent bodyweight circuit training regimen with a disciplined diet. Stay focused and the results pay off!
Rajiv M Mallipudi, md, mhs is an internal medicine resident physician, personal trainer, athlete and author. He has over a decade of personal training experience and helped hundreds of clients of all levels achieve their weight loss and fitness goals. This inspired him to work as a clinical researcher at the nationally recognized Johns Hopkins Hospital Weight Management Center. During medical school he and his classmates created the health and wellness organization, medfit, which provided personal training and nutrition counseling to the medical student body. In his spare time, Dr. Mallipudi enjoys playing ice hockey, dancing, and training for his next bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions. Dr. Mallipudi serves as a contributing writer for the Diet and Fitness sections.
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