Your body is its own gym. You don’t need fancy machines, gleaming weights or a personal trainer barking instructions to get lean and build muscle. Use this beginner’s guide to bodyweight training for a workout you can do any time of place
By Dale Taylor
With summer en route, it’s easy enough to tell you to ditch the gym and start training outside using your bodyweight. After all, the sun is a powerful weight-loss ally, and not just because it encourages you to look good without your gear on — research by The Endocrine Society found that people with low levels of vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) were more likely to be obese, so there’s more motivation than a tan to train outdoors.
Unfortunately, the trouble with bodyweight workouts is their very nature: you’re trying to lift your bodyweight in order to lose your bodyweight. This can be a tricky endeavour because you might not be strong enough yet to do sufficient reps to create a significant calorie burn. That’s why we got Mark Lauren, strength coach and author of You Are Your Own Gym (Light Of New Orleans Publishing), to give you the easy way to build the power to successfully do traditionally tough moves that make up so many bodyweight workouts.
With each move, you’ll get a little tweak to make it slightly harder, which you can progress towards. By the end of the month, you’ll look like a thoroughbred bodyweight star and come away with the carved physique to match. MF will not be held accountable for any cancelled gym memberships as a result of this program — but we will soak up the credit for all your freshly built lean muscle.
Body as Your Gym: 7 quick ways to make your bodyweight moves tougher
1. Strap on a weighted backpack.
2. Take four seconds to lower yourself and four seconds to raise yourself.
3. Pause for two seconds at the bottom of each rep.
4. Distance your body further from the ground by standing on a raised platform such as a park bench
5. Do a short shuttle sprint of 50 metres between each set.
6. Reduce your rest periods between each set.
7. Squeeze your muscles at the top of each rep.
Click here to download the Your Body is Your Gym Workout