Getting Started on Fitness…?
First and foremost, congratulations on taking the first step to getting fit with bodyweight training exercises. With every step, you build on that commitment and momentum to living a healthier and better lifestyle.
Now that you’ve committed to getting fit and staying fit, the rest is downhill, because “showing up is half the battle!”
You want to decrease your body fat, but you want to be able to do it safely, and as easily as possible. If you can do it quickly, well that’s just icing on the cake.
You need to keep in mind, to lose weight, most experts (if not all) would agree you need to do it gradually.
Giant swings in weight either up or down, tend to be unsafe and harmful. Rapid weight loss can lead to bones that are frailer and less dense. Muscle atrophy can also be a side effect of losing weight too quickly.
Experts agree that losing about 1-2.5 pounds per week is ideal. Anything over that and you’re really stressing your body.
Also, you’re likely doing something that you won’t be able to sustain; therefore, you only stand to put the weight back on at some point.
How Bodyweight Training Works
At Home Fitness
Now, reducing body fat, and building muscle really comes down to three keywords that you’re most likely familiar with…1) repetitions (reps)…2) resistance (or weight)…3) sets (or volume).
When you’re at a gym you can increase the resistance using weights. If you don’t belong to a gym, you won’t have this benefit so we’ll be focusing on two other options (sets and reps) that work just as effectively….and some might say more effectively.
That being said, you would be surprised by how easy it is to lifehack items around the house for resistance. In short, you’ll be using your bodyweight as the gym.
So anytime you stress or fatigue a muscle it actually creates tiny little tears in the muscles called microtrauma which is all part of muscle hypertrophy. With rest and time, it repairs itself by not only repairing the tiny tears but adding additional muscle to prevent the tears in the future.
Through bodyweight exercises using a strategy of repetitions and sets, you can build muscle and tone your body!!
Bodyweight Training Terminolgy
First, for reps. If you can’t increase the resistance or weight, you can increase the reps or number of times you do a move or movement. Increased reps will cause muscle stress and fatigue to the point it has to repair itself (causing muscle gains).
Next, for sets. If you can’t increase the number of reps of a movement, you can increase the number of sets. Sound confusing? Well, imagine having to do 100 pull-ups.
You can accomplish this by either doing 100 “reps” all at once or by breaking it down into 10 “sets” of 10.
The overall number will be the same, but the manner in how you go about accomplishing it is different.
Small adjustments or variations can yield incredible results.
While reps and sets are key to muscle growth, a bonus tip is incorporating variation. Meaning, you can not only switch the number of reps or sets of an exercise, but you can also change the move slightly…or variation.
For example, if you are an avid walker or biker, and then go for a run, you might notice soreness the next day.
An easy way to include variation in your workouts is by simply moving your hands or your feet into a slightly different position or angle during your workout. Again try a pushup with your hands together and with your hands apart.
The hands together will work your triceps much harder while the hands apart will engage more of the chest muscles. Now try doing a pushup at a 45-degree angle vs parallel to the ground. One will be significantly easier than the other.
For the lower body, a variation might be to jump up after doing a body squat. Another variation is to do a Bulgarian squat where one leg is back propped up on an elevated box or platform and doing a single leg squat.
The pistol squat is a body squat, but with one leg extended straight out in front of you. Beware this is quite difficult if you’ve never tried it.
You are using leg muscles for all these activities, but the variation or minor change has caused different muscles to be engaged, thus the soreness. Little changes like this will cause those muscles to grow!
Types Of Bodyweight Exercises.
So you might be wondering what kinds of exercises will be included in a bodyweight workout plan. You’re probably already familiar with the common exercises you would find.
Most plans will have squats, pull-ups, push-ups, planks, jumping jacks, and pretty much any kind of exercise you did in middle school or elementary school.
A solid bodyweight program will include these exercises but they’ll have different variations for them as mentioned above.
As you progress with bodyweight exercises you’ll establish a good foundation of strength, balance, and conditioning. These qualities will ensure that once you move to resistance training you’ll be better equipped to handle the loads and weight without injury.
Another aspect that is overlooked with bodyweight exercises is the speed of the exercise. I’m not talking about getting through the workout as quickly as you can, but more of the tempo of the lifts.
For example, doing a body squat with a 3-4 second eccentric (going down) and an explosive concentric (or back up) will do wonders for you. These explosive contractions will teach your body to move with force and speed. This will help with your overall strength. The faster you can move your body, the better.
What Are The Advantages Of Bodyweight Training?
Pros of Bodyweight Training
Bodyweight programs or bodyweight circuits are probably the easiest way to get into a workout routine.
Gyms can be packed with people using the same machines you want to use (if you know how to use the machines at all), they can be loud, and frankly a little intimidating.
People just looking to start out, can enjoy the comfort and familiarity of their own home without the worry of being judged or delayed.
Another advantage and possibly the biggest is the chance of injury, which is lowest with a daily bodyweight workout. Shoulders, knees, backs, ankles, chest are all common points of injury from people lifting too much or incorrectly.
A program using just bodyweight is more natural and healthier for those just getting started or rehabilitating from injuries.
Finally, bodyweight circuits can be done anywhere. Having the knowledge of what workout to do, how often, in what order, and which muscles are being used for each workout, means you can go anywhere and workout.
If you’re traveling, on the go, busy, or just out of reach from your gym, bodyweight routines can be implemented so that you don’t miss a beat. No searching for a gym when you’re out of town, no taking equipment with you, no guilt from missing a workout.
What Are The Disadvantages?
Bodyweight Training Cons
A big disadvantage will be social interaction missed. Going to a gym can give a person a sense of belonging to a community of like-minded individuals.
Over time you can become friends with people you see at the gym. Doing your workout at home will forgo these interactions.
Also, bodyweight workout plans can be limited. You can do a ton of repetitions, sets, and variations of workouts, but after a certain amount of time, the addition of weight or resistance will need to be added to avoid plateauing.
The body is incredibly smart and efficient when it comes to achieving as much as possible, efficiently as possible. Once you’re ready to move on from bodyweights, here is a program I recommend that is perfect for beginners
How to Start a Bodyweight Training Program
You’ve read the material, you’ve got the motivation, now what do you do! Pick a routine you feel comfortable using and stick to it.
Until you’re confident in your abilities and have some basic knowledge of what exercises work each muscle, be careful about switching up the routines or venturing out on your own. It doesn’t take much to overdo it when you’re first starting out.
Switch Your Exercises
What I mean by this is, once you’re comfortable with a simple bodyweight workout, explore other types. Yoga is the first one that comes to mind. Yoga will increase flexibility, improve respiration, soothe the mind, as well as increased muscle. Group fitness classes, calisthenics, or even suspension training might be of interest. Try whatever appeals to you. Plus it helps mix things up a bit.
The Importance of Nutrition
Abs Are Made In The Kitchen
Depending on your goals, whether you’re trying to lose weight, reduce body fat, increase muscle, or just get in shape, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on nutrition. Eating will be the biggest ingredient in your new healthy lifestyle. What you put in your body will have the biggest effect on how you look. Exercise or what you do to your body is just a small piece of the puzzle.
Wrapping up Bodyweight Training
When it comes to getting into shape, everybody is different. What works for someone else might not be the best fit for you. This goes for nutrition and workouts. Listen to your body, don’t overdo it, and remember it takes time to get into shape, but if done correctly, it will be the best decision you’ve ever made!
For your convenience, I’ve researched some programs and recommend this program Bodyweight Burn. It’s a low cost, just a one-time payment of $19, and has a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you’re looking for a basic bodyweight program, this is a highly suggested start. To learn more about the program check out our review at The Bodyweight Burn Review.
Philosophical Final Note
I normally don’t do this, and I’ll probably do a poor job of explaining myself here, but I want you to understand that getting started is difficult, but if you just do it, the gains will be recognized….so here goes.
If your goal is to get in shape, now is the best time and I’ll explain why.
A year from you will have either started an exercise program and your life will be significantly better…or a year from now you will have made no changes, and you will be in the same condition you’re currently in. Either way, you will suffer, and here’s why…
You’ll either suffer because you decided it’s not worth your time right now, in which case a year from now you won’t have achieved your goals or, you will suffer because you started exercising.
Starting a new exercise routine is not easy. In order to make time for exercise, you have to sacrifice something else (watching tv, sleeping in, playing games, etc..).
You will either suffer a short-term gratification for the long-term goal of becoming fit, or you will consume the short-term gratification at the expense of not becoming fit. In which case, you will most likely think to yourself “if I had only started exercising a year ago, I wouldn’t be out of shape.” No matter which path you choose, you will suffer.
If watching the newest movie, or partying is more important than so be it. But remember what you’re giving up on in the long-term for your short-term gratification.
“Every person has 2 lives, the second one starts when they realize they have just one.” -Confucious
If you’re ready to start your fitness journey click this link to get started.