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How To Get a Killer Gym Body Without Going to the Gym

How To Get a Killer Gym Body Without Going to the Gym

As a general rule, everyone wants to have a sexy and strong body, but no one wants to put in the work. We see a whole lot of excuses being thrown around every time fitness is mentioned, and it’s frightening that only about 3% of people in the US subscribe to the healthy living philosophy.[1]

That being said, have you ever stopped to think about why all these people fail to get in shape? Sure, there are some who are lazy, some with legitimate medical issues, and the readily available cheap junk food doesn’t help, but I think there is something more to it.

People are pressed for time, scared, and confused. Yep, it’s as simple as that. Most people either can’t make it to the gym, don’t have a lot of money to drop on long-term membership fees, don’t feel comfortable exercising around others, or they simply don’t even know what to do when they do get to the gym.[2]

Well, with a few useful tricks, some good information, and a bit of determination, you can create all the right conditions for building an impressive physique without ever leaving the house. Here’s a few things to have in mind:

Fixing your posture and getting limber

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    The biggest issue most beginners have when they start working out is the fact that their bodies are so used to sitting scrunched up in front of a screen that they have trouble moving around freely. The human body can be amazingly limber and assume all kinds of positions, but for most people, this is going to require extensive work.

    Start by gradually improving your posture over a few weeks, using small exercises, more ergonomic furniture, and just being mindful of how you stand, walk, and sit.[3] You can combine this with a short and sweet stretching routine, done about twice a day, to get your body ready to perform the basic exercises correctly.

    Learning the basic movements

      While there’s a lot of science behind both getting stronger and getting leaner, it can all be boiled down to a few core concepts and a number of the most effective exercises. Here are the best movements for overall development that you’ll need to master (you can find examples of how to perform all the exercises mentioned here on Bodybuilding.com):

      • Squats: the king of all exercises, the squat builds most of your leg muscles with an emphasis on quads and glutes, if you go nice and deep like you should. It can be a good core and thoracic extension exercise if you hold some weight in front of you, as in the Goblet and Zercher squat variations.
      • Lunges: a great exercise for the quads and glutes that also targets the hip extensors. It also teaches you to keep your balance.
      • Pushup variations:[4] the pushup is so versatile that some call it “the poor man’s gym”. The standard close grip pushup works the triceps, front shoulders, and chest, while wider variations put more emphasis on the chest. Raising your legs pushes the focus towards the shoulders and the upper chest, while the handstand pushup is predominantly a shoulder and triceps exercise.
      • Dips: another great exercise for the lower chest and triceps, this is an incredibly fun movement that can slap mass on you quickly when done correctly.
      • Pull-ups and chin-ups: grab a bar, hang from it with arms almost fully stretched out, and then pull yourself up until your chin raises above the bar. This is a fairly straightforward, yet difficult movement that builds a big back, biceps, and forearms. Position your hands facing the head for more bicep activation, and go a bit wider with palms facing away from you to target the lats better.
      • Rows/inverted row: a horizontal pulling motion that will add slabs of meat to your back and while improving that often lagging back head of the shoulder muscle. It even improves posture by strengthening the spinal erectors to an extent. You can bend over with the back straight and row a weight from the ground, with one or both hands, or you can grab the underside of a horizontal bar, feet on the ground, and pull yourself into it.
      • Glute bridges: a great way to really isolate and work the butt. It also gets the hamstrings, which are often neglected by people working out at home.
      • Floor hip extensions: a good addition that also focuses on the glutes and hamstrings, resulting in well-toned and balanced legs.
      • Calf raises: the calf is a small muscle but an important one, especially for the ladies who want to look great in heels. It’s also easy to just throw in at the end of the workout.
      • Planks, leg raises, and ab wheel rollout: of course, the abs need some attention too, but go for planks, hold for time, side planks, hanging or lying leg raises, and ab wheel rollout for the best results.
      • The Superman: the spinal erectors need to be strong if they are to keep your back healthy, balance out those abs, and keep you nice and tight during most of the other exercises on the list, so definitely give this one a go.

      Take a few weeks to just get the form down pat on all these movements and make sure that you are doing a full range of motion and slower, deliberate movements. Don’t just bounce all over the place. Establish and build momentum. You can use a good bodyweight strength training program to make sure you hit all the muscles, keep progressing, and get enough time to recover.[5]

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      How to progress on bodyweight exercises

        Now, if you want to have a great and lean physique — and this goes for ladies as well — you need to build some muscle to give your limbs that lovely shape you are after, before you can lose the excess flab, and expose that Greek statue of a body. Don’t try to combine endurance work with your strength exercises. Focus on building strength with the exercises above and dedicate some time every other day for things like swimming, jumping rope, or cycling to burn some calories and improve your cardio.

        Okay, so the main question is, how does one progress on bodyweight exercises, short of gaining more weight to make them more challenging? Well, there’s a few things you can do. The first thing to do to challenge yourself is to add more reps.

        The most important thing to remember, however, is that when you can easily perform 15-20 reps of an exercise and still have a few reps left in the tank, it’s time to make it more challenging by doing one of the following:

        • Add an additional set. If you started at 3 sets of 5-6 reps and you’re now comfortable with 3 sets of 15-17 reps, then you can simply throw in a fourth set into the mix.
        • Do it slower. Busting out 20 quick reps isn’t quite the same as doing 10 slow and controlled reps, where you can even add a short pause when your muscles are fully relaxed before contracting them for the next rep.
        • Shorten the rest period between sets. 60-90 seconds is the sweet spot for resting between longer sets of 10-20 reps, but when things get easy, you can shorten this rest period progressively by 10 seconds, until you are only resting about 30-40 seconds between sets, to make it more difficult before moving on to a more challenging variation or adding weight.
        • Move on to a more difficult variation. When you get comfortable, focus on a variation of the movement that provides a bit of a challenge, e.g. one arm on ball pushups and then single arm pushups, pistol squats, and so on.
        • Add some weight. While you might not have access to barbells, you can always get a fairly inexpensive dumbbell set, a few different sized bags filled with sand, a backpack with some rocks, and even big water bottles and milk jugs will do the trick, just as long as you keep adding weight.

        Work hard on your form, then try to go as hard as you can each session without overdoing it. I’d say stop a rep short of failure and rest until you feel you can go for another full set.

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        Determining the type of cardio you need to do

          Cardio is not that difficult to figure out and it basically boils down to a few simple rules, depending on your shape and goals:

          • If you’re skinny and want to get sexy and muscular: Do light and steady cardio, like a brisk walk for an hour, 5-6 minutes of jump rope here and there, or even just 10 minutes of shadow-boxing or dancing every day. Don’t let it cut into your calories too much.
          • If you’re a little overweight and want to lose 10 pounds or less and build muscle: It’s the same as the previous example, just add 2-4 more intense sessions of running, swimming, circuit training a week into the mix to cut the weight first. Revert to the previous example once you have lost the weight and recenter your focus on building muscle.
          • If you’re seriously overweight and your main concern is cutting 20+ pounds: Again, it’s the same as the previous example, only you can go with even more intense workouts, or daily moderate cardio sessions of about 20-30 minutes for a while. Once you’ve lost most of the weight, revert to the previous example, and then to the first example when you’ve shed all the extra pounds you’d like to get rid of.

          You can choose any activity that you like, from jump rope, cycling, and swimming to hiking and and other high-cardio sports.

          A look at diets and keeping them reasonable

            As far as the diet goes we’ll keep it extremely simple:

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            • Try to eat diverse vegetables with every meal
            • Eat fruit, seeds, and nuts instead of sweets
            • Go for lean meats instead of processed meat and cooked food instead of fast and fried food
            • Start counting your macro nutrient intake[6]
            • Cheat if you must, but keep these meals small, few, and far between

            As long as you can stick with the program for about 80% of the time, you’ll be on your way to better health and an amazing body!

            DIY home gym basics

              Some essentials that can help you get better results at home include:

              • A dumbbell set
              • Pull-Up bar
              • Ab wheel
              • Big ol’ sturdy bags filled with sand

              You can do tons of great exercises with these simple tools, but if you can’t shell out for them right now, good alternatives include five gallon milk jugs filled with water, a bunch of books stacked in a backpack, using a friend/partner to lay on you, push, or pull to provide extra resistance, or just lifting heavy furniture and moving it around the room.

              It pays to be creative. Look at how certain exercises are performed and on what type of equipment, and try to replicate it using household items. For example:

              • Two chairs = dip station
              • Anything that you can hang off = pull up bar
              • A stack of large blankets on the floor = bench
              • Stick and some rope = forearm exercise machine
              • A towel wrapped on a bar or dumbbell grip = thick grip for hand and forearm strength
              • Car = prowler device for pushing to build endurance and power in the legs

              It’s all fairly cheap and you can get as creative as you like, just remember to be consistent with your training in order to see the results you wish to see.

              All it takes is a little ingenuity and elbow grease, and you’ll set up a decent home “gym” and adopt some great habits along the way. It’s all about being consistent and trying to progress on each session, or at least each week, as you keep adding reps, using more complex movements, and adding weight, all while eating right for your current goals. Give it a shot and always remember, 90% of all this is your commitment and the intensity with which you attack these positive life changes.

              Reference

              [1] The Atlantic: Study: Less Than 3 Percent of Americans Live a ‘Healthy Lifestyle’
              [2] Men’s Fitness: 6 Not-So-Obvious Newbie Training Mistakes
              [3] Perfect Postur: Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics
              [4] Men’s Fitness: The Top 15 Pushup Variations
              [5] Men’s Fitness: 6 Bodyweight Workouts That Actually Build Momentum
              [6] On the Regimen: How To Count Your Macros – A Comprehensive Guide

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              Nemanja Manojlovic

              Editor at MyCity Web

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              Last Updated on February 18, 2019

              8 Best Cardio Workouts for Efficient Weight Loss

              8 Best Cardio Workouts for Efficient Weight Loss

              When people think of cardio, usually a boring treadmill, elliptical machine, or other mundane activity comes to mind. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

              When you’re short on time or easily distracted, there are a variety of fat-burning cardio alternatives that will increase your body’s metabolism, boost weight loss, and keep you interested.

              Here’s a list of different types of cardio workouts:

              • Steady State (Burns less fat, but isn’t as demanding on the body)
              • Interval Training (Burns more fat)
              • HIIT
              • Spinning
              • Stairs
              • Weight Training (Supersets) short rest periods
              • Weight Training (Compound Sets) short rest periods
              • Machine Circuit Training

              And I’m going to talk about each of them in detail:

              1. Steady State

              Steady state cardio involves working at a low to moderate intensity — around 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, for a sustained period of time. This type of cardio doesn’t burn a huge number of calories, but it does burn a high percentage of fat tissue for fuel, and it isn’t too draining.

              An example of steady state cardio would be a long outdoor walk at a moderate pace. Interval training, on the other hand, is much more intense.

              2. Interval Training

              Similar to HIIT but with exercises that are slightly longer in duration, interval training alternates levels of intensity. For example, if you enjoy running, you would run or sprint for 30 seconds, then bring down your heart rate and walk for two minutes.

              Pick two intensities per interval, usually one at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate and the other at 60 percent, and alternate between them. I find that 85% for 30 seconds and 60% for one minute, not only burns more calories but increases my energy level as well.

              Another example would be jumping rope. Jump rope for two minutes, rest for one minute. Begin again, this time jumping rope for one minute and resting for one minute. On the third and final round, jump rope for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds. Repeat five sets of this routine.

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              3. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

              Have a busy schedule? Fifteen minutes a few times a week is all you need. HIIT is an extremely popular workout because it can be done quickly, burn calories in a short amount of time, and can even be done in your home or during a lunch break at work. And the best part – You don’t need any equipment.

              With the use of your body weight, HIIT is typically 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of active rest which means your heart rate remains elevated for the entire 15-minute workout.

              Check out this HIIT routine by Fitness Blender: 15 Minute HIIT Workout

              4. Spinning

              Spinning is a great way to get your heart up and keep it up in a 45-minute spin class. Our thighs and back are our largest muscles so they work the hardest.

              To get the most out of spinning, try to stay out of the saddle throughout an entire spin class. That way, you are forced to hold up your body weight which burns more calories and increases intensity.

              It’s also great for stabilizing and building strong core muscles, versus cycling outdoors, where most of the time you are sitting in the saddle and going for distance (steady-state cardio).

              5. Stairs

              One of my favorite places to get out of the gym for cardio and trim fat from my thighs and butt is the Santa Monica Stairs, near California’s most popular beach. Climbing 170 steps a few times builds the glutes, leans the thighs, strengthens the calves, and builds endurance.

              So, if the gym is not your scene and you love the outdoors, climbing stairs is a great alternative. Find a place with multiple steps, do six or seven rounds, and you’ve easily burned around 600 calories.

              6. Supersets

              A superset is two exercises that work opposing muscle groups, such as biceps and triceps, quadriceps and hamstrings, or different body parts such as the lower and upper body with little to no recovery between sets.

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              The superset may include two to five sets of 8 to 15 repetitions of each exercise or more.[1]

              So, if you love to workout with weight-training but aren’t really feeling cardio, supersets with no more than 30-second rest periods between exercises will keep your heart rate up. Not only will you build muscle, you will burn fat!

              For example, say you are doing a leg workout, five sets of exercises with high reps and low weight is all it takes to turn your weight-training into a cardio workout.

              Here’s one of my leg training workouts:

              i. Dumbbell Step-Ups on a secure bench or box (4×15, each leg)

              ii. Front Squat (4×15)

              iii. Wide Stance Dumbbell Goblet (4×15)

              iv. Leg Extension (4×15)

              v. Leg Curl (4×15)

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                Photo Credit: Shape Magazine

                vi. Front Squat


                  Photo Credit: Stack

                  vii. Wide Stance Dumbbell Goblet Squat

                  viii. Leg Extension

                  ix. Leg Curl

                    Photo Credit: T Nation

                    7. Compound Sets

                    Compound exercises are exercises that recruit muscles in the entire body, such as pull-ups, squats, bench press, etc. However, a compound set simply means to “compound” the number of different exercises into a series of sets with little or no recovery between, similar to supersets.

                      This may be accomplished by performing four to five exercises for the same muscle group, opposing muscle groups or total body exercises performed in succession such as full body extensions, followed by squat/cleans and complete the compound set of compound exercises with lunges with biceps curls.

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                      Compound sets put stress on the body and are great for expending additional calories while strength-training.

                      8. Machine Weight Training Circuit

                      Like compound exercises, a machine circuit workout targets the entire body, upper body, lower body, or core. The difference is, with the use of machines instead of free weights, muscle strength is increased by by making your muscles work against weight.[2] By limiting rest periods between exercises to 30 seconds, your metabolism will go into over-drive!

                      Machines also give you better control over the exercises, which decreases risk of injury.

                      Here’s a machine circuit training example: Muscle and Strength Machine Workout

                      The Bottom Line

                      The above-mentioned workouts should be completed within 30 minutes, unless you’re taking a class which is typically 45 to 60 minutes, giving you time to get on with the rest of your day.

                      By keeping your rest periods to a minimum between exercises, your heart rate will stay elevated and you will burn more calories, get lean, and have more energy.

                      Don’t be a gym rat, spending unnecessary time doing lengthy workouts that give you minimum results. For efficient weight loss, perform these workouts three times a week and watch the fat melt away while achieving your fitness goals.

                      More Resources About Weight Loss

                      Featured photo credit: Spencer Dahl via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Mountain Life Fitness: Super sets, compound sets and giant sets
                      [2] Better Health Channel: Resistance training – health benefits

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