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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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              Published on January 17, 2020

              How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

              How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

              If you think yoga can be learned on the mat, you’re wrong! To learn yoga is to learn yourself, your life and the world around you, which happens mostly off the mat.

              Since 2000, I study, practice, teach and live yoga – I grow with it from year to year – hence life becomes more interesting and more meaningful from year to year, too. Through all these years, I observe the evolution of yoga in the western culture and see, how (mostly) wrongly, has been interpreted, taught and practiced. Little is known about how to learn yoga – about its practice, its effect and its application. Yoga is all about finding the simplicity and the meaning in the complexity of life.

              But when we look around us, it doesn’t seem so simple, even for those who practice it, and for the most who teach it. Everything about yoga begins in its definition from the original yogic scripture Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[1]

              And the value for how to learn yoga, is in this article – showing the value of the above definition and how to practice it in the simplest way, effectively and efficiently.

              What is Yoga?

              Yoga-Citta-Vrtti-Hirodhah — and its translation is: Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations arising within consciousness.

              The 195 Sutras, that the original yoga scripture consists of, are written in a strongly compressed manner with the idea to deliver a profound meaning and a lot of space for interpretation. However, the interpreter must be highly serious and competent, otherwise the interpretation will drastically deviate from what the message conveys.

              When the definition about yoga is interpreted and applied the right way, it tells us how yoga is to be practiced and explored. To start the right way, we must know the right destination of yoga, which is Kaivalya:[2] The union between you, the other and the world.

              Let’s see how to do that:

              Beginning with the famous mainstream slogan “Union of Body, Mind and Soul”, brings up the question, “How to reunite the body, mind and soul?”

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              Your feelings – created by outside stimuli result in the creation of thoughts, hence there’s connection between your body and mind. That’s easy to understand, right?

              Now this connection and the thoughts must serve and improve the mind, making it capable to 1) understand the soul and 2) to unite it with the body and mind. That’s where our journey towards the goal of yoga (Samadhi) is interrupted – making the main part of the union not easy to understand, even less so to accomplish.

              Yoga is More Spiritual than Physical

              This is what makes yoga more spiritual than physical. To put it in numbers, yoga is 97% of psychological, philosophical and spiritual nature and only some 3% of physiological, considering that there are only seven out of 195 Sutras referring physiologically to sitting and breathing, of which I talked in my earlier post on Yoga For men.

              But before experiencing any spirituality from yoga, there is the mental (emotional) part that needs to be mastered and that part is to establish a connection between the body and mind. How?

              The simple thought and realization that you are conscious of how you feel within your body (cold, warm, relaxed, depressed, anxious, happy and so on), means that you have made the union between your body and mind. (below the step by step exercise for that).

              But to establish a connection to your soul – to the finest part of yourself – the Self:

              You must find out (through thinking) what is the subtlest thing that drives your body and mind – yourself as an individual and use that driver to go pass beyond your physicality and mentality.

              It is right here that you use the definition about yoga and the realization – the moment, where you are not analyzing any thoughts or feelings. This is a state of Yoga – a state of union between body, mind and soul, in which your consciousness has ceased to identify with its fluctuations.

              Yoga as Creativity and Expertise of the Individual

              In such a case, there is no specific (like beginners, intermediate or advanced) technique for learning yoga. The moment of the state of yoga arises for everyone of us in an individual way as everybody’s physique and mental content are different. You might be very well advanced in performing the most difficult asanas for decades but still unable and incompetent to be in a state of union with your body, mind and soul. Whereas, if you are a beginner and possess the grace and other virtues, than it’s easier and quicker to establish that connection.

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              As yoga is an inherent part of the human being, firstly, in order to pave the yoga path successfully and effectively, you must understand that yoga is not a technique for performance, but rather a creativity and expertise of yourself.

              Your learning process cannot be focused on, nor conditioned by a certain handbook, someone’s instructions or some specific school.

              Learning yoga requires your creativity to look within yourself and learn from yourself, become the expert of your feelings, emotions and desires. You, as a beginner might already possess many qualities and prerequisites for creating the union between your body, mind and soul, but your knowledge requires creativity for your growth to reach the state of union and then reap the fruits of that union. Once this happens there is no turning back – you’ll be pulled by the beauty and energy of your on being.

              Be Fast Mentally and Slow Physically

              As already mentioned, you don’t need to do physical performances like the split or the headstand to be able to immerse in a deep meditation or Samadhi. But you do need enough creativity for your self-inquiry.

              Many of my students start working directly with meditation – attending the complexities of the mind, because that’s where the hindrances lie. There, the meditator is able to work on the cessation of identifying with the fluctuations of the consciousness – where intelligence expands, adversity ends and the individual is ready to pass through its physicality and mentality in order to reach the union with the soul.

              But if you’re really a beginner and cannot start with that, then you can start enhancing your creativity on the body-mind level. The exercise follows in the next paragraph.

              The greater your creativity, the better your expertise about yourself – the deeper your competence to inquire further into the union with your soul. Sure enough that a more pliable and healthy physical body has some advantages and better preconditions for that, but don’t get discouraged because your body-mind union will open up the way.

              So here we are, you are at the moment to enhance your creativity upon that union. Please, take this as a very serious part of the practice as it is crucial for learning yoga – for learning yourself.

              The Beginner’s Exercise – Creativity upon Body-Mind Union

              The first and most important element to learn and practice yoga is of physiological and psychological nature: Stillness:

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              1. Make sure your body is still and comfortable.
              2. Focus on breathing to initiate observing.
              3. Observe your body and identify the first feeling that occurs to you.
              4. Keep identifying feelings and emotions, but without getting involved with them.
              5. Now create feelings and emotions as you please and let them go.

              That’s it! That’s the creativity upon the body-mind union. The validity of this creativity lies in the stillness and observance of that union. In this practice you can learn to understand and catch the moment – the main ingredient of life.

              Life is a sequence of moments and knowing that you’re able to manage that sequence is a new level of living life, called dharma – the practical and skillful way of living. An essential character develops as a result of practicing this discipline.

              However, be aware that we are still talking about outward elements of yoga – the gross levels (from Yama to Pratyahara) whereas the subtle, inward elements (Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi) are yet to be approached, learned and implemented. It is on these subtle levels that you can realize the depth of spirituality and the essence of yoga.

              It is remarkable how the science of yoga can take you in such heights and depths of exploring life and being. Little is known about the essence and the right practice of yoga in the west. There is a huge knowledge gap between how yoga should be learned and how it is practiced today in the west. You can bridge this gap by practicing the above exercise.

              Know that yoga is of a very subtle nature – operating on a subtle energetic level – the level of your mental energies, your thoughts. That means that it is to be learned at that level and not on any other. A body posture alone cannot take you to that level if you don’t apply your creativity and self-inquiry.

              Prerequisite for Yogic Success – Union between You and the Other

              Yoga is nothing, if our relationships with others are not managed harmonically.

              Learning yoga is also learning connecting with the other – with the stranger who’s not you but carries the same “core”, the same heart as you. We as individuals, possess the inborn feature of Ego – the “I-consciousness” that makes us feel separate from the rest of what makes the wholeness.

              This separation is the second of the the five “klesah” afflictions[3] – that stand as major hindrance against the union (Yoga) – called “asmita” or I-am-ness / Egoism (Y.S. II.6.), and has to be cultivated and brought to a level of discernment that will lessen our disturbance that comes out the fragmentation between the “I-am-ness” and the “Other-ness”.

              This is a crucial concept in Yoga and it is inevitable to be worked upon this hindrance in order to reach the inner “psychological” freedom or the ultimate liberation “Kaivalya” for which Yoga stands for. But, again, if you are beginner in this part, you want to know how to start dealing with all this. Here is the exercise:

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              1. Practice observance from the first exercise.
              2. Realize that the structure of your feelings, emotions, etc. is identical with the one of the other individuals.
              3. Practice witnessing, tolerating and gradually accepting the diversity between yourself and the other individuals.
              4. Observe for so long with equanimity, until you see the uniformity in that diversity.

              This is one of the greatest accomplishments a human being can achieve. To be, means, to be in relationship – internally, as well as externally.

              Yogic Lifestyle – Union Between You, The Other and The World

              Here comes the last piece of the puzzle – the union – on the highest level of worldly existence – between you, the other and the world. This means that Yoga is also worthless if practiced only on the mat. So when learning yoga, especially when practicing the body-mind union, consider if:

              You speak the language of nature and how you’re connected to nature and its basic elements? Do you complicate your existence by thinking that you are in the center of the world and require extra attention and acknowledgement?

              Thinking this way interferes with the practice of yoga. And surely, you might wonder, what should be done here in order to create that harmony in union? You’d be amazed to know that there is one important yogic movement that needs to be done. That is:

              The action of not doing anything but contemplating! Then yoga happens.

              Yes, this goes beyond the physicality and mentality of your being. As our bodies play just a tiny part of the evolution of existence, we must not attach to the world in that sense – clinging to worldly life with that insatiable urge that generates worries and anxiety – but rather grow through life with detachment and the attitude that life has been gifted to us with the purpose to realize that gift and attain the wisdom of life.

              Go Beyond Your Physicality and Mentality

              Attaining greatness like connecting to the world and to your soul, we must pass beyond the thoughts, feelings and emotions, and the influence they have on us. Hence we want to make the mental fluctuations to cease and let yoga shine its light through this yogic movement:

              The stillness and the watching within.

              Can yoga be understood and achieved in one single session and then practiced continuously, productively and effectively? Of course it can. Your union within yourself, the other and the world is lot simpler and easier than you think. Practice these simple yogic movements diligently, seriously but also effortlessly and your yoga will be flourishing and fruitful. I salute the spirit in you!

              More About Yoga

              Featured photo credit: Avrielle Suleiman via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
              [2] Wikipedia: Kaivalya
              [3] Plato Stanford: Klesah

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