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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 April 22, 2019

              11 Partner Yoga Poses for Couples to Build Intimacy

              11 Partner Yoga Poses for Couples to Build Intimacy

              Our partners are mirrors to our true self. By embracing a partner yoga practice with one another, we not only lean on each other for support – literally and metaphorically – but we also exercise our vulnerability with one another.

              Science has found that by doing so, we’re strengthening our social connections and relationships, which leads to longer lives, healthier habits, reduced stress, and a deeper sense of life meaning.[1]

              So how does yoga help with this exactly? In Sanskrit, “yoga” comes from the word yuj, meaning “to yoke” or “to unite”.[2] It’s only appropriate to mirror that definition with a partner, and in essence, begin to unite two people as a whole. Partner yoga also has its roots in building trust and communication, which are cornerstones of a healthy, intimate, and successful relationship.

              Let’s break down some poses for a deeper dive:

              1. Breathing Together

                A great yoga practice begins with the breath. It’s a simple yet powerful way of connecting to your own body and noticing any sensations that arise.

                Find a seated position with your partner, your backs touching. With eyes closed, tune into you breathing, and begin to deepen the inhales and the exhales.

                You will feel the rise and fall of your partner’s breathing, as you tune into each other’s rhythms. See if you can still maintain your own breath, even when it becomes tempting to mirror the breathing of your partner; allow this rhythm to lull you deeper into becoming present and aware of each other’s space.

                Even in unity, you honor your own body and breath, and that honor extends outward to your partner. With this life force – prana [3] – you’re able to find a richer connection to each other with a simple act of breathing.

                Do this exercise for 3-5 minutes, or as long as it is comfortable.

                2. Partner Twist

                  A twist is a great natural detox for the body. When the torso is twisted in the opposite direction, the movement acts as a wringing action for the internal organs, and via an exhale, built-up toxicity can be eliminated from the body.[4]

                  With your backs touching, take a deep breath in. As you exhale, gently twist, going in the opposite direction of each other. Take one hand and place it on your opposite knee, with the other hand reaching back for your partner’s. Use a yoga strap if this is not available.

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                  Allow the breathing to once again sync you with your partner’s rhythm, and notice what it’s like to have the support of your partner’s hand to help ease a little deeper into the twist.

                  Stay in the twist for 5 full breaths, and then switch sides.

                  3. Backbend/Forward Fold

                    While your backs are still touching, communicate who will fold forward and who will come into a backbend. You’ll have a chance to switch sides.

                    The person folding forward will reach their hands forward and either rest their forehead down on the mat, or place it on a block for support. The person doing a backbend will lean back on their partner’s back and open the front of their heart and chest. Breathe deeply here, and see if you can feel each other’s breaths again.

                    In yoga, the heart is thought of as the place in front and back of your chest, as it’s the same area opening. So in this pose, even though you’re doing the opposite move, your hearts are still connected. Think about how that translates to your relationship off the mat.

                    Stay in this pose for 5 full breaths, and switch when you’re both ready.

                    4. Soul Gazing

                      This exercise is deeply personal and nourishing, as you sit facing your partner, gently gazing into their eyes.

                      Rest your hands on their knees or in their hands, and allow them to do the same. This will further connect you with the power of touch. Once you’re settled (and the giggles have subsided from direct eye contact), begin to truly see your partner.

                      In the chaos of our days and weeks, we don’t often get the chance to sit down and take in the person with whom we share our life. Gently gaze and take in your partner’s features, uniqueness, and energy, and allow them to see you in return. Not only is this centering for the rest of your practice, it’s also deeply loving and compassionate.

                      Stay in this exercise for 5 minutes or longer, if you both feel tuned in.

                      5. Seated and Supported Cat/Cow

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                        From a seated position, reach for your partner’s forearms and interlace.

                        As you inhale, arch your back and lift your heart to the sky, maybe even lifting the gaze to expose and open the throat. As you exhale, round the spine and pull back, using the resistance of each other’s arms as support, bringing the gaze inward toward your chest.

                        Repeat the movements 3-5 times, or as long as you feel comfortable.

                        Allow this support from your partner to begin to build trust and surrender, as well as communication. Speak out to what feels good in this pose, and ask your partner the same.

                        While the pose is done in tandem, your experience of it in your own body is going to vary. Take this time to share those sensations, and become curious of your partner’s.

                        6. Seated and Supported Forward Fold

                          In relationships, we know that we don’t have to do everything on our own. We have our best ally in our corner to help us out.

                          Likewise in this pose, come into a wide-legged seat with the soles of your feet touching. Reach the arms forward and interlace, and then take turns gently pulling one another closer past middle, using each other as resistance in this Forward Fold. Stay here for 5 full breaths each.

                          While this pose is a deep stretch, maybe opt for more of a playful approach! If laughter comes naturally or someone cracks a joke, go along!

                          Find fun in working out and being with one another. It’s a surefire way to relieve any stress or tension, and remind each other of the simpler things that bring you both some more smiles.

                          7. Partner Boat Pose

                            When it comes to postures that are challenging, having a partner mirroring and supporting you can go a long way to giving you that extra boost of confidence and energy. And because they’re doing it with you, too, you can both share in the achievement of rocking this core-engaging posture.

                            Start in a seated position, facing one another, a little further away to give enough room for extending the legs. When you’re ready, come into Boat pose one leg at a time, until the soles of your feet are touching.

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                            Use them as resistance to further stabilize this pose. If available, reach for each other’s hands, and find each other’s gaze. Smile and breathe. Communicate how you’re feeling and root each other on for 5 full breaths.

                            8. Double Downward Dog

                              Speaking of building trust, this pose will give you and your partner a chance to work together toward a common goal. This pose is also all about communication, and speaking your mind when you’re ready to come down or are feeling a sensation that you’d like to share with your significant other.

                              With your partner in traditional Downward Dog, set yourself up by coming into a Forward Fold at the top of the mat. Lifting one foot at a time, place your feet at the base of your partner’s spine. You may need to adjust your feet or walk your hands back once you get into this, to readjust.

                              Once in the pose, breathe there for 5 full breaths, before you switch. After you come out, touch base on how it felt and what you experienced. Share in the pose together by bringing in your specific perspective.

                              9. Reverse Warrior Partner Pose

                                If it’s not evident from the photo above, this pose is all about creating love – literally and symbolically.

                                Begin in Warrior Two facing away from each other, with the outside of your back foot touching. Allow this back foot connection to unite you together in the pose, building a shared foundation from which you can stabilize.

                                Take a deep breath in, and on an exhale, come into your Reverse Warrior by lifting one arm overhead and reaching back for your partner’s grasp, creating a heart shape in the middle of your joined pose. Use a yoga strap if catching your partner’s hand is not available.

                                Take your other hand and wrap it behind your waist. Settle your attention on your breathing and press into your partner’s foot as they do the same. Likewise, mirror the support of their hand in yours.

                                The love you create in your relationship is a two-way street. Remind yourself of all the wonderful ways in which you give and take to build that love. Take 5 full breaths here, and then release when you’re both ready.

                                10. Double Tree Pose

                                  No man is an island, and likewise, no tree thrives without support.

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                                  In this partner pose, begin in your own Tree, by lifting one leg and pressing the sole of the foot into the thigh or down lower on the calf.

                                  When you’ve caught your balance, extend one hand to your partner’s and meet them, palms touching, in the center between your respective Tree postures. Take your other hand and reach it back behind your partner, giving them a loving embrace. Stay here for 5 full breaths before switching sides.

                                  Even though your Tree pose is your own, find the center connection that brings you both together in unity.

                                  Allow yourself to feel and appreciate the support you get from your partner, on and especially off the mat.

                                  11. Standing Partner Backbend

                                    Opening our hearts to each other is the most raw way of showing our vulnerability. That’s why this pose is so powerful in tandem. By using each other for support, you’re reassuring your partner that anything is possible (and better) when you have each other.

                                    Start standing and facing each other, as you interlace each other’s forearms. Take a deep breath in as you hold each other’s gaze, and on an exhale, lean back to open your heart to the sky, using each other’s arms as resistance. Stay here for 5 full breaths, or as long as it’s comfortable for you both.

                                    Release and end with a hug, honoring the space you’ve created for each other and yourself.

                                    Final Thoughts

                                    Partner yoga asks for vulnerability. Through the power of touch and synced breathing, we forge deeper and richer connections in our relationship with our partner.

                                    The experiences we share together and individually in these yoga postures become topics of communication that can help us learn more about each other and ourselves, further growing our intimacy to heights never felt before.

                                    Practice these poses with your partner whenever you are craving that bough of connection or intimacy. Challenge each other with postures that are both energizing and restorative, and tune into each other’s unique experiences for more wholesomeness in your relationship.

                                    Featured photo credit: Victor Freitas via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

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