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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 October 3, 2019

              7 Beginner Yoga Exercises for Men to Increase Mobility

              7 Beginner Yoga Exercises for Men to Increase Mobility

              Isn’t amazing how the culture of the (physical Yoga) Hatha Yoga evolved mostly among women? Are we men ashamed to practice this body-mind-spirit wisdom because it became a women’s thing, or discriminative of the idea that we men are tough enough and don’t need this kind of “activity”?

              We know that the practice of Hatha Yoga was brought to our western culture in the 20th century by masculine Yoga masters, and that mostly men are the creators of the original Yoga Sutra of Patanjali approx. 200 B.C.E – 200 C.E., known also as Raja Yoga or King’s Yoga – the basis of all other Yoga forms practiced around the world.[1]

              Keep in mind that Yoga goes much deeper than the physical posture and breathing, yet they are the start and the basis for the inward journey of self-inquiry and self-discovery. The deeper you immerse in the practice, the more you’ll happen to find out about it. An Asana – aasana[2] or Yoga posture is practiced with a purpose to mobilize the body and mind for achieving mental skills. This tells us that Yoga indeed is great for men.

              Not long ago, when I invited a friend of mine to a Yoga Asana session I was teaching, he looked at me discouraged with a shy smile on his face, saying “Really, Yoga for men? I don’t know about that. Me, with this belly, tense as I am, it would be an embarrassment to show myself in front of the other more flexible people, let alone perform postures.” I smiled back, and with encouraging voice told him “You always talk about getting in shape! Just come over please and see how simple yoga exercises can change the way you feel about yourself!”

              With the 7 exercises that follow, in just an hour, we succeeded to remove his misconceptions he had about yoga for men, and changed his attitude positively. Although he was never fond of practicing in groups, he got hooked up – he liked all the beginner postures and started practicing at home regularly and diligently.

              The most important and ideal Yoga posture are: “sthirasukhamaasanam” – steady and comfortable posture. Sthira meaning steady, stable and strong and sukham meaning comfortable, easy and peaceful, and aasana meaning body posture or pose.

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              This is the entire instruction from the whole Yoga Sutra (YS, 2.46-2.48) on how a Yoga posture ought to be performed. As long as you apply the elements of stability and comfort to your body posture and align it with your breath (YS, 2.47), you perform the aasana correctly.

              Every man who wants to gain control over his physical and mental well-being and achieve a healthier lifestyle has the reason to get into Yoga. And here is the deal, in the next seven Yoga exercises you’ll see how to get into Yoga safely and successfully. Get ready and get healthier now!

              1. Tadaasana – The Mountain Pose (Variation A – Ideal Alignment)

                1. Stand up on your feet (see type A), preferably bare feet so you can connect to the ground. Breathe deeply and slowly.
                2. Feet aligned with the hips.
                3. Kneecaps and thigh muscles slightly contracted.
                4. Pelvis leveled horizontally.
                5. Chest open.
                6. Shoulder blades relaxed.
                7. Connect the tip of the thumb with the tip of the index finger – energy re-circulation.
                8. Face muscles relaxed (eyes slightly closed, mouth slightly open).
                9. Breathe gently in this position.
                10. On inhalation, your head is pulling (cranially) upwards, lengthening the spine.
                11. Create a virtual thread inside your body from the heels up to the crown – tip of your head.
                12. Breathe gently, make sure your whole body is aligned as instructed.
                13. Connect to the thread and notice its movement.
                14. Stay in this position for 12 breaths – 4 sec. inhale and 6 sec. exhale – approx. 2 minutes according to the deep breathing exercise no. 1 in my previous post.

                When practicing physical Yoga, we are counting breaths instead measuring time. Aligning the breath with the body posture is an element for the connection with your inner clock – a closer look on what’s going on inside you – inner awareness. The goal of the Mountain Pose is:

                • Stabilizing the nervous system through breathing.
                • Building energy and releasing tension.
                • Stabilizing the movement of the thread (inner stability) through the help of breathing.
                • Developing inner awareness.
                • Awareness of inner movement of body’s stability (the strength) and comfort (the easiness and lightness).
                • Creating a rhythmical breathing.
                • Improving focus, concentration and observation.

                2. Virabhadraasana – The Warrior Pose (Variation)

                  1. From Mountain pose exhale gently make a step forward (approx. 3 feet) with your right foot (see picture above) and slowly bend you right knee so your pelvis sinks (only as far as it is comfortable) towards the floor. Tip: Place left knee on the mat or a pillow if your muscles can’t support this posture.
                  2. Make sure your body weight is balanced 50/50 on both legs.
                  3. Inhale gently, reach fingertips towards the sky – push palms together, chest is open, shoulder blades relaxed – go down.
                  4. Breathe consciously, deeply and rhythmically (abdomens relaxed). Be aware of the expansion of your groin area as you inhale.
                  5. Focus your gaze on one point and remain in this position for five slow, deep breaths (or for as many as it feels right for you).
                  6. Concentrate completely on the contractions of your thigh muscles and the pressure on your hip joints. Balance your weight 50/50 on both feet.
                  7. Build energy with each inhalation!
                  8. Release tension with each exhalation!
                  9. Don’t let the muscle contraction intensify too much and disturb your breathing rhythm. Float the pelvis up and down to balance the intensity of the muscle contraction.
                  10. Do the same with your arms. The moment you feel that the muscle contraction of your shoulders disturb you breathing, spread and lower the arms.
                  11. Exhaling, make a step back, lower your arms and come back to Mountain pose.
                  12. Have a break with one long, deep breath.
                  13. Repeat the same (step 1 to 11) with the left foot.

                  Make three rounds (3 x right foot, 3x left foot). The goal of the Warrior Pose is:

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                  • Building energy and releasing tension.
                  • Stretching and strengthening thigh and gluteus muscles.
                  • Stretching hips (groin muscles) and mobilizing hip joints.
                  • Strengthening back muscles.

                  3. Trikonaasana – The Triangle Pose (Variation)

                    1. From Mountain pose, spread your feet approx. 2-3 feet laterally. Left foot 0°, right foot 90° to the right (adjust the degree of your feet as you see fit. Tip: For better alignment and results do this pose against a wall and adjust your posture with the hands).
                    2. Inhale gently, spread your arms at the height of your shoulders (palms facing forward).
                    3. Further slow, deep inhalation lengthens the spine upwards.
                    4. Slowly exhale and from the lowest vertebra begin to bend to the right (vertebra for vertebra, from the lowest upwards). The left hip goes lightly to the outside. Slowly! When bending you must feel firm and comfortable. Your right palm lays on your right kneecap (or lower, if you are more flexible). Your left hand stretches up vertically following the bending of your spine.
                    5. Focus your gaze on one point and remain in this position for five slow, deep breaths (or for as many as it feels right for you). Feel the flexibility of your spine and any tensions in the back, legs or pelvic area.
                    6. With each inhalation build up energy and with each exhalation release tension. Slowly adjust your pelvis, torso, neck, etc. if necessary during your rhythmical breathing.
                    7. With an exhalation, slowly, come back into position no. 3.
                    8. Have a break with one long, deep breath.
                    9. Repeat the same (step 1 to 8) going to the left.

                    Make three rounds (left and right). The goal of the Triangle Pose is:

                    • Building energy and releasing tension.
                    • Mobilization of spine, pelvis area and groin muscles.
                    • Mobilization of lower back (lumbar spine) and shoulders.
                    • Strengthening superficial and core back muscles.

                    4. Malasana – The Squat Pose

                      1. From Triangle pose come into Mountain pose and for a five deep gentle breaths, rotate the pelvis (in both sides) to align your muscles, tendons and ligaments.
                      2. Spread your feet approx. 2-3 feet laterally, open both feet approx. 45° outwards.
                      3. Inhale gently extending the whole body upwards, palms together pushed to the chest.
                      4. Exhale gently, go into squat lowering your pelvis – keep your back straight as you go down. Your upper body leans slightly forward and your elbows touch the inner side of your knees. Tip: Lower slowly only as much as you feel comfortable. If you have to inhale on your way down, just do it only to be able to exhale lowering further. The goal is to squat so your buttocks touch your heels, but you go only as much as your posture feels steady and comfortable.
                      5. Find your optimal position and stay there for five gentle breaths (or for as many as it feels right for you). Chest remains open at all times, push your elbows gently against your knees so you stretch the groin muscles.
                      6. Do gentle moves in this posture so you align your hips, thigh muscles and lower back optimally.
                      7. Use your thigh muscles to come up to Mountain Pose, but only after you have exhaled 50% of your air volume (don’t stand up while your lungs are under pressure full of air).

                      Repeat this five times (adjust repetition as you see fit, if you feel comfortable and energetic do more than five, if not, do less). The goal of the Squat Pose is:

                      • Building energy and releasing tension.
                      • More flexibility in groin muscles.
                      • Stretching and strengthening lower back muscles.
                      • Mobilization of hip joints.
                      • Strengthening thigh muscles and knees.

                      5. Bhujangasana – The Cobra Pose (Variation)

                        1. From Mountain Pose exhale gently and lower down to Squat Pose, place your palms and knees on the floor and gently stretch your body onto the floor. Your forehead touches the floor, your palms are placed right next to your chest – below your shoulders.
                        2. Relax your whole body, have a gentle deep breath, feel the connection of your whole body with the floor. Put a light pressure on your palms, as preparing for a push-up.
                        3. Inhaling gently, slowly lift up your head and neck and feel the pressure 50/50 on your hands and pelvis area.
                        4. Using the strength of your arms come up vertebra for vertebra beginning from the lowest one. The upper back, neck and head are straight, chin muscles relaxed, mouth slightly open. As you’re half way through, inhale further to open up the chest maximally and erect your upper body (only as much as possible). Remember, the posture must be firm and comfortable.
                        5. Exhale through your mouth and let the weight of your upper body hang on your shoulders. There should be light pressure on the lower back. Adjust the position of your hands on the floor so your shoulders support the weight of your upper body optimally.
                        6. Take five slow deep breaths in this position and feel the pressure (or relieve) on different parts of your body.
                        7. Experiment – adjust the position of your torso moving it, especially paying attention to your lower back.

                        Repeat five times. The goal of the Cobra Pose is:

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                        • Building energy and releasing tension.
                        • Mobilizing each spine vertebra.
                        • Strengthening arm, shoulder and back muscles.
                        • Stretching groin muscles.

                        6. Chaturanga Dandaasana – The Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Variation)

                          1. From the cobra pose – body and forehead on the floor, inhale deeply – put your palms close to the chest, put your toes on the floor, preparing for push-up.
                          2. Exhale, lift up your head, tighten your abdomen muscles, use the strength of your arms and lift up your body just a few inches.
                          3. You are in four-limbed staff pose, take five gentle, deep breaths (adjust body height accordingly, if necessary put your knees on the floor as support).
                          4. Exhale, come back to the floor – relax the whole body placing the forehead on the floor.

                          Repeat this exercise three times. The goal of the four-limbed staff pose is:

                          • Building energy and releasing tension.
                          • Stabilizing all muscles involved.
                          • Strengthening back muscles, anterior shoulder muscles, chest and arm muscles.
                          • Strengthening thigh and gluteus muscles.

                          7. Phalakaasana – The Plank Pose (Variation)

                            1. From your relaxed position on the floor, inhale deeply, place your palms close to the chest, lift up your head, put your toes on the floor, preparing for push-up.
                            2. Exhale through your teeth, tighten your abdomen muscles, use the strength of your arms, and push-up your body to come into a plank pose.
                            3. Adjust your palms or feet to find the ideal position and stay in for five slow deep breaths. Tip: To mobilize (strengthen and flex) your body, do variations of this exercise by slowly lowering the pelvis (when exhaling) – the knees touch the floor and balance the pressure between the arms and knees.
                            4. Exhale, come down to the floor and relax your body. Inhale – feel the energy coming in, exhale – feel the tension leaving your body.

                            Repeat this exercise three times. The goal of the plank pose is:

                            • Building energy and releasing tension.
                            • Strengthening chest, arm, and shoulder muscles.
                            • Strengthening overall back muscles and lumbar spine area.
                            • Strengthening thigh and cough muscles.
                            • Building endurance and flexibility.

                            Your Yoga Session is finished. Spend a moment lying on the floor breathing gently and deeply, and store all the movements and experiences you have undergone in this practice. Now having more strength and vitality, take this experience and apply it constructively in your daily life. Know that you will come a step further in your next practice and experience a new insight.

                            Final Thoughts

                            The practice of these Yoga exercises should take some 45-50 minutes, however you can change the repetitions and number of breaths according to your physical and mental fitness.

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                            Looking at all these simple yet highly beneficial postures, we can conclude that apart from the physiological benefits as mobilizing and strengthening the body, more important benefits out of these exercises are:

                            • The development of mental skills such as focus, motivation, observation, confidence, concentration by turning inwards through the focus on gentle breathing.
                            • The regaining of vitality and building of stamina and resilience through the repetition of movement.
                            • The reduction of stress and neuroticism [3] as a result of the above two.

                            The benefits mentioned above are perceptible when a balanced flow between breath and body movement is created.

                            Yoga can take you to a new beginning for a prosperous change that sets new goals with great motive for improvement. Let these 7 Yoga Exercises be your goal.

                            Make a routine (in your own rhythm – harmonically) by practicing these exercises every single day. You will see positive physical and mental changes in a matter of weeks.

                            And if you choose to be a part of a yoga class don’t worry about how you look, and what you’re going to wear as long as your clothes are comfortable. Stay focused on what you want to achieve on a physical, mental and spiritual level.

                            Keep in mind that everything you need for that new change in your life is sitting right here within you. Start to practice and the process of achievement will unfold! I salute the spirit in you!

                            More About Yoga

                            Featured photo credit: Artem Beliaikin via unsplash.com

                            Reference

                            [1] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
                            [2] Wikipedia: Asana
                            [3] NCBI: Neuroticism

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