Lately I have observed that one of the biggest excuses that people have to not work out is that either they have no time or money to go to the gym. They forget that they can exercise while brushing their teeth or even on a work break, and that an intense workout can easily be done at home – with no equipment!
Although I’m a huge fan of working out on my yoga mat, exercise ball, a chair and frequently use free weights and a chin-up bar (when not pregnant), more than half of my routines typically require no or minimal equipment. Pushups, planks, lunges, crunches, leg lifts, squats, most yoga positions and many other bodyweight exercises are actually done best without extra equipment to slow you down or “help” you balance. Such exercises force you to concentrate on your form and use your core to balance, resulting in an additional calorie burn and belly toning.
Bodyweight exercises, also called calisthenics, have been used as strength training by athletes for centuries. Demonstrating just how ancient such exercises are, the word “calisthenics” is derived from the greek root words kallos and sthenos, meaning beauty and strength, respectively.
Also, bodyweight exercises are easy to modify to match anyone’s fitness level, which makes them ideal for someone who wants to challenge and push themselves while observing progress regularly. For example, when I first tried P90X, which includes many bodyweight exercises, I could barely do 5 to 10 pushups, and I was easily doing 40 after the initial 90 days. Seeing such progress is incredibly motivational and has helped me push on to another level repeatedly.
I truly hope that nobody who wants to be healthy and fit stops themselves with an excuse as weak as a lack of access to the gym. A gym can be motivational and convenient for some, but it’s simply an accessory for a workout. As my husband Kevin said earlier “gyms are a form of exercise materialism”; just like you don’t need fancy clothes to workout, you don’t really need gym equipment to complete an intense routine.