Gym memberships are tough. You get one so that you’ll be inspired to go somewhere and actually get in a workout because you’re paying for it — yet you can’t seem to make the time or find the energy.
What you’re left with is guilt that’s costing you a monthly fee.
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“So many people think they need to ‘go somewhere’ or get expensive equipment to tone up, lose weight or get back in shape,” said Todd Herriott, a Seattle-based certified strength and conditioning specialist and ambassador for the nutritional supplement company Klean Athlete. “We have our bodyweight 24/7 and can workout whenever and whenever, assuming we have the motivation and creativity.”
The gym culture, Herriott told LifeZette, would have us believe we need to go to a “special” place to use “special” equipment in order to regain good health. But that culture is changing. And the reality is that we don’t need an hour plus and a bunch of equipment to get our bodies moving again.
“The human body has some very specialized equipment that allows you to flex, extend, and rotate in three planes of motion, at high speed or low: your arms and legs, which are attached to a very sturdy base. So much can be done with just you and a few minutes a day. Imagination is often the limiter but you can keep it simple with the old-school basics you did in gym class as a kid,” he said.
Five of the easiest exercises to do and worth doing, according to Herriott:
1.) Jumping Jacks. Short intervals increase your heart rate, boost your metabolism, and target all of your major muscle groups. One way to get the most out of even a 30-minute walk, according to Livestrong: Walk briskly for five minutes, do jumping jacks for one minute, return to walking and repeat. Live in a high traffic area and worry you’ll look like a fool? Don’t worry. Anyone else who cares about their health knows what you’re doing, and you may even inspire others who happen to catch you in the act.
2.) Burpees. This series of movements will “help you scorch fat, rev up your metabolism and get you conditioned like no other exercise can,” according to 12minuteathlete.com. And while you don’t need a box to jump up on, as shown in the video below, for those who’ve been doing them for a while and want to add a little more punch to a workout, it’s a great way to burn more calories.
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3.) Jump squats. These will help you tone those legs. They’re a great exercise to tone your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
4.) Dry lateral bounding (dry land skating). These plyometric exercises help not only with aerobic conditioning but with lower body strengthening, especially the lateral muscles.
5.) “Spiderman” crawl. Get down on your hands and feet and go. Adding a pushup, a few side planks, and a 10-second running sprint into that move makes it extremely challenging, said Herriott.
Short intervals (20-30 seconds) of any of these — with a short recovery period — will get your heart rate up, keep it there, and give you the most bang for “your bodyweight-training buck” because they use your entire body with some intensity. This type of workout also puts a high demand on your cardio respiratory system and will kick the metabolism into high gear.
His other best advice — keep your workouts fresh, combine exercises, and find a workout partner.
“[This] can make the task of getting going again a lot less daunting and a lot more fun. Ease back in. Going from doing nothing to banging out multiple high-intensity workouts a week can lead to nagging overuse injuries,” said Herriott. “The point is to get into shape, not to put yourself in worse shape! Lastly, there are a lot of qualified, professional trainers out there who you can work with or even just consult with on your program — use their experience.”