One of the first things that many people do when they decide to “get fit” is to find a cheap gym membership. However, no matter how cheap gym membership gets, there is still the need for an investment of your time and some serious effort. Getting fit, toned, more muscular, is not only determined by the money you spend but the sweat and energy you expend. Of course there is still a place for the gym in most training schedules, but it’s what you do in the gym that counts. Here we look at some great ways to take your training to new heights, and how some of the cheapest, perhaps less obvious exercises can boost your returns. If you’re ready to go, read on…
Using Your Own Body
Gym equipment can at times be costly, so imagine having to spend no money, but getting a kit bag full of some of the most up to date and useful equipment that is currently available. What’s more, you already carry this very kitbag around with you on a day to day basis. Confused? Don’t be for this is simple, it’s your very own body.
You’ve certainly heard of the exercises that you can do using your own weight as a tool/resistance, but maybe you’ve not added facts together. Think of press-ups, pull-ups, squats and burpees to start with. Standing squats utilise only the weight of your own body as you maintain form bending your knees to the full squat position, thereafter returning to standing and repeating. Yes of course you can add weight with a kettle-ball or barbell, but to start with your own weight is enough. Lunges are the same, and can then be progress into jumping lunges switching from one stance to the other. Even without added weight, you’ll find these extremely hard at first. Burpees too, once the reserve of the military have made it into normal routines, why, well because they work. From a standing position to a press up, squat-thrust and into a jump in one movement, uses many of the body’s muscle groups whilst fighting gravity to move the actual body. Getting up and down of the floor is hard enough, but repetitively and with added dynamics makes this a great full-body exercise.
What Is HIIT?
How we exercise is now seen as important as exercise itself. Once hitting the treadmill for mile after mile of pounding effort was sufficient, and it still has its place, but the body needs more of a shock. This can be achieved through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), where the exercises vary in intensity so that the body goes from steady, through fast, to all out and back again, keeping the heart pumping strong, the breathing tested and the effort required full-on. Rest intervals intersperse with all-out effort, rather than the slow and steady pounding of the traditional run. However you can change-up your running to add sprints and jogs, the key is variation rather than single speed. If you’ve never tried it, give it a go!
So with little equipment, maybe just a pair of trainers and a stopwatch – which most phones have built in – you can use your own body as your training tool to fitness. We’ve already mentioned squats, lunges and burpees, but what other exercises can you do?
Press ups can be done with different variations of where you place your hands, close in, or more traditionally further out etc. As well as simply pumping out a set, you can try slower sets, shorter pumped, or even just supporting yourself off the floor.
Mountain climbers start in the standard press up position but then you bring each knee up to your responding elbow one at a time, alternating between the two (like your running in a press-up). Change the speed and the numbers in each set for variation.
There are of course many other different exercises that you can do, and even then you can add variations to increase the difficulty and intensity, from sprint sets to running with deliberately high knee raises etc.
The best thing about exercise is that you’ll find some that work better for you and maybe even some you’ll enjoy. Hopefully there’ll be some that cover all bases. Whatever you do though, just keep training as you need so little to do it, other than the commitment of course! Enjoy and keep going.