How To Get In Incredible Shape Without Hitting The Gym
You can get in shape without hitting the gym. Not only is this possible, but you can get in really good shape.
You can get stronger, more muscular, fitter, and faster.
Well, it isn’t easy. In fact, it’s really hard. But if you put in the work, you will be richly rewarded. The first thing you have to understand is the most basic rule of getting in shape:
Consistency is the single most important thing to get right.
In this article, I’m going to break down how you’re going to get your results from diet and exercise. What you need to do and how you need to do it. But the most important thing you can remember is that if you aren’t consistent, then you won’t get the results.
Consistency is everything.
Now let’s dive in…
The old cliche says: abs are made in the kitchen.
And cliche though it may be, it’s true.
What you eat and how much you eat is far more important than how, where, or how often you work out. Don’t get me wrong, that matters, but if you’re looking to get in shape then food is everything.
When it comes to eating, there are three things to focus on:
What to cut out, what to eat, and how much to eat.
You want to cut out all foods that are processed and can’t be plucked from a tree, ripped out of the ground, or cut from an animal. Yeah, that and eggs.
In other words, you want to eat meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables – and you don’t really want to drink anything other than water. You do that, you’re in the gold.
This might seem like a trite point, but it’s really that simple. You’ll avoid all the unhealthy fats, the sugars, and heavy salt intake that leaves most people ballooning overweight.
Once you’ve eliminated the foods you shouldn’t be eating, you have to eat the right amount. Everyone will be different, but if you’re looking to gain muscle, you’re going to have to eat a lot of food. Especially if you’re eating the healthy stuff I mentioned before.
You’re going to want to research and understand counting calories so that you know exactly what amount of food starts packing muscles on your body. For some guys this will be 3000 kcals per day, for others, it will anything from 2500 kcals to 4000 kcals.
The only way to know is to start counting.
The last thing to mention when it comes to food is that it’s worth giving yourself a cheat day. You’re going to eat a lot of the same foods over and over again. Sure, you will get used to eating meat and greens endlessly, but having a day where you can stuff In and Out burger into your face goes a long way.
Without hitting the gym you’re going to be limited in what you can do in terms of exercise. But this does not mean that you cannot get into shape – so don’t use it as an excuse not to try.
You can actually get in incredible shape without a gym. Provided you are eating right and hitting the right muscle groups in the right way.
The main areas of focus are going to be:
Bodyweight training is, as the name suggests, about doing exercises using your bodyweight as resistance. And given the average man weighs 195lbs, that’s plenty of resistance to stimulate those muscles.
However, because bodyweight puts less stress on your body, you’re going to want to do more volume, and do it more often.
When you’re looking to get in shape in the gym, the main thing you’re going to want to do is stimulate your body through intense compound movements involving heavy weights.
A compound movement is any movement that involves multiple muscle groups. I.e. A squat, as it involves your glutes, your hamstrings, your quads, your core, and your lower back.
Isolated movements such as bicep curls are useful for growing single muscles, but only as complements to an all around compound routine.
Bodyweight training operates by the same rules. You want to do bodyweight exercises that involve compound movements, and you want to stimulate as much of your body as possible. The way you do that is by focusing on three central exercises:
Making sure you consistently hit these compound movements will give your exercise routine a solid foundation, as well as maximizing the results you gain from your efforts.
Off the back of these three exercises, you want to experiment with various exercises that hit areas in need of development. In my experience, this is almost always the core muscles – those being your abdominals, obliques, and lower back.
Having strong core muscles improves your posture and strength. And given they degrade as you get older, it’s worth getting them strong early.
For another rule of three (yeah, I know…), you want to make sure you channel your work out through these principles:
The more reps you do, the more your muscles fibers will be shocked, and (if you eat right) the more they will grow. Do reps, and do lots of them.
The more you do the same exercises, the more your body will get used to them, and your muscles fibers won’t get shocked. Always aim to shock the muscle fibers. Switch up the way you exercise – change the type of exercise you do, the speed of the reps, the number of reps, anything.
An example of this would be spending one workout doing 150-200 bodyweight squats where you’d usually do 60.
You want to maintain good form during all of the exercises. Not only will this maximize the engagement of the muscle groups you’re wanting to hit (and thus, your results) but it will also protect you from injuries, which can range from minor annoyances to much worse (like for instance, thoracic outlet syndrome).
Here’s an example of a go-to workout I always fall back on when I need a reliable workout. It requires no equipment other than something to perform pull-ups on. You can do this 2-3 times per week.
20 seconds rest per exercise
60 seconds rest per set
12 x Bodyweight squats
12 x Pressups
12 x Pull-ups / 12 x Rows
60 secs plank
20 x Jumping jacks
12 x Back squats (each leg)
20 x Oblique crunches
You cause that as a basic structure. Toy with the number of reps, sets, or rest times depending on your level of fitness.
Always practice good form!
High-intensity interval training has gained popularity over the last few years and for good reason – when it comes to getting you in great shape, it works.
Just look at any sprinter. They’re shredded, and they’ve got well-developed muscles.
A lot of this comes from the high-intensity nature of sprinting. It requires an incredibly short, sharp burst of strength and cardio, that is a great stimulator of muscle growth and fat loss.
Turning this into a workout involves, you guessed it, sprinting, and sprinting a lot.
This is the best one I know. Do this once per week. If you can’t do 10 sprints, then just sprint until you reach your limit, and do one more next time.
Sprint 100 yards as fast as you can.
Rest 45 seconds
Repeat 10 times
If you’re doing a bodyweight workout twice a week, and high-intensity workout once per week, then you’re going to get in shape. Especially if you’re eating the right amount to gain muscle mass. However, there’s one more thing I’d suggest. And yeah, It’s optional, but it helps.
A lot of guys in great shape have terrible fitness. Sure, they’re strong and they look good but ask them to run for a decent amount of time and they fall to pieces.
With that in mind, my last piece of advice is to do long distance running once per week. It’ll suck, it’ll make your lungs burn, but it’s worth it.
I tend to measure it by distance rather than time. Start by running a mile, then take it from there.
Oh and for the sake of your shins, get running shoes that compliment your feet, otherwise injuries will definitely start wracking up.
There are two final things to touch on. And the first is the importance of stretching.
Don’t underestimate the importance of stretching when it comes to maintaining a healthy body. There are two immediate benefits that come from this:
Take the time to stretch before and after your workouts. I’d also take the time to do a full body stretch in between the days you’re working out. This will help your body recover and prevent tightness.
The last thing I want to touch on is muscular imbalances. This is where certain muscles in your body are stronger or tighter than the ones pulling against them.
A classic example of this is someone who has tight pectoral (chest) muscles and a weak back. As a result of this, their shoulders are rounded forward and their posture sucks.
Take a look at your body and your posture as they will offer clues as to where your body is suffering from imbalances. And you will have them. Everyone does.
You want to stretch out the muscles that are overly tight and strengthen the ones that are weak. This will get you in much better shape, and have you standing straighter and stronger.
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About John Matich John is a writer from the UK who splits his time between travelling the world and trying to find unconventional solutions to dating and personal development. You can find more from him at www.lifeuncivilized.com.