Are you tired of trying all sorts of exercise routines to find that you can’t stay consistent with any of them long enough to get the full results? Ever worry about getting too “bulky” from lifting heavy weights? Ever seen pictures of ancient times and notice how fit everyone looks? Curious how they all stayed in shape? They surely didn’t have organized gyms, group exercise classes, and all of the diet pills and supplements we have today – so what in the hell were they doing that we aren’t? Thanks to many studies out there – now we can reshape our bodies and start looking and feeling the way we want to without a bunch of junk.
We are what we repeatedly do, excellence, then is not an act but a habit ~ Aristotle
Fitness has been around since the start of mankind, and studies have shown that the ancient Greeks were the ones to solidify the art of a healthy body harvesting a healthy mind. They held fitness in the highest regard and believed the development of the body was equally as important as development of the mind. Physical well-being was necessary for mental well being, the need for a strong, healthy body to harbor a sound mind. So what can we take away from this? One Greek word we have probably heard: Calisthenics “kallos” meaning beauty and “sthenos” meaning strength in Greek. You may refer it as: body weight training. After testing this and many types of training on myself as well as clients, there is physical proof that time and time again body weight training is the golden ticket to a healthy body and keen mind.
You may be wondering what exactly is this type of training, and I am here to explain it to you in simple form. Body weight training is strength training exercises that do not require free weights; just your own body weight as the resistance for the movement. Things like: pull ups, push ups, sit ups and squats are examples of bodyweight exercises. Also, there are many different types of cardiovascular bodyweight training exercises; such as running, swimming, hiking and walking. The best part– it’s fun, free, effective and gives us an NO EXCUSE workout solution! Unless your goal is to be a bodybuilder (which is beautiful as well) or you have a weight lifting routine you enjoy, bodyweight training is all you need to gain lean muscle and a fit body. So quit wasting your time trying to “reinvent” the wheel and take it back to the basics.
Here are 9 great reasons to start training like the ancient Greeks:
1. Makes fitness convenient and fun. When working out doesn’t feel like work it can be enjoyed. Bodyweight training can be done ANYWHERE! So go for a hike, take a dip in the water or crank the tunes and get dancing to get your body in shape.
2. Safety and injury prevention. Injury is one of the main reasons why people fall off the fitness wagon. Bodyweight exercises are generally quite safe for all levels of fitness, age and experience. Many bodyweight exercises can even be effective in rehabilitation of injuries and impairments.
3. See results. This will be your favorite part! Most bodyweight moves are compound movements, which means numerous joints and muscles are engaged in each move. Moves like Push-ups and lunges have proven to be extremely effective for strength gains and performance improvements. If the goal is to be fit and healthy, bodyweight training is all you need. There are limitless levels of callisthenic training so you can always increase your resistance.
4. Combine your workouts. This is important for those of us pressed for time. You can switch back and forth from cardio moves to resistance and get great results in minimal time. Try this –1 minute of jumping jacks then 30 seconds of push ups, repeat for 10 minutes. You can add in as many exercises as you like and continue to get better results.
5. Burns fat fast. Body weight circuit training can greatly impact the body’s metabolism. Try adding running in place or sprints in between lunges and squats to see what happens.
6. Beat boredom. bodyweight exercises can be done in so many forms and ways that there is truly something for everyone here. From dancing, to running, swimming, gymnastics, circuit training and more the list is endless and you can create your own moves! Be sure to check out my “ANIMAL DAY” workout video on Grokker.com this fall.
7. Love your core more. Most people don’t even understand what their core really is, it is much more than the abs and there are over 30 muscles that make up the human core. Many simple bodyweight exercises can work all of them! This will help with posture and getting the kind of abs your looking for.
8. Flexible for life. Have you ever looked at someone’s body that does martial arts, yoga or dances? They all have one thing in common: extremely flexible. Completing bodyweight exercises through a full range of motion is a great way to get your joints to move freely and will improve flexibility, mobility and balance.
9. Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy soul. Bodyweight training will improve the cardiovascular system, enhance focus and create a mind body connection, which in turn will help you in every facet of your life.