In this post, I’m going to be covering how to get fit from home. This is for those of you who can’t afford a gym membership, don’t want to commute to a gym all the time or simply don’t like commercial gyms.
I’m in this latter category. I don’t like commercial gyms at all! I mean, they’re always overcrowded, you end up having to wait for using the equipment there and I find that you waste so much time commuting to and from the gym. It’s just too much of a hassle for me and if you’re reading this, it’s likely you think the same way.
This is one of the MAIN reasons I got into calisthenics/bodyweight training and why I prefer training at home or in the park. I just couldn’t be bothered to go through all the hassle of going to the gym to be honest.
The truth is you don’t need to go to a gym to get fit. What you need to do in order to build muscle mass and shed fat off your body is high-intensity resistance training, which you can easily and quite cheaply do at your home, and being mindful of your nutrition.
The type of resistance training, or strength training, we’re going to be doing is bodyweight/calisthenics training. Bodyweight training is great as it requires very little equipment, which I think is fantastic especially if you’re going to be training at home, while at the same time being very intense!
This type of resistance training is also very effective for building muscle mass and losing fat because the majority of the exercises you will be performing are compound exercises. These are very effective because multiple joints are involved resulting in a greater number of muscle groups being involved in performing a given exercise. Some examples of compound exercises are pull-ups, dips, squats, etc.
Lastly, with bodyweight training, there is less of a risk of injury as we are going to be manipulating our body in space and not other heavy objects. And because we’re manipulating our bodies in space your body weight will directly impact your progress and so if you find yourself eating too many desserts you will notice the difference in your training, and it’s a great way of keeping you in check!
I recommend doing 2-3 full body sessions per week as this is the best way to make progress because your body needs time to recover. In the rest of the days, I recommend you engage in other low impact physical activities that you enjoy, like swimming or going for a brisk walk. This is all you need to build muscle and shedding fat off your body.
The most important aspect you need to understand with strength training is progressive overload. This means that in order for physical adaptations to happen (i.e muscle growth), an increase in stress over time needs to occur. Basically put, in order for you to keep making strength and muscle gains, you need to increase the challenge of your workout from session to session.
You can apply progressive overload by:
- Increasing the number of reps of the exercise;
- Increasing the number of sets of the exercise;
- Using a harder progression of a given exercise;
- Decrease rest times between sets;
- Increased time under tension.
What you eat will directly influence your body composition, or rather, the number of calories you eat. There’s no way around that. I’d say how you will look is 50% training, 50% nutrition.
So if your goal is to lose fat, you need to eat at a caloric deficit, that is, eating below your maintenance calories. Maintenance calories are the number of calories you need to ingest in order to maintain your current weight.
And if you’re looking to build muscle, you need to eat at a caloric surplus, that is, eating above your maintenance calories.
And if you are is somewhere in the middle, the so-called ‘skinny-fat’ physique, then you need to eat maintenance calories. You can use this free calorie calculator to determine your daily caloric intake here: https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html.
I’d say a good range for both a calorie deficit and a caloric surplus is 400-500 calories. You don’t really want to go beyond that point because if you cut more than 500 calories off your maintenance calories, it will be too extreme and counter-productive. And if you’re eating more than 500 calories above your maintenance level, you’re just going to be putting on unnecessary fat.
Nutrition is a field of heated debate and everyone is different so you’ll need to do what you think is best for you. With that being said I believe the best way to approach nutrition for optimal training results, is to follow a whole foods approach, eating a sufficient amount of protein from good protein sources and eating plenty of leafy greens and vegetables, as they are very important for both your recovery and overall well-being.
Don’t worry about eating super ‘clean’ all the time though, it’s important to also indulge a bit when you’re with friends or family. Just remember to do it in moderation and you’ll be fine.
Ultimately, it is the number of calories that you are ingesting that will most heavily influence how your physique looks, so I suggest you find out roughly how many calories you should be eating depending on your goal, tracking it for a few weeks, and then just eyeballing it. I strongly recommend that you don’t obsess with the exact number of calories as that just leads to mental strain and binge eating, and completely take the focus off what is important and fun: your training! I’m talking from personal experience here, but you’ll want to do what works for you.
The Only Exercises You Need & Workout Suggestion
As we’ve seen, if you consistently do strength train 2-3 times per week and nail your nutrition, you will be improving your physique over time. I want to help you to get started by showing you what exercises you want to be doing and I’ll outline a workout suggestion for you to try out for yourself!
These are the essential exercises you’ll want to be doing for your full body session:
- Pull Ups/Chin Ups;
- Push Ups;
- Squats/Pistol Squat Progression;
- A good core exercise like Hanging Leg Raises or the L-sit/Progressions of these exercises.
Pull-Ups, Dips and Push Ups are absolutely basic exercises that you want to get strong at as these are the exercises you’ll be using to build upper body strength and improve your physique.
Same goes for doing some sort of Squats and some form of a core exercise that suits your level. Hanging Leg Raises and L-sits are my favorites.
Now, it’s important that you work at an intensity that suits your level. So if you’re a beginner and can’t do a single pull up or dip, just do negatives. This is the only exercise you’ll need to get that first pull up as they allow you to practice the exact movement pattern you want to get strong enough to do, only in reverse. On the other hand, if it’s too easy, try using a hard progression, weight or making it harder by doing in on the gymnastics rings, for example.
Perform this routine 3 times per week and build it up to 15 reps for 3-4 sets with 2 minutes rest in between sets. This is a good repetition range for beginners to build strength, muscle mass as well as endurance.
For performing the exercises I’ve outlined above you will obviously need a Pull-Up Bar and some Dip Bars. As you get stronger you might also want to consider getting yourself a pair of Gymnastics Rings and even some Weights and a Dip Belt to increase the challenge of the exercises.
It’s not that many things but it will take a small investment on your part, even if it doesn’t amount to a huge amount of money. But investing in yourself is never a bad decision and I assure you it will pay off! 🙂
Mindset for success!
In the beginning, the workouts will be pretty brutal. They are damn hard and if you’re just starting out or have never done bodyweight exercises before you’ll most likely be sore for days. But just remember that you WILL progress and it does get easier as you get stronger. Trust in the process!
Success doesn’t just happen nor does it happen overnight, it is the combination of consistency, dedication, and effort and it happens over a long period of time.
Be consistent, be patient and train hard and you will see amazing results.
I hope this helped! Happy training everyone! 😉