The Most Valuable Exercise Tool That Anyone Can Use

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This is a guest post by Candice Briggs, a Health, Fitness & Lifestyle Coach based in Byron Bay, Australia.

I always laugh when someone says to me, “Oh I was away and I wasn’t around a gym, so I didn’t do a work out”, or “I was house bound and couldn’t leave home” (insert excuse here)

The absolute beauty of exercise is that the only piece of equipment we really need to have a great work out and keep a strong body, is ourselves! (and some killer tunes never go astray) How incredible is that?

Since the beginning of time we have had a body designed to handle heavy labour and move, and move far more regularly than many of us do in this day and age. In the modern world a large majority of us sit at desks for ten’s of hours a week, where as our ancestors would have spent their time outdoors working on the land/farming/hunting and practically providing (in different ways to now).

Today, we are attached to our technological devices for entertainment in our spare moments and though we are very fortunate to be living in a time where technology is making our life much easier and pleasurable in many ways, it is very apparent, that it also most certainly feeds a natural propensity for laziness that lies within each and every one of us.

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We humans are always looking for and would never turn down an “easier way” to get something done. But when it comes to fitness, the only way to get fit and to look and feel great is to do it the old fashioned way: put in the time!

It is very easy to fall in to overwhelm thinking that we need to spend hours a day in the gym, but let me tell you now, you can work towards having a lean, fit, healthy body from where ever you are in as little as 20-30 minutes 3-4 times per week! Fitness should most certainly be prioritised as a constant in the ever busy lives we lead, and once you start reaping the benefits of making time for it, it doesn’t take much to want to keep going.

It is the consistency that counts, as in chipping away at it, and keeping it in your routine that is most important, not so much the time you spend on the gym floor itself! I have never heard anyone say, “Gosh I wish I didn’t have a workout…”

The benefits of doing a workout using just your own body weight can be building lean muscle mass, learning to push and pull your own weight, your coordination improves, balance and core strength increases and you are able to monitor and use a safe range of movement when you are not reliant upon a pin loaded piece of gym equipment that can at times, exacerbate any injury/imbalance you may be carrying.

In fact, you are far better off training with just your body until you have reached a point of being able to push and pull your own body weight e.g. push = push ups pull = chin ups, before you move on to introducing weights and machines.

Why is this such good news? If you travel for work, you’re a full time parent and you’re locked in to being in the perimeters of the house all day, maybe you cannot afford a gym membership, you can’t make any outdoor group fitness times, you are too shy or too body conscious, you don’t have time, or whatever other reason that is holding you back from exercising, these excuses no longer need to stop you! (Unless you flat out hate working out or don’t like the way you look and feel when you are fit, toned…?)

Some other benefits of exercise you may experience are:

  • Increased metabolism
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Better skin tone
  • Stress relief & anxiety management
  • Increased energy levels
  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Improved resting heart rate
  • Improves cholesterol
  • Boosts your immunity
  • Lifts you mood
  • Improves your confidence
  • Improve your sex drive
  • Lower the risk of type two diabetes
  • You are a nicer person for it!

Sound good? I wanted to share with you my favourite D.I.Y Fitness Exercise Program that you can do at home, or from wherever you happen to be. You can have an effective workout in as little at 20 minutes, or you can stretch it out to 60 if you have the time and energy by completing more sets and minimising the rest in between each set. Check it out…

Breaking Down Fitness Lingo…

Reps = Repetitions or how many times you are going to do the exercise i.e. 20 push ups one after the other

Sets = How many times you will do each group of exercise i.e. 3 Sets of 20 push ups.

Rest = How long in between each set you take to recover effects how your muscles develop and what energy system you are working. When you are doing a body weight routine, we mostly use our aerobic system as the reps are high, our heart rate stays increased and we have minimal break in between sets.

Note: I love using Youtube to look up any exercises I am unfamiliar with and I prefer to do a workout that works my full body, rather than just isolating one body part/muscle group. You can click on the exercise within the program below and it will take you directly to a Youtube link on how to perform each exercise. Please use them if you are unfamiliar or need to review any exercises you may need to dust up on!

Always consult a physician before commencing a new exercise regime.

CANDICE’S BODY WEIGHT DIY FITNESS PROGRAM

Exercise    Repetitions /Time Sets/Level
Warm Up Uphill walk/Jog 1km/5min
*Rest under 60 sec in between each set *
Day 1/3/5
Push ups (Chest comes right down to touch the ground at nipple line) 10-30 2-3
Squats (feet hip distance apart) 20-30 2-3
Core Hold / Plank (back flat like a table) Build up to 60sec 2-3
Tricep Dips using Chair (knees in line with ankles) 20-30 2-3
Step out Lunges (back knee inch off ground) 20-30 ea.side 2-3
Step Ups (one foot on a step or bench) 20 ea. side 2-3
High Knees (knees up to hips on high) 30-50 reps 2-3
Bicycle Crunches (slowly focus on R shoulder coming toward L hip, switch) 20-30 2-3
Full Sit Ups (feet wedged in door if needed) 10-20 2-3
Single Leg Hip Raises  (Lying on your back, one foot on the ground, one foot in air raise hips) 10-20 ea. side 2-3
Side Plank on knees or feet (Elbow under Shoulder, lifting from bottom waist) Build up to 60sec 2 x ea.
Cardio 2-3 x per week 30-45 minutes

Helpful Videos:

Take this work out on holiday with you, on your work trip, do it in your hotel room, on your living room floor, in the back yard, in the park, at a friends house… just do it!

Enjoy the release of endorphins (the feel good hormone released when we exercise) after completing this work out. If you aim to do this workout three times per week for four – six weeks combined with a healthy, whole-foods diet, you will have a stronger, leaner, more healthy feeling body in no time!

About Candice

Candice Briggs is a paleo-passionate, ocean loving, sun kissed, small town chick, spreading her big heart and love for health and fitness, from sunny Byron Bay (a vibrant coastal town on the Australian East Coast). Candice works one on one, building her super busy clients seriously kick arse health routines – teaching them that no matter how busy you are, there’s always time to look after your health. From the stunning scenery of the Bay, to across the seas (and anywhere between) visit candicebriggs.com to find your potential and love the body you live in.

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  • Ginger Booth

    Thanks for including the exercise video links, Candice! I’d never seen the triceps bench dip before – gotta try that one! Flabby upper arms are so disheartening.

  • Jules Galloway

    Love this workout – perfect for those days when I tell myself “I can’t be bothered driving all the way to the gym.” No excuses now – no driving required!

  • Brett Jarman

    Well written Candice. A nice reminder that we don’t always need bells and whistles to get things done.

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