Day 19: How to Set Up the Simple Home Gym Fitness Program
Posted Jan 22 2010 2:00am
Many of you may already belong to a gym and enjoy going, and there is nothing wrong with that (assuming you are working out the right way of course). But many lack the time or money to keep going to a gym consistently. Some of you may travel alot for work or stay at home with kids. There is still no reason for you to not be able to fit in a workout regardless of your schedule and location. If you can make the time, I’ll show you how easy it can be to make your own simple home gym fitness program.
You don't need to spend $1000s on expensive equipment in-order to get a real workout in your own home! Save your money!
Build Muscle to Burn Fat and Feel Younger
I’ve said it many times in the past about some of the biggest workout mistakes people make, but people should not get obsessed about cardio when it comes to weight loss and don’t always need a gym just to get a workout in. But first let’s motivate you to want to build and use those muscles (including all you women out there, don’t worry we are not talking about bulking up).
When it comes to losing weight, we want to eat less and keep our metabolism strong at the same time. One of the best ways to raise our REE (resting energy expenditure) is going to be through doing more intense workouts. Doing intense resistance based training will actually help elevate your REE for up to 48 hours while increasing your fat “releasing” hormones in the process. Sounds pretty good to me!
Remember also that your muscles are your fat burning factories (where the released fat in from the fat cells go to be burned up as energy), so you want to keep them around (and not let them waste away).
Here’s an eye opening study about the importance of resistance based exercise. (Bryner, R et al) 20 people (men/women) were taken and put on a very low calorie liquid diet (800 cal) for 12 weeks. Half were put on aerobic exercise only program and the other half resistance training only (3x/week). What would you expect? Well the aerobic only group lost more weight, but with also lean body mass loss (muscle). The aerobic only group also lowered their RMR (resting metabolic rate).
But guess what, the resistance only group did not lose any lean mass and had a slight increase in RMR! Let me repeat that, the group only doing resistance training kept all their muscle, lost fat and slightly elevated their RMR all while on a very low calorie diet for 12 weeks!!
Lesson learned is that even on a very low calorie diet, resistance training will keep your muscle and allow you to burn more fat without dropping your metabolism in the process! Resistance training is really the key (including how to slow down aging as seen below)! Best part, it is never too late to reap the benefits!
Human aging is associated with muscle atrophy (sarcopenia), weakness and functional impairment, which commence in the fourth decade of life with a rate of strength loss of about 1.0% per year, accelerating with each passing decade. Long-term physical activity is associated with a reduction in morbidity and mortality in humans. Resistance exercise can increase muscle strength, function and mass in older adults even into the 9th decade of life. Resistance exercise training can reduce markers of oxidative stress, and increase anti-oxidant enzyme activity in older adults. We report here that healthy older adults show a gene expression profile in skeletal muscle consistent with mitochondrial dysfunction and associated processes such as cell death, as compared with young individuals. Moreover, following a period of resistance exercise training in older adults, we found that age-associated transcriptome expression changes were reversed, implying a restoration of a youthful expression profile.
Source: Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle; Simon Melov, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, Kenneth Beckman, Krysta Felkey, Alan Hubbard; Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, California,
What You Need
As seen in the picture above you do not need to spend $1000s on complicated and expensive equipment in order to use your muscles. Most people buy these machines and then let them collect dust anyways. So here are my top 3 things you will need and they are all about under $100 total!
Your Own BodyWeight
Gymnasts are perfect examples of how a person is able to build up plenty of strength and muscle tone with using their own bodyweight.
This one is FREE! You already have the greatest gym, your own body. Using your body like it was meant to is a great way to keep healthy and challenge your muscles as well. Gymnasts do it, so do the military and many others.
I remember reading a book long ago called “Movement that Matters” by Paul Chek (a world famous trainer) who described the “primal movement patterns”. They were how our body was meant to be used including bending over, squating down, lunging over objects, pushing, pulling, twisting and gait (moving over terrain). Using all these is all we really need to do with enough of a challenge (as your body does not care whether you are using your bodyweight, resistance bands, or dumbells…it just wants you to challenge the muscles over time).
The great thing about your own bodyweight is that you have it with you where ever you go. So you always have your own “personal fitness gym” with you at all times. You can do pushups, pullups, squats, lunges, planks and a variety of exercises in your home, the backyard, during lunchtime, on the road in a hotel room or wherever.
Pulling is an exercise that is key to developing the back muscles, straps allow you to do this at many angles while just using your own bodyweight.
I’m a big fan of these because of the flexibility and variety of exercises you can do with them, all while still using your own bodyweight. Exercises can include angled pushups, pullups, bodyrows, planks, roll outs, dips and so much more.
They are also easy to attach whether outdoors (to something sturdy like a pole) or indoors (with most having a door frame holder option). My favorite is the Jungle Gym Straps from Lifeline fitness. I used them with bootcamps and they are great. There is also other brands out there like the TRX, but compare a $49 option with a $150+ one….and the Jungle Gym is the way to go!
Hollywood actress Jessica Biel also uses resistance bands to help keep herself in really great shape!
Remember that your muscles only care about resistance and tension, it does not look at the source. So a good set of resistance bands is not just for the older people or rehab clinics. You can do a variety of pushing and pulling exercises at all angles to duplicate any machine in the gym. You can workout all your muscles while only needing a small space (and it packs away with ease into a small bag as well).
Be warned that some of the bands you see in the stores are pretty light resistances. So you really do need to make sure that you get some that are adjustable and can have more resistance (thicker/heavier) bands attached in some fashion. 2 great options online are the Rubber Banditz and Bodylastic Bands.
So there you have it, between your own bodyweight, a set of straps and some bands that is about $100 (far cry from the $1000-$2000 for the super duper home exercise gyms). You can start there and even build up as you see fit to include other things such as:
Weight vest (to make your own bodyweight increase for movements….or just used a weighted backpack too)
Dumbbells/Kettlebells for a different feel
Make your own sandbags for more heavy lifting options
All these while still using your “primal movement patterns” and using your body the way it was meant to move!
Your Task: Sign Up for the Weekly Challenge!
For ongoing motivation (as I know that is what most people really need), I just started up a new blog specifically for bodyweight exercise type of challenges. It will be a new challenge for each week, so you can still do your own workout programs or even the challenge as many times as you like. Each Monday a new challenge will be posted and then the motivation will continue with more tips/advice/videos specifically about bodyweight workouts. So go to the new BodyFit Workout challenge blog here to commit and get started! No more excuses!