Want to hear a little secret? You can both burn fat and build muscle using just your own bodyweight. Let Ashley show you how…
Boston. Fall of 2009. There I was in the penthouse suite of the Ritz Carlton being held hostage by paparazzi along with my A-list celebrity client who was at the center of a breaking news story – and we had just two weeks to transform her body for her latest movie role.
“I guess we can’t work out today,” she said hopefully. I smirked and said: “I’ll be right back.”
When I returned, I had a single resistance band and a wry smile on my face. What happened next was one of the most epic workouts I’ve ever put a client through. Within the first two minutes she was drenched in sweat and gasping for air.
I’d managed to turn every square inch of that suite into a brutal exercise station. We did dips on the bath-tub, plyometric jumps onto the bed, army crawls across the carpeted floors and more burpees than any human could even think about. The result? And I quote: “Ash, that was the hardest s**t I’ve ever done.”
Which begs the question: when did we start believing we need an expensive gym membership and fancy equipment to get the body we want?
Stop making excuses
Now, don’t get me wrong: I love lifting weights. Lifting weights transformed my body when I was in high school and launched my lifelong obsession with the human body. What I don’t love, is the misconception that if you don’t have access to a gym and two hours to work out, there is no point in training. Or, walking into a gym and seeing people stroll through a workout and then saying: “I don’t understand why I’m not getting results?”
One of the greatest advantages of bodyweight training is that there’s never an excuse not to work out. Whether you’re in a hotel room, a park, or at home, bodyweight training turns any environment into your own personal gym.
The top reasons for bodyweight workouts:
- Due to its compound movement patterns, just 20 minutes of bodyweight training can burn as many calories as a 90-minute machine or dumbbell-based workout.
- Because bodyweight training combines cardio and strength training, the workouts are extremely high-intensity, which means you burn a lot of calories in a short period of time. Plus, these types of comprehensive workouts switch on fat-burning and hormones responsible for building lean muscle.
- Simple bodyweight movements require the core to fire because most engage all the large muscles of the body. Not only does this improve core strength, it can also re-define the shape of your core because it’s being worked from all angles.
- The biggest excuse for not working out is usually lack of time to get to the gym. Well, with bodyweight training you don’t even have to even leave the house to get a great workout.
Results: Bodyweight workouts involve compound exercises (numerous muscle groups are involved per exercise). Exercises like burpees, push-ups and plyometrics have been proven to increase lean muscle, and improve sports performance by increasing strength gains throughout the body.
Now you understand why you should be bodyweight training, here’s how to get the most out of it. Below is how I structured the workout that day with my client. It works great with male clients who are used to doing straight-up muscle-building or bodybuilding workouts, because it’s a fantastic way to shock the body into burning more fat and building muscle.
The clutch hotel room shakedown
Time per exercise: 20 seconds
Equipment necessary: Dumbbells, pull-up bar
Circuit Instructions: For a full workout, repeat full sequence four to six times. For an extreme time-saver workout, repeat twice
- Plyometric push-up
- Jumping jack
- Running on the spot
- Star jump
- Army crawl
- Plyo jumps onto bed, box or bench
- Dumbbell deadlift
- Decline push-up off bath-tub
- Step and shoot (replicate basketball jump-shot)
- MMA sprawl
Find more fitness advice and more in every issue of TRAIN magazine.