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Life Balance: For Physical Health, Who Needs a Gym?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 19th, 2013

Despite a gyms bulging with weight-lifting equipment, some fitness experts suggest the only thing people need to push, pull and lift is the weight of their own body.

Bret Contreras, author of “Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy,” says once the person masters the simpler version of a push-up, squat, or chin-up, a more advanced version can be tackled, often with a little help from the living room furniture.

“Find things in the environment: a table to get underneath, hold on to the sides of and then pull the body upward; a rafter for a pull-up,” he said. “To work your glutes (buttocks muscles), all you need is a couch.”

Contreras recommends the beginner start with 15 minutes a day and increase over time.

“It doesn’t have to be intimidating,” he said. “You could do a 20-minute workout three times a week and have an incredible physique, so long as you push hard and keep challenging yourself.”

Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, said bodyweight training blends with the trend toward functional training, or training that mimics the way we move in everyday life, as opposed to the older bodybuilder model of targeting one muscle group at a time.

“Our body is one kinetic chain, everything moves together, so most everyday exercises will move multiple muscle groups,” she said.

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One response to “Life Balance: For Physical Health, Who Needs a Gym?”

  1. Dan says:

    This is exactly what I do! 3 times per week at the gym for 20 – 30 minutes of weights plus 25 minutes of cardio. The other two days of the week I try to get outside for a brisk 1 hour walk. The system works.

    Thanks for the great article – hope more people follow this.

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