How to Fit in a Great Workout Wherever You Are
This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.
I'm in pretty good shape, overall: I run four to five times a week, do calisthenics, and do a decent amount of strength training. What I basically never do, however, is go to the gym.
I had a fitness club membership in the past, which I made use of a few times a week. However, over time, I came to realize that not only did I not need a gym to stay in shape, but I preferred the cardio exercise and strength training routines I could create for myself either outdoors or in my own home.
Whether you travel often, are tight on time, or are trying to save cash by dropping your gym membership, there's no reason you can't get in a great workout without a gym almost anytime and anywhere.
Most workouts that don't require gym equipment use one or more of the same three basic components: movement, gravity, and your own body.
How to work out without the gym, according to a celebrity trainer
Ramona Braganza has worked with Scarlett Johansson, Ryan Reynolds, Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, and Zac Efron — people whose livelihoods are largely predicated on their physical appearance.
Working with actors and actresses on set means Braganza rarely has access to gym equipment or weights and only short windows of the stars' time.
"I have to remain flexible with where I provide my short but effective 3-2-1 workouts," Braganza explained, referencing a circuit training program she uses that employs a 3:2:1 ratio of cardio, strength training, and core exercises.
"Often I don't have equipment and I'm not in a gym," Braganza says, but that doesn't stop her from delivering a 10-minute workout that includes cardio, strength training, and core exercise. For people who work office jobs where they sit or even stand for most of the day, strengthening to prevent a weak core and back muscles is essential, she adds.
The beauty of the workout routine Braganza shared with me is that you can do it just about anywhere, and it takes all of 10 minutes.
Ramona Braganza's 10-minute total body routine:
- First minute of cardio (start with standing ab crunches)
- Three minutes of strength training broken into three one-minute segments (tabletop heel taps, diagonal leg extensions, and glute bridges)
- Second minute of cardio (jumping jacks)
- Three more minutes of one-minute strength exercises (side-plank raises, Supermans, wall flatteners)
- Third minute of cardio (skaters)
- Minute of core (standard plank)
(This technically that comes out to 11 minutes, but let's not worry about that.)
How to work out away from a gym — according to people who run a gym
Natasha Lucero-Conklin, co-owner of the Sopris CrossFit gym in Carbondale, Colorado, and the gym's lead trainer, Ray Cooney, also had some amazing insight.
"There is little better in the fitness world than running sprints, doing push-ups, and doing air squats,' he said. When planning an effective outdoor workout, "don't get too focused on the movements themselves, focus on how they are done.' He recommends constantly changing the intensity and speed of your movements, which will help vary the metabolic stimulus of the workout.
Cooney and Lucero-Conklin shared three CrossFit-inspired routines that anyone can try — and all that's required is some open space and a good dose of willpower.
- Eight 50-meter running sprints, with two-minute rests between runs
- Rest 10 minutes, then complete four cycles of 20 air squats, 30 hollow rocks, and 20 push-ups
- Five-mile run
- Rest 15 minutes, then complete 15 rounds as fast as possible of the following: 5 dips, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats (rest one minute between rounds)
- Four 400-meter running sprints, resting 30 seconds between rounds
- Rest 6 minutes, then complete sets of air squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and burpees
Cooney's gym-free workout routines generally focus more on building muscle endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, and flexibility, because building muscle strength can be challenging without gym equipment.
But he had one final piece of advice: "When programming outdoors for strength, everything needs to be done with max intensity — this means giving yourself enough rest between sets to perform to the best of your ability."