As we get older, staying physically active can get pushed aside. Gyms are great for equipment, but getting to your body goals doesn't have to come at a cost. Originally published August 2020.
When it comes to working out in a gym, many would agree that one of the biggest problems is being around others. Gyms may not be ideal for reaching your fitness goals, whether it's the sweat spots left on machines, needing a safe space to feel comfortable with your own body, or practicing social distance because of COVID-19.
There are many ways to get in shape instead of paying every month for a gym membership. All you really need is yourself, a friend for extra motivation, and your old high school track and field.
Keep in mind that the main focus is to do the exercises correctly to prevent injuries and promote muscle growth. If you have to go at a slower pace, that is fine, just as long as you do your best to build the body you would feel most comfortable with.
The goal is to stay consistent and to improve every time you do a workout. When you do, your body has no other choice but to follow suit.
For as long as I can remember, I've always been active in different sports and physical activities. Whether it was football, baseball, basketball, or wrestling, cardiovascular activities (like running) have been at the forefront of my fitness regimen.
Although I've been in generally good shape, I've always wanted to have a muscular physique like many WWE superstars that I grew up watching. Broad shoulders, bulging biceps, and pecs from guys like Triple H, Eddie Guerrero, and Batista was what I wanted my body to resemble. But between the cardio and having a fast metabolism, it was hard for me to put on noticeable muscle mass.
Around my senior year of high school, I got into doing CrossFit. My slender physique turned stockier because of the high-intensity workout that would hit every part of the body. I was finally able to have the sleeves on my t-shirt fully fitted around my biceps and have the results of my hard work on full display.
Although CrossFit is great for preventing minor injuries, extra stress on the body often could lead to long-term damage.
That's exactly what happened to my shoulder during my wrestling season that year. It took several months for it to recover. In that time frame, I completely lost all of the gains that I made from CrossFit.
In the years that would follow, I had to change my workout routine to something that would be easier for me to maintain for both my frame and my lifestyle. That's when I decided to simplify things and to use exercises using only my body weight.
The following are exercises that I regularly use to keep my physique. These are a combination of workouts that I have learned in sports that are accessible for all fitness levels.
Stairs are good for toning your legs as well as improving conditioning when you run. With conditioning, it takes longer for your body to get tired with physical activities. Staying "light-footed" puts more emphasis on your calves and quads with every step.
Good alternatives if you don't have access to stairs would be squats or mountain climbers.
You could do these on a tire, stairs, or anything else that is sturdy above the ground. The goal is to bring your chest as close as possible to your support while pushing your body all the way up.
If regular pushups are a struggle, these will be of great assistance to gaining stronger arms.
Although these make it look a little goofy, ankle touches are killer when it comes to a core workout. These focus primarily on the obliques. Make sure that you raise your head and shoulders to keep your abs engaged in the exercise.
These are good for all parts of the core, even your spine. Focus on crunching your abs and exploding towards your toes every time your back hits the ground. These are pretty tough at first, so if you can only do five, you can work towards doing six the next time.
Many will remember this from the fitness test in school and how sore you would be the day after. With planks, keep your body as straight as possible (like a plank). I challenge myself by holding the plank from the beginning of a song to the end of the chorus.
Working out is all about finding the right routine for your lifestyle. As you go along your fitness journey, there will be days where you are too sore or do not feel like working out that day. Sometimes, it is good to take that extra day to regroup and refocus. But keep in mind that the longer you stay away from working out, the harder it is to resume your routine.
All you need is an hour of your day a couple of days of the week to help create the body that you envision for yourself. When you do, you will notice that other aspects of your life like diet, sleeping, and social life will also be enhanced. Instead of having that gym bill being a factor in how you envision bettering yourself, you can simplify things to get results.
Share your work out routine and fitness goals in the comments. You can also find the RxR curated work out playlist at @rxrzine on Instagram.
Photo and video credit to Camal Brown