Great workouts that don't need a gym membership

You know that shiny new gym membership you just bought? The one that's going to give you the buffest of buffed beach bodies come summer? Here's my prediction: it'll be collecting cobwebs within a month. Gyms know two-thirds of their 'members' don't come back after the first few visits. It's part of their business model.

If you're one of that majority, it's a double whammy. They're taking your money, and you're not reaching your health and fitness goals.

Accepting this, we're going to focus on toe-to-head health using the one gym and set of equipment that everyone has free access to – gravity, and your own body.

Free workouts start here

Let's start with your back, shoulders, and biceps: Pull-ups and chin-ups are both amazing, multi-joint exercises. With an overhand grip, pull-ups activate your shoulders, traps, back, chest, and more. Reverse to an underhand grip, and chin-ups stimulate the same muscles with more bicep activation.

Your heart, weight, and legs: Light, lean bodies love to move, and running is the perfect exercise. From a good ole' jog to running hills and all-out sprints, running does your body good.

Your legs and butt: Squats are a functional movement that tone the legs and glutes. No matter your fitness goal, from City2Surf to 'getting swole', if you're not doing squats … you're not exercising.

Your core and entire body: Love 'em, yet hate 'em, burpees are a high-intensity exercise that don't spare a body part. A burpee is a push-up, a squat, a core movement, and a heart racer all in one.

The 45/15 workout: Find an outdoor park and in 45 seconds, perform as many pull-ups (band assisted if required) as possible. Rest for 15 seconds, then sprint at 100 per cent intensity while returning to your starting point in 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds, then perform as many squats as possible in 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds, then perform as many burpees as possible. Rest for 1-2 minutes. Perform three more circuits.

You want more?

The mind and body prefers variety, so here are four more.


Your core: Bicycle crunches are great to firm up your outer core, as they work the upper and lower part of your abs along with the obliques.

Your legs: Box jumps are like squats at a higher intensity. Performed on a park bench or higher/solid surface, box jumps are a plyometric movement that build strength and tone in the legs and bum.

Your chest and triceps: Never queue for the bench press again, because push-ups can be performed in too many variations to count. Incline (lower chest), close grip (triceps), decline (upper chest, shoulder), raised leg, and classic push-ups are all challenging and can be done anywhere.

Your inner core: Planks build inner core strength, building the foundation for a trim stomach while also strengthening back muscles. Side planks are sweet for challenging your obliques (saddle bags).

The 45/15 workout: Follow the same flow as the former circuit, but plank for 45 seconds, then move straight into a side plank (15 seconds), and then the final alternate side plank (15 seconds).

And don't forget ...

Your intake: Health isn't all from the neck down, so what you put in your mouth will affect the energy of your workouts, your weight, and the health of your face. Don't even think about smoking. 

Cut out coffee: Consume green juices and healthy smoothies instead. Drink water, not energy drinks or fizzy drinks. Add quinoa, not white rice. Pick salmon or chicken instead of that protein milkshake. Ease up on the booze. Sleep well rather than stay up late playing video games. Skip the crisps and grab some fruit. Choose steak over the piled high, trendy burger. Opt for green beans instead of French fries.

Change it up: Have a salt water swim while gaining the sun's Vitamin D; or try endless poses within a yoga session. Additionally, there are more complex movements that trump the above list like handstand push-ups, muscle-ups, pistol squats, and the human flag, to name a few.

Only the upper 1 per cent of all gym bunnies can even attempt such complex movements, so for us mortals let's just keep it safe and to the essentials.

The health and fitness industry throws too many classes, diets, supplements, and pieces of equipment at your body. Information overload generates confusion which often leads to quitting.

It's the simple, free exercises performed at a high intensity combined with healthy eating that breeds a new body.

Got any free fitness tips? Let us know in the comment section. 

Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his 'Cut The BS' diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.

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