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3 Keys To Starting A Successful Body Weight Training Program
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3 Keys to Starting A Successful Body Weight Training Program

How do you get a bodyweight training program started?

What are the keys to success?

The 3 keys to ensure success with body weight training are good planning, simple execution and good nutrition. Know what you are doing, write down what you did and eat well to ensure what you did turned into what you wanted.

1) Have a plan

It’s always good to know what you’re doing even when you don’t. What that means is, even though you may not know a lot about strength buildings exercises, it’s good to have a fitness strategy in mind.

A successful bodyweight training program that will work equally well for both weight loss and gaining muscle mass is:

  • Work out three times per week
  • Use a bodyweight exercise routine that trains the entire body
  • Utilize strength building exercises and fat burning exercises
  • Rest at least one full day between exercise days
  • Substitute a sprint workout for the lower body exercises once per week
  • Don’t forget family day. Don’t worry about adding in a family bike ride, walk in the woods or a day water skiing with the kids. Even though you may have worked out yesterday and today is technically “a rest day” you’ll be fine. Family days always take priority.

Now here is that strategy put into a plan

Monday bodyweight exercise routine

  • Warm up with Jumping Jacks, Shoulder & Neck Rolls and Burpees.
  • Bodyweight Squats - 20 reps and then
  • T Push Ups - 10 reps and then
  • Assisted Band Pull Up - 8 reps (most people can't do full body weight pull ups right off the bat and need assistance) and then
  • Plyometric Jumps onto a box - 10 reps and then
  • Mountain Climbers - 10 reps each leg
  • rest 2 to 3 minutes and then repeat for a total of 3 sets
  • stretch for a warm down

Wednesday bodyweight workout routine

  • Warm up jumping rope, Shoulder & Neck Rolls
  • Wall Squats with thighs parallel to ground - 30 secs (if this bodyweight exercise is too hard, reduce the time or raise your butt off the ground more to reduce the stress) and then
  • Push Ups, wide grip - 10 reps and then
  • Horizontal Rows - 10 reps and then
  • Lunges - 10 reps each leg and then
  • V Sit Ups - 10 reps
  • rest 2 to 3 minutes and then repeat for a total of 3 sets
  • stretch for a warm down

Friday bodyweight exercise routine

  • Warm up jogging frontwards and backwards, Shoulder & Neck Rolls
  • Sprint 40 to 50 yards and then
  • Push Ups, staggered hands - 10 reps and then
  • Bear Crawls - 30 yards and then
  • Bulgarian Split Squats and then
  • Hanging Knee Raise
  • rest 2 to 3 minutes and then repeat for a total of 3 sets
  • stretch for a warm down

What makes this a good workout?

We are hitting the full body each workout. There is a major leg movement, an upper body pushing move, an upper body pull, another lower body exercise (remember to hit the large muscles as they burn the most energy) and an abdominal or core exercise.

We are varying exercise throughout the week. Variety helps to stimulate muscle growth.

Our bodyweight workout routine is a circuit workout. This is very effective and efficient. It keeps the heart rate up but allows you to keep moving through the workout.

2) Keep track of your progress

Get a training log.

A simple notebook works fine. Write down what you did; sets, reps, weights and how you felt. If you got a good pump doing something, make a note of it.

A training log will help you be more consistent (a log shows if you’re missing workouts) and you will progress faster. See what you did last time and try to do better. A rep or two more is progress.

Make sure you’re not hitting chest, back and arms all the time but forgetting about legs and abs.

You cannot fool the log book.

Record your eating plan in the log as well. If you are not making progress, check the log.

Wow, I didn’t realize I had ice cream five times last week. Maybe the coco puffs and can of pop really isn’t the best breakfast to start my day.

Coffee is fine. Coffee with 4 teaspoons of sugar is not.

Write it down. It keeps you honest.

3) Eat well

Like it or not the nutrition side of the fitness equation is far more important than the exercise part. If you want your body weight training program to be a success, watch your food intake.

Sorry, that’s just the way it is, especially when you are are older.

You simply cannot out train a bad diet.

Nutrition is an area where Conventional Wisdom is wrong more than it is right. A lot of stuff we grew up believing as fact simply is not true. It is too complicated an issue to discuss thoroughly here but a high level eating plan looks like this:

  • Eat Real Food. If it’s in a box or a bag, don’t bring it home. Really.
  • Stay as close to the source as possible. For example, an apple is preferred over apple juice. Fresh berries yes; strawberry jam, no. Corn on the cob is fine (not a lot of food value but quite tasty) high fructose corn syrup is poison (and in most highly processed foods). Almonds are great. An Almond Joy? You get the idea.
  • Simple carbs are not your friend. Bread, cereal, crackers, pasta and on and on will make you fat. Period. It doesn’t matter that you love it or you’ve eaten it your whole life or you can never give it up. It still makes you fat. All this stuff must go if you adhere to Rule 1. Sorry.
  • Don’t eat by the clock. Our habit of lunch @ noon or dinner @ 6 contribute to overeating. Eating by ritual is not good. Eat when you're hungry. Stop when you’re full. Keep it simple. If you eat the right foods, those that have higher energy densities, you will be satiated longer and not needing lunch at 12.
  • Don’t count calories. If you are counting calories, you are dieting. We don’t want to diet (verb) as in restricting things. We want to have a diet (noun) that feeds us well and we enjoy eating. If you are counting calories, you are losing the battle and probably already fat.
  • Eat more fat. Yes I said that. Good fat is probably the one macronutrient you are short on. Why? Because it has been drilled into us for years that fat makes you fat.

The low fat revolution was probably the single most devastating thing that happened to us in the last 30 years. Low fat (which is synonymous with high sugar) has produced more fat people than all the other diet fads combined.

Fat is the preferred fuel for the human body. Yes your body wants fat to run the machine, not carbs.

Good fats are animal fats (yes saturated fats are good), olive oil, avocados, coconut fat, nuts, fatty fishes like salmon, mackerel and sardines, butter (real butter, not margarine or other funky spreads), ghee or cream.

Eat fat. Lose weight. I promise.

A great body weight training program is one that you like doing and gets good results. If you like doing it, you will keep doing it. If you are making progress, losing weight or gaining muscle, you will be motivated to keep improving.

Have a plan that makes sense and execute the plan. Keep track of your progress so you can measure the results. What’s working and what can I change?

Eat real food. The single biggest factor controlling your destiny is what you put in your mouth.

Eat real food. Get real results. Don’t give up.


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