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Getting in Shape Without the Gym

Getting in Shape Without the Gym
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Book Review: You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises

Author: Mark Lauren
192 pages, Ballantine Books, $16.00

Get in better shape without going to the gym with the help of Mark Lauren. Lauren is not a Hollywood trainer whose job it is to make stars look good – he is someone who has trained men and women in the most elite levels of the U.S. military’s Special Operations. In his book, You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises, Lauren brings the same training techniques he brought to the military to you. You can do these exercises anywhere; at the office, in a hotel room, or right in your own living room. This book shows you 125 different bodyweight exercises to help you achieve your ideal body. Wondering what bodyweight exercises actually means? Bodyweight exercises are strength training techniques that use your own bodyweight rather than free weights, including push-ups, pull-ups, lunges and more.

Lauren’s bodyweight exercises are tailored to suit the lifestyles of today’s busy men and women. Instead of wasting hours and money at the gym doing isolation exercises or cardio, you’ll spend two hours per week, only 20 to 30 minutes a day, 4 to 5 days per week, using the most effective exercises to cut fat and build muscle. What makes You Are Your Own Gym so great is that it is catered to people of all workout levels. Whether you are a part-time fitness enthusiast, a yogi, or haven’t lifted more than your groceries in years, Lauren provides you with the tools you’ll need to get in shape using only your body (combined with a good diet, naturally). You decide whether you want to follow Lauren’s 10-week training program or to create your own!

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of his bodyweight exercises and training plan, Lauren explains how he first got into fitness and how he developed this gym-free approach through his experience in the military. Using witty commentary, Lauren slams the myths about bodyweight exercises, including whether men and women should have different training-programs and the truth behind muscle reshaping. Additionally, he discusses the number one biggest problem with beginning a lifestyle change and sticking with it – motivation. Lauren encourages you to put your goals before your comfort. He understands the difficulty of finding time within your busy schedule to make the changes you want, which is precisely why his training plan is short but effective. Each day he has you exercising two of four training categories: push, pull, core, and legs and glutes.

A majority of the book is dedicated to each of the 125 bodyweight exercises separated by category with detailed descriptions and pictures of each exercise. Lauren also provides nutrition advice to help you calculate the number of calories you should ingest in order to lose, gain, or maintain weight based on your Resting Metabolic Rate. He even gives you tips for eating out at a restaurant! If you are having troubling following his nutrition advice, he provides you with a recording log and recipes on his website. The website also has videos, fitness challenges, a forum to keep you connected with other people doing this bodyweight training program and more. Not to mention, he has apps for your smart-phone.

The biggest thing you must do in order to achieve your ideal body is to change your mindset. Do not attempt to change your lifestyle with the hope of improving your appearance. Instead, try to think about perfecting your bodyweight exercise skills to have the most gains. An improved appearance will follow suit; like the saying goes, “form follows function.” You Are Your Own Gym can help you get into the best shape of your life in the comfort of your own home, without having to buy expensive equipment.

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