No Gym Required: 5 Reasons to Build Functional Fitness into Your Life!

Bodyweight exercises are still one of the most underrated forms of exercises around, yet they’re some of the most functional ones you’ll ever perform. Functional exercises are those which emulate or mimic the day-to-day movements that your body usually performs.

Functional training is practiced by some of the fittest people on the planet, like the Navy Seals who use it intensively (for obvious reasons) in their fitness training. It’s also believed that the age old warriors of the great Persian Empire were trained using only bodyweight exercises. Want to know why you should try out this excellent, sustainable method of fitness? Then continue reading No Gym Required: 5 Reasons to Build Functional Fitness into Your Life!

1. Free of Charge!

I’ve paid gym membership fees which weren’t that cheap, and on many occasions found that the place was quite literally packed with people at the time of day when I wanted to use it. Normally the time coincided with the only stretch of free time that I had during my day. But that has all changed with my increasing knowledge, awareness and practice of calisthenics and bodyweight training. With this, you can work out anywhere in the comfort of your own home; upstairs, downstairs, bedroom, lounge, garden, stairs wherever you want!

You can completely save yourself from all the hassle, of waiting for weights or this or that particular machine. Your membership fee can instead be used to buy some good quality, high-nutrition food and most importantly, you save your precious time (you save your life in effect)! You can do this type of training wherever you have a stable floor, and at any time.

2. Highly Effective

Many think that bodyweight exercises cannot be an effective way to burn body fat or even put on lean muscle. I get where they’re coming from because it’s easier to tangibly slap plates on a barbell, hear a satisfying ‘clang’ and then proceed to do your reps. Some may think that you reach a plateau quicker when doing bodyweight exercises, but that’s not actually true.

You can always vary the loads or ‘resistance’ you put on yourself by varying the width of your hands or feet, or use ‘holds’ (pauses) to isometrically contract your muscles mid-movement. Your muscles will get a real searing ‘burn’ that way, and not a steel weight plate in sight! Using your own bodyweight thereby increases strength, you gain muscle, lose weight and improve your ‘real-world’ functional mobility.

3. Endless Variety

When you’re in the gym, yes, you have all those fancy machines, but notice that many people just do exercises like the bench-press, squats, deadlifts, rows, and shoulder press etc. Did you know that you can actually emulate the effect of several of these exercises without the gym?

Try doing bodyweight exercises like bear crawls, step ups, handstands, the planche, dips, and side-to-side push ups, and burpees. Those are just some of the great varieties of bodyweight exercises that you can get stuck into – so you should never get bored with your own body!

4. Challenge Yourself

If you want to succeed at anything, you have to face some degree of challenge. The same goes with your body and muscles. A wider-range of challenges means greater muscle response, adaptation and growth as well as the corresponding increased mental strength that now begins to become your new default level of expectation.

5. Get Creative & Have Fun!

It’s really important that you have fun in whatever you’re doing and that applies to exercise as well. Afterall, a fun way of doing things promotes consistency which translates into a virtuous cycle of fitness, stress reduction and increased motivation.

What more fun could you have than using the miracle of life; in your body to gain muscle, lose weight, enhance your overall well-being, straighten your posture, and keep agile and flexible for the rest of your life without spending a single penny? Is it not your birthright?

Of course as you advance, you may want to add things like resistance bands, dumbbells and kettlebells into your functional fitness programme, but stick with just your own bodyweight to start with. Afterall, your body doesn’t know whether it’s resisting a ten kilogram barbell or ten kilogram paint cans on a broomstick, all it knows is that your mind has given the command to lift it!

What kind of functional fitness or bodyweight exercises do you practice? What effects have you noticed in your form, function, fitness and physique so far? Please do share your insights in the comments below, and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Check out our other articles on guaranteeing your fitness resolutions, and the power of sleep, as well as these exercises; lunges and hip-thrusts, to help you Keep YOUR Fit ON in 2020!

Jenson Rajkumar

A Youth Football coach, Jenson played football untill University. He's also a qualified PE and sports coach, coaching fitness and sports in Primary Schools. Overall, he's a lifelong sports and fitness fanatic, as well a fitness blogger.

1 Comment
  1. Good, plain and simple!
    Why go to gym when such exercises can be done easily at any place?
    Everyone must be encouraged.

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