I get it. As men, it’s pretty much a primal instinct to want to be big, strong and dominant. An imposing shape, something that stamps your authority at first look. And so, we are drilled into us at a young age that to develop this imposing figure, to be strong and fit – we need the gym. Up until I was 27 turning 28 I felt that way, until, after a long build-up I quit the gym and ditched the weights. Here’s why I did it and how you can quit the gym too and become fitter and stronger than you ever imagined.
This was the biggest thing for me, everyone wants more freedom, right? So why be tied down to the gym? I was working 9-5, driving home in peak hour traffic after a hard day’s work, to then go and fight peak hour gym traffic. It sucked! I got home late, exhausted without being able to spend much time with my wife or do anything I really enjoyed (read- hated the gym, but kept going). With bodyweight training, you can do it ANYWHERE! Whenever it suits you. At home, in the backyard, at the local park, on the beach, in a hotel room- all of these places are now my gym!
2. Mental Health
As much as physical health is important, we are now more aware than ever about the importance of mental health, which in my opinion, is even more important than physical health because it dictates what you physically do. It’s been proven that being out in nature, breathing fresh air and getting some sunlight is good for your mental health in more ways than one! Combine that with exercise which naturally produces feel-good hormones and you have a combination that will leave you inspired =, motivated and determined to continue. So get outdoors in the fresh air, and smash your workout!
I didn’t want to go to the gym, my body hadn’t really progressed for 18 months and worst of all- it was no longer fun! I kept going though, because like so many men, I was worried about losing everything I had worked for over the years lifting. But when I backed myself and used the years of knowledge I had accumulated in bodyweight training, I wished I had quit the gym earlier. Within 4 months of ditching the gym and weights, I had achieved a body I was proud of for the first time ever! I had a visibly defined 6-pack, my chronic back pain had gone and I had built lean muscle. It was insane, how my body had changed, without lifting a single weight!
Another huge benefit of bodyweight training is how it correlates to everyday stuff. Bodyweight training and all the exercises involved are rarely isolation exercises, meaning you’re always using multiple muscle groups at the same time. You’re moving your body in its natural state, the way it’s meant to move, without been locked into a one-size-fits-all machine at your local gym.
5. Injury Prevention
This ties into functionality. After suffering from chronic back pain for 10 years, I have now not had (touch wood) a single flare up in over 3 years since quitting the gym. I put this down to bodyweight training. Not only does it help improve strength and conditioning, but it will dramatically help improve flexibility, mobility and core strength. When you are using the resistance of only your own weight, your core comes into play in literally every move you do. Push-ups? Yep. Pull-ups? Yep. Squats? You guessed it; your core is getting a workout even when it’s not the main objective of that exercise.
So, if you’re in a plateau, sick of the gym or simply want to mix up your training, do it and do it now! It will be the best fitness decision you’ve ever made! I can help you every step of the way with my online coaching programs, all designed to fit into the everyday business lifestyle for any fitness level. You can see more about my coaching and programs at BODYWEIGHTBUILT.
Matt Fox is a former professional tennis player and cancer survivor, turned elite coach, PT, Active Escapes Trainer, Husband and Father. Matt has an online training business called Bodyweight Built which provides options for both men and women.