Picking a workout routine doesn’t need to be an overwhelming ordeal. Maybe you’re strapped for time or simply just don’t know where to start. I see so many women sit down at a machine, then get up and move on because they aren’t sure how they’re supposed to use it. That doesn’t mean you should quit – a body weight workout routine is an easy, just-as-effective method in achieving gains in strength, aid in building muscle, improving cardiovascular fitness and burning fat.

Here are some reasons to incorporate a body weight workout routine into your fitness arsenal:

1. Convenience – A huge complaint I hear a lot from clients is that they don’t have time to workout; they’re very busy and don’t have time to get into a gym. A great thing about body weight exercises is that they can be done anywhere! You don’t need equipment, or even that much space for that matter. Exercising without equipment eliminates the need for you to be in a gym setting – it’s great for those traveling and staying in a hotel – and can be a great stress reliever for when you’re at home.

2. Core strength – A lot of my clients suffer with weak cores. Did you know that your ‘core’ is considered more than just your abs? The human core contains over 25 muscles! Many  body weight exercises can work on improving your core and engage those muscles. Examples are crunches, planks, bird dogs and supermen.

3. Combine cardio and strength training – If you’re anything like me, you hate getting on cardio equipment. Time drags, I sweat a lot and I’m just overall miserable. You can preform a cardio-based body weight movement (burpees or jumping jacks, for example) to get your heart rate up in between strength moves. This is another huge selling point if you’re strapped for time. Separate cardio and strength training sessions can take up a lot of time!

4. Versatility – There’s something for everyone with a body weight workout routine! Each exercise can be easily modified for any fitness level OR you can increase the challenge by adding extra reps or including tempo to the movement.

5. Results – And who doesn’t love those? Compound exercises, where multiple joints and muscles are being utilized during movement, are often a part of a body weight workout routine. These exercises have been shown to be incredibly effective in gaining strength and improving overall fitness performance. Examples are push-ups or lunges.

6. Inexpensive – Because gym memberships and/or buying dumbbells and equipment for home can get pricey. All you need for a body weight workout routine is…your body.

7. Trending – Body weight workout routines are actually trending! Last year, body weight training was ranked as one of the top 20 global fitness trends by the American College of Sports Medicine. It has been receiving a lot more recognition within the last several years.

So examples of weight machine movements you can swap out for body weight training are:

  • Leg press for single-leg squats
  • Seated chest press machine for push-ups
  • Tricep pull downs for tricep dips