Sometimes, we are not able to properly follow our training programs. Due to different reasons like a vacation, or an injury, or lack of enough time, we have to stop working out for a certain amount of time.
If you stop your training program for quite a time, your muscles begin to weaken and decrease in size.
In this post, I will give you 6 tips on how to stay fit without a gym, to help you maintain beautifully shaped muscles when you can’t fully follow your training program.
The rest period strongly influences this process – the difference between a monthly break and a shorter rest is very significant.
Also, much depends on the experience of training – a long experience will make it possible to preserve muscles for a longer time.
Tip #1. Avoid Increased Adrenaline and Cortisol
What increased adrenaline and cortisol do to your body is these hormones inhibit testosterone production. While testosterone is responsible for muscle growth. It is also undesirable to increase the hormone produced by the thyroid gland.
The above-mentioned processes could provoke catabolism, which in essence is a breakdown of formed cells and tissues. It can also occur due to the following factors:
- Stressful situations: nervous strain, insomnia, exhausting physical exertion (however, there is a need for strength exercises).
- Hunger: there should be no hunger at any time of the day. It is not recommended to make long intervals between breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Constant fatigue: you need to sleep at least 8 hours a day, while daily loads (mental and physical) should be distributed evenly.
Tip #2. Focus on Your Diet
Even if you are not working out that much anymore, you still have to take proper care of what you are eating.
Make sure your protein intake remains high. This will help you preserve the muscles that you have already built on.
Tip #3. Energy: Get More, Give Less
When your body gets a lot of calories, it is always easier to build muscles. But if your goal is not to build muscle, but keeping fit, then the energy input should be equal to the consumption.
Excessive calories are especially important in the early stages of muscle formation. You need to consume more carbohydrates and proteins than you spend.
Due to this, body weight increases. If at the same time to perform the correct exercises, the weight will be gained in connection with the growth of muscles, and not due to the accumulation of fat.
Tip #4. You Still Can Make Some of the Strength Exercises at Home
Even on those times when we are not able to fully follow our strength training program, it is still possible to find time for a quick and short workout at your home or in the fresh air, if you prefer.
All you need for this is your strong desire and some simple equipment.
Among the exercises, you can do at home are push-ups, plank, squats, lunges, burpees, deadlifts, clean and jerk.
Push-ups are extremely effective even if they may seem a little old school exercise. They primarily target the chest, triceps, and core.
Although, it works a wide range of muscles. When completing a push-up, you are lifting more than 50% of your body weight.
There are many different variations of push-ups, so you can explore and find the one that works for you.
From my experience, what helps me a lot is doing push-ups with the help of special push-up stands (bars).
Why completing push-up with the help of bars is so effective is because your body dips lower than if you would perform a push-up without this kind of bars.
They will also protect your wrists and help you better engage your chest, shoulders, arms, and core.
These push-up bars are designed to rotate slightly, thus engaging more muscles and increasing strength and definition in arms, shoulders, chest, back and abs.
The plank exercise is excellent for strengthening the muscles in your abs and back. Although not the most popular exercise, it’s all-around great for the health of your back.
In a push-up position face down on the floor, rest your weight on your forearms and toes, holding your body above the floor. Your body should form a straight line from head to feet.
Don’t forget to breathe! Hold the position for 15 to 60 seconds. Do two to three sets, resting for about a minute between each set.
Squats are another classic lifting exercise that is especially beneficial to the lower part of the body.
This exercise directly works the hips, hamstrings, and glutes.
If done with weight (dumbells or barbells), this exercise can indirectly strengthen your core and even your upper body.
Many of the amateur weightlifters neglect the lower part of the body, oftentimes focusing too much on the upper half. Don’t fall into this trap!
Squats are an essential piece of any training regimen that should work the entire body. Like push-ups, squats also can be executed in various ways.
Try these and see yourself what they can do for you.
A lunge is another brilliantly simple exercise that does triple duty bu extensively working out the quadriceps, the glutes and the hamstrings.
If you want even more load on your muscles, hold a dumbbell in each of your hands while performing the lunge.
A burpee is a pretty complicated exercise, but it is worth doing for the reason that it works! In order to complete this exercise, start in a standing position, squat down and put your hands on the ground, kick your feet out and do a push-up.
Then, tuck your feet back under you, and spring up out of your crouch with a leap.
This is how you execute a burpee. For more load on your muscles, put a dumbbell in each hand.
A deadlift is an old-school lifting exercise that builds total-body strength. However, this exercise does come with some risks.
If you complete a deadlift with the wrong technique, it can injure your back, so it is important to keep it flat throughout the lift.
When the deadlift is executed correctly, it will strengthen your back, as well as your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, and forearms.
Regardless of the risk associated with this exercise, a deadlift is simple and with the proper focus and attention to technique, it can be completed without injury.
The goal is to pick up a weighted bar off the ground and bring it up to your thighs using your whole body.
The completion of the lift will have you standing up your arms straight with the weight hanging.
The deadlift is effective at building strength because the inert weight starts on the ground and must be lifted up in a controlled movement.
The lifter doesn’t have a chance to use any momentum, hence the “dead” name.
If you want to learn the proper execution technique of this super-powerful exercise, you may wish to read my article How to Deadlift with a Barbell: 5 Tips for Beginners.
Clean and Jerks Exercise
The clean and jerk exercise is an explosive lift that targets a lot of useful muscles. This is indeed a great test of your endurance.
Professional lifters do the clean and jerk as one complex lift. While amateur lifters can do them separately.
So, how you execute the clean and jerk exercise? Begin by snapping the weight to the torso until your arms are under the bar. In an explosive movement, push the bar over your head.
You can also experience the hang clean which is another version, where the lift starts with the bar already hanging in your hands, not on the ground.
The list of muscles that are engaged during this exercise is quite long – hamstrings, biceps, triceps, the back, core, quadriceps, an calves. For this reason, this single exercise has been labeled the total-body workout.
Tip #5. Don’t Let Your Strength Training Exceed 45 Minutes
The strength training should last up to 45 minutes. This recommendation is primarily suitable for those who do not take steroids and similar drugs.
In the first half of the workout is spent glycogen, which is located in the muscles. In the second half of your workout, glycogen is consumed from the liver.
If you exceed 45 minutes, then training will only be to the detriment for you, since energy will be consumed directly from the muscles, thus weakening and destroying them. This is a fairly important nuance that should not be forgotten.
Tip #6. Aerobic Exercises are Undesirable.
These include exercise bikes, soccer, basketball, jogging, especially for long distances, tennis, cycling, stepper classes. All of these activities will lead to muscle loss. Remember how athletes look.
For muscle formation, strength exercises are needed that stimulate the production of anabolic hormones that trigger the growth process (anabolism). Therefore, aerobic loads with anaerobic are incompatible.
At the same time, I do recommend a quick (5-7 minutes) cardio training on a treadmill or a bike before you go into your strength training. This will prepare all the muscles of your body and thus, they will better respond to the strength exercises.
Please remember that you will not be able to maintain the gained muscles if you do not do anything at all for this.
Following these simple tips on how to stay fit without a gym, you will be able to preserve the desired physical condition, which you always dreamed of.
I can tell you from my own experience that executing only one of the exercises that I have covered in this article – push-ups using bars, I have managed to maintain the good shape of my body, when I couldn’t perform my whole strength workout.
Of course, many years of previous training have said their word, but this is definitely something to bear in mind for you too for those times when you can’t afford a full strength workout program.
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As always, I send my best wishes to you,