We’re constantly told that more complicated is better. We’re told that to get fit we need special equipment. And that the reason we are unfit is because we don’t have a gym membership, or a special pull-up bar, or some fancy set of dumbbells.
The reason people are unfit is because they’re not working, they lack dedication, or fitness just isn’t important to them. Which is fine—no judgements here. I don’t expect every single person in this world to dedicate themselves to a more fit healthier, lifestyle. Let’s just drop the excuses.
One of the most common excuses I hear is: “I don’t have a gym membership”. I suppose that “the gym is just so expensive” is just another version of the same thing. Do people really believe that’s the reason they are not fit? Of course they do. Back to the original point. Complicated is better, right? It’s what we’re constantly sold.
What if I told you that you never needed a gym membership again? Not even a single piece of equipment?
I’ve had many gym memberships in my life. During the course of my “fitness career” I’ve had access to just about every piece of equipment that ever existed. Despite that the most gains I’ve ever made were when I didn’t have access to anything other than my body and a floor.
One particular experience in my life drives this point home. Years ago when I was in school, I got a summer job working at a camp kitchen. Before I took the job I spoke to my employer and made it clear I needed access to gym equipment on site. It was essential that the camp had a weight room because my training was important to me. At the time I had a dream of making the Olympics for wrestling. My employer assured me that there was a gym on site at the camp I could use along with the other camp councilors and employees. Satisfied with the answer I took the job.
Of course when I got to the camp (in the middle of nowhere) there was nothing. No gym. No weights. Not even a single dumbbell. FML.
I could have quit. Took the summer off. Gotten soft. Nope. Not in my DNA. But I had to figure out a way to stay fit, or my dream would have died. I had to think.
Who said I needed a gym? Can’t I do this without equipment? What could I do now without anything that could make me more fit tomorrow?
They say necessity is the mother of invention—so that was where two of my all-time favorite “no gear” workouts were born. They are so good that if you wanted to you could cancel your gym membership today and just do these, you wouldn’t be in a bad spot.
Why do I say that? In all my years of working out, doing these routines at that summer camp increased my fitness more than any other period in my life.
Are you ready to get to work? Try the workouts outlined below I prefer to do them on alternating days (i.e. Monday-Wednesday-Friday) and run or swim or bike on the days in between.
Want more workouts like this? Check out the Men’s Health Maximus Body book, which is filled with these two no-nonsense muscle building routines, along with tons of others.
Bobby Maximus’ No-Equipment Gym Breaker Workouts
Workout 1 – 10 to 1
This is a great workout to do anywhere. You pack in a ton of quality work—55 reps of 5 different exercises—and perform the entire workout in one spot. I’ll do this at home while catching up on my favorite series on Netflix, or when I’m stuck in a hotel room. I’ve listed my go-to bodyweight exercises below, but you can sub in your own.
Directions: Do the exercises in the order shown. Start with 10 reps of the pushup, then do 10 air squats, 10 situps, 10 burpees, and 10 lunges (1 on each leg counts as 1 rep). Then repeat, but do 9 reps of each movement. Continue this pattern, doing 1 less repetition each round all the way down to 1 rep.
Reps: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Workout 2 – A Marriage Made In Hell
Running and burpees: A marriage made in the darkest depths of hell. Indeed, two of the hardest tests I know are the 1.5-mile test and the 100-burpee test. This workout wraps both of those god-awful tests together into one workout. But look on the bright side—you only have to do 75 burpees instead of 100.
Directions: Run a half-mile, then do 25 burpees. That’s 1 round. Do 3 rounds as fast as you can (while keeping good burpee form).
Time: 15 to 20 minutes
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