Illustrated by Austin Watts.
For those who forgo the excuses and actually make it the gym (lucky you), chances are you gravitate toward those trusty weight machines. And, why not? You can lift as heavy or as light as you want, and, bonus, you get to sit down. Well, dear reader, that may be where you are losing — and we don't mean inches.
Fitness experts now say you'll get a better workout using your own body weight instead of those bulky machines. The reason? This type of exercise utilizes functional, everyday movements that target more than one muscle group at a time. Bret Contreras, author of Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy, says the workout is also just downright practical: "If more people knew you could get a good physique using your body as a bar bell, they could take matters into their own hands."
And, guess what? Health clubs are starting to take notice, too. Equinox recently launched a class called "Animal Flow," where you employ your body weight to maximum effect by lunging, crawling, and squatting like a furry creature or crustacean. It might be unconventional, but according to Equinox's Lisa Wheeler, "Bodyweight training is great for mobility, stability, and creating movement patterns."