A lot of you know a bit about my fitness journey. I started really getting into fitness around 8 years ago now. I was naturally quite slim, did cardio and a few classes here and there. And then I got into weight lifting. After the first few months I was soooo happy with my progress. I had become really toned, I had proper abs and I was still slim.
So I kept going, lifting heavier and heavier, challenging myself, trying other workouts like crossfit, HIIT classes, and still doing some cardio too. After a while I had become too muscular for my own liking (and I must say that everyone has a different threshold to what they consider “too muscular”).
Any trainer that I would talk to about it would just dismiss it like I was crazy and that girls who thought weight training made them bigger were just delusional. It made me feel a bit st*pid for thinking that I was getting bigger. But I knew I was. I had taken measurements around my legs and they had increased in size significantly. I could no longer fit into my jeans and crop tops!
Whilst I actually enjoyed lifting weights, I just didn’t like the changes in my body. So I knew my exercise program needed to change. I stop lifting heavy weights and that is why I do the type of training that I do today.
The main reason is because I prefer to look leaner and I feel like bodyweight training gives me a much leaner look compared to lifting weights. I am a mesomorph body type so I can gain muscle quickly if I try. If you are a different body type, you may not gain muscle as quick, or you may naturally have a lot of muscle. It’s important to know your body type and make sure you’re exercise for your own goals and body type.
After doing bodyweight training for a while, I am not as strong as I used to be, but I am definitely more flexible, I have a greater range of motion, I don’t have as many little injuries, I don’t get as sore, and most importantly, I’m more happy and confident now. I know I can definitely get stronger with bodyweight training only, but it hasn’t been my focus for now.
This is a photo of when I was doing heavier lifting compared to what I look like now. I had actually been a lot bigger previously but I didn’t like taking photos like this so I don’t have many good ones of me at my biggest. I know I don’t look overweight or really muscular, but I just didn’t feel myself and I wasn’t very confident.
I have been travelling constantly for the past year and sometimes it’s really difficult to get access to a gym. The style of training that I do is so easy to do when travelling because you don’t need any equipment and you can really do them anywhere.
I do like to travel with a pair of gliding discs, ankle weights and a resistance band for when I want to mix it up a bit. But I can still do these workouts without a gym membership. I really like that it’s free.
This is the equipment I use:
Buy ankle weights here
When I used to go to the gym, my sessions would always be at least an hour, not including the time it took me to travel there, park, put my stuff in a locker, etc. At home, it’s so quick. I get changed, set up a mat on the floor and start.
At the gym, I would warm up then do my weights circuit, finish with some stretching / foam rolling and it would take 45 – 60 minutes. At home, I can usually pump out a full body circuit in under 20 minutes.
I find it much more time effective. I do still love working out at a gym though so I try to do it when I can!
A lot of people think that when you just do body weight training or use equipment such as ankle weights, gliding discs and resistance bands, that it’s easy. It’s definitely different, but it doesn’t have to be easy. There are many ways to make the workouts more challenging without lifting heavier.
For example, push ups – you can do all the different variations and still challenge yourself. But not just that. For any body weight exercise, you can do more reps, less rest between exercises, increasing time under tension (seriously, super slow push ups are HARD), and do more advanced exercises such as hand stands.
I also love adding in cardio (such as running) between bodyweight exercises to really lift your heart rate and get sweaty. Plus there’s nothing better than working out outside! Here’s a workout I did the other day!
All of the bodyweight exercises I do require more balance and coordination, compared to when I was heavy lifting. So these things have definitely improved. But core strength has also improved. Yes heavy lifting exercises such as barbell squats, chin ups and deadlifts all work your core. But so do push ups, planks and donkey kicks. And I find that now, I do actually dedicate a bit more time to core focused exercises.
Some people like being really sore after a workout. It is a sign that you have worked out hard. But man it makes it difficult to do things like sleep, wash your hair, sit on a toilet seat, or even back it up for another workout the next day.
With the bodyweight exercises, you don’t get as sore, so I can exercise almost everyday if I want, and I don’t wake up feeling like my body has been hit by a truck!
If you’re interested in the bodyweight training, you can check out my Full Body Resistance Workout here.
I’m not saying that lifting heavy is bad – it has sooo many great benefits for your body. But it’s really a matter of personal preference. I think everyone should do some form of resistance training. But whether that’s heavy lifting or bodyweight exercises, the choice is up to you and just depends on what type of exercise you prefer and what your goals are :) xx