You Are Your Own Gym

You Are Your Own Gym  (Your Gym) is a fitness program created by Mark Lauren, a US Navy Seal, certified Military Physical Training Specialist, Special Operations Combat Controller, triathlete, and champion Thai boxer. He also holds the US military record for longest underwater swim: 133 meters, on one breath, for two minutes and 23 seconds.

The defining feature of Your Gym is the absence of exercise equipment and the freedom to stay fit outside the confines of a traditional gym membership. All of the exercises in the program use the weight of your body to provide resistance, in some cases using furniture or other household items.

I’ve been using Your Gym for over 40 weeks now. During that period I’ve taken a few short breaks and missed perhaps six or seven total workouts. Considering my constant travel and always busy schedule, it would have been nearly impossible to maintain a consistent fitness program that requires a gym or other equipment.

I’m 30 years old. I’m at my ideal weight; my metabolism is at its peak; I’m the strongest I’ve been in my life; I have energy all the time; I look and feel great.

I started using Your Gym for a few reasons:

  1. I would be traveling extensively with no access to a gym or exercise equipment.
  2. I knew it was a program I would be able to stick with, even while traveling.
  3. I knew I would get and stay in great shape, and in turn my trip and life would be better and more enjoyable.

A snapshot of the program:

  • Your Gym describes and illustrates over 120 bodyweight exercises
  • 10-week cycles (beginner, intermediate, advanced and elite difficulty levels)
  • Workout four or five days a week (depending on which week you’re in)
  • Each workout is between 20-30 minutes long (with a few as short as 12 minutes)

Each cycle is broken down by week into different workout programs. These designate the number of sets and reps you perform for each exercise. For example:

  • Ladders: consecutive sets with an increasing, then decreasing, number of reps (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Interval sets: 6-12 reps followed by rest for two-minute intervals
  • Tabatas: 20 seconds of exercise, 10 seconds of rest for four minutes
  • Several others

Here are the reasons this program has worked so well for me:

  1. It’s easy, convenient, fun and challenging.
  2. It’s a program I know I can stick to.
  3. The workouts are short (but intense) and I don’t have to go to a gym, so I can almost always fit them into my day.

One of the best parts of using Your Gym while traveling has been discovering creative ways to workout in new places. Whether at my hostel or a local park it’s been fun to go out and find a way to make the exercises work. I’ve even met friends along the way who I’ve invited to join and who have since started using the program themselves.

At Albert Park in Auckland I used a tree branch for pull-ups; at the Kallang Riverside Park in Singapore I used monkey bars to do let-me-ups; and in the Perhentian Islands, my new resort staff friend Tamanath from Nepal did a full revolution of tabatas with me down on the dock.

In addition to the comprehensive workout program and 120+ bodyweight exercises, Your Gym includes chapters on basic fitness principles, the benefits of strength training, nutrition, motivation and several others.

Below I’ve started a video catalog demonstrating some of the workouts in Your Gym. You can see for yourself how easy, convenient and fun this program can be.

Traveling the world for eleven months, I knew that I was going to have to stay fit and healthy to really enjoy my experience. Your Gym has given me a way to do that, and it’s been a game-changer for me. If you like what you’ve seen and read, and think Your Gym could work for you, that’s because it probably can.

You Are Your Own Gym is available in softcover (US shipping addresses only) and as an eBook (the format I use on the road). There are links to both products on below/right.

Please comment below to share your thoughts or experiences with Your Gym.

Here’s to traveling fit!

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