Cancel your gym membership: The only four exercises you really need can be done at home.

I used to be an exerciser.

Like, I cared about my health and had an actual gym membership and would go to group classes three to four times a week, every week.

Then I stopped. And of course I’ve been planning all along to get back into it but as the months pass I now realise it’s been two years since I’ve done any sort of consistent exercise. Two. Years.

Suddenly the task of getting back on the wagon seems monumental. I can’t factor a gym session into my day regularly enough.

There are seemingly thousands of online programs and apps and I find the very thought of them daunting. At the root of it, yes, I’m making some excuses – but frankly the whole thing is too overwhelming and so I keep putting it off.

Matt Fox, former professional athlete turned personal trainer, can sympathise.

To help people like me he’s distilled the many complex options out there into essentially four things to do (at home, at the gym, anywhere) to build a strong body.

High knees

“These are literally running on the spot but lifting your knees up high, with your arms outstretched in front of you, try and tap the palm of your hands with the top of your knees,” Fox told Mamamia.

“This is a great exercise that works every muscle in your lower body along with your abdominal muscles, but also is an awesome cardio workout. This one is good because it’s done on the spot and requires no more room than where you are standing. It can replace your run or bike ride if you can’t get outdoors.”

???? Weights vs. No weights. The left is the result of lifting weights 6 days a week for years and the right is 5 months after making the change to body weight only training. This was a pic from 18 months ago now‼️. I had hit a plateau in the gym lifting and constantly had niggling injuries. – I decided to change my training in order to gain more freedom of exercise and see how my body responded. I felt going to the gym was a chore more than pleasure and I haven’t looked back. – I’m not saying lifting weights is bad, it’s just definitely not for everyone and what works for some will not work for others. The fitness industry has predominantly being gym/weight lifting focus which gives people the impression it’s the only way, I’m doing it to show you it’s not. Body weight training works ????. – (I posted the same “before” pic a few weeks ago but people said the “after”photo-which was taken Dec 2017 was too different lighting, so here is exact same location. Both pics taken in 2016- 5 months apart) #bodyweightbuilt #bodytransformation . . . . . . . #fitnessjourney #transformation #striveforgreatness #nogymneeded #motivation #picoftheday #bodyweight #transformationphoto #transformationcoach #fitness #happiness #goals #dream #life #ambition #inspire #dreambig #calisthenics

A post shared by Matt Fox | BODYWEIGHT BUILT (@matttyf11) on


Fox is a big advocate for body-weight exercises and the great results both men and women can get. 


“Start standing up straight, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, not locked.”

“Lower yourself down as if you were sitting on a chair until your lower legs and thighs make a 90-degree angle. Keep your chest up and eyes facing forward. I find that if you outstretch your arms in front of you, it helps keep you from rounding your back. Push back up through the heels of your feet and repeat,” Fox said.

We wear exercise clothes all weekend and sometimes even to work. Have we reached peak activewear? The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss. Story continues after audio.


Fox explains that the plank is great exercise that works multiple muscles and joint stabilisers.

“Again, people assume this exercise is only focused on one area; the abs and core, but it also targets the quads, glutes, hips, shoulders back and arms. Another amazing benefit of this exercise is that it is extremely low impact so the likelihood of any injury is really small.”

“To perform a plank, place forearms on the ground, parallel to the body and shoulder width apart. keeping your elbows by the side of your body. Have your legs outstretched straight with the weight on your toes, keeping a straight line from your feet to the tip of your head. Hold that position for a period and repeat,” Fox said.

Compound movements in a circuit

“Compound exercises are exercises that require multiple muscle groups to complete. Instead of isolating a single muscle, these compound movements require several muscles to work together at once as a result, which helps the body burn more calories,” Fox said

“Do the below exercises in a circuit (30 seconds on each exercise with 30 seconds rest between each exercise) and you have an awesome muscle toning and fat burning combination. Repeat three times.”


At-home circuit:

Look at other lifestyle factors

Fox points out that if you only focus on moving your body and don’t look at your life as a whole then your results are going to be limited, no matter how much you squat.

“This may sound simple but most people find when they actually add up the number of calories they are consuming they are a way off what they thought they would be.”

“To be able to exercise you need energy, and for energy comes food. It’s also important to know the amount you are eating so you can make adjustments that align with your body goals,” Fox said.

“Aim to eat a balanced meal or snack before or after a workout to help give you the energy needed to give 100 percent as well as aiding in your bodies recovery.”

“Water is also an important factor but often overlooked when people talk about eating. Drink up and stay hydrated.”

What’s your favourite at-home workout? Tell us in the comments. 

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