calisthenics for beginners

Now let’s start by saying that there is nothing wrong with joining a gym, per se. For some, it’s a more affordable and motivational way to get fit than spending all your savings on late-night shopping channel for fitness gadgets that don’t work. Most gyms are run by qualified trainers who can keep you safe, and nice gyms often have swimming pools, nice showers, steam rooms and people to give advice. But most gyms are expensive, and often tie people up into long contracts. So do your homework if you join one (often out-of-season hotels offer good short-term deals). And if you’ve lapsed, check that you’ve cancelled your direct-debit, as many people keep on paying, but never go! Also learn how to safely enjoy outdoor running.

Calisthenics for Beginners is an illustrated guide to three workout programs that progress in technique and intensity, as you build up strength and fitness, using simple movements that require nothing more than your own body weight. This all-inclusive training plan won’t require you to join expensive gyms or visit Argos to buy a load of equipment that you’ll never use.

Calisthenics is used by weekend walkers to athletes of all fitness levels to professional sports stars to get fit. The endlessly adjustable workouts can meet you where you are at current fitness levels, and build fitness using a series of simple movement patterns. The book features 35 dynamic exercises with progressions, modifications and variations as needed. Matt Schifferle is a certified Calisthenics coach in Colorado, USA.

7 minute workouts (with quick results)

7 minute body plan

7-Minute Body Plan is a simple fun book packed with workouts that only take less than 10 minutes, yet are highly effective and need no equipment. The book also includes 24 simple plant-based recipes and motivational messages. Just pick a workout for your particular goal: T-shirt-ready arms, love my legs or sSuper health fix. Then learn the quick and easy exercises, that you can do for the rest of your life. The benefits of doing these exercises include:

  • Burning excess body fat
  • Strengthening your bones
  • Increasing your energy levels
  • Improving circulation
  • Improving your co-ordination
  • Improving your posture
  • Reducing anxiety & insomnia
  • Strenghening your immune system
  • Giving you glowing skin

Lucy Wyndham-Read is a qualified personal trainer, with over 20 years experience. Her unique exercise videos on YouTube have over 1 million subscribers (her 7-day challenge to lose belly fat has over 46 million views, making it one of the most-shared fitness videos ever).

50 easy Pilates exercises for everyone

Pilates for everyone

Pilates for Everyone is a fun and simple book containing 50 exercises that anyone can try to become more flexible, strengthen the core, improve posture and even relieve back pain. Regardless of age, size, gender or physical ability, this book shows how to take advantage of this popular form of exercises. You’ll find a complete workout plan to find your comfort zone and test your abilities, from the comfort of your home home. Then you’ll discover:

  1. 50 Pilates exercises with at least 3 variations/modifications
  2. 15 sequences to combine the exercises
  3. Tips on how to add Pilates exercises to your life

Step-by-step photography from a diverse group of models demonstrate all exercises with possible variations, to find the best way to suit you and your physical abilities. Once you’ve found the movements that suit you best, you’ll begin to notice positive changes in your body, as you become stronger and more confident. Other physical activities will become more managable and have renewed confidence in everyday capabilities. Micki Havard is a Pilates instructor and wellness coach.

21 days to make movement a habit

move yourself happy

Move Yourself Happy is an uplifting book for anyone who’s been a bit of a couch potato! This fun and highly accessible guide from one of the Strictly Come Dancing professionals explores general wellbeing through joyful movement and dance instructions, along with tips on the four pillars of health: rest, movement, nutrition and positivity. Read where to find sustainable (vegan) dancing shoes.

The book offers simple explanations of core moves from yoga, Pilates and dance (jive, tap and ballet) alongside weekly mantras and journalling prompts, fun daily movement routines and mood-boosting lifestyle hacks. The book will transform your relationship with movement to make you feel happier each day. Author Dianne Buswell is a professional dancer and professional on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. She is also a trained holistic life coach.

an illustrated guide to yoga poses

yoga anatomy made simple

Yoga Anatomy Made Simple is a delightful guide to this wonderful of exercise for mind, body and spirit. Although yoga is deep and complicated, most books are either celebrity dross, or so spiritual that they go a bit weird and uncomfortable for the average western reader. However, this book takes all the important stuff, adds colourful illustrations and makes learning how to do postures correctly fun. Read  helpful tips for a greener yoga practice.

Knowledge of anatomy is crucial when practicing yoga, as you want to know why you are doing the postures, not just how. But most yoga anatomy subject matter can be dry and difficult. Instead, this book (for written for yoga practitioners and teachers) by a long-time yoga teacher pairs expert knowledge with real-life examples and colourful illustrations, to understand the benefits of each posture, and understand why certain postures are easier or more difficult than others, for different people. Concepts are demonstrated on different body parts and posture groups:

  1. Forward bends
  2. Hip rotations
  3. Backbends
  4. Twists
  5. Shoulder postures
  6. Inversions
  7. Arm balances

Embracing each student’s lifestyle, environment and life history, learn how to analyse postures from a physical perspective, create effective yoga sequences  and avoid unnecessary injury. Stu Girling has been teaching yoga anatomy workshops for years, and specialises in treating injuries and tension patterns.

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