Getting in the best shape of your life doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be easy right from the start. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to pay for a gym membership to burn fat and build muscle. All you need is a little motivation, a few feet of free floor space, and some time.  

You don’t even need much time: doing these exercises as little as three times a week can help you enhance your lean muscle mass, and increase your body’s fat torching abilities. After all, the more muscle you have the more fat you burn, so read on to ramp up your metabolism and amp up your health and fitness. Grab your favourite gym gear and let’s get started.

Push Ups

Push-ups are a classic exercise, and by far one of the most popular and enduring moves on the planet. It’s easy to understand why: push-ups work your chest, back, arms, shoulders and core. This one move gives your body a whole lot of action, increasing your overall muscle mass as well as helping to stabilise and support your core health.

Step Ups

Grab a safe and stable chair or stool and get ready to step your way into better shape. Don’t worry: we’re not talking step aerobics. Step ups simply involve stepping up onto an elevated surface. In addition to working your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, step ups also work as knee stabilisers, so they are great for promoting the health of your knee joint and ligaments.


Also known as tricep dips, dips work your shoulders, chest, back, and triceps (the backs of your arms). All you need to do this exercise is a chair or bench. To make this exercise more difficult, move your feet out further away from your body. To make it easier, bring your feet in closer.


Squats are the consummate lower body blast, working your quads, hamstrings, core, and glutes. To up the ante, add some resistance to your squats, be they dumbbells, a barbell or whatever you can grab to add some octane to your move. Because they work so much of your body, squats are one of the very best exercises to help you slim down, so don’t forego this fat-blasting functional move.

A taut, toned tummy can be yours. Just add the jackknife to your workout.

Jack Knife

Here’s a killer ab move. Jackknifes can be done on the floor. Simply lie flat on your back, and then simultaneously bring your chest up to your knees. Keep your arms straight overhead and your legs fully extended to make the move more difficult.


Whether you’re doing a forward lunge or reverse lunge, lunges are a fantastic way to add some unilateral training to your workout. Unilateral training refers to using only one side of your body at a time. The benefit of this training is that it allows you to see and rectify any muscle imbalances — and muscle imbalances happen. Most of us have a dominant side of our bodies, and then a weaker side. To keep our bodies looking and performing at best (and decrease the likelihood of injury), it’s important that our bodies be as balanced as possible.


If you want a strong, lean stomach, planks are one of the most powerful tools in your exercise arsenal. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t hold a plank for that long at first. Hold it as long as you can each time, and the gains will come. Just be sure you’re holding it in correct form: your hips should be level with the floor, and your belly-button should be tucked into your spine. Ensure your spine is straight and long. Form matters! It doesn’t matter if you can hold a plank for 2 minutes if you are not performing it correctly.

Not all exercises are meant for the beginner. Master the basics before you move on.

All of these exercises can be done with your own bodyweight, which makes them perfect for beginners. If you’re finding they are too easy  — or that they become too easy — load up with some weights to keep seeing the gains.

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