If getting in better shape is something you'd like to do, know this: You'll make more of a dent watching what you eat as opposed to trying to burn calories doing cardio. It's because a person burns roughly 100 calories running one mile, and since you need to burn 3,500 calories to shed a pound you would need to run 35 miles to make it happen. When it comes to exercise you're better off building muscle which will increase your metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day.  

The easiest way to do it is by using your own bodyweight. Just look at Herschel Walker. In addition to being a football legend, he's known for doing thousands of push-ups and sit-ups every day and credits the practice for being in phenomenal shape at age 56.

Here are several bodyweight moves recommended by experts which you can do in your office, living room or hotel room--no gym required.

1. Wall Squats

"If I had to choose one exercise to do every day or every other day, it would be the wall squats, because the thigh/hip area holds the largest muscle groups. Increasing their strength helps burn the most calories. Stand with your back against a wall, and slide down by bending your knees. Once you get to where your knees are bent at 90 degrees (bend less if you have knee problems), then hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat twice more. As you get stronger, you'll be able to hold it longer."

--Derek Ochiai, M.D., Hip Arthroscopy and Sports Medicine, Nirschl Orthopaedic Center in Arlington, Virginia

2. Burpees

"I know, I know...a lot of people dread burpees in their workouts. However, this total-body movement is a killer fat burning exercise because it works multiple muscle groups simultaneously: chest, arms, core and legs (can't forget the jump!). Plus, this movement is a symbol of resilience: when we fall down, we get right back up. I really like incorporating this movement in a circuit (as the cardio burst) or as a Tabata burn-out at the end of a tough session (20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds). Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart, hands by your side. Then bend your knees and push your hips back and place your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Jump your feet back softly and land into a plank position forming a straight line with your body from your head to your heels. You have the option here to lower all the way down to the ground (flat out burpee), do a push-up (six-count burpee) or just remain in the high plank position (four-count burpee). Then jump your feet back in to that crouching position, reach your arms up and jump up in to the air. From there, land with soft knees and immediately go into that next repetition."  

--Lunden Souza, fitness coach at mobile health and fitness company Runtastic, and creator of a 12-week bodyweight training plan in the Runtastic Results iOS and Android app

3. Supermans

"Supermans are a great exercise to target your back, shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings. Lay on your stomach and extend your arms overhead. Then, using your back muscles and glute muscles, raise your arms and legs off the ground while pushing your belly towards the ground. Hold for a second at the top, and that is one rep."

--Luke Andrus, certified personal trainer at Anytime Fitness in Woodbury, Minnesota

4. Balancing Leg Circles

"Although I've been training for over 20 years, I always remind my clients that I didn't get super-fit until I switched from a 'work out' mindset to a 'work in' lifestyle. The key is to consistently work in small, super effective moves throughout your day in combination with a strategized approach to food. Balancing Leg Circles are a favorite hip-strengthening and tush-lifting move you can do anywhere and anytime, even literally while you work if you're at a standing desk. Supporting yourself with your desk, counter or a back of a chair, stand on one foot with your other leg bent behind you. Make ten small circles with your bent leg in each direction. As you move your leg, stand tall, abs deep without arching the back. Make it a total body exercise by touching your desk only with your fingertips or simply letting go."

--Andrea Marcellus, fitness trainer, health expert and life strategist as well as founder and CEO of and/life, an app designed to help busy women maximize their time

5. Plank Walk

"I like this exercise because it works similar muscle groups as a push-up but places greater emphasis on maintaining good core bracing position than most people apply to the push-up. To execute, assume a plank position (on forearms) with legs, hips, abs contracted. Extend one arm and then the other so that your body ends up in a PUPP (Push-Up Plank Position), then reverse the movement back down to the forearm plank. Alternate the leading arm and do two to three sets of five to eight repetitions of these per side." 

--Sarah Walls, coach, personal trainer and owner of SAPT Strength and Performance Training, Inc, a high performance training club in Fairfax, Virginia, that specializes in helping to develop athletes of all ages

Published on: Apr 22, 2018