Pumping iron, swinging kettlebells and pedaling an elliptical trainer are all effective ways to get fit. But if you can't or won't hit the gym and don't want to invest in weights at home, you can still get a workout using the exercise equipment you were born with -- your very own body.
Go Old School
If you're stuck for where to start your full-body body-weight workout, take a page from military training and go with old-fashioned calisthenics. Depending on how much you weigh, an intense hour of exercises such as jumping jacks, bicycle crunches, mountain climbers and squat jumps can burn up to 700 calories per hour. Meanwhile, you're working all your major muscle groups at once.
Pump Up the Muscle
You can do full-body strength-training using your body weight, too -- or incorporate body-weight strength-training into your calisthenics workouts. Although pushups, squats, lunges, back extensions and planks may not work every single one of your muscles at once, put them together and you've worked your entire body.
Group Fitness -- In Private
If you need some extra inspiration or motivation, turn to a workout DVD. Whether you stream it online, rent it or buy it, almost every professionally done exercise video will work your entire body, usually with little or no equipment. Look for workouts like Zumba, kickboxing or good old-fashioned dance aerobics, or try specialty full-body workouts like Pilates and yoga.
No matter what your ultimate goal is -- weight loss, bodybuilding, general fitness or perhaps training for a sporting event -- remember that stretching deserves a place in any full-body workout too. Static stretching done after a workout can help soothe or even prevent sore muscles, increase your overall flexibility and reduce your risk of injury.
A Little Shopping Never Hurts
If you're ready to take your workouts to the next level, consider investing in one or two basic pieces of workout equipment -- don't worry, no weights involved. A pull-up bar lets you do pullups or upper-body rows -- both excellent back exercises -- and a stability ball opens the door to a world of core workouts, including pikes, bridges and leg curls.
Pump Up the Intensity
You can also up your intensity by wearing a weight vest during non-jumping exercises like pushups, squats and lunges; or take off the weight vest and add an element of dynamic motion. Do squat jumps instead of regular squats, split jumps instead of lunges, and clapping pushups instead of regular pushups -- you'll feel it the next day.