Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

The Perfect Piece of Fitness Equipment

Buzz Fitness Contributor Deborah Brooks recommends using your own body weight to improve fitness
Buzz Fitness Contributor Deborah Brooks recommends using your own body weight to improve fitness

Summer’s over, time to get serious about getting in shape before the holidays. Buzz contributor Deborah Brooks, CSCS, CPT, CAFS,  Owner, Everfit Body and Hancock Park neighbor suggests you already have everything you need to get started.

“I need to get in shape! What’s the one perfect piece of home gym equipment for me to buy to help me get in shape but doesn’t break the bank?”

A good question asked by a good friend that caught me by surprise, recently.

I went through my home gym in my mind.  I tried to think of the one definitive item that I could suggest to him that would also be budget friendly.   I found this to be a tough question to answer.  I was having a difficult time choosing the one perfect fitness product for him to buy that would cover as many bases as possible.   I liked this item the best for strength training, that item for cardio, another item for balance and another for power.

And then the obvious appeared before my eyes. The one fitness item that often gets overlooked yet is the definitive piece of exercise equipment that every beginning as well as seasoned athlete needs to master. It was the perfect piece of equipment for someone just starting a fitness program to build strength, power, speed, agility, balance and flexibility.

And it was and always is free.

What’s the free definitive piece of equipment that I suggested to him?

Body weight – His own body weight and the internal resistive forces of his muscles and other connective tissue working against the external forces of gravity and ground reaction forces. To simplify, gravity exerts a force that pushes our bodies to the earth while ground reaction forces exert a force that pushes us up from the earth.  It is the delicate interplay between the forces combined with momentum that is the basis for fitness.

Using your own body weight as a tool for strength, cardio, power, speed and agility training is a smart way to train, especially when starting out and going from sedentary to workout mode, though pro athletes utilize it as well.  Learning how to exercise without weights or other equipment helps safely teach the nervous and muscular systems proper body movement and mechanics. Plus, no matter where life takes you, you can always have a fitness program available to you when you learn to master body weight exercises.

As a trainer, I can see that fitness has become too much of a machine and equipment based activity. Many people believe that if they don’t have a treadmill or a set of weights or even a resistance band then they can’t get in a good workout. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you get back to more basic, primal movements in your workouts you strengthen, elongate, tone and stabilize the way nature intended – no equipment necessary. It’s functional for your daily living activities and transferable to every sporting event you do. Plus, equipment can be a hindrance if you become too dependent on it and don’t work out due to the lack of it.

How many times have you said to yourself that you can’t work out today because you don’t have time to go to the gym? When you utilize body weight exercises your home, office and hotel room become your fitness studio available to you 24/7 for as short or long a workout that your schedule permits.

And if you think that you can’t get in shape without the gym, check out the bodies of dancers, runners and yogis. Fit, ripped and lean.

What exercises can you do utilizing body weight as your free piece of gym equipment?

  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Long distance running
  • Sprinting
  • Jumping/skipping/hopping/leaping
  • Jumping jacks
  • Squats and lunges
  • Plyometric exercises
  • Bear Crawls
  • Push-ups
  • Planks – front and side
  • Burpees
  • Wall sits
  • Yoga poses
  • Ballet exercises – use your kitchen counter as a ballet barre
  • Pilates Mat Exercises

The list is endless.

All of these activities utilize your body weight as the load against gravity and ground reaction forces.  Try to find more of your favorites to add to this list. The key is to start slowly and allow for rest and recovery time as you strengthen and elongate your muscles.

Oh, and have fun, always the key ingredient to a great workout!


Deborah Brooks, CSCS, CPT, CAFS Owner, Everfit Body

Deborah Brooks, CSCS is the Owner of  Everfit Body She lives in Hancock Park with her husband and two sons.  She is a  NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, UCLA Certified Fitness Instructor and Precision Nutrition Coach.

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  1. Hi Deborah,

    Great article. Considering we get so wrapped up in owning equipment, it IS nice to know there are FREE ways to get fit. I’m on the bigger side and body weight might be an issue but I’m working on it. Have a great day!


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