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Book Review: “You Are Your Own Gym”

Are you looking for a book that breaks down every calisthenics exercise known to man and tells exactly what specific muscle groups are built by the exercise? This is the book for you!

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One of the coolest things in life that happens fairly regularly is that just when you need to find something, it actually appears.  The case in point is this book that I wish to tell you about.  As most of you know, I am a firm believer in physical fitness and (personally) I prefer weightlifting as my main forte.  I have written a number of articles that stress the importance of a good fitness regimen.  This was one area that I drew a blank with as far as providing you all a reference you could use.

I know I mentioned the Army’s physical fitness guidebook and basic calisthenics you can follow after in the field.  As things would have it, I actually found a reference last weekend that fills in the aforementioned blank.  I’ve been reading it all week long, and having finished it last night I came to the conclusion that you can really use this book as a tool to help you tailor your fitness program.

bookThe book is entitled, You Are Your Own Gym,” and it was written by Mark Lauren in 2011, with a cover price of $16.00.  As good timing had it, I managed to find it in a used book store in mint condition.  This guy is a Certified Military Physical Trainer and has worked with Special Forces (after my time).  His website is www.marklauren.com, and apparently he is also a champion in the discipline of Thai boxing. As well, his YouTube channel is very popular amongst athletes and those trying to get back into shape.

The thing that makes this book different is it is exactly as it is entitled.  It breaks down every calisthenics exercise known to man and tells exactly what specific muscle groups are built by the exercise.  Each exercise has several pictures and there is a detailed explanation of how to perform them.  Page 55 has an index of the exercises.  Page 138 tells you how to set up your own program, and the exercises are categorized in a chart beginning on page 143 – 165.  Then it culminates in how to make exercise equipment out of everyday things lying around the house.

The first 11 chapters (more akin to sections, totaling 55 pages) entail all of the basic concepts and methodology of using your body’s own weight in a regimen of calisthenics.  More.  These first chapters (especially chapter 3) give the “Why?” component of the methodology, tying in with successes that professional athletes and Olympic athletes have achieved.

Laying out a program that can enable you to take advantage of this each day, Lauren covers all of the essentials.  Another reason this is good?  In a SHTF scenario, you will still need to exercise…yes you will!  And this most excellent resource shows you step-by-step how to do it without needing a gym.  Remember, exercise removes triglycerides from the bloodstream, and exercise is very, very important in bone formation and bone replacement.  Exercise keeps the muscles in tone, and keeps you in better health and feeling it as such.  It also helps you to deal with stress and depression in a more productive manner, factors that a collapse will undoubtedly exacerbate to the highest degree.


These exercises can be done with limited amounts of space, time, and equipment.  It is perfect if you’re on a tight budget and have a small living area.  The book delves into such detail that you can use it exactly in the manner that will fit your individual needs.  I wish I had a resource as good as this one when I was in the service.  When you’re out and about, there are a ton of things you can do in here…be that in the woods camping for a month, or if you are on the road for business trips…suggestions in this book are perfect for down time in a hotel room on the road.

Some exercises, such as push-ups and dips you’re undoubtedly familiar with.  But there are others, such as “One-Legged Romanian Dead Lifts,” for the hamstrings and lower back, and a whole series of different lunges and squats that are really intense and productive.  This guy is as sharp as they come in terms of giving you good photos to see how it is done and a good, solid breakdown of what the exercise does for you.  I’m going to be experimenting with many of these over the coming months and seeing what they do for me.

So if you get a chance, order the book for yourself and put it to use.  You can find it on Amazon.com and it is not very expensive but contains a plethora of knowledge and instruction that you can incorporate into your own personal physical fitness plan.  Keep training, keep learning, and keep doing…keep in the fight!  JJ out!

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on August 2nd, 2016

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