I want to talk about bodyweight exercises as a means to achieving optimum fitness.

Bodyweight training is consistent with our evolutionary history. Just like our animal brothers, we evolved in nature using nothing but our own bodyweight to get by. We are genetically programmed to get the most benefit from any kind of exercise which uses what we have.

Other exercises tend to isolate muscles with the intention of bulking the muscle up. This may create "pretty" muscles, but the functional strength and lean muscle you get from bodyweight exercises is more powerful and healthy.

Bodyweight exercises work your entire body and strengthen it from the core. When you workout you engage all the organs, the glands and the muscles.

One of the main reasons I chose shapeshifter was because it uses bodyweight for the workouts. My personal goal was to train my body in such a way that I would be fit enough to try-out any physical activity I wanted– and that meant training all muscle groups for optimum flexibility, strength, endurance, balance, power, and coordination, throughout the whole range of my body's potential mobility.

I wanted to be able to move as freely and confidently as I could when I was young. It's surprising to realize how limited our range of movements become when we leave childhood behind us. We used to move in three dimensions as a child – jumping and springing, toppling and turning, twisting, flipping, rolling, falling, stretching, balancing, sprinting, crawling, standing on our hands and heads...

...as adults we limit ourselves mostly to a few two-dimensional movements, designed just to get us from A to B – walking, bucking, bending... sometimes stretching to get something out of a cupboard. It's really no wonder that we get stiffer and less agile with age. And this lack of mobility is more often the norm even among the younger generations. We seem to be consciously helping the aging process along, from 20 years onwards.

Our natural daily activity isn't sufficient to keep our bodies in optimum physical condition. It's just too limited. Unfortunately, the extra training we usually do to make up for this is also mostly two-dimensional – or focussed only on limited and specific aspects of our body's physical condition.

We run and do cardio exercises to improve our metabilism and stamina; We use diverse equipment to strengthen selected muscle-groups; we play a number of different sports that improve our expertise in that one sport; we diet to take in less calories in the hope of burning fat, without building muscle to replace it. To get our bodies optimally fit, we'd have to do a bit of everything – but who's got the time to do that?

The body is capable of an enormous range of movement – and we use only a small fraction of that range. It's like owning a multi-purpose vehicle that you use just to get to the shops and back. Our bodies are built to move... and we need to move them.

Getting back to my decision on choosing shapeshifter for my training – I wanted to train my complete body, completely, and the bodyweight exercises in this program were designed to do just that. No exercise-equipment, or single sport, supplies the body with the opportunity to use it's full range of mobility, and so train the body completely – only the body itself can supply this. By putting the body through a wide variety of movements, in which it is required to balance, lift, carry, support and extend it's own weight – the body is compelled to use all its muscles in a natural manner, working in coordination – and this assures that every muscle is trained – even the ones we wouldn't think we were training.

It is now widely known that if you want to lose the fat around your belly, or thighs, or to build a six-pack stomach, the best exercise is exercise for the full body – this improves your metabolism, and spreads the demand for energy through your whole body; resulting in overall fat loss – which eventually extends to the major storage points (the belly for men – thighs and buttocks for women). Once the fat is at a low level, the muscle definition becomes visible.

This is the basic picture of getting in shape... lose the fat, train and build the muscle for improved performance. Only full-body training can give full-body fitness. And the best way to get a full-body training is to put it through a demanding and diverse series of mobility exercises using it's own weight as resistance.

Your body, and the effect of gravity on it – is a walking gym and the most efficient workout machine you could ever need. It's free, and it's always ready to use. You really don't need anything else to get in the best shape of your life – right here, right now. If you want to know what you're body is really capable of, you have to give it the opportunity to perform.  

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