Christmas has come and gone and you have promised yourself that you will start training. The only problem is that you are not sure what to do. The question most asked is, "what bodyweight exercises can I do?" Here we will offer some advice on what you can do to improve your fitness, be that just for your own sense of well being, or in preparation for joining a martial arts class. Before any training programme you should make sure you are free of injury and illnesses. It is foolish to train through an injury and an illness can be made worse by over doing things. If you do have an illness then get checked over by a doctor. Tell them what you plan to do and make sure they are happy for you to start training. Training is only going to benefit you if you eat and sleep well. The food you eat is the fuel for the workout, however before it does anything else your body will utilise the food you eat to maintain its core temperature, brain and organ function, skin and nail growth and so on. This is your basic metabolic rate (bmr). These functions need to be maintained before you can even hope the food you eat will fuel you through a hard run. Here are some useful links to give you more understanding in regard to diet. http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96071&highlight=basic+metabolic+rate http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sportsnutrition/Sports_Nutrition.htm http://www.sportsdiets.info/ That is the diet taken care of, so next is rest and sleep You will not make gains if you don't sleep well. Sleep is where we get our mental and physical recovery. Here are two thread on the subject of sleep. http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93727 http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93777 Hydration We are all aware that we are probably not hydrated enough throughout the day. How much water do you need though? This will vary greatly depending on how active you are throughout the day. You can work out your required fluid intake here. http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100117 So now you can start training I am going to assume that you have done some training, maybe started a martial arts class, but just want a little bit more fitness, strength and flexibility. What can I do, I have no equipment and no training partner outside of class? In terms of fitness running and skipping are good starting points. A speed rope is only a few pounds and can be purchased anywhere. Skipping You don't need to be a whizz with the rope, basic girly jumps are good enough. [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI_6eT-0-X4"]How to jump rope (skip rope) - YouTube[/ame] http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94978&highlight=skipping Here is a you tube video I quite like that should help. [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIIIXLhK8vw"]Learn the Art of Skipping with Dennythetrainer - YouTube[/ame] 3 x 1 minute rounds will be enough to start with, building up as your skill level progresses. To improve fitness and cardio levels add a 30 second sprint in the final round. Running Let us assume that you are new to running. Your aim is to be able to jog slowly for 2-3 miles. A more than realistic target. Get a good pair of running shoes. A good shop specialising in running will put you on a treadmill and video your running style, from there they will recommend a shoe that corrects any supinating (turning out) or pronating (internal rotation) of the ankle on landing and taking off. Don't use an MP3 player if you run. Many car or truck drivers will not be thinking that a runner will be coming around the corner. You best bet is to be able to hear them coming. There is no need at this stage to be running more than 2-4 miles. Once you are comfortable at this distance you can add variations. Fartlek. This means speed play and the easiest method if running on the road is to work between landmarks. My chosen method and recommendation is to get a mile or so under your belt so you know you are correctly warmed up and ready for sprints. You can now jog between lap posts, sprint between the next set of posts and walk between the next. Continue with this jog, sprint and walk. If you are running along tracks or in countryside you could just as easily choose trees or bushes. The next stage is interval training. There are various interval training methods, but a simple example is to sprint hard for 50 metres (build this up in 10 metre increments to up to 100-200 metres). Walk back to the start point, regain your breath and go again. Repeat for a set number of intervals. The above two methods can be carried over to cycling, swimming, skipping etc. You may choose to do 30 second sprints as opposed to distances. Build up each interval by 10 seconds as you progress. Bodyweight exercises We get a lot of beginners saying they do press ups, squats and crunches because they have no equipment, but there is so much more you can do. The Members Workout Thread has some great ideas to set you on your way. For more ideas. http://rosstraining.com/blog/ http://gymnasticbodies.com/ http://www.unique-bodyweight-exercises.com/ Flexibility The best advice I can give here in terms of creating your own programme is the check out the flexibility forum and in particular these two threads. http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=85373 http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96381 Hopefully this advise goes some way to helping you in your new year fitness drive.