Bodyweight workouts are great for short-term gains. Think Beachbody. However, what they won’t do is give you long-term gains or long-term muscle growth (a significant predictor of longevity and health).
There are many reasons for this. Let me quickly go over a few.
Once you get good at body weight movements, you need to keep doing more to keep getting results. This is a ladder that most people can’t climb. You will run out of time, much like runners who run 100 miles a week and still can’t lose that last 20 lbs.
Your body adapts. You need to be able to force adaptation. Why do CrossFit participants look the way they do? Because these programs force adaptation. You need to continually add challenges to your body to continue to get stronger and fitter, and surprisingly, to burn the same amount of calories.
Many runners and P90x participants had discovered that they made massive weight loss gains and body composition changes when they first started their new program. Remarkably few people (Less than 5%) managed to stick with the plans on their own. Those that did learned something important.
As they got better at the workouts or better at running, the results slowed. Why? Their body adapted and required less energy to do the same work. Efficiency happened. You got more muscular or simply more coordinated, and when those two things happen, things are easier. Easier means fewer calories burned.
You have a choice at this point, you need to increase your time at a specific activity or add more challenge.
Many choose the first option. Runners run farther, Beachbody followers look for longer workouts. This works for a little while again, but quickly 5 miles becomes 10. That 20 min at home work out used to burn 300 Cals. Your workout now needs to be 30 mins to burn the same amount. Your fitness tracker won’t tell you this, but your waistline will. So now you need to run 15 miles or 40 mins… This again doesn’t work. Most people don’t have 3 hours a day for their workouts.
The second option is the one that works for a long time—at least 11 years in my personal and professional experience. This option involves adding complexity and weight to your workouts. Adding Dumbbells, Kettlebells, and Barbells add both complexity and weight—a decisive factor in transforming your body. These are also skilled movements. And to do them correctly, almost everyone needs a coach.
Learning new skills challenges the mind and body and burns crazy amounts of calories. An hour practicing a new skill can burn 2x the amount of calories as running an hour for the experienced runner.
The gyms will be re-opening soon. Your complex and heavy things are waiting.