Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You Are Your Own Gym - Book Review

One of my favorite perks of writing for leading blogs is the opportunity to review great products. Recently, I had the pleasure of reviewing the book, You Are Your Own Gym, by Mark Lauren. I love learning about new exercises that require no special equipment and this is the premise of the entire book. Lauren explains that we don’t need fancy equipment and gym memberships. Following his exercises, the claim is that both men and women can get in the best shape of their lives using only their bodies and a few simple household items.

Even the cover of the book peaked my curiosity. It boldly states: “The only fitness equipment you will ever need again… work out less, eat more… use the body you have to build the body you want” Now, of course covers are supposed to grab attention, but the content within this book really matches the “hype” on the exterior.

First, I really like that Mr. Lauren has not trained a bunch of celebrities, like many trainers who write books. Instead, he trains some of the top personnel in the military for US Special Operations. If people who defend our country can get in shape with Lauren’s exercises, I am certainly going to pay attention.

The book starts with Lauren’s personal history, which is quite interesting. Next, he reviews his no-nonsense approach to fitness as well as nutrition. He defines “fitness” as being strong in the following 8 areas of physical skill: Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Cardiovascular Endurance, Power, Speed, Coordination, Balance and Flexibility.

Regarding nutrition, Lauren has a back-to-basics approach. He claims that understanding the basics and getting into a routine is relatively simple. He goes on to summarize many of the misconceptions that people have about “diets” and gives readers a better understanding of important areas to remember like consuming adequate proteins, healthy fats, and lots of water for proper hydration.

I especially like Lauren’s chapter on motivation. It boils down to “We have a choice: To take care of ourselves, or to simply let time make us worse.” He goes on to refute the typical excuses that people come up with and reviews the proper way to set specific and measurable goals to achieve success.

About one third of the way through the book, Lauren begins the list, with photos and instructions of 125 body weight exercises. Many he developed and named himself, some are little known gems, and others are classics. I also appreciate that he states: “The most important thing when exercising is not form, intensity, or breathing. It is your safety.” So many trainers throw exercises at you that do not consider this basic element.

After reviewing the exercises, Lauren outlines a 10-week program, with 20-30 minute workouts for 4 days a week. For beginners, this workout is sufficient to begin to get in pretty darned good shape. For more advanced exercisers, Lauren mentions that these workouts can be in combination with others as well.

There are many benefits to following this program and using this book as a reference for excellent body weight exercises. Working with your own body and in your own home saves time, money, and you can do it anywhere. I give this book a strong recommendation. Find it on or at a leading book retailer near you. For only $14.95, it’s a bargain not to pass up!

Mark Lauren, author of You Are Your Own Gym is a certified Military Physical Training Specialist, Special Operations Combat Controller, triathlete, and competitive Thai boxer. He has effectively prepared over 700 trainees for the extreme demands of the most elite levels of the Special Operations community. 

You can learn much more about Mark and access his own workouts, nutrition information and health-assessment tools at his website,

All the best in health and fitness!

Coach Jenn

of and free fitness coaching at Team Beachbody too.

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