Ask the experts – Matt Fox, Body weight Built PT
If you’ve ever struggled to get to a gym, make time to get out of the house to exercise – have you ever considered body weight training you can do at home or in your backyard (or lounge room)? I had a chat to Matt Fox, Melbourne PT who’s built a 12 week program entirely around body weight exercises.
Your website says you’re a former professional athlete – what did you compete in and how has that time in your life affected you as a Personal Trainer today?
I played tennis which took me around the world from a young age. Being an individual sport it thought me independence and commitment, a lot of the time I didn’t have a coach on the road with me so it would require a lot of self-discipline which would be the biggest thing that has carried over to me today in the fitness lifestyle and that of a trainer!
On your website you talk about your past battles – surviving cancer at the tender age of 22 and battling bouts of depression – how have these obstacles made you the person you are today?
I have definitely had some difficult times like everyone, it’s not all smooth sailing in life. I have learnt a lot and have probably come to value things a little more. It makes me put things into perspective when small things seem much larger than what they are, I try to remind myself there are bigger issues in the world than some small day to day issues we often face. I would say overall my life’s experiences have made me more resilient.
What’s your background and how did you get into body weight style training?
I have always had a very active sporting back ground. Growing up in Melbourne and being surrounded by countless options of sports! I have played almost every sport there is at some level. I got into Body weight training because I was sick of the gym, my results had not really changed in years and I felt my fitness wasn’t improving. Everything about the gym was stale and boring to me and I needed a change, I got into Body weight training so I could have the freedom to be outside and workout as well as make it more time efficient. My wife was pregnant at the time I made the switch to only body weight training and it saved time on getting to and from the gym if I could do some workouts from home!
Tell us about Bodyweight Built – your 12 week program.
I have a 12 week, day by day training program. It gives your every exercise to do each day along with the amount of reps, sets and even the rest breaks in between. I also do a customised training program which is done by monthly membership and is designed specifically to the individual, their fitness levels and their goals. This also includes a personalised calorie template so they know how much to eat to achieve their goals. This involves 4 sessions per week for 4 weeks at a time and is adjusted monthly as your fitness level and goals progress!
For someone that is new to exercise – what are the fundamentals to body weight training and what are the benefits?
The fundamentals of body weight training are the core, every exercise uses it in some way, which is why it makes it perfect functional training in regards to weight lifting or jumping on a machine. A strong core and movements that help with everyday life are the reasons body weight training is so beneficial. It’s kinder on the joints and tendons too! The benefits are: less risk of injury, stronger and more flexible body and the fact you can work out anywhere, you don’t need a gym membership or equipment, making it so convenient!
One of your blog posts on your website says “Exercise – it’s not one size fits all” – over at North of Here we totally agree – how do you apply this to your clients and your program?
In regards to my clients, everyone is at different fitness levels, I have awesome members who are new to exercise as well as ones who compete at an international level for their given sports! My customised program tailors the workouts and food intake to the client to match both goals and fitness levels, and even lifestyle!
How does body weight training differ from conventional weights training for strength?
Its full body strength which uses multiple muscle groups for every exercise. Unlike weight lifting or machine use, it teaches your muscles and body to work together simultaneously instead of isolating muscles and putting your body into unnatural movements.
Where can body weight training be performed?
Anywhere! That’s the beauty of it. I do many of my workouts at home in the living room and my wife lost 22kgs in 6 months after having our baby boy all from home workouts!
What are some typical exercises found in body weight training programs?
They are made up of the main exercises of: Chin ups, pull ups, dips, push ups, squats. There are countless variations of these exercises that are done depending on the level you are at. If you can’t do a pull up, no problem! There are exercises which can be done to progress to your first pull up!
For my readers – what are your top 5 body weight training exercises/routines?
The most important exercises to get started with are the basics of the: Squat, Push up, Dip, Pull up, Chin up and plank. These 6 exercises work your entire body. If I can only get in a short workout, I will incorporate all these 6 into a circuit!