Weights Vs. Bodyweight Training

Happy Monday,

One of the things I get asked about the most is whether I train with weights. The answer is: kind of.

I’ve been training using mostly my own bodyweight for over a decade now. I like bodyweight training for several reasons:

  • It’s portable! I love the fact that I can work out anywhere, even if I don’t have access to equipment.
  • I like the functional fitness aspect of it. Because bodyweight training requires using your body as a whole — as opposed to a bodybuilder style of training that focuses on isolating muscles for hypotrophy — it translates better to real life and sport activities.
  • It doesn’t leave me feeling super sore the next day, meaning I can train more often.
  • My goal for my various activities is to be as strong and compact as possible, and bodyweight training helps me build a high strength-to-muscle ratio without worrying about bulking up (Think: gymnasts — they’re super strong but compact).

I do include some kettlebells, medicine balls, and dumbbells in my training at times, but mainly for variety or to work on very specific movements or address imbalances.

When considering whether to add weights to your own training, here’s a basic rule of thumb: You should always be able to do the full version of the bodyweight equivalent of the exercise first before adding additional load. That means that if you can’t currently do a full, deep bodyweight squat, you shouldn’t be doing heavy barbell squats.

Focus on getting proficient at the bodyweight version of the exercise first, and only then add weight. And keep in mind you never need to add weights to get a good workout.

What I’m reading

The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz

“When asked about what they regret most in the last six months, people tend to identify actions that didn’t meet expectations. But when asked about what they regret most when they look back on their lives as a whole, people tend to identify failures to act.” 

What I’m listening to / watching

Rich Roll on thinking long-term

“If you want to be good at anything, it’s going to take ten years. I think a decade is really the best metric I’ve seen in order to get from competency to competence. Instead of trying to rush it, relax into it.”


“Nothing will work unless you do.” — Maya Angelou

What I’m training

Shadow boxing is a great way to build conditioning even if you don’t have a bag to punch! Plus, it’s a lot of fun. Give this shadow boxing HIIT workout a try and let me know how you like it.

Three new workouts

Stress-Busting Boxing HIIT Workout (12 minute, jump rope, heavy bag optional)

Out of Breath Sandbag HIIT Workout (12 minute, sandbag)

320 Rep Core Circuit (Time challenge, plyo box or equivalent)

You can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete.

Questions? Feedback? Content requests?

Please feel free to reply directly to this email if you have any questions or comments (yes, I am a real human). I get a lot of emails and messages, so I can’t reply to all of them, but I do read everything you guys send me!

Dream bigger!

– Krista

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