For packing on muscle, shedding fat, boosting your cardio, or increasing your flexibility what routines, or physical activities outside the gym would you say are the most effective, and beneficial? When I had more free time to do weights, I found that squats, bench, and curls were quite effective. Even with bad form, in a few months my chest felt more solid, and looked more impressive - until I hit a plateau. I found that I moved up in my squatting weight quite quickly as well, and my thighs were much harder. For cardio and general fitness, nothing nordic skiing is tops. It's relatively easy on your joints, you work up a huge sweat, and your entire body aches afterwards - your chest, shoulders, groin, legs, and midsection all get a great workout. It's also cheap to start. The only downside is that I'm finicky on my ideal ski conditions. I'd say cycling is second on my list. I hate swimming, but I'm sure that most others who enjoy it would rank it higher.