If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you probably know that I am a big proponent of two aspects of fitness:
- Doing fitness-stuff outside of the gym
- Doing fitness-stuff inside the gym to be better at the fitness-stuff outside of the gym
Unfortunately most people solely focus on being good at the gym, when we should train to be better at life. Whatever that means to you. It might differ from the person standing next to you. And that’s cool.
Yes, there are always outliers who have to train because of a sport or whatnot. But let’s ignore that for now because it gets in the way of a good story.
I like doing fitness-stuff outside because it gives the activity another meaning beyond just “fitness”. And, provided it’s not raining ninja stars or hailing golf balls and medieval weapons, outdoor fitness-stuff is invigorating.
Although a 25 degree, cloudless day with a light easterly breeze would be perfect, it’s not always the case. But fitness in a drizzle or a moderate hail storm will beat four walls, the smell of butt-sweat and cheap deodorant more often than not. There also seems to be less grunting in outdoor fitness-stuff.
There’s something about it when the sun, the breeze, the sweat come together. Even a less stellar workout involving cheap deodorant can be great because of the elements of the nature. Things get even more elevated when there are other people involved.
Hiking is a good example. And if you happen to hike in an area that requires poor-man’s survival skills, the word “fitness” takes a whole other meaning.
Although I enjoy training in gyms most of the time, I am still more energetic when I know that I can do fitness-stuff outdoors. It’s like my body senses that I get more out of the time than what I put in. Not only do I get the fitness benefits, but also the sun and the relaxing effect of being in the nature. I can go around sniffing trees and chewing leaves, and other stuff that normal people do.
A week ago over the weekend and on Monday I got three days of training in without really planning them too much. And what’s cool is that not once during any of these activities did I mentally feel like I was training.
Here’s what I did.
Saturday: Walk for 75 minutes – planned
I go for a 60-90 minute walk at least once each weekend, usually twice. As I’ve said before it’s not so much about physical health as it is mental. There’s something about walking in a moderate pace and taking in the view.
Even a slight drizzle doesn’t alter my mood. If anything, I rather take a bit of drizzle than extreme heat.
I often finish the walk off with some mobility drill on the areas that need work. Functional Range Conditioning stuff’s been where it’s at as of late.
Sunday: Evil Weed Destroying for 60 minutes – unplanned
I was planning on going for a walk but decided to gather some husband points. The first lady of the house asked for my testosterone-driven help in our backyard.
I lack the elegance and soft touch to plant anything, much less to see it grow. And I am much more of an eater than a grower when it comes to gardening. But I am at service when some destruction is needed.
I crushed the shovel and the ax (without gloves, FYI) and rid the backyard of evil weeds. There was also a view-tormenting tree-like monster, possessing semi-deep roots, requiring me to flash the ax in almost mystical ways.
Before the dust of the carnage settled, we came on top as glorious winners, axes and shovels glistening in the afternoon sun. I formed few blisters and said few curses to please the lords of the Garden Kingdom before walking away whistling.
Then I had tofu for dinner that upset my stomach. Evil tofu, mind you.
Monday: Random Heavy Backpack walk for 30 minutes – somewhat (un)planned
Lately I’ve been going to the park on Mondays to run three 40 meter sprints. And so was the case this Monday. Until I remembered Tim Anderson of Original Strength – fame mentioning something about a 30 minute heavy backpack walk few days a week. Obviously I had to try that out.
I stuffed my aqua bag (a bag that holds water, is water tight and is often used as an exercise equipment) into an old backpack and filled it water. I could probably fit 25-30 liters before it became too big to close the bag.
I chucked the backpack on and went for a stroll around the neighborhood. Few things happened. One, I found some new ab muscles. Two, 25-30 liters of water gets rather heavy when walking a semi-steep uphill for a while.
This was one of those “exercises” that when someone asks (and this always happens) “what muscle does that work?”, you offer them to have a go to find out. I just wish someone would’ve stopped me to ask what I am carrying. It would’ve been a good conversation about water.
Oh, yes I did go to park after to do three sprints and random movement work.
There you have it. Three days of fitness without really doing fitness-stuff. I highly recommend you try something similar yourself to break the sometimes grey cycle of gym training. You’ll feel invigorated and will look forward to gym training once again.
These kind of outdoor fitness activities can also act as benchmarks for your training in the gym. You know you’re getting stronger and fitter when the weeds in the backyard die from you just looking at them. Or maybe it’s the cheap deodorant.
Either way, you win.