The World is Your Gym – Life is the Workout
Interesting times necessitate creative solutions…COVID-19 shut down our Outlaw Yoga Littleton studio, and thousands of other studios and gyms big and small.
I even lost my three closest 24 Hour Fitness gyms to the pandemic.
When the studio closed, I distributed our hand-weights to teachers and students who asked, and took home two pairs of 10 lb weights for my own personal use.
I dusted off my travel workout bands from Rubberbanditz.com transformed my cajon into a step/bench…even went to Home Depot and bought a steel bar and bag of Readymix concrete and made a homemade, fixed-weight barbell…
Sometimes all you have to do is get creative with your surroundings…
Back before Crossfit became a big ‘box’ form charging a couple hundred bucks a month, it gained its early popularity as a DIY, build your own equipment and live your fitness.
I remember when my roommate built a ‘slosh stick’ using Crossfit directions from the web, a 6′ length of PVC pipe, some rubber sheeting and a couple of hose clamps.
Body weight and creativity still goes a long way, if you ask me. When you design or seek out these types of practices or workouts, you might keep a few other details in mind:
– What body type do you have? Are you a carrier, a lifter, a walker? Etc.
One neat trick to try that I have used to start to hone in on a person’s particular natural inclination is to drop something on the ground and then pick it up…
Do you bend at the waist like a straight leg deadlift? Do you squat down like a catcher behind the plate? Do you lean into one leg and lift the other like a lever?
It’s not absolutely necessary to go with the flow of your body type, but it does shed some light on different activities and performance – if you’re a naturally inclined heavy-lifter trying to run a marathon just keep in mind that it will be much more difficult for you to outperform a person who has a natural runner body type.
– What are the unique demands of your day to day life?
In a generally-specific sense, what you do determines what you need…
Do you sit hunched at a desk all day? Do some yoga for hamstrings flexibility, and backbends to counteract the hunching…Do you work with your hands or body? Do some restorative yoga to balance the daily demand, etc.
– Calibrate your specific health and fitness goals/aspirations to reflect your unique reality
When I was a younger man I wanted very much to look like Vin Diesel. But at 5’10” (me), 225 pounds looks a lot different on me than on Vin’s 6′ frame. Add to the equation data points like access to professional training, time to spend in the gym, and unlimited resources for diet and supplementation and you have a recipe for failure if you’re modeling yourself after someone else.
How much time do you have to devote? How much of your income do you spend on diet? The average American, for example, spends less than 10% of their gross income on food and nutrition (vs. around 30% for the average European). If you fall into that category then you better adjust your goals and aspirations…
I have been – at times – fanatical about fitness both from an aesthetic and performance perspective, holding world records and eating 20 eggs a day…
I’ve also stepped on trips to Nepal and Tibet by stopping to lift large rocks, and making my Nepali grandpa sit on my back for push-ups, and lugging around tubs of protein powder in my back-pack.
Of course there are ways to get monster gains with body weight…just add someone else’s body weight. The legendary Herschell Walker was said to have never lifted a weight, instead he had his wife sit on his back while he did push-ups…every night.
These days, I choose to feel better rather than look better, and prefer to do my weight lifting in the form of natural day-to-day farm work.
I also prefer to pepper my yoga practice throughout my day…
Small ‘sips’ of physicality, meditation and breathwork sprinkled in from the time I wake up till the time I go to bed – push-ups in the morning to get the body going, breathwork midday to keep the immune system strong and the mind sharp, meditation later in the eve to clear the events of the day and prepare the body for sleep.
I’ve recorded dozens of videos in that genre from 5-15 minutes for that specific reason.
The benefits to the body are great, even if you have to push through the entrenched perception of what a ‘full workout’ or ‘full practice’ means to you.
If you don’t want to make time for an hour-long practice, don’t panic – there’s a lot that can be accomplished with this sort of parceled out practice.
You might avoid big twists and fancy poses in this sort of scheme because the body may not be ready for birds of paradise or handstand without a proper warm-up.
Here’s a pretty good one for day’s you don’t want to have to think too much:
- 2 minutes in Mountain
- 1 minute in plank
- 1 minute in down dog
- 1 minute in horse
Pretty decent little practice/workout in 5 minutes or less…
And, don’t forget the little tips and practices that have withstood the test of time like walking for 20 minutes after you eat to aid digestion, and eating beans and rice before bedtime to help make you sleepy…
Good luck, Yogis!
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Justin “Jud” Kaliszewski is the best-selling yoga teacher and renowned creator of Outlaw Yoga. Author. Artist. Adventurer. Take his class NOW at outlawyogaclub.com and www.youtube.com/outlawyoga. Find his writing and art at www.justinkaliszewski.com and his presence all over the internet – for an outlaw, he’s shockingly easy to get ahold of.