You Are Your Gym

I’ve been so busy with moving apartments and a never-ending chore list that I’ve put myself into a rut these last few weeks. I wrote this post a while ago, but thought I would share it again here since it's feeling relevant. Enjoy!

So, How do you stay lean and shredded when you’re on vacation, travelling, or in my case, can’t bring yourself to enter a gym because you’re feeling lazy AF?

The key is bodyweight training. You might be rolling your eyes right now because you can do 20 air squats like it’s child’s play, but let’s see you do 100 pistol squats and tell me how you feel after that.

Bodyweight training is the most versatile form of training. All you need is your body and some floor space. A lot of the time this is better than that sad room most hotels call “state-of-the-art”. You can literally wake up wherever you are and crank out an effective workout in 20-30 minutes before ever putting pants on! On top of that, the girl you took home last night is super impressed. BAM! Two birds, one stone. You’re welcome.

Keep the following principles in mind when performing your bodyweight training and you just might become a believer.

Keep It Explosive

Mo’ power, mo’ results! When it comes to energy expenditure, explosiveness beats slow contractions every time. The more explosive your movements, the faster you’ll burn through that delicious rack of ribs.

Do It Again…And Again…And Again

You only need a handful of movements to get the most from your body, but the secret is to incorporate circuits. You can go from one move to the next without any rest, so hammer through your exercises, catch your breath, and then do it again until you pass out. Okay, maybe don’t pass out, but you catch my drift.

Position Yourself For Success

Treat it like sex: utilize different angles to make it happen. Play with the position of your movements to see how your muscles react, your range of motion, and any new muscles that are being activated.

Make Sure You Get The Good Side

Take things to the next level and incorporate unilateral movements. Pistol squats, Bulgarian split squats, and one-legged hip thrusts are a good place to start. Your body has to work harder to stabilize your core when you’re working from one side. More work = more shred.

The Middle Is Always The Best Part

Twinkies, Oreos, you name it. Always the best. So don’t forget to give your core a little love.

Taking these principles above, we can tie them all together to create a nice bodyweight training philosophy. First, by performing circuits you want to make sure your rest periods are short in order to get the engine burning and the sweat pouring. 

Start off with some explosive and unilateral movements as these will be the most energy-consuming exercises you can do. 

Then, play with some angles to activate all those tiny, stabilizer muscles.

Finish it all off with a plank or cat-cow or whatever tickles your fancy and pummels your core.

The following exercises is all you need to keep it simple and effective:

  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Push-up
  • Glute bridge
  • Plank

Beginner Bodyweight Routine

  1. Jump squat - 15 reps
  2. Single-leg RDL - 15 reps each side
  3. Wide-grip push-up - 15 reps
  4. Reverse lunges - 15 reps each side
  5. Diamond push-up - 15 reps
  6. Plank - 60 secs

Perform all exercises with little to no rest, rest for 60 secs, and then perform 3-4 more times.

Advanced Bodyweight Routine

  1. Burpees - 15 reps
  2. Bulgarian split-squat - 15 reps each side
  3. Explosive push-up - 15 reps
  4. Split lunge jump - 15 reps each side
  5. Single leg hip thrust - 15 reps each side
  6. Side plank thread-through - 15 reps each side

Perform all exercises with little to no rest, rest for 60 secs, and then perform 4-6 more times.

There are so many variations you can add in, but the above is an idea to get you started. So go on and treat yourself once in a while, but remember that there are no excuses to not getting to the gym. You are your gym.

A Case For Running

I may have had a change of heart about running. I’ve just come back from a weekend of festivities at a Montana cabin and needed to sweat it out, but didn’t feel much like driving to the gym and since it’s a toasty 30 degrees here in Calgary, I thought why not.

On a side note, I finished Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the creator of Nike, not too long ago and he does a great job of showing how badass running can be and the parallels it has with starting a business. Even if you’re an iron junkie like me, I’ll bet all my dollars (approximately $0.00) that you’ll respect it. Read it, get immersed in the hustle and grind, and let me know if you buy a pair of running shoes after.

Now, onto the perks of the sport…

All the apps! 

I love keeping track of my progress in the gym, otherwise you’re just exercising instead of training. I’m a firm believer that healthy competition breeds success. The cool thing about running is that you can download an app and then use it to run your friends routes, compete with them, and train for races. I tried out the Strava app, mainly because my girlfriend uses it and I need to whoop that ass.

Mindfulness.

Or, more appropriately, mindlessness. I came back and felt so relaxed. I also had a massive urge to start writing, hence this post. Obviously, any form of exercise is going to give you a nice shot of endorphins and make you feel swell, but there was a lot less thinking with running. It’s more of a put-your-shoes-and-start-moving-forward kind of thing. It gave my mind time to relax, which sparks creativity and a sense of well-being.

It was not boring.

I honestly believe I’ve never ran in a beautiful place before and that’s why I held this belief. I ran through this gorgeous neighbourhood, complete with million-dollar homes, tree-lined streets, rivers and dogs. The dogs chased me. It was wonderful. It inspired me. Especially those homes because if they can have them, why can’t I?

All in all, I see myself doing a lot more runs outside this summer, improving my endurance, and maybe even training for a race. Feel the burn for yourselves, my friends.