Five months. Since this year began, I've spent nearly half of this year traveling. It's gotten old too. I just want to stay home, spend some time with my wife, cook my own food, practice some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, maybe do some deer hunting and work out in my own basement for a change. I could care less if I traveled anywhere for the next three months. Fortunately, my physical fitness hasn't suffered at all during this nearly-constant travel schedule.
Presently, I'm working in Greensburg, PA and I was talking to some of the guys I'm working for over coffee, telling the story about how I gained my 23 lbs of muscle back in 2007. These are guys who don't work out regularly and they were puzzled about how I could get bigger and stronger without having regular access to a gym. So, I told them what I do and how I do it. I was surprised how interested they were. They must have assumed that you need a gym to get tough.
We all know that's a common assumption. The gym has to be only factory where people have to go to if they want to manufacture a powerful, healthy body... right? That requires stuff. All kinds of stuff. Machines. Mats. Cardio equipment. Big, bouncy balls. And iron. Lots of Iron. In a way, there are people who equate the ability to get fit to their access, or possession, of a lot of workout gear.
Apparently, I never got the message. The single, biggest reason that I Bodyweight train is because I don't have much of a choice. I can't depend on being able to carry weights wherever I go. I can't depend on being able to get to a gym. I admit that I really enjoy this style of strength training and that's a huge reason that I'm so committed to it. Still, the fact remains that there's a huge amount of improvisation that I have to do in order to get a good workout and there's no doubt that BW is the most improvisation-friendly form of strength training out there.
That's been a gift in a lot of ways. I've learned so much from being forced to constantly change up how I train. You may not realize how one variation on an exercise makes a difference until you don't have it for a while. You might force yourself to come up with a variation that you wouldn't have otherwise thought because of lack of access to certain pieces of gear. I might even come up with a piece of gear that I wouldn't otherwise have thought to build. I've ultimately learned that fitness is as much as in the mind as it is in the body. Improvisation took me to another, higher level of training.
"There's an inverse relationship between the amount of equipment a performance coach has in his gym and his level of expertise.
The longer I train, the less equipment I use. Or maybe I should say, the less I find really beneficial. Everything I use can fit in the back of my SUV. I was talking to Dr. Stuart McGill yesterday and he mentioned what training tools he has in his lab: a cable stack, some kettlebells, and a barbell set. That speaks volumes."
I've come to realize that a sense of materialism contaminates most people's minds when it comes to training. Just like people assume that buying stuff will make them happy, people assume that the more equipment they have at their disposal means that they're getting results. This, of course, comes from people who want to sell you something. At the very least, they're looking to get some money out of you that you don't need to spend. At it's worst, it keeps people from reaching fitness goals. If you take away one thing from this entry, or at least this blog, it's that your strength is far less dependant on stuff than you think that it is. You can get yourself into great shape with a bare minimum of equipment.