If you’ve been following “Move Right Monday” for awhile, you’ve probably started to notice that I am not a big believer in complicated gym equipment.
There are few reasons for this. So much of the equipment at the gym is intended (or can be used) to bulk up at the expense of flexibility. I don’t have a problem with big muscles, but the ability to bench-press a Volkswagen does not protect you from injury when you’re lifting something in the real world. I’ve seen guys who were just “ripped” with bulging muscles on my table with an injury because they falsely assumed their big muscles could do something they weren’t trained to do. If your muscles are trained to push or pull in a certain direction and you exert them in a different direction without training, you can really hurt yourself.
Back to the Fundamentals
The practice of bulking up by repeated motions on specialized equipment is unique to the past fifty years. For the preceding six thousand years, we developed armies of mighty men, farmed millions of acres, built nations, erected colossal industries, and explored the farthest reaches of the earth. To accomplish all of that, we needed men (and women) who could handle heavy loads, work for extended periods of time without fatigue, and move precisely.
In other words, the most effective way to build useful bodies (not “chiseled” bodies, which are nice to look at by otherwise kind of pointless) is to employ the workout techniques of the ancient world. The goal should not be shape, it should be fitness, stamina, balance, and the ability to do normal work (carrying Volkswagens is not normal).
- The Military: If you spend any time around military basic training camps, you will find legions of people who are physically fit and ready for action, but you will not see an abundance of specialized workout equipment. You will see people doing calisthenics in the yard. You will see people marching with heavy gear. You will see people climbing ropes and pulling themselves along the ground. In other words, you will see people training their bodies naturally.
- Farming: If you spend any time on a farm, you will see some of the biggest, strongest, healthiest people in America, but you will not find a section of the barn set aside for Nautilus gear. You will see people lifting bales of hay, carrying lumber, picking up animals, maintaining crops (if you have ever walked beans or detasselled corn, you know what I’m talking about).
- Landscaping: I have never seen an obese person in any of the landscaping crews around Naples. I’m talking about thousands of people. It just doesn’t happen.
What do they all have in common? Their work is their exercise. They move in natural ways and condition their muscles with regular movements.
A Better Way to Get In Shape
Possibly the best fitness routine you can find is right outside your door and it’s (almost) totally free. Simple yard work is an outstanding workout:
- It makes you flex and extend your joints in a natural way.
- It usually involves walking, pushing, and simple lifting.
- It exposes you to fresh air and sunshine.
- It reconnects you with the earth’s natural electromagnetic field (after being exposed to wi-fi and electronics all day).
- It allows your body to sweat out toxins.
- It causes your body to release powerful stress-relieving neurotransmitters.
I came across this video recently, and I think it’s terrific. Ms. Greene’s emphasis is helping busy women find time to get fit and stay fit, but I think there is something here for everyone (CAUTION: The music clips at the beginning and end are a little loud).
The best part of what she shares here is that it gives you some specific, measurable, realistic goals to hit. It’s easy to tell someone to work outside, but that person may not know what that means. What kind of work should they be doing? How strenuous should the work be? How much time should they be spending? It really helps to be as specific as possible.
But I Live In Apartment and Work In An Office
If you don’t have a yard to work in (or your neighborhood prohibits you from doing your own yard work), go over to my YouTube channel and start doing the “Move Right Monday” exercises for a few minutes a few times a day. You can do them anywhere, at any time, without having to change into workout clothes.
Five minutes. In your house or at the office. Totally convenient, totally effective.
You will start seeing results almost immediately. You will love the way you feel (after a couple days of being consistent with it – the first few days can be a little awkward until your body adjusts).
If you want to do something a little more involved, then throw on some good running shoes and spend five minutes a day in a High Intensity Interval Training program, either inside or outside.
Lead By Example
If we want to help our sick, obese nation get back in shape, we have to start with ourselves. We have to get past our own excuses so we can be an example to the people around us. These quick, simple activities are designed to get maximum results in a short amount of time.
What else can we do?
- Take your kids bowling.
- Play ping pong with friends instead of watching movies.
- Gather some of the neighbors in a pickup game of flag football, soccer, or basketball.
- Go dancing.
These are more fun than wasting an hour watching CNN on the TVs in front of the treadmills at the gym. (Honestly.) And you will get better results because your positive neurotransmitter response will be much higher.
Living a healthy, strong life is not complicated or difficult. We just need to get back to our roots.
Let’s start a health revolution together. We’ve got to let people know that good health is easier to achieve than they think — someone just has to show them how. Take eight seconds to share this article on social media. You never know whose life you might change.
Thanks for being with me today. I’ll see you on “Wellness Wednesday.”
“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas