I used to skip short, gorgeous hikes with my girlfriend because I didn't want it to affect my squat workout later that day. I stayed inside and drank green tea while my friends went to the park to throw the football around.
At the time it seemed necessary. (Gotta be fresh for the workout!) Now, I just feel like an asshole.
About the time I stopped writing exclusively about building muscle and strength, I started training outside more. I'm not sure what really sparked it.
Maybe it was because I was “growing up” and, after gaining 40 pounds of muscle, no longer wanted to get huge at any cost.
Maybe I just felt the need for fresh air or wanted to scare little kids on the playground. Or maybe it was because I no longer saw myself as a “weight lifter” or a “bodybuilder” or whatever other moniker we're using today.
I was just a guy who liked healthy food, working out, and living a good life.
My friends and I now spend at least one of our “training days” outside. We goof off and stay serious at the same time. The feel of hard training is still there. We push ourselves to do new things. We still sweat.
But it never feels like “working out.” It feels more like…playtime.
And maybe that's what we need. Less structure. More play. A chance to use this body we've built, to slide down slides, climb ropes, or develop callouses on our hands from too many monkey bar swings.
I don't know. But training outside sure makes me feel better. It makes me feel alive. I think you'll like it, too.
Here's a recent workout my friend Kyle and I did. If you want, grab a dumbbell (we're using a 40-pounder, I believe) and give it a shot.
Upper Body Warm-Up
Lower Body Warm-Up
Total Body Explosive Exercises
Upper Body Strength
Lower Body Strength
The “Make It Up As You Go” Circuit