About a year ago for my birthday my wife bought me a Groupon for some boot camp type classes. Spartan X I believe they were called and were run by a man ominously named Coach ‘Pain’ Dewayne. He’s perhaps 5’9″, 175-lbs with MAYBE 4% body fat.
I know. I know. At the time I was thinking the same thing you are right now: “Dude! His middle name is ‘Pain’! Why didn’t you just quit?”
After just one session – and barely being able to walk upright for a week and spending hours icing every part of my body – trust me, it crossed my mind, but let me tell you: it was worth it. I just didn’t realize it at the time.
I’ll stop short of saying that boot camp class was “life changing”, but in some way it was just that. Coach didn’t have us use a single dumbbell, pulley machine, treadmill or adjustable bench: all equipment you’d find in a decent gym; the same equipment I’ve been using for decades.
Instead we did jumping jacks, prison squats, some outside running and a plethora of other exercises that required little more than our own body weight. I won’t lie, it kind of sucked, yet almost immediately I noticed that my decades-long routine at the gym started to change.
I stopped doing the bench-press, triceps extension, curls and other lifts and focused on push-ups, burpees, planking, flutter kicks, etc. Rarely did I pick up a weight or use a machine. The gym became just a place to exercise. Is that worth $29.99 a month for the membership? Not really. (And many people pay double that!)
As a matter of fact, my workout partner at the time (who still lives in Illinois) sent me a text last night saying: “Since we started working out that way, I prefer the Spartan workouts I can do in the yard or park.”
This isn’t to say that places like LA Fitness or Gold’s Gym don’t have their place. They certainly do. I’m just saying there are sometimes better options and when it comes to working out, variety can be a huge motivator. The gym puts us into a rut with the same equipment, same music, often the same people and the same god-awful, mind-numbing, treadmills.
Spartan Race Workout of the Day (WOD)
A first step in ridding yourself of a monthly gym membership and to provide the variety in your workouts I mentioned before, is to sign up for the Spartan Race workout of the day (WOD). These suggested workouts are emailed to you daily and – based on your fitness level – range from basic (or ‘sprint level’) to beast-mode. I only look at the ‘Sprint level’.
Admittedly, some workouts are too much for me, but fortunately all can be adjusted to your own fitness level. Here’s an example (from September 1, 2014):
Dynamic warm-up – 3 movements x 2 at 25 yards each.
- Broad Jumps. Crank 3 maximum effort broad jumps. Fully recover. Repeat 3 sets.
- 5 Wall Squats. Then, 15 Air Squats. Then, accumulate 30s in a lunge position on each side side. Fully recover. Repeat 3 sets.
- 50′ Bear Crawls. Fully recover. Repeat 3 sets. If you cannot make 50′ without discomfort crawl as far as you can, then “rescue” yourself by sprinting the remaining distance.
- Finisher Circuit: 30 Burpees.
Read these emails every day. If you can incorporate some, or all, of the exercises in your daily routine – great! If you can’t, that’s fine too. Do what you can and soon you’ll realize you’re doing much more than you thought you could.
Yeah. I’m probably sounding like a commercial for either the Spartan Race or for personal training lessons with Coach ‘Pain’ Dewayne but that’s not the point. The point, really, is that you don’t need a gym membership to workout; you don’t need to build up your “beach-muscles” to look (and feel) good. Sometimes you just need the proverbial kick in the ass to make you realize that the solution isn’t in six-convenient locations across the metro area.
The solution can be virtually anywhere.