Training Outside the Box

We are living in strange times, COVID times, and with gyms locked down all over the world, a lot of people are experiencing something new: workouts outside the box.

For me, this is nothing new.  This is completely familiar.  And I’d like to share some of my experiences as a way of shedding a little light on what you all can do in this new status quo.

Before the Box

Back in day, we didn’t have CrossFit affiliates or box gyms or strength & conditioning facilities.  We had 24-hour gyms with lame circuit machines and cheap free weights.  We had parks with trails and benches and possibly some pull-up bars.  We had garages and back yards with hand-me-down exercise equipment and home-made gear.

So, what did us functional fitness fanatics do to train?  We did:

  • Calisthenics everywhere (before “boot camp” or “street workout” were marketing buzz words)
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Obstacle courses and proto-parkour (think about running through the woods and going straight towards those logs and boulders instead of around them)
  • Dumbbell workouts
  • Kettlebell workouts
  • Odd-object lifts & carries (with rocks, barrels, buckets, sandbags, logs, cinder blocks, and more)
  • Yoga
  • Martial arts drills like hitting a heavy bag at home or pad-work with friends
  • Barbell lifts in the basement or back yard
  • Plyometrics in the park (jumping on benches and doing clap push-ups, things like that)
  • Recreational sports! (like tennis and basketball)
  • And, yes, so many more things…

The point is, we had tons of stuff to do.  A “box” to train inside was not necessary.

No Limitations

If you are motivated to train; if you enjoy movement; if you get excited to create adaptations in your body through exercise; if you care about fitness; then there should be no limitation whatsoever that stops you from training.

I remember workouts in the woods: lifting logs, throwing rocks, running barefoot upstream in the creek, and hanging from tree branches to do pull-ups.

I remember workouts in a tiny apartment where I lived crammed together with 5 other people: doing sit-ups and push-ups in 20 square feet of kitchen space.

I remember workouts in a jail cell: playing craps with dice made of paper and no money to bet, so we bet things like 20 dips or 40 squats.

I remember doing overhead squats with a barge pole on the roof of a boat on the Mekong river.

I remember running–like everywhere–from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the Savannah lands of East Africa.

I remember lifting Flintstones-style weights in Kenya, made out of concrete poured into buckets and scraps of pipe.

I remember making my own DIY home gym equipment out of old tires, inner tubes, scrap metal, concrete chunks, or PVC pipe.

If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way.

Get Outside the Box

So your CrossFit Gym or your health club is shut down.  No problem.  This new limitation is a perfect opportunity for you to get in touch with the WHY behind you doing fitness.

  • Why do you exercise?
  • Why do you care about your health?
  • Why is physical development important to you?

All of these answers will help inform what you do, when you do it, and how often you do it.  Assuming that exercise and physical development IS important to you, this is the time for you to get creative, get excited, and go have fun training outside the box!


Published by nicnakis

Nicholas |nik-uh-luhs| n. a male given name: from Greek words meaning "victory of the people" John |jon| n. a male given name: from Hebrew Yohanan, derivative of Yehohanan "God has been gracious" Nakis |nah-kis| n. a Greek family name derived from the patronymic ending -akis (from Crete) Amha |am-hah| n. an Ethiopian given name meaning "gift", from Geez Selassie |suh-la-see| n. Ethiopian name meaning "trinity", from Geez

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