If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.
It goes without saying; exercise is an integral part of your lifestyle. You see it all the time in the “fad diets”. Eat my meal plan and exercise just 6 minutes a day; watch the pounds drop off. Kellogg’s “Smart Start” cereal suggests I can lose a few dress sizes in just two weeks by eating their cereal alone. Whilst lounging on The Ab Lounge the manufacturer states it “elicits more muscle activity in the upper and lower abdominals, plus the love handle oblique’s.” Stay awake past 10pm any night and you are inundated with ads for this miracle and that ultimate weight lose cure.
As a society and culture, we are bombarded by advertisements and propaganda from all sides. The key to any lifestyle change (notice there is no gimmick word used “Diet”) is turning your radar off. Listening to your soul and common sense. Again, I revert to my caveman approach. While hunting for their dinner, a caveman would take treks to find their prey (again whilst avoiding becoming prey). There would be quick and meaningful sprints to capture or kill their prey. These hunters could ill afford long distance runs, long distance hunts. Their tribe (family) depended on their return. So here is a theory, again, guided by hereditary and history. The human form was not built or used for ultra marathons, hours and hours spent in a gym.
We evolved from quick bursts and long hikes. Now, I am sure it is fun to run 23 miles or wait for the squat machine to open up at your local over crowded, expensive gym. This is my suggestion. Instead of spending hours a week devoted to running that extra 5 miles. Go to a field, school or track and run sprints. Go and do a dead lift on a fallen tree. Do a pull up from a tree branch. Do your kettle bell routine with a stone. I can most likely guarantee you won’t have to wait for a person to get off your tree branch so you can get on. You won’t have to swab off that last persons sweat stain from the ground before a fallen tree. Most of all you will have fresh air and sunshine to accompany you.
OK, sermon over. Let’s move on to some fun. I have been tossing around some ideas on an obstacle course. Using my backyard and several “FREE” tools. Here we go.
We start by climbing, hand over hand, a tree branch.
Jump down and sprint to the jungle gym, monkey climb the cross bar and hoist yourself up into the platform. Bear crawl down the slide.
From the slide I army crawl to another tree and pull up and over the branch, like you would on a wall.
From here, I run around the pool and hit the ladder, quick stepping through.
Now onto the tractor tire, deadlifting and shoving end over end for one lap, roughly 20 to 25 feet.
From here, we grab our weighted sled (tires) and drag for the same distance.
Last, I sprint to a designated area.
Now, do I get through this, no, not YET! My goal is to do a few sets of this course.
This is my course. Make your own. Have fun with it. Incorporate things for your kids. Incorporate a feeling of being twelve again. This is not a job, it isn’t work and above all this is not exercising. We are trying to re-evolve back to our true nature.
Here are a few of the key elements to any obstacle course that you are designing to mimic our true nature.
– Climbing – Tree’s are of course the easiest to use. Challenge yourself to climb higher or farther than the last lap. Climb with your hands, feet, elbows etc…
– Lifting – incorporate a form of lifting. Whether its deadlifting a tree, a stone or your child. There are all sorts of lifting. Snatch a stone or lift and carry the stone a distance. Make it your own, and try more than one.
– Swimming – this is the tough one. I have a pool but 14’ isn’t much to work with. Nevertheless, it is a form of natural movement you need to re-evolve to using.
– Jumping – So many possibilities. Try to incorporate directed jumping or what parkour calls five footed precision jumps. Find a specific spot that is 70 to 75% of your max range and jump to it. Landing on a set spot incorporates more eye movement and balance and effort than just jumping around. Keep in mind there is more than just jumping DOWN from something. Trying flat-footed jumps UP onto something (Box Jumps).
– Balancing – so many possibilities here as well. Try and incorporate jumping and balancing into one.
– Crawling – This is one of those integral parts to all of our natural movement. Incorporate bear crawling, crabbing, army crawling etc. into your routine. The more the better.
– Fighting – this may be one of the harder (than swimming) to incorporate into a routine. Our hunter gatherer friends needed to defend themselves at all costs at any time. Now, I am not saying this is a boxing match or a professional wrestling match. This is shadow boxing, wrestling, tackle dummy, rolling on the ground trying to buck an assailant off. Make it your own.
Incorporating all of these key elements into an obstacle course or just a daily, weekly routine will have too many benefits to list here.
You may be saying this is way beyond what I can do. You may even say this is silly. I am an adult. I can’t play like this. Keep in mind this is functional, natural movement. Buck the system and the naysayers.
Now there is another side to the “I can’t do this” argument, in that you physically can’t do it. Whether you are obese, handicapped or otherwise unable perform these activities. Tailor something you can do. Walk around the block one extra time. Bear crawl from your knees. These activities are completely scalable to your activity level. Make it fun and natural. There is nothing more unnatural than our society today. Brush off the diseases of civilization. Ignore the propaganda machines.
Pick up a leaf and chow down,