#23 – New Physical Experiences: Bodyweight Workout

#23: Bodyweight Workout!

My partner Remy’s summer project is to get into shape better than he ever has before! I think it’s an admirable goal for anyone to watch what they eat, increase their activity, and slim down into last year’s shorts! But I can safely say I don’t really concern myself with these things much on a day-to-day basis. I am fortunate enough to maintain a stable weight without giving too much thought to my diet or exercise – but I’m learning more and more that this is not the case for everyone!

Given that the average American has an excess of calories and a deficiency of exercise it’s not surprising that, given my vegan diet and modicum of activity, I can afford to worry less about weight and health… But Remy’s determination and new-found love of exercising have really inspired me to take an even more active role in my health and fitness.

Remy has been biking to and from work five days a week, 7 miles one-way for the past two months! He has also been reading about fitness, nutrition, fasting, and different workout routines. Recently two of my best friends and I caught his enthusiasm, and decided to work out together 1-2 times per week.

Being low on cash and noncommittal about a gym membership, we decided to take it to the park near our house! They all asked me to lead it, so I looked up different workouts. Remy came up with the Bodyweight workout from www.bodybuilding.com!

This workout can be done using only your body as weights, so no purchasing a gym membership or weights required!

We simply did circuits: 8 reps of each activity as many times as we could in 15-20 minutes! 8 squats, then 8 Australian pull-ups, then 8 lunges, and 8 push-ups. We allowed 1 minute of rest time between each circuit.

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15-20 minutes may not sound like a lot but it was really hard! It was tough but we all left feeling great about ourselves! Everyone pushed as much as they felt comfortable, and I assisted with form. I found it really exciting to be “coach” for the day, and have all my friends doing something active with me! And while Remy definitely gets the credit for inspiring us all to get together, we have all started to take this “fitness kick” and make it our own!

Remy’s goal is to lose weigh, gain muscle and just be stronger and more fit all-around. Matt has been jogging in his own at least once a week, and his goal is to be able to roller blade again this summer! Jenny recently decided to train for a 10K run with her sister! Woah! That’s more intense than I would even do!

What’s been so nice about all of my friends getting into this with me is that we can all relate about and get support for what each of us is going through. Being in our mid-twenties now and having gotten a few years away from any organized physical activity we used to do in our youth, we each feel like this is a major change in our own ways.

Some of us (me) are realizing that the healthy, young, in-shape version of ourselves we still see in our head isn’t really true anymore. We’ve gotten busy, we’ve made choices, and we’ve done things that have taken us away from the healthy athletes we used to be. It has been a challenge to find ways to convince myself that being active is fun and I enjoy doing it. I have been especially been struggling with jogging; I just can’t make it fun (even though it’s more fun with friends). So I’m addressing this challenge by continuing to seek out new and interesting ways to be active. Yeah, anyone can jog, and it’s free, blah blah blah. But working out should be fun! Anyone have any ideas for FUN and FREEE workouts?

For others of us who have never identified as “athletes” in their lives, this process has been a different kind of challenge. Instead of falling short of our expectations and feeling, “why can’t my body do the things I want it to do anymore,” some if us are unsure what expectations to have at all. Remy for example was not an active youngster, in fact he was pretty overweight as a teenager. Because of his weight and asthma he never really thought cardio was something he could do. Now that new possibilities are open to him as a skinnier, healthier adult, he’s been questioning, “how can I get used to making this a part of my lifestyle when I never really have before”.

So for some of us this has been about letting go of the person we used to be and accepting and loving ourselves the way we are now! For others it has been about adopting a completely new or long forgotten way of life that involves making healthier choices when it comes it eating and exercise! I believe these challenges will be ongoing, but at least we have each other for support!

We still feel like we’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve maintained our commitment for 3 weeks already as a group! We are all setting our own small goals and big ones, but it’s still hard not to get bogged down wishing those long-term goals could happen faster. Anyone have any good advice on maintaining enthusiasm and not getting discouraged by the long road ahead?

Now that we’ve all been at it for a few weeks, I’m thinking about sustainability. How can we make sure this isn’t just a summer fad? How can I capitalize on our fitness successes and encourage even healthier eating habits among my friends without seeming pushy?

Wish us well as we try to keep this up all summer and into the fall! Remy, Jenny, and I have all decided to reward ourselves with a gym membership in the fall if we maintain our commitment until the weather starts to turn!

Here’s hoping!

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One thought on “#23 – New Physical Experiences: Bodyweight Workout

  1. 🙂 Thank you. Those are some awfully sweet words about me.

    I think/hope that my Cross Trainer app should keep bodyweight workouts interesting for us for quite some time! I’m also really hopeful about better integrating tennis into our routines, and maybe swimming while it’s still summer (and continuing with gym memberships). Remember how hard swimming was for me even when we tried a year or so ago? I bet that would kick ass for all of us! And it can also be free when the whether is nice.

    I know that many of my other ideas involve spending significant money (some people need bikes, some need rollerblade, gym memberships and classes, blah blah), but another idea that I know you and I have both seen involves only a small expense (small like dining out for one or a night of drinks at a bar): the resistance band. According to some ripped dude on Bodybuilding.com, one can have the versatility of a set of weights with a resistance band. I want one!

    -RC

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