Minimalizing is addictive. The more fat I trim from my life, the further I want to keep going.
Clothes I haven’t worn in a year: gone.
Books I know for certain I’ll never read: gone.
Gadgets/cables/duplicates: gone, gone, gone.
My immediate goal is to one day board a plane for an extended vacation with nothing than the clothes on my body and the items in my carry-on. Inside this carry-on — along with a toothbrush, notebook and change of underwear (I’ll allow myself this luxury) — will be everything I need to get STRONG: some resistance bands and…well, that’s it.
When last we met I mentioned that I’ve been whittling my workouts down to nothing but the bare essentials. In keeping with my quest for ULTIMATE MINIMALISM, I’ve spent the last six weeks training with nothing but bodyweight. The results thus far have been excellent.
What kind of progress?
Before Get Strong, topping 25 push-ups took some serious effort. Last testing day I hit 30 no problem. That’s progress.
(FYI: my fav part of the program are the monthly tests. Hit the numbers and you proceed to the next week. Miss the mark and you repeat weeks 3 & 4.)
Bodyweight training (or calisthenics, if you prefer) can be humbling. You’d be surprised how tough 40 cleanly executed squats (ass to the grass!) can be. After every workout my hips and glutes are lit up for a day or two. And chances are good your back and shoulders aren’t nearly flexible enough to handle high-volume bridges. I know mine weren’t.
My theory as to why calisthenics aren’t as popular as they should be: ego. It’s been drilled into our heads that unless there’re a barbell involved you simply can’t get strong. This is ridiculous, of course. Gymnasts are some of the strongest athletes on the planet, and their training is almost exclusively bodyweight only. Successful bodyweight training also requires a lean physique, meaning you have to pay attention to diet…something most of us are reluctant to do.
Now this doesn’t mean I’m done with weights. Every summer I tend to spend more time outside on the pull-up bars than inside on the lifting platform. Every fall, it’s the opposite. Following an intuitive approach to fitness is how I avoid getting bored. It may work for you, too.
If you’re looking for a way to shake up your training program, or if you simply need a break from barbells and gyms, take the Get Strong challenge.