Following the theme of last week’s article about what I’d do if I couldn’t track calories, I’m answering the other half of the fitness equation: What would I do if I couldn’t go to the gym? Why? Because in my own 200lb weight loss, the gym played a large factor, and not in the way you think.
I know that my weight loss came down to managing my calories through changes in habit, mindset, and environment. The gym was not required to make those changes, but in my experience, it helped big time.
Going to the gym, and enjoying it, gave me an additional reason to stick to those habit/mindset/environment changes. It gave me another reason to get more sleep. It gave me another way to reduce my stress. Making better food choices gave me more energy in the gym, which contributed to feeling better both physically and mentally. Nutrition and exercise combined created a positive feedback loop that became far more powerful than the underlying “bad habits” that aren’t going to go away. Yes, bad habits are nearly impossible to erase, and can often creep back through the cracks. The stronger your positive feedback loop around fitness, the less they creep back in.
In my experience, nothing feels as good as confidence does, and the gym has given me a level of confidence that I’ve never experienced. With that positive feedback rolling, where eating well makes me workout better and more often, which in turn helps me to eat well, I feel like I can accomplish anything.
So…what would I do if I couldn’t go to the gym? (or use my home gym)
Here’s exactly what I’d do. I would strive to do something every single day. I’d use my body, and objects around me to change leverages (making movements harder or easier depending on my skill or strength level). The gym is *not* required, it can just make things more efficient or easier.
Movements like squats, deadlifts, and bench press are not required. They are simply exercises that adhere to fundamental human movement patterns. Per the illustrious Dan John, you can divide exercises into the following categories:
Upper body push, like bench press and push-ups
Upper body pull, like rows and pullups
Hinge, like deadlifts, good mornings or kettlebell swings
Squat, like front squats, back squats or goblet squats
Loaded carry, like a farmer’s walk
Everything else, like single-leg exercises, Turkish get ups and core exercises
If starting tomorrow, I would never be able to go to the gym again, I’d immediately go to Starting Bodyweight and find an exercise for each of the above fundamental movement patterns that matched my skill / strength level. And then I’d get to work, every day, trying to do better. Oh, and I would still try to go for a walk every single day.
If you need some help on figuring out what to do to reach your fitness goals, I’d love to work with you! Check out the coaching application here: Coaching Application.