by Lisa LaMore
There are few people in the real world that actually enjoy exercise. In fact, most people find exercise to be punishment…they think, “I’m fat…I have to exercise.” Have to? No one should HAVE to exercise. It should not be a cerebral encumbrance. Neither should it be so domesticated…after all, our world is still wild. Would you be able to flee an attacking dog, ward off a violent attack, hoist a loved one to safety in a natural disaster, carry bushels of supplies, or even something as seemingly mundane as gathering fire wood? Would you be able to do it safely and effectively? Better still, would you be able to do it smartly?
Running on a treadmill will not give you the ability to sprint to another human in time to save them from a violent attack. Bench pressing 400 lbs will not enable you to pull a loved one from a burning building. Swimming lap after lap after lap will not give you the ability to dive deep enough to save a drowning friend and then carry him to safety. Being fit should be about using our bodies the way they were created to be used, encompassing the movement and releasing the real humans inside.
A gym will not help you reach that level. Besides not everyone has access to a gym. What can you do? No, the real question is what CAN’T you do? Look around, take a close look at your surroundings and yourself. You have body weight, you have rocks, you have logs, you have hills to ascend, trees to climb, playgrounds to manipulate, old buildings to explore, rivers to swim, ocean waves to conquer. This is what I like to call Survival Fit. Using what you have, when you have it, to create real strength and cultivate agility and speed. After all, when the “Big One” hits, you won’t have a spotter to help lift the crumbled concrete off your loved ones chest. I’m not one of those “Oh shit the world is going to end tomorrow!” people. I am however smart enough to realize that this world is not as tame as some seem to believe it is and there could most definitely be a natural disaster waiting around the bend. That’s when having a smart regime, a Survival Fit routine, will prove itself to you. Two million years of programming can be released, you just have to be creative and ingenious.
Go ahead, hit the trails running, leap over logs…or hell, move them out of the way, then move them back and THEN jump over them! Spend an hour moving rocks of various shapes and sizes into a pile a quarter-mile away, then moving them all back again. Create an obstacle course at a nearby playground, running from station to station, swinging, jumping, sliding. Use your body the way it was created and rediscover the joys of natural movement. Depending upon your current shape and abilities, the time it takes to see results will vary. But, you will see results. Your body will change, your speed will increase, your endurance will peak. And if someone needs you to be a hero you will be ready to take on that title.
Lisa LaMore is a personal trainer and blogger from sunny Southern California. Her blog, Fit, provides efficient, effective no-equipment workout routines for those who might not have access to a gym, as well as motivation to help readers crank it into high gear! Lisa regularly tests her functional fitness by competing in Mud Runs and obstacle races.