I spent years and years pounding away at big weights in the gym. In fact, for a long time all I really knew was the gym. I wasn’t an all-around athlete. I was just great at squatting, benching, and deadlifting. Of course, that’s what really matters when your sport of choice is powerlifting. But what do you do when you’re done competing, whether from injury, burnout, or other circumstances?
That’s easy: expand your repertoire. I love lifting – I truly do – but I became much happier when I decided to stop letting the gym dominate my life. I became more spontaneous, more open to new activities. It was an empowering feeling. More importantly, I became a much better and more well-rounded athlete. This is the first facet of the GYMLESS mentality.
I know – you can still be a great athlete even if your training is dominated by the gym. For me, it was all about mindset. I had a hard time keeping up with other aspects of fitness because I was so focused on kicking ass in the gym. Some people, myself included, need to shake things up every now and then. That’s what it takes to keep perspective and to keep plowing forward.
Today, I still squat, bench, and deadlift. But the majority of my workouts happen outdoors. I spend only a tiny amount of time on periodization, and consider hiking in the mountains to be on equal footing with a tough squat session. I incorporate kettlebells, the TRX, bands, and other minimalist equipment to help me to knock out a solid session whenever I’m ready for one. This is the second facet of the GYMLESS menality.
You have no excuses. You have to hold yourself accountable. You can smash yourself without any serious equipment. But you need the right mindset. This is a beautiful type of freedom – when you find it. Bad weather and can’t drive to the gym? No longer an excuse. On vacation? No longer an excuse. Spending your usual gym time catching up on extra work? No longer an excuse.
GYMLESS workouts are fast, intense, and minimal. They’re designed to be completed in a short time, but to still allow for great benefits. By all means, continue to spend time in the gym, but take the time to teach yourself how to make do without one. You won’t regret it.