Like millions of people around the world, I did some gym work today. Leg extensions and squats, to be precise. My gym is a bit different to most, however, as it is outside.
Now, if you live in California or Barbados or some other gloriously warm, hot and dry climate, this would not be any kind of deal. In fact, it would probably be preferable. But I do not live there, I live in the very north of England, high up, very much open to the elements.
And Mother Nature does like to kick my arse sometimes. Today it was snow. This means putting on just about every item of clothing that I own then waddling out to the workout area to cumbersomely put myself through some exercises.
View from my office today – my workout area is just off to the right.
It is not ideal, but it is my preferred method of training. It all started about 15 years ago when Vikki and I moved into a house which simply could not accommodate my exercise equipment, so I shoved it all outside. As that move was in March and in the southern part of the country, the extreme weather was pretty much absent those first six months or so.
But then that first winter hit and I was out there in all weathers; torrential rain, freezing cold, snow, ice, wind.. Simply put, there was no excuse.
Not before long, I didn’t think much of my outside gym. It was not unusual any more. Fast forward those 15 years and I now face new challenges. It is much colder where I am now, the air is thinner as we are high up and, when it snows, it can really snow. Being atop a valley, the wind is gale force regularly and we get enough rain to make Noah have a rethink.
Still, I trudge out there. I don’t even have the “no space” excuse any more. Not only is the house large enough for my gear, there are some outbuildings that could easily hold my equipment. But there is something about facing whatever nature has to offer that day which makes working out a bit more special.
There is nothing finer than a workout in the sun. Warm sun is even better. The former is relatively rare, the latter ever rarer so, when it does happen, it is glorious. On days like today (it was also dark by the time I got outside), it can be a challenge, not only against the weather and the will, but also simply staying upright with a heavy bar across the shoulders requires some forethought and concentration.
I say none of this to boast. It would be a stupid boast, for a start, as I am sure most people reading this would think “stupid idiot” and move on. That’s fine. The reason I mention my outside adventures is to challenge you, dear reader.
If you find excuse after excuse not to go to the gym, think back to me freezing my nuts off. If you find excuse after excuse to even start exercising (ie, I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the equipment), think again. If the busiest people on the planet find the time, so can you. Although they don’t find the time, they make the time. I agree, gym fees can be expensive, but exercising is free. If you do have a few quid to spend, you can pick up second-hand gear for next to nothing. You don’t need a lot. For someone as dedicated as me, I only have a bench, a squat rack, cable crossovers and weights. Nothing fancy – it can’t be as it lives out 24/7/365!
I refer back to the title of this post: what’s your excuse?