Well back home in the New year after a lovely 2 weeks in Playa Blanca, Lanzarotte enjoying the lovely sunny weather. My wife and I walked miles each day for the fun of it, enjoying the sunshine and breeze, loving the sea breaking onto the rocks, enjoying our time together. On the middle Saturday my wife went shopping in Arrecife the capital and I hopped off the bus at Uga and walked back to the hotel over the mountains via Papagato nature reserve. Hardly met a soul all day and walked for around 5.5 hours with a couple of good climbs on the way, wonderful views and good clean air, here are a few pics.
It was a good walk in its own right but also a great workout for the legs. Those of us who live in the UK live in an incredible place for walking, within this small island we have a fantastic variety of terrain to enjoy underfoot. I used to go walking in the mountains very often in the lakes, Wales, Scotland, especially in the hills and valleys of the Peak District near my home. Just before Christmas I realised how little I do this now, I also realised how much I was missing it and decided to make it a part of my new reorganised fitness regime in 2014,
Now I do not go in for resolutions and that BS, and I had already recently dug out the bike and started using it for journeys replacing the car and a few pleasure/fitness rides in the surrounding countryside. I have been out three times on short rides since I came back home a week ago so a trip to the city centre now equals a 7 mile bike ride, a trip to the library about 4 miles, see how this can start to add up. I am planning a really good walk next weekend putting in around 10 miles over the moors and hills, this will all wrap around my Ju Jitsu, circuit and weight training. It will make the whole package more holistic, give it a more rounded feel. The countryside is out there just waiting to be used and enjoyed.
On holiday I visited the gym for around an hour each evening using the free weights, it was an act of discipline to do this each day. I enjoyed the monotony and the routine, switch off and work, I do some weight training at home, not heavy stuff but a steady working of the upper body. I find gym’s a bit soul-destroying for long-term use, it is a personal thing, better than nothing, however, if I had a gym like this I think I would be there more often although I am not sure about the winter months.
That is some gym and I suppose winter would not be too bad with the right clothing, and fur gloves maybe. I, like you, have probably seen loads of makeshift gyms, some of the ones in Africa show real commitment and genius utilising concrete and scrap to create an opportunity to train. If you want it bad enough you will find a way. For me the idea of creating a wider system of training, that some may not see as training properly, is also a rejection of the corporate hijacking of the fitness world.
I am the first to admit that the gym offers for many an opportunity to gain and maintain their fitness in a convenient way, it is better than no exercise at all. Unfortunately it becomes another routine, time controlled activity where it is earplugs in, machine programme set and stare at the TV on the wall. When this happens you are the hamster i the wheel. The problem with getting outdoors is its unpredictability, it can be hot or cold, wet or dry, windy, dark and there are humps bumps and lumps in the ground, rivers in the way too. Yes, that is nature, do not be put off by it enjoy it. Walk, run, cycle. canoe in it, get wet, dirty, muddy even, through yourself into it and feel the wind in your face. Take some spot pads and do some punching and kicking drills every so often as you move through fields, moor and rock. There are no walls to the imagination, what you do out there is completely up to you, go grappling before your picnic, try some take-downs on the South Downs, some partner carries, river crossings, just do it and enjoy the freedom.
The corporate machine will hate you for it except when you buy some nice outdoor gear which is cheap as chips nowadays. Maybe it is time to get a few mates and get out into the countryside on those bikes that litter your shed, burn up a few miles, go off-road a bit, be a kid again. I still cycle through the same parks I did as a child, the memories flood back as I time travel just for the hell of it. Soon I will be 55 going on 5, and I intend to keep it that way. In 2014 I have many things about to happen, exciting things, my training is core to these things. I am not doing anything new just redesigning things to create a new order in my life, renewing my sense of purpose and commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and attitude to life. Train well and train hard but more importantly just train.
Here is a clip from a short while ago of Bill and myself doing a mini circuit after a good hours training in the woods on a warm sticky night. Just two guys with a bit of dedication to train come what may even if we are the only two doing it.
Some may laugh, that is fine by us, some may do so whilst cramming another doughnut in their mouths, for them there is no new order other than obesity and ill-health. I want my future to be full of good things and to continue to share them with my family, especially my grandson who I cannot wait to take to the mountains for those overnight camps up high. Creating a new order in my life is about re-assessing where I am now and where I want to be.
This year will see me deliver my first environmental training seminars and publish my first online training guides amongst other things, if you relish a real challenge for a weekend, including a former army assault course then contact me and I will keep you informed, numbers will be strictly limited. This will be a series of very tough challenges, I am preparing now so that I am ready to enjoy pushing my limits a bit, are you?
ADVERT: This 2014 autumn bank holiday I will be training with Institute for Krav Maga Scotland at their superb Krav Island event. This year we will be training with none other than Eyal Yanilov. See you there? Check it out, it ticks all my boxes.