My pal Tiff (aka Hutchie) over at was kind enough to help me out with a guest post while I was away to discuss how training and fitness has intertwine with life itself!
I’m alone in a convention center in Florida with huge boxes of product to pack on a pallet all by myself. My company has just finished a week long tradeshow and my co-workers left me to pack up while they went out for drinks. How kind.
So what do you do when you are by yourself and have to load large, awkward boxes onto pallets? You stop thinking like an office worker and go into beast mode. That is to say, you roll up your sleeves and unleash your inner athlete on those ugly cardboard weights!
If you know me, you may think of me as a gym rat and a run fanatic. I coach at a CrossFit gym and we like to say that we use functional movements in the gym that are useful in every day life. We like to think that our workouts are directly connected to being able to live better outside of the gym. Most of us who buy into this whole idea of ‘exercise’ and ‘fitness’ and ‘training’ would probably agree that we workout because we want to look good, feel good, and feel capable to do any physical activity we may want or need to do.
The honest truth of the matter is, training is a two-way street. What we do in “every day life” (how we move, eat, rest, etc) is directly connected to how we do in the gym. You could say that activity in every day life is training to do better in our workouts.
If you can follow me one step further, the lines between “every day life” and what we do when we workout should become so blurry that they don’t really exist.
Any time you move, whether you are at the gym or not, you are exercising your muscles and moving your bones. Sitting on the toilette should look a lot like the squat you do at bootcamp. Putting casserole dishes on the top shelf in your cabinet should be similar to that dumbbell push press your trainer makes you do. When you lift your luggage into the trunk of your car, you should approach it like a dead lift.
When it comes to incorporating training into every day life, you don’t need to do anything differently. You just need to start seeing your environment differently. Life is a gym!
I know the proper setup for a dead lift. I know how to clean a barbell. Yet sometimes I forget that in “every day life” that barbell might look like a heavy box and I have to pick it up just the same. The position of my hands and feet might change, but the core body mechanics don’t change.
My challenge to you is to start seeing your “every day life” movements an opportunity to exercise. This goes a bit beyond taking the stairs instead of the elevator – which is always a good idea. I don’t want you to just take the stairs. I want you to own the stairs! I want you to see those stairs as your opportunity to tighten that tush!
It might be odd at first, but the beauty is…you learn to move safely and more efficiently all the time, and you see new opportunities to strengthen your body at home, at the office, or at a convention center.
Here are a few things you can do to get started!
1) If you sit while you work, think about how you stand up when you leave your desk. Don’t use your hands to push down on your desk or arm rests. Use those strong leg muscles to stand!
2) Have a long a commute or spend a lot of time driving? Pay attention to your chest. Don’t let it cave in and down. Keep your chest up, lengthen your spine and keep your shoulders directly above your hips.
4) Oh poo. You dropped your pen. Great opportunity for a backward lunge! Fire those tush muscles when you stand up!
5) Ride a crowded subway or a bus often? Surf, don’t sit, and keep a loose grip on that handle. Keep a soft lock in your knees and try to maintain balance as the train or bus rumbles along.
6) When you carry your groceries, that’s another good opportunity to engage your abs, keep your back straight and tall, and bring those goodies from car to kitchen with good form!
7) Ladies, if you have a tiny shower like me, shaving your legs is a great time to stretch your hamstrings!
As a coach, I often see students at my gym get into a beautiful set up for a dead lift and execute with great form in their back and legs. But when it comes time to take those 45lb plates off the bar, they pick it up with a hunched back and straight legs. It’s a great example of how we segment our movements, separating things we consider “working out” from things we consider “just picking something up” or “every day life”.
Remember, life is training and training is life. Our environment may change, but how our bodies move remains the same. All movement is an opportunity to look better, feel better, and get healthier.
Running Hutch (aka Tiffany) has four goals in life: Love God, live simply, run long, coach well. Her blog, titled “Matters of Course” is a full expression of her lifestyle. From giving up her career, the TV, and her car, to taking up ultra running, dusting off her piano, and not being afraid to set fires in her kitchen…Running Hutch invites you along for her adventures. Read her stories and try out her weekly running workouts at www.runninghutch.com.