The No Excuse Nomad Workout for Traveling

NENW

Do you lose any semblance of a workout routine when you’re traveling or on vacation/holiday?

We all do to some extent. It’s so easy to not “do squat” (see what I did there?) while living the nomad life.

But just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you have to leave your good ole friends health and fitness at home.

No gym? No fancy equipment? No problem. You don’t need anything (besides your own body) to get a good workout in. Rage against the machine and make use of the vessel you’re inhabiting.

I’ve been traveling for over two months now and I’ve created an effective travel workout routine as a result. Each workout takes only four minutes and all you need is your own body. It can be done anywhere and requires very little space (you can even do it in a tiny hotel room). So there are no excuses.

It’s never lack of time; it’s a lack of priority that prevents you from doing something. If you really want something, you will make time for it.

With this workout routine, you literally have no excuses for not doing it, besides being a lazy lemur.

Note: Anyone can do this and benefit from it, no matter your fitness level, gender, age…etc. You can also substitute variations of any exercise if they’re too difficult for you. For example, if regular pushups are difficult for you, you can do pushups from your knees.

The No Excuse Nomad Workout
These workouts follow the tabata template, which is 20 seconds of an exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, and this is repeated 8 times. So the workout lasts for a grand total of four minutes.

During each 20 second set of an exercise, make sure to push yourself. Go hard, rest, repeat.

Aim to do one workout everyday (but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day), rotating between the upper body and the lower body workouts to give your body sufficient recovery time. Here’s what a week might look like: Monday = Upper body, Tuesday = Lower body, Wednesday = Upper body, Thursday = Whoops I forgot to work out, Friday = Lower body…etc.

And here’s a demonstration of me (in all of my European-esque sexiness) doing the first workout on the beach in Goa, India:

Workout 1: Upper body
Exercises: Pushups and Towel Rows

20 seconds of pushups
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of towel rows
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of pushups
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of towel rows
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of pushups
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of towel rows
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of pushups
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of towel rows
10 seconds of rest

Variety:
For variety, you can do pike pushups for shoulders for one or two sets, instead of regular pushups.

Want to do more?
If you’re still feeling energized, you can do some bent over raises and curls with whatever is around (ex/ books).

Workout 2: Lower Body and Abs
Exercises: Jump Squats and Leg Raises (see the links for examples)

20 seconds of jump squats
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of leg raises
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of jump squats
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of leg raises
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of jump squats
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of leg raises
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of jump squats
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of leg raises
10 seconds of rest

Want to do more?
If you’re still feeling energized, you can do some lunges and calf raises

Pick a time of day that will work for you:
Are you traveling for work? Do it in the morning or after work. Are you vacationing for leisure? Workout whenever you feel like it. Wake up early, or workout during that afternoon lull…etc.

2 Mindset Switches That Will Greatly Help You

1. Priorities – Are you going to prioritize working out? Are you willing to devote four minutes a day? As you probably know, the benefits of exercise (particularly resistance training) are virtually endless. Find that motivation within. Because, really, there are no excuses for not doing such a quick and accessible workout.

2. Stop caring about what other people think – There are opportunities everywhere, especially in public places, if you’re open to them (the beach, a park, playground…etc.). If you’re on the beach all day, why not work out? The only thing preventing you is caring what other people think. There will be no public hanging for you after you work out in public, I promise. Just do it.

Step into the strongest version of yourself.

Enjoy the journey.

– Stevie P!
 

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Lifting the Dead

This post was inspired by Deadlift Essentials, a great program by my friend Isaac Payne. The deadlift is my favorite exercise (as you’ll soon find out), but it must be done properly. Isaac provides immensely helpful tips on perfecting your deadlift form. Check it out HERE. And in case you’re wondering, I have no monetary involvement with the product. I just like to support good people and good information.

Bar_bending

Once upon a time (at the gym)…

The straight silver bar stared back at me. Its machine-grooved, stainless steel body beckoned my hands as it floated through the center of two vertical stacks of formidable black plates.

There is a feeling like none other when you really that know you’re pushing your boundaries. Fear lies inside of the walls of comfort zones. And outside, is the world of unbridled exhilaration. I knew it was time for me to break on through.

This physical embodiment of resistance lay poised before me, challenging me, while I shook the last shreds of doubt out of my body.

I leaned down and gave a comforting rub to my right knee. It acts up occasionally. Never pain, but just a slight sensation of feeling “off.” I gave my knee the tender encouragement it needed to be up to the task.

I then stepped to my 325 pound opponent; my 147.418 kilogram friend; my iron-constructed learning experience.

With my feet directly below my hips, I carefully wiggled them into position. The bar became a cross-section, cutting the view of my shoes in half as I glanced down. The superimposition looked like a neutral smile, almost as if saying “Let’s see what you got.”

Now focusing on my ankles, I subtly bounced on them, gauging their readiness. They eagerly awaited the challenge.

Keeping my spine as straight and taut as the bar beneath me, I hinged at my hips and bent my knees. My robust hands confidently slid against the bumpy pattern. Clenching the iron, my fingers slowly closed into a vice-grip.

The word “power” rang in my mind, as if it came from some primal part of me.

Another subtle bounce, this time probing my entire lower body. My feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs and hips all felt like a loaded spring. A small smirk emerged from my face.

I tightened my grip, flexing my fully extended arms and tucked my shoulders down my posterior chain. My entire back contracted like a suit of armor.

Inhaling deeply, I drew strength into every cell of my body.

I braced my abdomen with tremendous force, like I was about to get shot with a cannon ball at point-blank range.

My grip climaxed, irradiating strength through my entire body. My glutes fired, like the thrusters of a rocket ship. Blast off.

I exhaled every ounce of fear left in my being. The bar levitated slowly off the ground. As it passed my knees, my stalwart hip-hinge exploded the weight upwards, ending with the bar kissing my upper thighs as I stood up straight.

Every muscle in my body was contracted as I stood in mighty satisfaction, holding 325 pounds in my hands.

“Power.” That unyielding mantra again rose to prominence in my consciousness. Energy animated my body, enlivening the totality of my existence.

I paused, savoring the moment; admiring the magnificent strength capacity of the human body. (And to think, I would be doing this with 10 more pounds next week.)

Then I hinged at the hip again, lowering the weight and letting the plates gently smack the hard rubber floor.

I released my right foot from its suction-like grip and pivoted to grab my water bottle.

As I sauntered past the plates, I lightly tapped the congregation to whisper a heart-pounding “Thank you.”


 

PS – That’s an excerpt from my book Momentous: A Compilation of Micro Stories Acting as Glimpses of the Eternal Magic of Life’s Moments. Check that out too if you enjoyed reading this.


 

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What You’re Completely Overlooking During Your Workout

So I was in the gym in my apartment building the other day. I warmed up on the yoga mat, then made my way to the dumbbells. But before I even picked up a weight, I noticed this guy… Painfully skinny, shrugging spastically jerking dumbbells with reckless abandon. Dropping the weights (like it’s hawwwt) and panting like housecat on crack, he picked up some lighter weights. Wise choice, I though to myself. But nah, he took two steps back and started swinging them up to his shoulders as fast as his little arms could move. An his head was turning from side to side the whole set. After this, he “rested” with some intense pacing around the gym like he forgot his keys or something. At this point I was done observing. I couldn’t watch anymore. I had to get in the zone and begin my workout. And luckily, Mr. Fant-spastic’s blind intensity reminded me of the most important factor when working out…

…Awareness.

mark your calendars

a·ware·ness [uh-wair-nis] – noun – the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness.

Awareness of what you’re doing right now. The present moment. Awareness of the movement you’re performing. The correct form. Your breathe. Your body’s positioning. Your grip. Where you’re looking. Just being conscious of what your body’s doing.

Awareness (during workouts) creates focus and strengthens the mind-body connection (or as it applies to working out, the mind-muscle connection).

Focus on the task at hand. Focus on the muscles that need to be activated to execute the movement. Focus on producing tension.

The mind-muscle connection aligns the mind and body towards the same goal. It is shifting your awareness and focus to the muscles required to perform a movement. It’s basically living vicariously through your muscles.

Most people’s minds and bodies are doing completely different things while they’re working out. Their bodies are performing a movement, but their minds are elsewhere. They’re thinking about how they look in the mirror, what the person next to them thinks of them, what they’re going to have for dinner, the next exercise, whether Charmeleon evolves into Charizard at level 32 or 36 (it’s 36 btw), blah blah blah. Caught in an endless loop of mind chatter. They ruminate over everything but neglect the only true reality; the task at hand (the now).

They have no directed focus. Their attention is drawn to everything outside of themselves. Instead of focusing on the environment we have control over, they focus on the external. Their mind is elsewhere, and it’s obvious. Obvious in their frantic aura, unfocused eyes, and the structural integrity of their body. Don’t be one of these people.

If we can’t be aware of our own bodies and minds, then what can we really be aware of?

If we can’t focus on the movement of our bodies, then what can we really focus on?

If we can’t give full attention to the only thing we have complete control over, then what can we really give our full attention to?

You can just tell when someone is in the zone. They’re unconcerned with what’s going on around them. Completely focused. In a meditative dance with their body. Their awareness is where it needs to be in order to produce the desired results. And more often than not, their mental and physical states will reflect this.

When we harness awareness of the body and mind, it becomes a hinge. A hinge we can leverage to create success in every other aspect of life.

Awareness applies to anything and everything.

Now here’s the purely physical aspect of it all. That guy I saw in the gym doesn’t look how he wants to look. This was practically radiating out of him. He wants to be muscular. He wants to feel powerful. But he’s skinny, not muscular, and not even particularly lean. And that’s not me judging, it’s just an assessment of how it is.

Everyone deserves a body they can be proud of. A body they can be comfortable in. A body that enhances their experiences.

So where to start?

Workout Awareness 101:

Tell yourself that this workout will be some “alone time.” How you view your workouts is the most important factor in determining how aware you’ll be. Just you, your body, your mind, and whatever you have to do to get from point A to point B. You didn’t come to show off. You didn’t come to make friends. You didn’t come to impress anyone. You came to build a stronger version of yourself.

Learn correct form (and perfect it with practice). This should be obvious. But at least educate yourself a little bit on how to do something before you hurt yourself flailing around like a rabid monkey.

Visualize the exercise. Visualize the action, then actualize the vision. Throughout the day, and right before you perform an exercise, visualize yourself executing it perfectly. Visualization creates a desired outcome in your mind, and acts as practice for you to successfully make it a reality. It sets you up for success. All successful people do this. And you should too.

Touch/poke the muscles you need to activate. Seriously, this works. Touch the muscles you want to activate before your set, and you’ll have an easier time establishing the mind-muscle connection. I literally couldn’t activate my lats while doing pullups until I started doing this.

Focus on the muscles you’re going to use. Nothing else. No distractions or mental roaming.

Use a slower tempo than normal (you can increase the tempo once you get better at it) and squeeze the working muscles as hard as you can.

Breath deep. As Elliott Hulse says, “Breath into your balls.” The importance of breathing cannot be stressed enough. Deep breathing stills the mind and creates awareness. This is why deep breathing has played a big part of Eastern philosophy. Breathing also allows you to maximize the force your body produces (that’s next).

Inhale during the eccentric part. Exhale during the concentric part. Think of inhaling as drawing force into your body, and think of exhaling as exerting force out of your body. So  during a pushup, you would inhale as you’re going down (visualize bringing energy into the body) and exhale as you push yourself up (visualize that energy exploding out).

Make everything count. You will only have this moment once. Half-concentrating is doing yourself a great injustice. It’s conditioning both your mind and body to be weak and complacent. Take advantage of the now, because that’s all we ever have.

Potential side-effects of awareness as it applies to working out:

Laser-like focus and mind-muscle connection (see above).

Presence. This is what a lot of spiritual teachings stress. The present is all that exists. The past and future only exist in the mind. Being present puts you at ease and makes life more fulfilling. And like anything, you become better and better at being present with practice.

Meditation. Working out becomes a meditative practice. So you kill two birds with one stone. You get all the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits while being  _________________.

Body awareness. Posture, alignment, bodily tension, how you move, coordination, less risk of injury…etc.

Increased muscle activation and tension produced. You activate more muscle fibers and contract them harder. This means more strength, improved athletic performance, and more muscle growth.

Stronger mind-body relationship. Aligns the mind and body towards the same goals. You become more conscious of your body, and more in tuned with it. You’ll recognize things like how your body reacts to certain foods, situations where you tense up, your posture at work…etc.

Concentration. Working out with awareness is practice for concentration. We live in a world of multi-tasking and 24/7 distraction. Anything which allows you to completely focus will greatly hone your concentration ability.

Consistently hone your workout awareness and you’ll have the focus of a Tibetan monk with the strength of an Abdominal Swoleman.

____________________________________________________________________________

Some more good stuff:

Check out this great article entitled “The Zen of the Barbell.”

And here’s the ol’ Hodgetwins on mind-muscle connection.

Self-Resets

Everybody has those times when you lack anything remotely resembling focus.  When you feel unmotivated, lazy, lost and without purpose. That feeling like you don’t want to do ANYTHING, and even the task of merely thinking seems like too much effort. You know what I’m talking about. We all have those moments. And all it takes to get over the hump is what I call a “self-reset.”

Sometimes you gotta clear the slate and hit the ol’ reset button for your life.

Reset

Here’s some self-resets you can do get the positive momentum going.

Do some deep breathing. Take a moment to breathe deeply. “Breathe into your balls”, as Elliott Hulse eloquently says. Just breathe deeply and focus on your breathe.  Breathing is so overlooked for instant stress relief because it’s deceptively simple. Get into the habit of deep breathing and you’ll become more aware of how shallow your breathe usually is as well. Breathe life into yourself.

Lay down on the floor/ground. Lay on your back and do nothing. Focus on your breathe if you want. Get back up when you feel like you’re ready and continue your day. This is a personal favorite of mine, and it’s really refreshing.

Walk outside. Simple and effective. There’s something about both walking and being outside that just makes everything alright.

Work out. Any sort of physical exertion is ridiculously effective as a reset button for life.

Do some stretching or mobility exercises. You don’t notice how much tension you’re holding in your body until you start releasing it.

Check something off of your to-do list. Get something done, no matter how small. Even the slightest sense of accomplishment can act as a tipping point towards positivity.

Take a shower. Showering is both physically and mentally cleansing. There’s something about running water that stimulates deep relaxation. Everyone feels refreshed after a shower.

Listening to a song you love (preferably a happy/upbeat one). Because… C’mon… You can’t possibly stay in a bad mood while bumpin’ something like this.

So try one of these out next time you get “that” feeling. You’ll be feelin’ good, feelin’ great in no time. Trust me, I’m not a doctor.

-Stevie P!

95% of the Health and Fitness Advice You Need in Under 100 Words

The health and fitness industries have been made out to be wayyyyy more complicated than they need to be.

“To earn a fortune in the diet and exercise industries, there is a dictum: complicate to profit” -Tim Ferriss

I’ve devoted literally thousands of hours studying and applying health and fitness information over the last 6 years. I’m ridiculously passionate about both health and fitness. And I would have a career in either one of these, but there’s just this one thing? When you sort through all of the bullshit, it’s all really, really simple. Almost too simple, but it’s been made complicated.

HERE’S 95% OF THE HEALTH AND FITNESS KNOWLEDGE YOU NEED IN LESS THAN 100 WORDS:

Want to be healthier in every aspect? Eat real food —> (“If man made it, don’t eat it.” -Jack LaLanne)

Want to lose body fat? Eat a little less real food.

Want to gain muscle? Eat more real food and lift weights.

Want to lose fat and still be muscular? Eat real food and lift weights.

Want to increase your endurance? Run.

Want to get stronger? Lift heavier weights than you did last week.

It’s really as simple as that.

And want all of these to be lasting, lifelong changes? DO IT CONSISTENTLY AND KEEP IMPROVING.

That’s pretty much all you need to know. That final 5% consists of minutiae, very, very goal-specific things (ex/ rehabbing after a knee injury), or extreme cases (and extreme cases are usually unnatural, if you think about it). For example, a professional bodybuilder is going to have to use more complicated techniques to get down to 3% bodyfat while carrying around 300lbs of muscle. This is an extreme case.

The problems people have with reaching their goals stem from 2 things.

Paralysis by analysis- People will sit on the internet and read every so-called expert’s opinion on every subject. This will leave you confused. And you will just search for more answers instead of actually taking action.

Instant gratification mentality, resulting in lack of consistency- People think everything is instantaneous. And instead of consistently doing something (as described above), they want instant gratification. It didn’t take you 4 weeks to get fat, so it’s not going to take 4 weeks to get a 6-pack. Work at something consistently, track your progress, and you’ll notice subtle changes indicating that you’re moving in the right direction. Consistency with any program is 1,000 times better than inconsistency with the “perfect” program. Life is a journey, not a destination. Learn to love the process of self-improvement. Would you start playing a video game at the final boss? It’s all about the journey. Stay consistent and enjoy it.

And with the advice given above, use common sense. Don’t go outside and start eating rocks (they’re natural right?). Use proper form when lifting weights (It’s all natural movement patterns anyway. But most people are just so imbalanced physically due to poor lifestyle choices). Don’t go to the gym for the first time and try to yank 500lbs off the ground. Use common sense. Get familiar with your intuition, ya dig?

Stay thirsty my friends.

-Stevie P

 

 

 

 

1

Working Out Alone

For me, working out (I’m referring to lifting weights/resistance training) is not just a physical experience, but a spiritual one as well. I’m fully immersed in the activity. I have intense focus and concentration. I am completely present. My mind is still, free of incessant thought. There are no distractions. No worries. I don’t care about what is happening in the outside world. All is well here and now.

I am in control. I dictate the pace. I regulate the intensity. I’m not out to impress anyone, except my former self. I directly cause my improvement here. I directly impact my achievement. I’m fully responsible for my performance, and I love that.

This is how working out becomes an all-encompassing physical, mental, and spiritual practice. It’s an explosion, a discharge of all bodily tension. It’s a release of all stress. It’s a spiritual cleansing. It’s an endeavor of rebirth, with a stronger version of myself emerging after every session.

 

Body is the temple

 

A focused workout can be a fleeting glimpse into something we rarely experience in today’s world. A break from all of the external noise. It’s my alone time; “me time.”

And we all can benefit from such a practice. Think of working out like Clark Kent stepping inside of the phone booth. Let your inner superhero out!

-P!