Moving around the world has made the goal of fitness more difficult for me.
When we lived in the United States, it was easier because Greg belonged to a gym and I had some equipment at home. That all changed when we sold it all to move around the world.
I experimented with a few different ways to stay fit.
- I downloaded and subscribed to the SWORKIT app.
- I walked a lot.
- I carved out time here that there to do walking lunges and pushups throughout the day.
But I started having a hard time sticking to it after a bit.
One reason is that it’s challenging for me when we are moving around every 2 to 4 weeks. This means a day of planning for travel (that’s the day before travel), a day of actual travel, a day or two of getting settled once we arrive somewhere new.
By the time I’m ready to get back into it, I’ve missed many days of exercising. And it’s hard to get back into it.
I know… EXCUSES! EXCUSES! EXCUSES!
The other challenge is that we are living in areas that are not close to exercise facilities. But even if we were close to one, the cost would probably be too expensive for short-term membership. So staying fit while traveling so much requires getting creative for both doing the exercises and staying motivated to do them.
When we move around frequently it means regular disruptions in routine. And if I go longer than a few days without working out, it is a slippery slope to losing my motivation to get back into it. It’s not so hard for Greg because he’s more disciplined, bad-ass that he is.
Once I get my motivation back (watching G.I. Jane works like a charm), I need to figure out what to do. I have to get creative with where I’m going to work out (is there space? Is there a park?), and how I will exercise (do I use the SWORKIT app? Do I create a schedule of push-ups and lunges?).
So, in my attempt to create an exercise program that I could use while traveling, that I would not get easily distracted out of doing by travel days, and a program that wouldn’t take up too much time, I came upon calisthenics. Specifically progressive calisthenics.
Enter Convict Conditioning
I was listening to a podcast, and the guests on the show were raving about a book called Convict Conditioning. It’s a book written by a former prison inmate who was successful at staying very strong and in shape using progressive calisthenics while he was in prison. The author himself was intriguing enough for me to look into the book, and when I saw all of the positive reviews I knew there had to be something there.
Paul Wade spent 19 years in hell holes like San Quentin, Angola and Marion. He entered this world a gangly, terrorized weakling and he graduated to final freedom, pound-for-pound one of the strongest humans on the planet.
Paul Wade dedicated his prison life to the cultivation of that supreme survival strength. And ironically, it is in America’s prisons that we can find some of the great, lost secrets of how to get immensely powerful and strong. Paul Wade mined these secrets as if his life depended on it-and of course in many ways it did.
Finally free, Paul Wade pays his debt to society-not just with the horrors of his years in the hole-but with the greatest gift he could possibly give us: a priceless set of progressions that can take ANYONE who has the will from abject weakling to strength specimen extraordinaire.
The great thing about calisthenics is it’s just body-weight training. It’s simply using your own body to get strong, sexy, and lean. I love that it’s also designed to strengthen your core, joints, etc so these exercises in turn help protect your body from injuries.
Best yet… as the program is comprised of body-weight exercises, this means that I do not require hand-weights or exercise equipment. This makes the ideal workout program for traveling because I don’t have to look for a gym, and I don’t have to spend any money! Win!
I’m on fire!
I bought the book and studied it. I immediately implemented the program with excitement. And, to be honest, I’m friggin’ on fire to get to a one-arm push-up! Mark my words here… I will accomplish this someday! Ditto for that cool-as-hell handstand push-up.
My favorite things about this program
Other than it not requiring a gym, I love that it’s easy to start, and requires very little time (especially for a beginner). I rotate through four exercises: Push-ups, Squats, Pull-ups, and Leg-raises. You progress through difference levels as you master each one. And this can take a long time. For example, right now I’m only on the third level in push-ups (the 10th and final level being the 1-arm push-up, which will take a while to attain).
Furthermore, once I reach a certain level in those four aforementioned exercises, I’ll add two more: Bridge, and Handstand push-up series. That’s it. Circuiting through those during the week is hard (the exercises are tough) but easy (doesn’t require a lot of time).
Only two days a week
As an example, I can exercise two days a week. One day is to work the Push-up and Leg-raise exercises with another day in the week working the Squats and Pull-ups exercises. (Some weeks I do two days of each, as I experiment with progressing faster through the levels.)
I would not consider myself a beginner in fitness, but when I take breaks between going hard-core with exercise and not doing much of anything other than walking (i.e., lazy ass), I find that I cannot just jump in with a daily routine. I get lazy.
Therefore, I like to ease into it. This is one of the keys for getting me motivated to maintain the routine. I can easily commit to five minutes of exercise every day or every couple days. I mean let’s be real, who can’t add a minimum commit to that?
Convict Conditioning is perfect for that.
That’s not to say the exercises are easy! However, it requires only a little time each day (or only a couple of days a week) that I enjoy it. Even better, as I gain strength with the program I find myself wanting to do a little bit more.
I do have one challenge with the program.
Even though it generally does not require equipment to do the exercises, I found that you do need something to assist you in doing the back exercises. For example to do pull-ups I need to pull myself up on something. Right now I’m in the stage where I can usually do this under a table.
For Greg, however, he is at the stage where he does regular chin-ups / pull-ups (he’s a strong man!), and he has to be able to hang his body from something. This is where we have to get creative and it makes it harder to stay consistent with that particular exercise in the program.
We often look for playgrounds so that he can do his pull up exercises hanging from the equipment there. The challenge is that we do not always have access to a playground. :(
In conclusion, I love the Convict Conditioning program.
It has been instrumental in allowing me to maintain a strength program while I travel. I complement the program with plenty of walking when I can. And, I will likely infuse some HITT into my program, but I’m too lazy to start that right now. ;)