Earlier this afternoon, I headed up on 10 acres of forested land here in Washington state and did one of my obstacle course training workouts, (video above) which consisted of:
-Cinder block drag uphill
-20 tire flips
-30 foot rope climb
-Obstacle wall climb
This circuit takes around 12-15 minutes per round, and for today's workout, I even strapped my chest mounted GoPro Hero3 camera on to give you a taste of what it looks like. The video above shows you the madness that ensued.
That workout definitely falls into what I would call a “wild” workout.
And since I started doing these wild outdoor workouts, I must admit that my gym workouts have gotten a bit…
It seems like every time I walk into a health club, I can now smell the cleaning chemicals more strongly, feel the electromagnetic fields emanating off the treadmill TV screens and sense the dry, boring atmosphere much more strongly.
Turns out it's not just me.
A study conducted in 2011 compared the effects of outdoor exercise with indoor exercise on physical and mental well-being outcome in adults and children.
The study a significant improvement in mental well-being with oudoor exercise compared with exercising indoors. Exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of vitality, increased energy and positive engagement, along with decreased stress, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the outdoor activity at a later date.
The notion that movement in nature holds a special place in the realm of public health, including an ability to refresh the body and mind, is not a new one. Medical doctors such as Franklin B. Hough reported in early U.S. medical journals that forests have a “cheerful and tranquilizing influence which they exert upon the mind, more especially when worn down by mental labor.”
In 1982, the Forest Agency of the Japanese government premiered its shinrin-yoku plan. Shinrin means forest, and yoku, although it has several meanings, refers to a “bathing, showering or basking in.” More broadly, it is defined as “taking in, in all of our senses, the forest atmosphere.” The program was established to encourage people to get out into nature, to literally bathe the mind and body in nature as a means of promoting health.
It turns out that a couple of my friends, Dan Vinson and David Hunt, also feel exactly the same way.
As a matter of fact, they feel so strongly about it that they've invented a handy new piece of wild outdoor workout gear (currently on Kickstarer) called “Monkii Bars“. Check out the amazing video below, then keep reading to learn why Dan and David want to keep their workouts wild, and a sample workout straight from their monkey minds…
The Monkii Bar Video
How To Keep Your Workouts Wild
Going to the gym sucks.
The summer after college graduation we never set foot in the gym.
We camped, climbed, cliff-dived, swam, and danced all summer long. We were in the best shape of our lives. We haven’t stopped talking about the “Summer of ‘08” since then.
Fast forward to now; we have given in to our careers, signed leases, and have gym memberships. Heck, one of us even has a puppy. That carefree summer is long gone, but what we've found is that there are moments every day where we can capture a little bit of that wildness.
For us, those moments are not found at the gym.
They are in runs to the park, quick lunchtime workouts, and weekend afternoon hikes.
So we invented monkii bars to bring a little bit of wildness to everyday life, to transform workouts into adventures, and to reawaken the passion inside of each of us to live stronger.
Then, on October 22, 2013, we did a workout using Monkii Bars while suspended underneath a hot air balloon. We were in the air for a little over an hour and did as many pull ups, muscle ups, dips, and front levers as we could. We were excited, focused, and were definitely gripped.
We did the hot air balloon workout to help prove the idea that you can work out anywhere. It is easy to tell people this and the idea often goes unnoticed. However, no one ignored us on that day.
A Monkii Bar Workout
So where can you use these Monkii Bars?
The short answer: anywhere.
Monkii Bars are all about creating a suspension workout anywhere. Some prime examples are: the park, office, at home, the park, on the trail, camping, or even on your vacation to Europe. We want our users to get as creative as possible.
At the beach and there isn’t anywhere to hang Monkii Bars? No problem. The spectra is super durable. Wrap it around some driftwood and you instantly have a sled. We’ve set up Monkii Bars all kinds of places. Tree branches, swingsets, wooden beams, doors, fences, bus stops, light posts, banisters, balconies, cars, and hot air balloons…
Here’s a perfect example what to do to make your next workout wild:
-Go on a trail run.
-Find someplace epic. Preferably with a view, secluded and with a few exercise props.
-Get wild like this:
1. Set up Monkii Bars on a tree branch and have them hang about 8” from the ground.
2. Start with 3 rounds of:
-12 Monkii Bars pushups (pictured below)
-Sprint for 2 minutes
-Rest 2 minutes then repeat for 3x total.
3. After the 3rd round, during the 2 minutes of rest, raise the Monkii Bars to the height of your naval and then after the 2 minutes is up begin 3 rounds of:
-12 Monkii Bars rows (pictured below)
-20 Lunge Jumps (10 each leg)
-Rest 2 minutes after completing all 3 rounds.
4. Finish with the following:
-Accumulate 3 minutes of an L-Hold (feet above your hips as pictured below).
If you cannot complete with your legs straight, then no problem – just bend your knees at 90 degrees and keep them tucked so that your thighs are parallel to the ground.
This is just one example of the infinite amount of workout you can do with Monkii Bars. We'll even have a Monkii Bars app that will feature daily workouts, demo videos, and programs that make trail running, the office, or local park a full-on training facility.
…why the outdoors?
Fact is, you do not always need rubber flooring, bumper plates, air conditioning, 24” boxes or a pre-workout supplement to work out. Mother Nature has provided everything we need and more.
Let’s embrace this. Go get hot, dirty, and uncomfortable while loving every second of it. Go alone to somewhere no one will see you, or even believe you were there if you told them, and do a workout.
We believe that we were all born wild and that this wildness is still a part of who we are, both as individuals and as a culture. I also believe that outdoor exercise can be a means to reconnect to the innate wildness in all of us.
Challenge yourself, workout anywhere, and live with wildness, passion, and purpose.
So what do you think? Do you agree with Dan and David? Do you prefer outdoor vs. indoor workouts? Do you think you'll try the Monkii Bars or support their Kickstart campaign?
I certainly will. I love this kind of stuff. Leave your comments, questions and feedback below!