“WTF Wilderness Workouts”
When I set out to create Flexible Fitness, I actually did so BEFORE the pandemic and before the lockdowns.
Initially, I created them as a sort of bridge between programs that were suddenly interrupted for whatever reason: traveling, changes in personal circumstances, whatever.
I was in the middle of filming when the pandemic hit—and then the lockdowns hit as well. Suddenly, people everywhere were forced to abandon their programs and workout either at home, or in other “non gym” environments, with very limited equipment, if any.
We ended up releasing Flexible Fitness before it was technically finished filming so that people could use the program(s). (We would have fast-tracked, but the lockdowns and Covid made that temporarily unsafe.) You can read a bit more about this in my “Programmus Interruptus” post as well.
But now, as we slowly come out of Covid and gyms reopen and things change yet again, I'm hearing many of the same excuses for missing whole blocks of workouts, just like the excuses that inspired The Flex Fit workouts to begin with.
The Flexible Fitness program assumes you have:
- dumbbells and an adjustable bench
- a set of resistance bands
- a dual-axis cable machine (or some equivalent set of cable options)
There's also a few very basic bodyweight only options, but the main program is designed assuming you have at least one of the above, or a combination of them that'll let you mix and match the programs to get things done.
However, this leaves out people in other circumstances: they're going camping, they only have a Predator band or two, etc.
This makes training more difficult, but let’s get something straight here: There is a major difference between “can’t” workout, and ‘won’t” workout!
If you are on vacation and choose not to workout, that is fine, I’m good with that. I think that's healthy.
But many people write me saying they “can't” workout.
I'll say here what I tell those people: that's just not true!
Lack of equipment may make it difficult to stick to an assigned program… but there are always options!
…and to make my point, how about the extreme example of client Aaron Chigol!
Aaron's Wilderness Workouts
Aaron has a cabin out in the deep bush in Alberta, Canada. It is his go-to place to spend time in nature. He spends a lot of time there, so it's not feasible for him to be off his training program every time he goes there—especially since he's also competed as a natural bodybuilder in shows!
As you can see, his cottage has the bare minimum creature comforts:
…but not only did Aaron stick to my Hardgainer Solution workouts while living out in the boonies… one year he actually did most of his contest-dieting and contest-prep training there as well!
When you watch these workouts, you can’t help but be inspired watching Aaron. He's not just sticking to his program; he's being creative and insightful, using whatever the nearby natural environment provided him for equipment, plus a few of his own ingenious exercise creations.
Here's a preview or glimpse of what I mean. Workout 19 of HGS 2.0 calls for Leg Press. Now, leg press is obviously one of those exercises that seems impossible out in the middle of nowhere, right?
Well, maybe not! Check it out:
And if you're thinking, “Well, that's great for him, but I don't have a huge tree to work with!” fair enough, but in that case, try some of these options for legs:
Of course you lose something when you don't have access to a gym or your regular setup, but Aaron shows that there ARE options, and probably some advantages too—it must be doubly invigorating to workout outside in the fresh air deep in the woods.
Here are just a few amazing ‘Aaron Innovations’ examples you will see:
- Aaron turned a tree into a cable machine
- Aaron turned a log into barbell
- Aaron turned car batteries, gas cans and other items into dumbbells
- Aaron turned a big rock into a medicine ball.
- …and on and on it goes!
To reiterate, Aaron has done all of this while still following both an HGS and HGS 2.0 protocol. He also did this for a contest prep (and won!).
Needless to say, no matter how long Aaron stays at his cabin out in the middle of nowhere, he has gym-quality workouts there. No complaints, no “yeah buts,” just a good ol' “where there’s a will, there’s a way” spirit of innovation and creativity.
As you watch these ‘wilderness workout’ clips it should be obvious (and inspiring) to see that if these HGS workouts can be duplicated the deep in the bush in the middle of nowhere, then they can also be duplicated in campgrounds, playgrounds, schoolyards, public parks, and even in hotel rooms.
Will you be able to do exactly what Aaron did? No, of course not. Your local park probably doesn't have huge logs lying around. But then, Aaron's cabin also doesn't have a play structure or a set of bars to work with. Once you have a relatively flexible program like HGS, you can make things work.
Maintaining a physique while traveling or stranded has never been easier. Aaron recorded these workouts for me a few years back, well before even I'd discovered some of the newer options in resistance bands technology which have made travel bands and resistance bands exercises easier and more versatile than ever.
Let me also remind you that Aaron is over 50 years old, as well, so there is really no ‘I’m too old’ excuse to apply here. As Aaron says in the videos, he makes it work by following basic Abel Principles. Put simply, how you workout still matters as well, and the adage ‘methods are many, principles are few’ still applies.
What's included in the new bonus?
In addition to some of the videos you see above, we've collected a variety of videos:
- A “Tools of the Trade” video where Aaron walks through some of what he uses.
- A complete run-through of HGS Workout 54;
- A complete run-through of HGS 2.0 Workout 10;
- A complete run-through of HGS Workout 19;
- As an extra, EXTRA bonus, Aaron has included himself performing my “Coach Abel TRX Whole Body Blast Circuit” in real time as well. This 11 minute fat-burning, muscle-retention, muscle stimulating, muscle toning circuit hits every single bodypart with just one piece of equipment: the TRX.
The idea is that even if you can't do the Flexible Fitness program or don't have the equipment, you can use Aaron's adaptations to basically make any of the 100+ HGS and HGS 2.0 workouts do-able in just about any circumstances. Since the HGS programs are all whole-body workouts, they're extremely flexible in this regard (especially when travelling and which days you can/can't workout are a bit up in the air).
Take a look at any given workout in the HGS programs. Can't do this or that exercise? Swap legs for legs, arms for arms, bodypart for bodypart, for whatever you can do. Try to hit the same reps schemes. Use common sense and try not to swap a light, isolation movement for 20-reps for a big compound exercise for low reps. That's about it. You'll be able to make it work.
Aaron shows us the kind of creative ingenuity and fun you can have any time and anywhere when it comes to exercise options and working out, if working out and maintaining a fitness regimen really matters to you.
This doesn't have to be complicated. As Aaron shows us, there's room for creativity… but at the same time, you actually don't need to get that creative to make things work.
Here are a few more examples of the kinds of options you can use to make things work:
Examples of options
Think about this: just with bodyweight exercises alone you can create a reasonable maintenance workout regimen if you are stuck someplace with no equipment, like a hotel room.
You can do squats and squat variations, you can do lunges and lunge variations – you can do hip thrusts and glute bridges – you can do push ups and push ups variations – you can do planks, and plank variations, as well as situps, leg raises and crunches variations.
And you can create full circuits, or mini-circuits by combining so many of these bodyweight exercise options.
With just one or two flat bands you can do pulldowns variations, and rowing variations; you can do many chest press variations; you can do shoulder press variations, side lateral variations, front raises variations, and bent over lateral variations (oh my!). You can do triceps extensions and variations, as well as other triceps exercises, and biceps exercises as well.
So, it wouldn’t take much equipment or much creativity to engineer whole body, bodypart exercises, with or without external anchors for these bands.
Again, check out my whole Resistance Bands playlist on my YouTube channel for all kinds of fun ideas and exercise options.
And these flat bands are light and you can just throw them into a suitcase or even the trunk of your car and be good to go.
What the whole last couple of years have taught us is that when it comes to maintaining your fitness on some level, it doesn’t require a lot of creativity, it just requires willingness.
You certainly can get really creative, like Aaron, but you don't have to go that far.
Watching Aaron get ‘er done up at the cabin in the middle of nowhere should inspire everyone. I found it incredibly invigorating watching Aaron keep to his actual HGS program while being out in the middle of nowhere doing it.
I have personally sent some of these clips of Aaron to friends and clients who have cottages and were wondering how they could workout while at their cottage for the summer. Just by watching a few clips they ALL reported back to me how these clips gave them so many ideas for their own personal Wilderness Workouts.
That is why we decided to make these Wilderness Workouts part of the Flex Fit project.
We try to cover a few specific circumstances (dumbbells and a bench, resistance bands, etc.), and then beyond that, we want to show you what's possible, whatever your circumstances.
Anyone who has purchased Flexible Fitness previously has automatic access to the new workouts. For others, well, now's the time to invest in Flexible Fitness to see what it's all about!