How To Be As Awesome And Buff As Colin

 

About the Author: Josh Hanagarne is the twitchy giant behind World’s Strongest Librarian, a blog about living with Tourette’s Syndrome, kettlebells, book recommendations, buying pants when you’re 6’8″, old-time strongman training, and much more. Please subscribe to Josh’s RSS Updates to stay in touch.

It can be very hard to get into a fitness or workout groove. The initial soreness, the shortness of breath, and the unfamiliar shock to the nervous system are the reasons that most gyms are empty once again by February each new year.

But when you get past those hurdles, the euphoria of gaining strength and confidence is indescribable to anyone who hasn’t experienced. I’ve heard so many people say “Why did I ever stop? I feel so good, why did I get out of the habit?”

There are lots of reasons that knock people out of their fitness groove. Work, family, sickness, and let’s face it, it’s easier not to exercise. It is natural to choose the path of least resistance, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for us.

And nothing can throw a wrench into your health plans like traveling. Well, I don’t have access to a gym. I don’t have any weights. These excuses don’t hold water, but I don’t hold it against anyone who believes that they need these things to be healthy. There’s a lot of terrible fitness information out there. Most people don’t have the experience to disagree when a personal trainer or a magazine says “Do this and you’ll get this.”

I’ve been there, believe me. But now, if you are traipsing all over the globe like Colin, and you want to stay fit and gain strength constantly — like Colin — there’s good news.

Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

The plank — if your core isn’t strong, nothing is

A plank just means holding any part of a pushup. If you hold yourself up at the top of a pushup, that’s a plank. If you hold yourself an inch off the ground, that’s a plank. Anywhere in the middle: plank.

Even though it’s simple, there are still ways to mess it up and not get the full benefit. Focus on these things and you’ll be fine:

  • Press your heels together
  • Press your shoulder down towards your feet
  • Keep your butt down! no waving it around in the air
  • Keep your butt up! It can’t sag below your hips

Once you can do a 90 second plank, you’re ready to move on to other things. The plank is primarily an assessment. Once you can hit 90 seconds, you are authorized to do other things, and there’s not much point in going longer than 90 seconds. It’s impressive, but not particularly helpful.

The pushup

The pushup is great, but most people don’t do pushups correctly. Once you can hold the plank position, you should be strong enough to do a good pushup. Butt down, heels together, hands beneath your shoulders, and keep your chin up as you descend under control.

If you start feeling really sassy and get bored with pushups, try the one arm version. When that gets boring, do them on one arm and one leg.

The one-legged squat

These are also called ‘pistols.’ They can be used both to build strength, and as an assessment. In order to do a pistol correctly, it means that a lot of things in your body are working correctly. Pistols are something you practice, rather than using as a traditional workout. Mike Mahler has the approach I’ve used to work on my own pistols. All you need are some stairs, a chair, or a box.

Just about any kettlebell exercise

The portability of the kettlebell makes it my first choice when I travel. I’m 6’8″ and weigh 245 lbs, but if I want to whip myself, I can do it with a mere 35 lb kettlebell. This is hard to explain if you’ve never tried it, but if you try it, you’ll have a great new tool in your toolbox.

Handstands or handstand pushups

A handstand pushup is just what it sounds like. You do a handstand, then lower your head to the ground (use a pillow beneath you) and press back up. You probably won’t be strong enough to do this at first, but you can kick up against a wall and hold the handstand for time. Once you can get a 30 second hold, you should be ready to start lowering yourself to the ground under control. Once you can lower yourself, start trying to see if you can press back up, even half an inch. In time, you’ll pop back up.

Jump rope

I hope this needs no explanation, because I’m not sure how to explain it. Watch a few of the Rocky movies and you’ll be ready to go.

There are very few excuses that ultimately hold water when it comes to neglecting our bodies. Travel is one of the poorest. There is always something you can do. Always. The first thing is to realize that you do not need a gym to train. Or weights. Or anything fancier than your own body.

Please let me know if you have any questions about anything I’ve said up above. And if you’d like an expanded list or a greater technical breakdown of any of anything I’ve written above, please let me know.

About the Author: Josh Hanagarne is the twitchy giant behind World’s Strongest Librarian, a blog about living with Tourette’s Syndrome, kettlebells, book recommendations, buying pants when you’re 6’8″, old-time strongman training, and much more. Please subscribe to Josh’s RSS Updates to stay in touch.

45 comments

  1. The other day for fun, I tried a pistol. I could hardly squat with out me starting to bend over a lot at the waist. Is it my core weakness that is causing this or a lack of flexibility in my hamstrings and calves?

  2. The other day for fun, I tried a pistol. I could hardly squat with out me starting to bend over a lot at the waist. Is it my core weakness that is causing this or a lack of flexibility in my hamstrings and calves?

  3. The other day for fun, I tried a pistol. I could hardly squat with out me starting to bend over a lot at the waist. Is it my core weakness that is causing this or a lack of flexibility in my hamstrings and calves?

  4. Yeah, I think weight training can be a bit overrated. Now…I have to preface that by saying weight training is a very good thing to do (no, I don’t have a split personality).

    The bottom line is you definitely do not need anything else, but your own body to work out. Don’t think you can’t do it. Don’t think you need a gym. Want some inspiration? Read this article from Men’s Health: http://bit.ly/5oomol

  5. Yeah, I think weight training can be a bit overrated. Now…I have to preface that by saying weight training is a very good thing to do (no, I don’t have a split personality).

    The bottom line is you definitely do not need anything else, but your own body to work out. Don’t think you can’t do it. Don’t think you need a gym. Want some inspiration? Read this article from Men’s Health: http://bit.ly/5oomol

  6. Yeah, I think weight training can be a bit overrated. Now…I have to preface that by saying weight training is a very good thing to do (no, I don’t have a split personality).

    The bottom line is you definitely do not need anything else, but your own body to work out. Don’t think you can’t do it. Don’t think you need a gym. Want some inspiration? Read this article from Men’s Health: http://bit.ly/5oomol

  7. @Gordie: Pistols are more of an assessment than anything. You actually have to bend forward at the waist somewhat. It could be ankle mobility, hip flexors, calves…You might try it with a little bit of weight. The longer your femurs are, the harder it gets to do without a counterbalance.

    @Nate: It totally depends on your goals. I tend to yawn when anyone says “always” or “never” when talking about strength and the body. I cycle bodyweight, kettlebells, barbells, and sandbags. This means that progress is constant. Thanks for that article link. Good stuff.

  8. @Gordie: Pistols are more of an assessment than anything. You actually have to bend forward at the waist somewhat. It could be ankle mobility, hip flexors, calves…You might try it with a little bit of weight. The longer your femurs are, the harder it gets to do without a counterbalance.

    @Nate: It totally depends on your goals. I tend to yawn when anyone says “always” or “never” when talking about strength and the body. I cycle bodyweight, kettlebells, barbells, and sandbags. This means that progress is constant. Thanks for that article link. Good stuff.

  9. @Gordie: Pistols are more of an assessment than anything. You actually have to bend forward at the waist somewhat. It could be ankle mobility, hip flexors, calves…You might try it with a little bit of weight. The longer your femurs are, the harder it gets to do without a counterbalance.

    @Nate: It totally depends on your goals. I tend to yawn when anyone says “always” or “never” when talking about strength and the body. I cycle bodyweight, kettlebells, barbells, and sandbags. This means that progress is constant. Thanks for that article link. Good stuff.

  10. Very interesting. It may be a great way to get back into exercising. Getting more healthy seems a good deal for such an easy way to get back into the habit.

    Thanks for sharing Josh! And of course thanks to Colin for posting your article!

  11. Very interesting. It may be a great way to get back into exercising. Getting more healthy seems a good deal for such an easy way to get back into the habit.

    Thanks for sharing Josh! And of course thanks to Colin for posting your article!

  12. Very interesting. It may be a great way to get back into exercising. Getting more healthy seems a good deal for such an easy way to get back into the habit.

    Thanks for sharing Josh! And of course thanks to Colin for posting your article!

  13. I’m a big body weight workout fan. You are your own gym. I’ve recently started adding a KBell to the routine as it’s small but the moves are limitless…loves seeing you mention that…what’s your favorite KBell move…why? What do you use for workout tracking?

  14. I’m a big body weight workout fan. You are your own gym. I’ve recently started adding a KBell to the routine as it’s small but the moves are limitless…loves seeing you mention that…what’s your favorite KBell move…why? What do you use for workout tracking?

  15. I’m a big body weight workout fan. You are your own gym. I’ve recently started adding a KBell to the routine as it’s small but the moves are limitless…loves seeing you mention that…what’s your favorite KBell move…why? What do you use for workout tracking?

  16. @Lance: I thought it was Brad Pitt from Fight Club:)

    @Alejandro: You’re welcome, glad you liked it.

    @Robert: My favorite kettlebell move is the double kb snatch. I train for power most of the time, as well as some old time strongman stuff like bending nails and tearing decks of cards. The grip strength involved in kettlebells carries over really well.

    The double snatch is my favorite because…well, once you snatch two 88lbers at once, it’s fun and hard not to feel like an animal. Also love the Turkish Getup, but I love everything about kbs.

  17. @Lance: I thought it was Brad Pitt from Fight Club:)

    @Alejandro: You’re welcome, glad you liked it.

    @Robert: My favorite kettlebell move is the double kb snatch. I train for power most of the time, as well as some old time strongman stuff like bending nails and tearing decks of cards. The grip strength involved in kettlebells carries over really well.

    The double snatch is my favorite because…well, once you snatch two 88lbers at once, it’s fun and hard not to feel like an animal. Also love the Turkish Getup, but I love everything about kbs.

  18. @Lance: I thought it was Brad Pitt from Fight Club:)

    @Alejandro: You’re welcome, glad you liked it.

    @Robert: My favorite kettlebell move is the double kb snatch. I train for power most of the time, as well as some old time strongman stuff like bending nails and tearing decks of cards. The grip strength involved in kettlebells carries over really well.

    The double snatch is my favorite because…well, once you snatch two 88lbers at once, it’s fun and hard not to feel like an animal. Also love the Turkish Getup, but I love everything about kbs.

  19. Josh’s guest posts are always so great, no matter what blog they are on. Thanks for sharing some great ideas. I think a lot of people forget how easy it is to get a good workout in without a gym. Life can be your workout. Great reminder!

  20. Josh’s guest posts are always so great, no matter what blog they are on. Thanks for sharing some great ideas. I think a lot of people forget how easy it is to get a good workout in without a gym. Life can be your workout. Great reminder!

  21. Josh’s guest posts are always so great, no matter what blog they are on. Thanks for sharing some great ideas. I think a lot of people forget how easy it is to get a good workout in without a gym. Life can be your workout. Great reminder!

  22. Love the advice. I personally subscribed to the idea that you don’t need a gym or weights to get a good work out, before I read your post. But it’s good to see that others think the same way. The best part about these exercises is the fact that you only need your body to do them. The excuse of not wanted to drive to the gym is over.

    For a good cardio workout I suggest combining exercises into one routine, and is something I do frequently. For instance: do a squat, put your hands on the floor, kick your legs out into plank positon, to a pushup, and then repeat. Really gets the heart pumping

  23. Love the advice. I personally subscribed to the idea that you don’t need a gym or weights to get a good work out, before I read your post. But it’s good to see that others think the same way. The best part about these exercises is the fact that you only need your body to do them. The excuse of not wanted to drive to the gym is over.

    For a good cardio workout I suggest combining exercises into one routine, and is something I do frequently. For instance: do a squat, put your hands on the floor, kick your legs out into plank positon, to a pushup, and then repeat. Really gets the heart pumping

  24. Love the advice. I personally subscribed to the idea that you don’t need a gym or weights to get a good work out, before I read your post. But it’s good to see that others think the same way. The best part about these exercises is the fact that you only need your body to do them. The excuse of not wanted to drive to the gym is over.

    For a good cardio workout I suggest combining exercises into one routine, and is something I do frequently. For instance: do a squat, put your hands on the floor, kick your legs out into plank positon, to a pushup, and then repeat. Really gets the heart pumping

  25. Thanks for the useful advice here. From someone who is almost always traveling, these suggestions seem to represent any easy method of getting into a consistent and manageable workout routine. I’ve recently begun stretching every morning while traveling (which has already made a major difference in how I feel) and will add these exercises to the program. Cheers!

  26. Thanks for the useful advice here. From someone who is almost always traveling, these suggestions seem to represent any easy method of getting into a consistent and manageable workout routine. I’ve recently begun stretching every morning while traveling (which has already made a major difference in how I feel) and will add these exercises to the program. Cheers!

  27. Thanks for the useful advice here. From someone who is almost always traveling, these suggestions seem to represent any easy method of getting into a consistent and manageable workout routine. I’ve recently begun stretching every morning while traveling (which has already made a major difference in how I feel) and will add these exercises to the program. Cheers!

  28. So, I’ve been doing a ton of pushups forever. It’s kind of my specialty at this point.

    However, the plank move sounds interesting. I would love an alternative to crunches.

    Also, what is this kettle bell cult? I need to get on this bandwagon and see what’s up.

    Great post dude!

  29. So, I’ve been doing a ton of pushups forever. It’s kind of my specialty at this point.

    However, the plank move sounds interesting. I would love an alternative to crunches.

    Also, what is this kettle bell cult? I need to get on this bandwagon and see what’s up.

    Great post dude!

  30. So, I’ve been doing a ton of pushups forever. It’s kind of my specialty at this point.

    However, the plank move sounds interesting. I would love an alternative to crunches.

    Also, what is this kettle bell cult? I need to get on this bandwagon and see what’s up.

    Great post dude!

  31. Nice post mate. I am in the process of constructing my travel workout regime also. Very similar to yours. The handstand push up seems like a good shoulder exercise, will add it in. It would be good to see your workouts in more detail – I will also read the mens health article that Nate posted.
    What do you do for cardio and flexibility? Do you do
    yoga or breathing exercises?
    How intense are your bodyweight workouts?
    And what is your diet like?
    Cheers

  32. Nice post mate. I am in the process of constructing my travel workout regime also. Very similar to yours. The handstand push up seems like a good shoulder exercise, will add it in. It would be good to see your workouts in more detail – I will also read the mens health article that Nate posted.
    What do you do for cardio and flexibility? Do you do
    yoga or breathing exercises?
    How intense are your bodyweight workouts?
    And what is your diet like?
    Cheers

  33. Nice post mate. I am in the process of constructing my travel workout regime also. Very similar to yours. The handstand push up seems like a good shoulder exercise, will add it in. It would be good to see your workouts in more detail – I will also read the mens health article that Nate posted.
    What do you do for cardio and flexibility? Do you do
    yoga or breathing exercises?
    How intense are your bodyweight workouts?
    And what is your diet like?
    Cheers

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  36. Hey Colin!

    Two weeks till I head north from Boulder to ride my bicycle to Nelson, British Columbia and break free into a life of location independence! Loved this post about working out, because I love hitting the gym in the morning and doing the weights for an hour on Monday, Wednesday,a nd Fridays, and jogging on the treadmill for a half hour after weights, and an hour fat burner on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ve been concerned about the journey ahead, but I always do the plank before working out as a stretch/warm-up, and I can already walk on my hands. But I loved your suggestions and will incorporate them. Although riding 75 miles on a bike per day might just be enough. But there’s nothing like the strength you feel in your body after a great weight lifting workout. I will keep my YMCA membership kicking while in the USA and try to visit Y’s along the route. After Canada, I’m heading on my bike down the Pacific Coast to San Fran where I’ll be shipping the bike and myself to Hawaii/Maui…maybe I’ll just keep going and see you in Thailand! We can go jogging!

  37. Hey Colin!

    Two weeks till I head north from Boulder to ride my bicycle to Nelson, British Columbia and break free into a life of location independence! Loved this post about working out, because I love hitting the gym in the morning and doing the weights for an hour on Monday, Wednesday,a nd Fridays, and jogging on the treadmill for a half hour after weights, and an hour fat burner on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ve been concerned about the journey ahead, but I always do the plank before working out as a stretch/warm-up, and I can already walk on my hands. But I loved your suggestions and will incorporate them. Although riding 75 miles on a bike per day might just be enough. But there’s nothing like the strength you feel in your body after a great weight lifting workout. I will keep my YMCA membership kicking while in the USA and try to visit Y’s along the route. After Canada, I’m heading on my bike down the Pacific Coast to San Fran where I’ll be shipping the bike and myself to Hawaii/Maui…maybe I’ll just keep going and see you in Thailand! We can go jogging!

  38. Hey Colin!

    Two weeks till I head north from Boulder to ride my bicycle to Nelson, British Columbia and break free into a life of location independence! Loved this post about working out, because I love hitting the gym in the morning and doing the weights for an hour on Monday, Wednesday,a nd Fridays, and jogging on the treadmill for a half hour after weights, and an hour fat burner on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ve been concerned about the journey ahead, but I always do the plank before working out as a stretch/warm-up, and I can already walk on my hands. But I loved your suggestions and will incorporate them. Although riding 75 miles on a bike per day might just be enough. But there’s nothing like the strength you feel in your body after a great weight lifting workout. I will keep my YMCA membership kicking while in the USA and try to visit Y’s along the route. After Canada, I’m heading on my bike down the Pacific Coast to San Fran where I’ll be shipping the bike and myself to Hawaii/Maui…maybe I’ll just keep going and see you in Thailand! We can go jogging!

  39. Hey,

    Two years ago, I bought this book “La méthode Lafay”. It’s about how to have a workout without many equipment, except for two chairs, stools …
    Some people use it to look like a bodybuilder but I preferred to use it as a guide to be in (very) good shape. And this program happened to be very efficient without taking me too much time. The book also provide tips for cooking meals that fits your training program, and efficients stretching exercises.
    Yey it’s in French but well illustrated so !

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