A few years back, when I weighed nearly 200 pounds and was disgusted with myself, I bought in to BeachBody to get myself to get back in to shape.

If you are not familiar with BeachBody, they are the marketing force behind P90X and the 30 Day Fix with celebrity trainers such as Tony Horton, Autumn Calabrese, and Shaun T. They have also developed their own meal replacement shake and portion control nutritional system.

They have created a whole system of weight loss by ‘Just Pushing Play’, the promise beng that they have simplified working out and weight loss by just pressing play and following what you see on your screen.

Their Programs are developed and lead by legitimate Personal Trainers who have poured years of knowledge into them and put their reputations on the line to put their names behind them.

Does BeachBody work? I would say yes. Millions of success stories don’t lie. I lost personally 50-60 pound by following their programs and formula of drinking a shake a day.

But…where they promise simplicity, I began to see more complexity that began to bog me down.

Most advanced programs begin to require more and more equipment.

Heavier dumbbells, a piece of specialty equipment that the program was developed around, etc…

If you have not shopped for dumbbells for a while, they are not cheap. At $1 a pound, a 30 pound set of dumbbells will run you $60, a 35 pound set $70, etc… sure you can find them used at up to half the cost, but that is often times easier said than done, and when you need a certain weight now, you usually can’t find it used.

Point being, the cost for a rack of dumbbells can add up fast, especially as your need to move up in weight grows. This can bog down the process if you don’t have hundreds of dollars to throw at pieces of iron to keep working out.

This happened to me with the next Program I was excited to throw myself into. It promised results and the people I knew that had completed the Program showed it definitely delivered, but it required more equipment than I had, with a cost I could not justify spending.

This lead to me putting off the Program as I looked up and down Craigslist for what I needed. 1 week turned to 2 weeks, 2 weeks turned to a month. The time I used to work out got replaced by something else. The Holidays took up yet more time. The result, before I knew it, months had elapsed since my last workout all because I did not have the equipment to do the next Program.

The promise of the simplicity of ‘just pressing play’ was beginning to get too complex for me and something needed to change.

Around this time I was reading a book titled “Learning to Breathe Fire” about the rise of CrossFit. I had always been skeptical of CrossFit before this, but not really understanding it. Seeing things like the Crossfit Games and the fanatics that do it made me look at it as more of a crazy fitness fad than serious methodology for fitness. In short, yet another ‘money grab’, no different than the ‘money grab’ that was BeachBody or even a gym membership.

So I started to do CrossFit inspired body weight workouts that did not require any equipment at all…push ups, sit ups, squats, sprints, etc…

By themselves, these movements are simple enough, but string them together, do them for time, and go all out while doing them, and they become a different monster all together.

Workouts once required 30-60 minutes of my time, now I was doing body weight, functional fitness in 15-20 minutes, and it was kicking my ass like nothing I had felt before. A shift happened and everything I knew about working out changed.

Where I was really noticing the change was in my athletic performance. I felt quicker on the ice, my stamina increased, I felt more agile, I recovered faster, I didn’t have the leg burn that comes when the puck is trapped in your zone for an extended length of time, and all of this is what matters to me. I work out to be a better athlete, not look pretty with my shirt off. Most work out programs are nothing more than modified body building programs and that does not build athleticism.

Simplifying the complex.

I have been working towards minimalism in so many other aspects of my life. I can’t believe it took me so long to realize the intensity and effectiveness of simplifying my workouts. This skeptic is now a life long believer.
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