17. The Canopy and Other Stuff

17 The Canopy and Other Stuff

What do you do when things become difficult?

What do you do when you don’t have what you need or conditions are not exactly in your favor?

Well, hopefully we don’t just throw our hands into the air and give up.

When it comes to training, we might not always have the best place to train.

We might not have the best equipment or the environment may not be conducive to training.

I for one, have often had to train outdoors.

Probably the use of the term “had to” isn’t entirely correct, lol.

I actually enjoy training outside much more than indoors, and will always train outdoors if at all possible, having lifted and trained in all kinds of weather: rain, snow, howling winds and extreme heat and humidity and conditions of single digit humidity, which has its own challenges.

I’m not saying this is always easy or even the best way to do things. Of course, it’s a lot nicer to train outside when the weather is more to our liking and personal tolerance.

At certain times of the year, whether due to high heat or very cold temperatures, it may be wiser to train inside in a controlled environment.

If the body is too cold, training can be difficult and must be undertaken carefully to avoid injury, and the same is true if it’s too hot and humid or hot and dry.

Exposing ourselves to the outdoor environment can actually be an integral part of our training, a toughening up so-to-speak, so we can handle more extreme conditions.

But in so doing, we need to be aware the conditions may hinder training effect and recovery; and even carry a certain amount of risk of life.

If a person finds themselves in a lost scenario situation in the great outdoors, survival often depends on finding proper shelter.

Or if you can’t find proper shelter,  you improvise, adapt and build your shelter.

With that in mind, if some of the training we want to do needs to be done outdoors and the weather is extreme one way or another, what do we do?

Well, in a survival situation you adapt as best you can mentally and physically to your environment. But you also adapt the micro-climate as best you can to make things more bearable.

You build a shelter to serve as shade, a wind break, snow or rain shield. You create a smaller environment to heat or keep cool.

So in the linked video I build a canopy/awning in my tiny back yard, to somewhat control the outdoor temperatures.

I’m adapting my outdoor environment to my personal situation. I’ve had heat exhaustion before, and once that happens you just can’t deal with the heat as well as you once did.

It’s also a fact of life, that the older you get the less apt your body is able to deal with temperature extremes.

So, rather than relegate myself to training indoors, where I have hardly any room to train the way I want (and some things I can’t do indoors), I decided to change the micro-climate of my backyard.

I used salvaged materials. Metal from a scrapyard cost about $100 and the billboard vinyl about $35. The grommet machine was around $50. But it is something I can use for many other projects.

Always invest in tools and materials and the time it takes to learn how to use them properly.

I feel much the same way about training. Not only learn about different ways to train but actually try it out long enough to determine the effect on your own mind and body.

Otherwise, how do you really know that back-squats work for you or perhaps front squats are much better for you and your individual needs, past injuries, skeletal make-up and goals?

Don’t be an internet athlete.

And realize that there is a difference between an athlete and an athletic person. Most people are not athletes but they most certainly can be or become very athletic.

Unless you’re in paid professional sports, where your sport dictates how you train, or you only have a few years left to live, most of us have plenty of years left to train and explore the world of the training environment.

Don’t be afraid to explore that training environment, because the bigger the pool of experience you can dip into, the greater can be your ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

And when you acquire enough knowledge and experience, then you can better shape the training environment to suit yourself in that particular part of your life journey.

“Suit yourself” can mean selfishly doing whatever we want.

But “suit” also carries the definition of a group of things forming a unit (which can be applied to a group of exercises forming a training routine/program) and the thought of something tailored for you: a suit jacket. It can also mean to “suit up” get dressed or get prepared.

So with enough experience in a variety of methods and tools of training you can begin to suit yourself or tailor the suit to fit you personally.

That’s what a great coach or PT will do.

With the right humble and modest mindset and documented training journals and ear to the ground, a person can gradually become their own tailor.

You have to listen when your body says: “Don’t do this anymore!” when it comes to particular exercises, implements, training modalities or even something as seemingly benign as training outdoors in any kind of weather.

Being humble in training means others can and do have more knowledge and that can be a great source of learning.

Being modest in training means you do recognize your limitations. Sorry, just because you wake up in the morning, walk to work or drink bullet-proof coffee does not make you superhuman , contrary to what some may infer.

Maybe we once deadlifted 8 times bodyweight (internet athlete) but a lower back injury that gets tweaked here and there from training is a sure sign playing teeter-tooter with a risk-to-reward ratio on deadlifts just isn’t a smart investment.

Life, occupation, injuries, age and other things will affect what, where, when, why and how we should train.

So do we adapt to this journey and adapt how we train?

Or do we stubbornly keep trying to use what once worked, but now simply seems to keep us in regressing-injury-recovery-mode?

Here’s the video on my Canopy build and a few other thoughts sprinkled within: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyw_im3owYI