Well, I woke up today ready to write a rant post on some issues I've been seeing with approach to fitness. I had some complaints I needed to get out and share. But, with the temperature on the mid-60's, and no clients from late morning all the way until tonight, I could not avoid the great outdoors. And what happens to me when I get outside, away from all things man-made? I don’t have anything to complain about anymore. So, I've decided to write something a bit more positive, and leave the ranting to another day.
If you take a few moments and browse through Mark Sisson's awesome blog, Mark's Daily Apple, you'll find article after article about the benefits of being outside. From returning to our primal roots of connecting to nature, to the incredible benefits of vitamin D. Basically, being outside is impossible to argue against. I have read countless articles and studies on the positive effects of the wild, but I have no interest in getting into the science of it all. I simply want to share my experience and hope that it might inspire you to either get out more, or get out in some way at all if you never do.
To me, getting outside could be looked at in two ways: an escape, and a return. I am escaping the world that us humans have created. This is a world of responsibilities, technology, negativity, processed goods, concrete and metal and on and on. In my mind, almost everything we experience in the man-made world is some form of stressor. Even if you think it's relaxing to have a bag of chips and watch a couple TV shows, in reality, you're not doing anything to help yourself. You're slowly "poisoning" yourself with things your body and mind were not born to experience. I am not about to sit here and tell you you should toss all that out. Hell man, I love watching a good TV show or movie, and I love having a good snack here and there! But if these things become your definition of relaxation, I am sorry, you are doing a good bit of damage to your overall well being. So, when I head out to the wilderness, I am escaping the “trap” that is all this craziness we have created for ourselves. I don’t have pressure; I don’t have my senses being overloaded with lights and technology. I don’t have people bustling by me with too much to do to enjoy a moment with themselves. I am totally free to naturally do what I want. Sometimes there tends to be a negative connotation with escaping. Like drinking alcohol or working out too much. This is why I also have found that getting outdoors is a return as well. It’s a return to what is naturally there for us to survive in. Nature is the only thing that we can experience that we did not create. And because of that, there is something incredibly unique about experiencing it. In my experience (and I feel like it’s a pretty good deal of it), the only people I have met who do not enjoy being out in nature are very, very inactive people and very, very depressed people. Aside from those guys, I have never seen anyone spend time in the wild and not enjoy themselves. This is more than enough proof to me that we are meant to be out there on a somewhat regular basis. Shoot, the people I know who spend a ton (I mean, at least 8+ hours a week) out in the wild are some of the happiest, chilliest, most enjoyable people I know. Now mind you, when I refer to outdoors, I don’t mean going for a walk around your neighborhood. If that’s all you can do, do it as much as possible of course, but I'm talking about more. I am really referring to getting out to the woods, the mountains, the ocean, a hidden lake somewhere, The Wild! Spending time in a place where the only sign of mankind is a trodden path and/or a friend or two that join you is what I'm talking about. Outside, to me means, the wilderness. If you want the full effects of reconnecting with nature, get into TRUE nature and soak it all in! Today I found a large slab of rock stretching out into the Potomac River out in Great Falls, Maryland. I navigated my way out there, laid down in the sun, closed my eyes and just chilled. I could hear birds chirping, crickets and frogs buzzing through the woods, snaps of tree branches from deer and random splashes of water from the fish in the river. No cars, no people, no hum of a generator or anything. As cheesy as it sounds, I had an uncontrollable smile on my face within 10 minutes. All I could think about was climbing rocks, scaling trees and wading through water. When I left my nap area, I found a collection of about 8 deer feeding in the woods by a little rain-pond. I just perched myself on a fallen tree and watched them for a few minutes. They heard me and sat there watching me. I then moved along and when I turned back around, they were back to grazing. I know I can be a little fanatic about nature. Most of my California friends know me as someone who would rather spend my life frolicking naked through the woods then doing pretty much anything else. I don’t expect my view of nature to be that of everyone else in the world. But I do believe, with all my heart, that every single one of us would be happier, more at peace, more relaxed and healthier if we just got out into Real World on a somewhat regular basis. If you agree, go outside and do it! If you don't agree, just go try, see what happens... I hope you can find your way out there soon. If you want some company, I am never one to turn down an adventure in the wild! Never Stop, GET FIT. Josh Courage
This past weekend I was out in the Bay Area visiting old friends, training a few people, workout out like crazy and enjoying the absolutely incredible California wilderness! here is a little rundown of the 5 days I spent out there:Showed up mid morning on Wednesday, grabbed some food with CrossFit San Mateo's owner and head coach Brendon Mahony, then stocked up on some food, Courage Bar ingredients and soon enough hit the gym for a good workout. Thursday and Friday were much of the same, with Lindsey getting in Friday, and one of the toughest workouts I have ever done crushing me so badly that I am still feeling the effects of it as I write this post today! It was a descending ladder of rope climbs and DB squat clean to thrusters, and that damn rope climb beat me down like nobody's business! I took my time on the climbs as I knew my technique was not spotless and I wanted to conserve the grip strength. But, no matter what the approach, by the third round my grip was so far gone, I basically had to take almost a full minute to recover between each one to be able to get back up. The crazy part of this whole thing was that I never had the ability to cardiovascularly recover. i think I was so worked up by the whole thing that my heart rate just never came down. 19 and a half minutes later I finally finished, and it took me close to three hours ot actually feel like i was somewhat normal again! And to top it all off, I ripped my ankle up so much I was having a tough time walking! The one positive takeaway from the workout was my 345# back squat for 13 resp, AWESOME!Anyways, Saturday morning brought even more fun. Core Foods owner Corey and his girl met up with me and Lindsey and we all got workouts in at the gym. Mine was a 5-workouts-within-one-hour mes that left me craving 10 pounds of meat and a 6-hour nap! But, we all geared up and drove down the Peninsula for a few hours of trekking though the woods! this turned out to be such a a blast. We explored the different paths, talked about all sorts of different things, interacted with a buck within 15 yards or so (so much fun to see wildlife that close up!) and stayed out there as the fog and darkness began to cover us completely.We then wandered back to our cars and drove down to Half Moon Bay to see if we could find some camping at the beach. Seeing how it was the famous Pumpkin Festival weekend, the known camp-site was totally booked up; but, with a couple phone calls we were directed a couple miles south to Cameron's Pub. This was one of those placers that causes sensory overload with the amount of crummy, hoarded items they keep hanging on walls and tucked into corners. The place was like a haunted museum of beer cans and tin signs; and in the back, a huge field set aside for RV's and campers to hang out for a night or two (or weeks or months as it seemed some were doing). We found our way to the very far end of the field, just outside a spooky abandoned greenhouse and set up shop. Corey got a great fire going and we enjoyed flank steak, asparagus and grilled bananas before catching a few eukaryote songs at the pub and then crashing for the remainder of the night.After meeting up up another friend Lisa (check out here awesome blog here) for breakfast, we connected with Justin Gubser and his buddies to hit the Pacifica surf for a couple hours. This was an all around blast! And the best part: our last wave had Lindsey and myself riding all the way to the beach, literally side by side, pretty freaking sweet! The cold water and the entertaining crashes and here-and-there wave catches worked our appetites up enough to feast at Guerrilla BBQ and it was off on our separate ways after that. Lindsey and I hot up our favorite burger joint, Roam Burger, in the city before catching our red eye back East. Man what a trip!I must admit, it'd been a real long while since I've been able to just spend some good quality time with a small group of awesome people, and while I was a little bummed out that the Into The Wild weekend didn't take off like I had planned, and that a few people never showed up for the weekend that had said they would, it turned out to be a weekend I will never forget. Sharing that deep connection to the great outdoors with Lindsey and another couple;e that clearly appreciated being out there just as much as me was so energizing. It inspired the need to do this sort of thing WAY more often! Oh, and yet again, surfing is one of the most fun things to do in the world! Yet another reason to head back out to our second home-town on a regular basis!Miss all my West Coaster already, but I'm excited to get back to training in The Garage with all my awesome athletes and friends here in the DC area! This is going to be a crazy brutal week of training for everyone, so let's all keep up the support and get after it!!Never Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage
About a month ago I was brainstorming ways to justify a trip back to California when an idea hit me. What was the number one thing I enjoyed about being out there? Well, it was getting outside and exploring all the great natural areas, the mountains, the parks, and the beaches. Sometimes I would hike, other times run, or bike, or swim or whatever. There is always just so much to do out there! This got me thinking about how so many people miss out on experiencing the great outdoors because of so many different things: The simplicity of life in a climate-controlled office and house; the ease of finding food at restaurants. I wanted to find a fun and exciting way to re-introduce people to their roots.
It never fails, every time someone heads out into the wilderness, even if it’s just to sit around and do nothing, they become a little happier. There is something innately human about connecting with nature and it is this something that I hope to harness and allow people to experience. It’s not some extreme primal workshop or anything like that; just an organized weekend to show everyone just what is in his or her backyard. That living healthily and happily is as easy as playing around in nature and eating real, good food. And because so many of us have forgotten how to do all this thanks to cars, sidewalks, big houses, stores and on and on and on; I though I’d open up the doors for everyone to re-learn it all. It’s time to become HUMAN again!
Here’s what it’s going to look like:
Saturday, late morning we’ll meet we’ll all meet at a soon-to-be-announced location. Our minimal luggage will be stored in vans, extra food and drink in coolers and we’ll go over the weekend’s events. The early afternoon will consist of learning how to move throughout the wilderness. Now, this may seem a little childish at first thought, but have you ever tried to run through the actual woods? The athleticism needed to react to your surroundings is that of a professional football player trying to avoid getting crushed by multiple opponents. With that in mind, you’ll learn how to walk, run, crawl, climb, push, pull, jump, skip, and so much more. The idea is to feel completely comfortable in the most natural of settings.
After a couple hours of organized play, we’ll all break for some fuel and to relax for a bit. This is where the first of a few wonderful surprises will be offered out! We will be partnering up with one or more local farms to supply you all with the best of the best in terms of food. We’ll have top of the line, grass-fed meat, completely organic and free-range chicken and eggs, fresh, organic produce and fruit, and of course plenty of water. My close friends at Core Warrior will be around as well with the best protein bars on the planet for everyone to indulge in.
After our break, we’ll all get set up for a wooded throwdown of epic proportions! Using all the skills everyone just learned, we’ll set up for a friendly competition using tools only the greatest gym in the world: the great outdoors, can provide. Trails, hills, streams, rocks, logs, the list is only as long as your imagination, so, you’ll have to be prepared for anything!
With our bodies wonderfully burned out, we’ll pack up all the gear and begin to make our way to the evening location. We will either be on the beach for this, or at a campsite, depending on what I am able to secure in the coming weeks. Either way, we will most likely be hiking to this location with our gear. Once there, we’ll set up camp, start the fires and let the nighttime festivities begin. We’ll cut loose on another feast of wonderfully local food while we tell stories, sing songs and just enjoy the night air and good company. As the evening winds to an end, you’ll have your choice to sleep in a tent or, as will be strongly recommended depending on the weather, under the stars.
We’ll all be up bright and early the next morning to head out to the hazy beaches to hit a wake-you-up workout before yet another scrumptious feast for breakfast. After the gear is packed up, and all that bacon grease is licked of our fingers, we’ll then head to the waters edge for a couple hours of surfing the famous waves of Pacifica.
Right on. Now, if this does not sound the like the most perfect weekend in the world, I personally think there’s a little something wrong with you…! That being said, I am sure there are a ton of questions you would-be adventurers might have. If this is the case, ask away! I’ll be posting up all sorts of details on this thing in the coming weeks so most of them hopefully will be answered, but in any event, I am here to assist in any way. This is an event I am super crazy excited to host so I will be putting all my energy into making it the best possible experience for anyone and everyone! Registration is not open yet, but will be very shortly, so, until then, go on to Facebook and “Like” the page so you can constantly see all the new updates. I’ll also be throwing things up on the blog on a pretty regular basis as well.
Before you all bombard me with 100’s of crazy questions though, let me throw this out there: In the next couple days I will be posting the dates, times, meeting places, all locations, more details of the specific events and a whole bunch more. Also, things like what to bring and so on will be sent to anyone who signs up. This initial announcement/post is merely to get everyone pumped up for the idea! I know that the date is the most important thing for pretty much everyone, and I can tell you that it will either be the second or third weekend of October. I’ll post that up on the Facebook page tonight so you all can make sure that weekend is not double-booked!
Well there you have it folks! Stay closely tuned if you are interested in all this and please let me know if you have any questions at all!
Never Stop, GET FIT.