With the minimalist movement at an all time high, I figured we’d discuss how to apply minimalist-based principles to fitness and nutrition. Not too long ago I found myself consumed by my training approach (CrossFit? Cycling? Yoga?) and the types of training shoes and apparel I’d wear. I fully understand that these aspects are part of the culture and can add to the overall experience of fitness, but when these peripheral things are prioritized over the actual actions of working out, then it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate what fitness has become for you.
This brings us to the idea of simplifying fitness and taking it back to what it actually is. In my opinion, fitness all begins and ends with movement. This is not to discredit the motivational aspect of fitness, but in the end it’s about moving your body. If this is the case, then not much is required in order for you to workout. So how do we minimalize the whole fitness experience?
Here’s a couple things I like to simplify when it comes to fitness:
- Clothing: While it’s fun to get excited for some new gear, its important to understand that movement doesn’t require any sort of clothing in order to be performed.
Essentially, I rotate 2-3 Pairs of moisture wicking shorts and multiple shirts of any kind (to keep it sanitary). For footwear, shoes can be swapped out for bare feet (in fact, training barefoot can be a great way to train intrinsically and can help in rooting yourself into the floor when performing squats and deadlifts). Minimal footwear such as New Balance Minimus and Chuck Taylor’s are great options as they only add to the principles of minimal training.
- Simplified Movements:
I love utilizing Kettlebell Swings, Goblet Squats, Push-ups and Rows. The movements are not only great foundational exercises that transfer into a lot of accessory exercises but, they also incorporate multiple muscles while training making it a great option list for exercises when short on time. The beautiful thing about this is that minimal equipment is required other than a kettlebell. Don’t know how these exercises look like? Look no further than here.
- Training Environment:
A big misconception is that a gym is required to workout. I’ll admit that the right training environment can have a huge impact on your outlook and motivation to train, but if you’re a self-motivated individual then your training space can be anywhere you want it to be. When I’m not feeling the gym, I like going to a park, beach or simply blasting some hip hop at the condo den and getting to work.
- Green Tea:
The process of making green tea is just as important as drinking it. If you’re someone who struggles with consistently making time to move, it’s because you haven’t made it a habit. Forming a pre-workout routine such as making green tea can turn into a habit that transitions into the workout being your next habit. The act of making tea is also part of a slow lifestyle that can help in reminding you to slow down and be more present which is an important aspect of a minimalist lifestyle. It also happens to be a great source of anti-oxidants and host a number of health benefits.
I’ve heard so many people who fail to follow any structured way of eating because nutrition has become too confusing. Keep it simple. Whether you’re Vegan, following Keto, or Paleo, we can all agree that plant based nutrition is an important aspect of healthy eating. With that being said, I like applying some simple rules no matter what your eating habits look like. Eat vegetables at every meal; drink plenty of water, limit refined sugar intake and make 70-80% of your diet whole foods based.
The idea of taking a minimalist approach may seem unrealistic to some. Of course there are high-level athletes who need barbells and weightlifting shoes, but the goal isn’t to eliminate these things, but rather to eliminate the things that don’t serve a purpose to your workouts. The message here is to refocus the intention of working out and dismiss the things that get in the way of getting you moving.