After starting my sustainable urban delivery business, using cargo bikes and trailers to deliver up to 300 lbs of goods for and between local businesses, I got into pretty decent shape. Just from all the cycling alone, leaving my diet intact and not doing any other workout, I lost about 20 lbs and my legs became solid and well-defined. I began at about 184 lbs and am now 162.5 lbs, as of this morning.
My midsection, however, remained soft and flabby. All that cycling did nothing, or very little, for my core. So I began looking for things I could do to strengthen my core and tone the midsection. I found an app for my tablet with an ab workout routine and began doing that every morning, six days a week, 9 weeks ago. The top abs are beginning to show, but there is still a peristent 5 lbs or so sitting around the middle and covering the lower four.
About the same time, or shortly after beginning the ab workout, I came across Hannibal for King and the ghetto workout. I was fascinated and amazed! The whole idea of going to the gym and using weights never seemed right to me (after my teens, anyway) and here was what I had been looking for--a workout system that could be done almost anywhere using just bodyweight and bars. The stuff of playgrounds. And what amazing bodies these guys have!
Then I found that there were people (mainly guys, and some girls), in various parts of the world--Russia, Moscow, Latvia, Israel, etc. in addition to NYC--doing similar workouts. There are also the Bartendaz in NYC, an amazing group of people led by Hassan Yasin, whose "dynamic martial arts and physical training program engineered to bolster fitness, discipline, self-esteem and actualization for practitioners" is now being brought to young people in a number of inner city schools. But it seems Eastern Europe is the place where this has most taken off, sometimes still using the term 'ghetto workout', but more often calling it 'street workout'. There apparently are a couple of people in Toronto now doing street workouts too.
Below is one of my favourite street workout videos--I prefer this term as it is less loaded and more broadly applicable:
I've become utterly fascinated with the street workout concept and am determined to practice it to get into even better shape. I love parkour as well (http://youtu.be/qM5aYOIbklI), but I doubt my knee, with an old injury, could ever learn to withstand the impact. Even my wrists, which have always been problematic, present a major challenge, though I suspect bar exercises, combined with good stretches and forearm strengthening, should help.
I didn't start pull-ups and bar exercises for a while because, strangely, I can't find any playgrounds here in Hamilton with high bars. There are a few with some monkey bars, but most are now of the same small variety. I get jealous when I see the people in NYC, but even more so in Russia, where there seems to be a great variety of bars in large playgrounds, many of which seem to have been built for children and adults to learn and practice gymnastics skills. But I am finding ways to do some of the exercises at parks nearby and at home. I hope, when finances stabilize a bit, to buy a decent portable bar set that can be used in- and outdoors.
Having recently joined a website called Strength Project (http://strength-project.com/index.php/), after seeing a pull-up tutorial for beginners, and having then been directed to a website called 50pullups.com, I am now ready to begin a serious pull-up program to increase my upper body strength.
I am currently just about at my normal weight for my frame and height--medium build at 5' 9"--with a little flab around the middle. I plan, by spring of this year, to be able to do at least 20 pull-ups in one go and unveil the lower four muscles in my slowly appearing six-pack. Though I took some pictures today for my 'before' state, I shall hold off sharing them until April. In the meantime, if there is anyone else in the city here interested in joining me for street workouts, I'd be happy to have some company, especially beginning in the spring.