Welcome to my new gym

After our move to France is finally over – and with our daughter’s first day in the local school today – I finally have some time to write about my new training focus, and – more to the point – my new “gym”.

The above picture is the view from our house – we are just off an extended forest full of paths great for mountain biking and running (walking as well of course, but this is not sports). Therefore, the obvious first part of my new training focus

1. Endurance Training

The part that I like is biking. In the picture you can see my 10 year old bike. As I believe I have already written elsewhere, I was riding it extensively when I had taken some time off and stayed with friends in Montpellier more than 10 years ago – there I did probably 50km+ a day. Easy if you dont have a car and live in one of the villages…

I then brought it to university, rode it once in twelve months, and took it home. Never brought it in London, but in a period of gardening leave – again, near Montpellier – I was riding it again. Except that from June onwards it was too hot, and I did have a car.

So now, back in France, a great forest, and a nice bike. This is fun!

The part that I do not like is running. I hate running. I am bad at it, it hurts, I am slow. Gotta do it.

I will never run a marathon I suppose, but my goals are two-fold: firstly, I want to be able to run the 5k in a decent time (something between 20-25min), and maybe also the 10k. Secondly, I want to get better at sprinting and mid-distances, ie anything between 50-500m, maybe up to 1000m. Maybe with a hill thrown in, and maybe with some strong-man stuff attached (like carrying a 20kg stone or log – we’ll see)

2. Strength Training

This part – which was my focus over the last year or so – will be rather tough here, as I do not have access to a barbell set (I might join a gym eventually, but that’ll have to wait). I do have one great tool though, and those are my gymnastics rings (actually I am still debating with my daughter whose they are – she already does pretty good backflips with them).

The ultimate goal is of course the Iron Cross (just joking, this is rather aspirational at my age and weight, but one never knows…). What I am really working towards at the moment are ring dips and those are hard enough. I am progressing, but rreally slowly. At one point ring rows also, and then of course muscle up’s. I have had tendonitis problems again after piling 2 stere’s (pronounced like “stair”; this is roughly one cubic meter of wood once piled up, albeit including the holes between the logs) so I am going slow on anything related to grip.

I am also looking to continue doing the Convict Conditioning stuff, but I have to admit I havent got into the rhythm yet. I am not really good at doing this kind of stuff outside the gym. The terrace is too hard (and dirty), the grass is too wet (and has too many creepy animals). Later in the year finally it will probably be too cold…

I am also looking at doing some Strongman stuff. So far I have a stone that might be somewhere between 25-35kg and I am doing all kinds of things with it, like goblet squat, overhead squat (almost), clean, clean & press, snatch (almost), and throwing this thing as far as possible. I also have a big log of maybe 15-20kg, and I am doing some overhead and grip stuff with it. I dont have pictures of those at the moment but I might add those later.

3. Strength Endurance and Core Training

Two tools: firstly of course my beloved kettlebell. You have already seen pictures of it in my London garden, now a picture of it in my French garden.

Not really much to say here. Looking to do the classics: swings, snatches, clean & press (or press only). Maybe some high-pulls, some farmer’s walk or overhead lunges, or some goblet squats – you get the picture.

In the gym I love the Turkish Get-Ups – couldnt get myself to doing those here yet though. Firstly 20kg is rather heavy for that, and – more importantly the same reasoning as for ConCon applies (eg crawly grass etc).

The second tool: my TRX. Less beloved than I thought it would be, somehow I haven’t really used it in the almost one year that I had. As a matter of fact, many of the exercise I can do with it are rather underwhelming: for dips for example the fact that the TRX has only one attachment point and therefore forms a triangle is a real bummer. Also all kind of row and fly exercises do not really work well for me, the reason being that it is way to easy to cheat by simply repositioning the movement a bit, hence no comparison to the equivalent movements with proper weights.

Where I do like the TRX though is when it hangs just above the floor, mainly to put the feet in (or the arms for push-ups for that matter). So, as you might or might not see from the picture, this is how I have positioned my TRX, and I am doing (well, intending to do, havent really got serious on those yet) is all kind of feet-suspended stuff, eg the pendulum, push-ups, or the cool combos in the video that Fit-Zaang showed a couple of days ago.

Another tool that fits in the same mould is my foam-block. It is a bit like a bosu-ball, just better. Seriously, it is great stability work standing on this thing with one foot: the foam gives support from the bottom, but very little front-back, and pretty much none for sidewards movement. Just standing on this with the eyes closes is pretty tough, and swinging a kettlebell around is, well. challenging.

And of course I also have the famous stability ball here. Havent done too much with it yet, but there are quite a few nice core exercises that I like to do with the ball. For some reason I havent been too active with it yet, too many other things to do I suppose. Also, many of my favorite exercises (like the letter-fly’s) need some low-weight dumbbells, and I dont have any of those. Suppose I could use logs, or stones, or water bottles, but haven’t done so yet.

4. Rehab, Prehab, and Recovery

Very important for of my program is rehab, prehab, and recovery. Long time readers probably remember my battle with tendonitis, and as I do not have access to dumbbells for wrist-curls (not easy to substitute those) I am now using my FlexBar. Not quite as good, but not too bad either.


More on the recovery side of things of course are those items here with which I want to finish the post:



Barbeque (for paleo-food)

Apples from own tree (for almost-paleo apple juice)


5 thoughts on “Welcome to my new gym

  1. Amazing view! I dig the equipment, too. I firmly believe you don’t need to spend a ton of money to craft an amazing physique and have an amazing fitness level. You should definitely film a workout in that countryside.

  2. Pingback: WOD’s The Plan – Convict Conditioning | Thor Falk

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