Sometimes we need to do more than just think outside the box. We actually need to just get outside the box. The box can be an actual box, like a health club, a training studio, a cross fit warehouse, or whatever. The box can also be your normal routine. Whatever your box, it can be good for you to get outside of it every now and then.
If you only spend time in a traditional training facility, you have no idea what you are missing. Day in day out, year after year (if you are rare and have survived your own routine for that long) you see the same machines. You get on the same machines, or you keep doing preacher curls. If this is you, you are missing the fun of movement, the fun of play. You can get way more physical benefit from going outside and "playing" on a local playground. Your body will thank you.
Even something as simple as walking on a balance beam, or a curb, can give you a much needed change and challenge. When is the last time you just got out and explored movement? When is the last time you trained under natural light instead of fluorescent lights? If this rings true to you, but outside! Go play.
Maybe this is not you. Maybe you are "different." Maybe you train with kettlebells and you don't train in traditional health settings. Let me tell you, if all you do is train with kettlebells, you are still missing out on some pretty good movement exploring opportunities. Please don't be offended if you love your kbells. They are great tools, but there is more to health, fitness, and strength than kettlebells. There is a whole world of movement and creativity that is just waiting for you to discover it with or without your kettlebells. Really, have you ever just sat around and wondered how many different ways you could use your kettlebells? Different ways beyond the ways you've been taught, that is. For instance, and this is free to you, how could you train with your kettlebell if you pretended like it didn't have a handle? I bet you could come up with some pretty cool exercises that could yield a whole host of benefits for you. Just think about it. Kettlebells are great, but they can put you in a box.
Maybe you're a CrossFitter and you have to go to bed early every friday night so you can make sure you perform well on Saturday's big workout. Can I make fun of you for a second? It's okay. I love everybody. Really, I do! Anyway, CrossFitters are outside of the box, at least they think they are. As diverse as they are, they are still in a box, or mode, so to speak. If all you ever do is interval training, then you will be good at interval training, but you might not be so good at something that requires a great deal of endurance. For another example, I recently met some great crossfit people who had a hard time doing a strict pull-up, they could kip all day long, but to just hang and pull themselves up was quite a challenge. Sometimes it can be good to get outside of your normal routine and do something different.
I'm not making fun of anyone. As diverse as I like to think my own training is, I know that my own habits and personal biases keep me in a box as well. I am not the perfect, well rounded training guru I want to be. Yet. ;) But, I'm not as stuck in my ways as I used to be. I do enjoy learning and trying new exercises and routines. I am enjoying the process of movement exploration. I have learned several new ways to train and gain strength outside of the normal " fitness boxes".
I look forward to finding playgrounds to practice on. I even look forward to cutting the grass with a push mower on some days because I like to see how fast I can do it. I make it a challenge. I am learning how to be creative.
My only point to this whole post is that if you are in a routine, one that you have had for a while, it may be good to totally shake it up, get creative and bust out of your box. You may find something completely awesome that you enjoy doing, or you may discover something your body really needed. Who knows, you may discover a new way to train that the whole world falls in love with.
Get out of your box!