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All Weather Strong: How to Live Outdoors in an Indoor World

“The circadian system is trying to figure out where you are in time. This 24 hour clock in your brain that needs to be synchronized with the outdoors everyday."

Have you ever woken up, looked out at the beautiful sunrise, and felt inspired to get outside and “seize the day?” On the other hand, have you looked out to see a fresh layer of snow or rain falling and decided to stay in bed because it’s too cold or wet outside? Well, if I’m completely honest, I have too, but I can genuinely say that was years ago. Over the last handful of years, I have come to fully embrace the day and found gratitude for the weather, whatever it may bring. I believe it’s simply a conscious attitude that we all can choose to adopt and it’s well worth it, in my experience.

I call this attitude “All Weather Strong” because I embrace the cold, heat, or whatever the day throws at me. This mindset is where I find freedom, health, and strength. 

For most of us, our current way of living keeps us indoors. Actually, the average American spends 93% of their time indoors. Due to the recent Covid pandemic, many of us have spent more time than ever in our comfort bubbles, staring at a screen.

Meanwhile, recent research and books like The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter show that spending time outdoors is important in order for our bodies to function properly.

Comfort in All Environments

The Scandinavians have historically prioritized the outdoors and variant temperature exposure. They’re known for using both saunas and ice baths to get refreshed and build social connections deep in the heart of winter. They even have a word for this way of life–friluftsliv, which translates to “free air life.” This life outside essentially means there is no barrier separating life indoors from life outdoors. 

All activities can be done outdoors and year round. Scandinavians also have a word for comfort and coziness: hygge. Hygge is celebrated and practiced as a way to refresh and enjoy life indoors as well. It’s important to recognize that time spent outside in the cold or sweltering heat is not about being as tough as possible or suffering in extreme weather. It’s about being free and finding comfort in all environments. The weather is simply a stimulus that your mind can easily interpret as a threat when this is rarely the case. We can easily become hypersensitized.

As most people in the modern world know, it’s quite easy to get up and go from one artificial 70 degree comfort bubble to another, year round without spending more than a few minutes transitioning between these bubbles from our homes to our cars, etc. 

I want to challenge you to spend time outside, year round, through sweltering summers and ice cold winters and everything in between. 

Becoming All Weather Strong

All Weather Strong started as a way to inspire others to start training outdoors. At the very least, I wanted to inspire others to think differently about the elements. I created an Instagram hashtag, #allweatherstrong, and ran with the concept. In the fall of 2020, gyms here in Oregon were being shut down for the second time, due to Covid spikes. Many people were forced to train at home with minimal space available. I wanted to inspire others to change their mindset about training outside. I wanted them to see that they have the opportunity to exercise outdoors anytime with little or no equipment. We all have a body and we have a floor or ground, and that’s truly all you need.  I made a series of posts dedicated to training outside all year long, with tips and guidelines to stay safe. 

I go out every morning for at least 5 minutes as a kickstart to my day. Since I built my new training space, “The Sanctuary of Strength,”  I have trained nearly all of my ‘gym sessions’ outside. 

My family and I have gone all in with friluftsliv over the last few years. I love it and can’t see going back to a box gym or indoor living. It’s a non-negotiable now, just like brushing my teeth or drinking that big glass of water first thing in the morning. You can integrate nature into traditional fitness programs, and I want to inspire as many other people as possible to get out of their comfort zones and be bigger than their excuses while enjoying the gifts that mother nature has for us. 

All Weather Strong is also meant to inspire students, friends, and family who do not have the fully loaded home gym setup like I do. It’s easy to say, “it’s too cold.” Or “I can’t get motivated in the garage.” Or “I don’t have space to work out at home.” I set out to smash these excuses and dispel the myths of outdoor training. The results were great and I was happy to take a few brave souls along with me on this quest. 

But back to you. Are you ready to get All Weather Strong, too?

If you aren’t ready to convert to the Friluftsliv lifestyle, you can still get a great refresher anytime and shift your mind and body toward a more outdoor way of life.

Tips for Bringing the Outdoors into Your Daily Routine

  • Begin your day by spending at least 5 minutes outside, moving your body, taking deep breaths, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee while soaking up the sunlight. I fully believe this habit will become addictive and you will start to think ‘why would I ever stop doing this?!’ It really feels that good. 
  • Set a timer and take a walk on a break or spend your lunchtime outdoors. This is easy if you work from home but may be more challenging in a corporate setting. However, many business owners and managers are becoming more accepting of this for employees’ health and even work productivity. I advise thinking of it this way: I don’t have time not to take a break now.
  • Take your work outside! Have a ‘walking meeting’ or, at least, sit outdoors for a meeting whenever possible. You will be amazed how many creative ideas and positive vibes happen when you share ideas and connect while moving.
  • Eat a meal outside. Invite your family and friends to get some sunlight and feel the connection with the outdoors while eating. In colder months, you may have to bundle up or get cozy near a fire or other heat source.
  • Make it a fun family challenge and explain the purpose to friends and family. When they understand the goal, they’re more likely to support it rather than making it a “tough guy” thing or something with a negative association.
  • Make the outdoors inviting. Invest in a set of comfortable chairs or create another type of sitting area that’s cozy and enjoyable.
  • Put in a heat source. Some options are a wood burning fire pit or a gas or pellet stove. Decide what’s best for you depending on local restrictions, time of year, heat needs, and personal preference. Personally, I’m old school and love a natural wood fire. Cutting firewood is a great outdoor activity and will “warm you twice” when you cut your own and burn it. 
  • Build a covered area or extension onto your garage or other outdoor space.
  • If you train in a garage or something similar, open the door for at least part of your workout. Or take a few pieces of equipment outside with you. Kettlebells are king here!
  • Add a fan or heater in your training area during hotter or colder months to make this space more inviting.

You can stay inside or compromise by doing your warm up or cool down outside to catch some of the benefits. We specifically bought our house based on the natural light, indoor/outdoor accessibility and land to play on. It can truly be a way of life if you take steps to make it a priority

For ideas and inspiration, take a video tour of my  “Sanctuary of Strength” Facility in Bend, Oregon.

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