If you met me today you may be able to clearly see my passion for sports and fitness. However, 10 years ago I was a far different person. I was in many ways a lazy kid; I loved playing sports but never took the time to train on my own time.
Sometime in high school I was fed up with coming into the hockey season out of shape. Like most young athletes I hated when the coaches asked us to run and do a ton of calisthenics. All I wanted to do was scrimmage and play some puck. Then it hit me, if I work out a little everyday leading up to the season then I would be better off than most people and have a much easier time. I guess I also hated being undervalued and felt I had something to prove every season.
So I started to do some push-ups and crunches. With the help of my cousins I did some boot camp classes. I started to do some jogging throughout the week and added in weight lifting when I could. I started to Google a variety of hockey athletes and their routines to mimic. I came across Rod Brind’Amour and immediately was inspired by his legendary work out stories. I mean the guy was apparently once locked out of his college gym by his coaches.
Over time I started to see some significant increases in my fitness levels and it all paid off on the ice. It did not exactly happen overnight but I was started to love the results in so many different ways.
All I am trying to say is that it all just starts with an attempt. At first I hated when the coach made us run 4 miles or do crunches until we cry. I got better than the rest of my team at these things and it became easy. It became rewarding. Now I lead the charge on these drills, I program and work out with many athletes and I love every second of it. I learned to love the process of my growth.
Do not make excuses. Do not wait for anyone to come your way and push you to do what you know you need to. Do not skip your training. Your on-ice performance and overall health will benefit greatly from the consistency and the drive to improve your fitness.
One final thing to share for today:
No Gym? Here are my favorite out of gym places to work out at!
What neighborhood does not have a playground? Do not answer that. Just get out there and find one. Take a light jog out to your closest park and from there you can do a whole array of exercises.
I would specifically make my way to different parks nearby to work on gymnastics or body weight training. Using the monkey bars I would perform a variety of pull-ups, chin-ups, dips and more. I would do box jumps on the steps, climb the poles and yes I would have a blast!
Some parks by me had different types of monkey bars like rings or hoops and that made a huge difference. Others had hills for sprints and sometimes I would catch kids playing basketball or soccer and it was a great add-on. They even built a fitness-specific park not too far from me which had all the essentials. It was my like my own little outdoor gymnasium. I would always have a field day.
Maybe not everyone has a gigantic park right down their block but if you have any type of woodsy area by you then you should seriously check it out. I had a giant park by me with tons of trails, hills, trees and much more.
Just the other day I brought my cousin there to go for a hike and along our path we found plenty of things to do. We found several logs and stones that we carried like strongmen. In the end we threw them for distance to work on our power. I brought him to my favorite area which is a 50-yard, massive incline hill filled with sand and dirt. We worked on a couple of sprints and finished off our 5-mile hike before sunset.
My personal favorite place to work out was the local high school I lived by. It had a brand new track and field in place, plus a new set of bleachers and a bunch of football equipment “hidden” in the back of the land. Before I moved, I tried to dedicate at least a day a week to work on sprints here. The football line markers helped a lot with speed work but ultimately it does not matter. After some sprints I would do stair jumps, sprints and climbs. Found some tires in the back to flip and a whole pull-up set as well.
I remember one day even working on throwing the tires in the designated shot-put area. There is so much you can do if you just open your mind to it. In the end I might finish off with agility work and trying to touch the field goal posts and work on my jumping.
Not the easiest place to get to for many of you. Heck, I am sure most of you have no beach available to you. But as I said earlier, you’ll find a way to get in some speed work in the sand and swimming practice. A day at the beach could be relaxing for some but for me it was always a time to play some beach soccer, saucer passing and try to run through the waves to work on skating mechanics. We would finish off with some fishing and clamming and make our way to eat the delicious fresh food. Life is good.
These are just some of the cool places I have worked out in when I was growing up. I moved out since and have been finding some cool new places here in the NYC. The main point is to understand that a good work out does not need to be done with steel plates, fancy equipment and a gym membership. In today’s world you can research some cool routines online and just get out there and get a pump going.
I want to hear about the cool and unique places you all work out at. Share some stories below and let’s discuss! If any of you have any further fitness, training or health questions feel free to ask!
- Mark Lisica
Summer has begun. Enjoy it!