What is “DIY Fitness”?
With the popularity of home improvement shows in the last few years, DIY projects are a familiar concept. We’ve all felt the tug to renovate or have spent the capital to plan and complete improvement projects that we can do ourselves in our homes.
What I’m calling DIY fitness follows that same framework. A “Do-It-Yourself” approach to fitness is the activity of stewarding and strengthening your body without the regular employment or 1/1 coaching from a professional.
Admittedly, the DIY fitness journey is never done in absolute isolation. You will always be learning from others, either from videos, podcasts, books, relationships, etc… However, the goal of this learning is for you to be able to develop the base knowledge, skills, and information that you need to take care of your own body.
When not to DIY Fitness
Even the most competent DIYer knows when to call in a professional.
If a home has systemic issues that need further evaluation, it’s best to call in a professional for further evaluation. If there’s a project that requires the advanced skill of a plumber or electrician, the DIYer will save money, time, and pain along the way by partnering with a professional to have the work done.
Same thing goes for your body. If you have a chronic health condition, are recovering from an injury, have regular pain, have musculoskeletal problems, or are completely brand new to fitness, I’d encourage you to seek the advice of your primary care physician and partner with a certified coach before starting any workout plan.
And if you are a healthy and active individual, you will still gain a lot of value in learning from professionals. Some prefer this almost exclusively, and most (especially at the beginning) need some guidance and a plan to help them get started.
My point is this. Even the most experienced DIYer is humble and wise enough to know his own limits. He knows the value of professional advice and will pay for it when needed.
DIY Fitness in the Information Age
We’ve never had as much access to information as we have today. We can step into any realm of information instantly with only a few seconds of internet searching. This access to information makes DIY fitness entirely possible.
Yet at the same time, the overwhelming amount of data makes DIY fitness harder than ever. Discerning the helpful fitness sources from the harmful or ineffectual ones takes work and experience. The fads and charlatans of the fitness industry line the video and search feeds, which turns the fresh springs of information out there into a moldy project.
DIY Fitness – Your Renovation Project
While the swamp of information makes navigating the fitness space harder, it does not make it impossible. We still have immediate access to experts in a variety of fields that no prior generation had access to. We just need to learn how to discern the helpful from the harmful.
Here are some principles that have helped me navigate through all the noise to DIY my own fitness.
Identifying Your “What”
Most DIY projects have a defined objective and scope, like how to remove and replace a bathtub, how to lay down flooring in your kitchen, or how to power wash the siding on the exterior of your home.
The principle applies to DIY fitness. Identifying your objective, or your mission, is the first step in your DIY journey. Do you want to lose weight? Build muscle? Pursue longevity? Increase mobility and flexibility? Reduce pain? Develop strength? Bulk up?
Narrowing in on your objective determines your starting point with your building project.
Clarifying Your “Why”
If the objective is the “what”, the motivation is the “why”. You begin a DIY project for a specific reason. The shower floor has a crack in it. The addition of a bathroom will add value to your home. An open layout of a kitchen adds warmth and space for your family.
Same goes for fitness. You want to lose weight, build strength, or pursue longevity, but what are the underlying motivations?
I write to the Christian guy, and as Christians there are motivations we have to take care of our bodies. Here are some:
- We steward them for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31, Revelation 4:11, Psalm 139:13)
- We use them for work and movement (Genesis 1:26-28, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-8)
- We apply diligence in our work and movement (Proverbs 21:5)
- We put off laziness, gluttony and put on sober-mindedness (Titus 2:6)
Once these motivations are clear, discerning through the wealth of information becomes easier. Here’s how you can use these motivations to navigate through all the content at your fingertips:
- What can I learn from this content that will help me steward my body for God’s glory?
- What can I learn from this content that will help me work and move fuller, longer, and without pain?
- What can I learn from this content that will help me apply diligence in my routine?
- What can I learn from this content that will help me put off laziness and gluttony, and help me become more sober-minded?
Discovering the Guides
DIY websites have an assortment of guides for improvement projects, and YouTube university often has the entire project done by someone else that you can follow along with.
Same goes with fitness. Between YouTube, websites, blogs, podcasts, and books, you can find answers to any of the fitness questions you may have.
If you want to take the DIY approach, this discovery will take longer for you than if you were to work with 1/1 with a coach. A coach will provide you the exact information you need for your context, and if you decide to do it yourself, you will have to learn (mostly through trial and error) what works and what doesn’t.
Here are some resources that have helped me that you can use:
- Layman’s Fitness Hub
- I created dozens of videos, posts, and programs you can utilize to help you learn the basics of bodyweight and kettlebell training.
- This is my go-to resource for strength training. They cover various topics, including kettlebell, barbell, and bodyweight training.
- The National Academy of Sports Medicine is who I am certified with as a personal trainer, and while the primary audience is trainers, you can find a wealth of information there for anything related to fitness.
Swinging the Hammer
Once you know your building project’s objective, why you are doing it, and have your guide handy, you need to pick up that hammer and get to work.
Same goes with fitness. Some people define the objective but never think about the why, and they fall off track. Others do the soul-searching, but don’t know where to start with fitness. Others do all the research, but never actually get started. And others actually get started, but never finish.
Wherever you find yourself in this spectrum, something that’s helped me is remembering that little ant from Proverbs 6.
The ant is a tiny creature, but Solomon uses it as an instructive example for the snoozy sluggard. Here’s what the ant teaches us:
- The ant’s ways are wise and worth learning from (Proverbs 6:6)
- The ant does not need micro-management to get the job done. She is her own chief and ruler (Proverbs 6:7)
- The ant does all the appropriate planning, research, and preparation for her project (Proverbs 6:8a)
- The ant does not stop at the planning stage, but diligently puts in the hard work to execute her plan (Proverbs 6:8b)
Why Layman’s Fitness Exists
Almost two years ago I wrote a post on this. And nearly 100 posts later, I think the DIY fitness framework is the better answer for this question.
Layman’s Fitness exists to help the man in the pew steward his body for God’s glory. And after two years, this website has produced:
- Over 45 content posts, to help you define your “what” and clarify your “why”
- Over 40 video posts, to help you find your guide through various bodyweight and kettlebell movements
- 5 free programs, to put the hammer in your hand.
But at the end of the day, only you can swing it. And I hope you do that with all the strength you have, to the glory of God.
- A Simple Kettlebell Training Guide
- A Theology of Exercise: Work and Movement
- Modesty: Fitness Culture Has No Clothes
- The One Missing Ingredient from Your Fitness Goals
- The Last Kettlebell Buying Guide You May Ever Need
- My Year of Walking Barefoot
- A Minimalist Exercise Routine That Works
- 10 Minimalist Workouts You Can Do at Home
- Threats to the Glory of Young Men
- 3 Nutrition Choices to Win in the Margins
Ready to get started?