The Human Trace


Human history is in a veritable watershed moment, a violently charged flashpoint in time, gripped with the public health crisis of a global pandemic, the likes of which we have not confronted in several generations. And while the pandemic pushes unrelentingly forward despite rebellious rebukes of it’s immanent threat, the traditional gym is feeling the brunt of the on-and-off-again closures dictated by reality and science. The defiance of embattled gym owners will invariably yield to government mandate (aka, fines), but the intensity of the debate is becoming increasingly more volatile as the information doled out by the federal government- the CDC notwithstanding- to states and businesses have proven inconsistent, contradicting, and, at times, strikingly misleading.

With this most recent closure and considering the evident long-term impact Covid19 will have on gyms as regards to enclosed spaces, especially those with a notoriously germ-rampant environment, it seems especially poignant that we turn to ambient free-form or home-based exercise fitness as the immediate and obvious alternative to the gym, now indefinitely sidelined.

This has naturally caused massive panic amongst gym members who are feeling the long-winding impact of multiple months of closures, only to have their much-anticipated reopening closed again in short order. However, no one should take this relapse as a step backward into stagnation or depression. There are overly-qualified alternatives at play here in the ambient green spaces in our backyard, parks, and other creatively usuable public spaces, of which there’s no shortage. We have options available and should challenge ourselves for engaging solutions.

(Reader’s Note: This recommendation is certainly not without precedent; functional and free-form fitness modalities have been quietly filling in the gaps machine-based corporated gyms have created. Movement clubs and fitness cultures like Barstarrz, Parkour, and Movnat have gained viral traction in the rapidly shifting landscape of voyeurized Youtube and Instagram fitness and even more in an ongoing and evolving public discourse regarding the physiology and aesthetic of strength and beauty. Gyms are built on the implicit synthesis of isolation lifts and aerobic machines utilizing compartmentalized stations stacked in rows, lined wall to mirrored wall. However, these recent functional insurgents have garnered attention just as much for their minimalism as their demonstratively raw athletic physical profile. These outside-the-gym “movements” have made strides in the last decade as the short-comings- fault lines- of our unconscious consumer gym dependency and the inherent limits its business model promulgates have become glaringly clear to woke, and seriously swole consumers.)

It is imperative we are commited to take on this new challenge, this very real reality, and redefine our fitness programs,our memberships, that are embedded inside the gym’s walls, and make a break, or in the least, a supplemental fitness design apart from this now broken gym paradigm.

We will find very quickly that we can interact with the natural medium that has been latent in the wild overgrown fringes and inner creases of our towns and cities. There is untapped, unfettered freedom in these unknown and unused spaces flourishing in the parks and along the railroads and alleyways, and those other forgotten, undeveloped spaces. It is literally a bike ride, a scaled wall and vacant lot away; an adventure of your own (re)creation you will not regret, nor pay for.

As a launchpad from which to venture out into more expansive spaces, we will need to sharpen our home-based exercise patterns. In uncertain times, there is explicit value in a physical routine that is consistent, free, and immediately available. Here, in the quiet comfort of home, the warrior’s journey rightly begins, disrupting the sedative inertia into which quarantine life has compelled us, inside the very walls in which we sit and shelter. There is immediate access to exercise right inside our homes and just outside the front door. But the home regimen will come first, and then we will move onto the outdoor strategies.

Naturalized fitness has been waiting patiently for every one of us. So, if you need your machines and your mirrors, kindly wait for the next reopening. But, if you are looking for fitness you can dance to, kindly follow me. I promise you, you will never look back.

Let’s begin.