Thunderstorm Workouts



It’s been raining all day. I’d been hoping for the rain to stop so I could get finish my workout. It had been raining since the morning. It wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. It’s getting late and I have to get up early the next day. It’s now or never.

Screw it, let’s do it. I tell myself. I throw my Vibrams on, grab my jumprope off the counter and head out the door.

I jog down the back alley as the water starts to collect in miniature streams and races me to the street. The pitter patter of the rain interspersed with my jogging cadence as I pass house after house, tv’s flickering through the windows. As i jog down the street towards the familiar park, the sky lights up – the lightning dances in the clouds overhead as the rain plays on the back of my neck.

I slow down as I get to the once bustling park, now vacated due to the incoming storm.

“No one here to watch. No one here to know if you just go home, lie down on the couch and go to sleep. No one but you.” I think to myself.

I look up at the swingset. The blue bar missing flecks of paint. Rusted steel in their place. Droplets of water cover the bar as the rain keeps coming make it hard for my fingers to hold tight. I wrap my fingers around the bar, defying it’s attempt to slip out from under my grasp and begin to pull my body skywards and start to bend my reluctant body to my will.


The lightening flashes and the thunder rumbles as I focus on the task at hand.


I spend the half hour running around the park, doing dips on old, battered park benches. Pushups in the wet grass, soaking through my shirt. Not that you could tell at this point anyways.

In between sets, I look to my right at the open field where the sky is filled with dancing light, the thunder muffled by the distance. It’s a heck of a view.

I keep going.

Lunges next to the slide and squats while holding on to the jungle gym.

A few cars pass, kicking up water as they drive through puddles and stare curiously at the rain-soaked man climbing all over the park at 11 o’clock at night.

3o minutes later, I finish my workout and I stand there.

Just me and the playground. My excuses long ago melted away by the rain. The lightning just the background scenery and the rolling thunder the soundtrack. Welcome to the gym.


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  1. Northern says

    My uncle used to always go for a run in the rain, never understood why until I tried it myself, theres something calming about it.

  2. says

    Queue the training montage from Rocky IV. This is the best environment to workout in Joel. You’re getting me fired up for the next thunderstorm!

    “If it ain’t rainin’, we ain’t trainin’!”


  3. says

    I wish I had your guts! I have always had astraphobia (but never tried getting help for it); I went outdoor climbing a few weeks ago and got caught in an unexpected thunderstorm hundreds of feet above ground. Let’s just say I was afraid for my life! Good job on still sticking to your goals despite the weather. I think I’m going to have to say ‘screw it’ to my irrational fear someday, and do what needs to be done.

    • says

      Why not make someday sooner than later?

      You got caught in the thunderstorm but you survived! You’re bigger than the storm. Start small, sit on your porch during a thunderstorm. Then go run in the street when it’s raining. Work your way up. After a bit, it won’t seem so daunting :)

  4. says

    Rock on Joel … loooove this!! Great pic and you use my 5 (or is it 6?!) favorite words, “Screw it, let’s do it”! 😉 Here’s to a faboo Sunday and amazing week ahead of us!

    P.S. – You’ve inspired me so that I’ve been running hard every day and have lost 5+ lbs. and body fat. My clothes fit perfectly again with room to spare. I’m 43 and in the last month two people thought I was in my early 30s! Whoo hoo! THANK YOU! 😉

  5. says

    Good stuff Joel! A lot of success in life comes from overcoming excuses.

    My wife ran a 21k race in a post-typhoon rainstorm yesterday. Her shoes got so wet that she ran two k barefoot. I’ve got some catching up to do to match that one :)

  6. Chris says

    Quite possibly your best written work to date. Real impressed and inspired. This is random but any interest in making this thing bilingual or maybe trilingual. I’m looking for some summer projects to work on translating into Japanese, and I would think you could possibly produce this in Spanish as well. Just a thought

  7. says

    You don’t get to talk about not being a good writer anymore. This post was awesome. I loved the ending. “Welcome to the gym.” I have to go work out now.

  8. says

    That sounds wonderful. I would love to do that. Need to find a park near me that is not a flash flood hazard when it rains to try this out. Parks near me are designed to flood so the city doesn’t. Would not be a safe place to jog in during the rain, so instead I am stuck in my living room doing jumping jacks.


  1. […] Honestly, 18 minutes sounds like an arbitrary number—that’s because it is. When I started these bodyweight exercises, I didn’t have a specific window of time in mind. But I timed myself last week (solely for the purposes of this essay) and discovered that almost every time I hit the park for my exercises, I was worn out within 18 minutes. Thus, these are my 18-minute exercises (all of which you can do in your living room, outdoors, or just about anywhere else—even outside during a thunderstorm). […]

  2. […] Unless you’re trying to actively put on muscle mass, there’s no need for a gym – you can do everything you need to lose weight with bodyweight exercises with a flat space in your house or garage. And, if you really need to have a gym, you can make your nearby playground into a home gym. […]

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