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My Slow Plan for Slow Fitness and Slow Health

I have been working really hard at putting all of the pieces together in a nice sustainable string of sustainable behaviors in order to get back in the saddle and back onto the wagon.
My Slow Plan for Slow Fitness and Slow Health

My Travel DIY TRX

For the month of September I had some sort of coronavirus-turned-bronchitis experience where all of my energy was sapped and I barely kept up with my work and also disappointed a couple clients and even let all my business development on UpWork fall to the wayside. And, I did a lot of sleeping and a lot of pity-potting. So, now that it's deep into October, here are my plans (that'll make God laugh):

Parkrun Every Saturday

You might be aware that I have been volunteering as Tail Walker most every Saturday at the weekly Roosevelt Island Parkrun here in DC, on the banks of Rosslyn, Northern Virginia. I wanted to slow jog but it wasn't happening fast enough so I just decided to walk the route every Saturday—and there's a volunteer job for that: tail walker.

"The Tail Walker stays right at the back of the field and should be the last person to cross the finish line ensuring that everyone is accounted for. They are encouraged to carry a mobile phone in case of emergencies. A Tail Walker is entitled to receive both a volunteer credit and a walk/run credit (providing they brought their barcode along to be scanned) when carrying out this role."

Parkrun Support

Use My DIY TRX Suspension Straps and Yoga Mat at the Park

I have a self-made TRX-type suspension strap exerciser that I've made out of nylon cable and aluminum handles for cable machines. You can see a photo of the DIY straps in the GoRuck GR1 pocket and next to the folding yoga mat I keep next to it in my daily EDC bag, my beloved GoRuck SCARS GR1 26L bag. I built this so that I can wander over to Walter Reed Community Center park near the famous pickleball courts and do my exercises: assisted presses, assisted pulls, assisted pushups, assisted rows, assisted squats, assisted fallouts, etc. I throw the strap over one particular tree trunk branch near one particular picnic table and then go to town until I run out of juice. I also have the folded yoga mat so that I can do some crunches, some scissor kicks, some sit-ups, some leg-raises, as well as trying to get my mobility improved with some stretches and mobility drills.

Using DIY TRX suspension straps and a yoga mat at the park is a great way to get a full-body workout in a natural setting. TRX straps are a versatile fitness tool that can be used to perform a variety of exercises, from push-ups and rows to squats and lunges. A yoga mat will provide you with a comfortable surface to perform exercises on and can also be used for stretching and cool-down.

Add Slow Jogging to Walking in my Neighborhood

I gave up my car and motorcycle over 5 years ago and have never looked back. I don't miss them. Weird. I walk and bike everywhere. Starting last week, I started adding slow jogging to my commute-walking and commute-riding. So, I am the guy bopping along really slowly from my apartment to my coffee shop to the public library I like to work from when I am not working from home, and to the park I like to use my homemade DIY suspension straps and my adapted yoga mat for stretching my steel-tight hamstrings and glutes (my posterior chain is a mess and it actually has been doing a number on my knees).

Slow jogging is very slow. It's is very slow to start, has a 180 steps per minute (spm) cadence, and starts out at a slow 3pmh-5mph pace (12-20 minutes/mile pace or 7.45-12.42 minutes/km pace). I am slow jogging, currently, at 20 minutes/mile, which I am very happy with. Slow jogging is supposed to be something that you can do every day and something that you can do for many minutes without exhausting yourself, straining yourself, or injuring yourself—and it's supposed to allow you to recover quickly and without delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

I don't plan to do this in the morning or in the evening as "a run" but during the course of the day, every day, whenever I feel like I have the pep; otherwise, it'll just be walking.

Slow Jogging is a book by Hiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska that introduces a new approach to running that is based on science and natural running principles. The book argues that traditional running, which is characterized by high heart rates and heavy footstrikes, is not sustainable and can lead to injuries. Instead, the authors advocate for a slow and gentle running style that is more natural and easier on the body. They call this style "slow jogging" and define it as running at a pace where you can still converse easily.

Slow Weights on the Daily

While I prefer to get out of my pad and stay out, doing all my work at cafes and libraries, I would also like to add Phil Maffetone's Slow Weights system of doing a series of heavy-6 lifts all through the day. There are only a couple rules:

  • Weight must be heavy, pushing you to 80% of your max rep
  • When you begin, however, start lower to prepare your body
  • Do 6 heavy controlled repetitions for each set that you do
  • Allow for at least 3 minutes between sets (but it can be hours)
  • Do as many sets as you want per-day but never to failure

I have heavy dumbbells and heavy kettlebells at home but I really need to get myself one good barbell and some nice bumper plates, just enough to give me a challenging deadlift in my little apartment.

I also plan to ask the owner of my favorite cafe if I can leave one of my heavy kettlebells behind the counter so that I can continue doing this when I am out and about. Maybe I can become friendly enough with my local librarians that they'll allow me to stow a kettlebell at the Columbia Pike Public Library, my local.

Get Strong: The natural, no-sweat, whole-body approach to stronger muscles and bones by Philip Maffetone is a book that advocates for a natural, no-sweat approach to strength training. Maffetone argues that our ancestors were physically active with strong muscles and bones, but that most people today are not. He believes that the next best thing to living as our ancestors did is to engage in strength training that produces similar results.

Mornings are Dedicated to Slow Erging or Slow Biking and Coffee

I piss away my mornings with YouTube and Hulu and Buffy and Angel and waking up. I would rather make my coffee the night before and then consume it while I do some slow rowing vis-a-vis one of my favorite books on the subject, Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better: A Guide to Moderate Exercise by D. P. Ordway.

Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better: A Guide to Moderate Exercise by D. P. Ordway is a book that promotes the benefits of rowing as a form of moderate exercise. Ordway argues that rowing is a low-impact, full-body workout that is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. He also claims that rowing can help to improve cardiovascular health, reduce weight, build muscle, and improve mental well-being.

I really only care about 1) time in sliding seat or the saddle and 2) meters/miles accrued, I am always very happy to just row slow; that said, I love to add power 10s and power 20s to my ergs on my Model C Concept2 indoor rower and I like to add out-of-the-saddle sprints to my Keiser M3 rides.

Starting your day with slow erging or slow biking and coffee is a great way to improve your physical and mental health. It's a low-impact workout that can be done by people of all fitness levels, and it's a great way to wake up and get your blood flowing.

Run Sprints, Bike Sprints, Power 20s, and High Intensity HIIT

My cardiologist loves my slow path to fitness but even he really encourages my to add some high-intensity exercise at least once-a-week and I will try to do that. I actually love adding power-20s to my rowing and I really can't ride for very long steady-state on my stationary bike without getting bored and getting out of the seat and either grinding or sprinting; though I never do that when I am slow jogging or walking, though I hope I become more comfortable on my own two feet and I at least give it some go.

Adding high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your workouts can improve your cardiovascular health, increase fat burning, improve muscle strength and power, improve athletic performance, reduce your risk of injury, and increase your time efficiency.

I Can't Forget My Beloved Two-Handed Kettlebell Swings

One of my all time favorite books on casual exercise and slow fitness which predates Phil Maffetone is by beloved Get Fit, Get Fierce with Kettlebell Swings: Just 12 Minutes a Day to Lose Weight, Prevent Sitting Disease, Hone Your Body and Tone Your Booty! by Don Fitch book. Like the Slow Weights suggested by Maffetone, it intersperses workouts throughout the day, packed into 90-second two-handed kettlebell swings, and separated by an hour or so. Unlike Slow Weights, Don Fitch isn't about 80% max rep, he's more about easy 90-second swings that challenge your posterior chain, fights chair-sitting disease, encourages movement and sustainable full-body workouts, and makes it easy and simple enough to keep doing it every day for the rest of your life, just like Slow Jogging and Slow Weights encourages you to do: pick something and do it every day.

The two-handed kettlebell swing is a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups at the same time, including the glutes, hamstrings, core, shoulders, and back. It is also a cardiovascular exercise that can help you burn calories and improve your endurance. Additionally, the two-handed kettlebell swing is a functional exercise that can help you improve your athletic performance and everyday movement. Finally, the two-handed kettlebell swing is a scalable exercise that can be modified to fit your fitness level.


Embarking on a journey of recovery and self-improvement, especially after health setbacks like a coronavirus-turned-bronchitis experience, requires dedication and a sustainable plan. Integrating various physical activities such as Parkrun participation, DIY TRX workouts, slow jogging, daily slow weights, morning erging or biking, occasional high-intensity intervals, and regular kettlebell swings represents a holistic approach that not only aims at physical recovery but also at establishing a resilient, healthier lifestyle. This adaptive, varied, and moderate-intensity routine could be the key to not just getting back on track, but also paving the way for long-term health and wellness, proving that setbacks can be transformed into comebacks.


Q: What is the importance of incorporating activities like Parkrun in recovery fitness plans? A: Participating in community-based activities like Parkrun provides not just physical benefits but also emotional support, which is crucial during recovery. It ensures you're not alone in your journey, offering both motivation and a sense of belonging.

Q: How can DIY TRX workouts contribute to a sustainable fitness routine? A: DIY TRX workouts are cost-effective and versatile, allowing for full-body engagement using adjustable resistance levels. They're convenient for outdoor settings, promoting more interaction with nature and fresh air during the recovery phase.

Q: Why consider slow jogging as a part of your fitness regime post-illness? A: Slow jogging is gentle on the body, reducing risks of injury while efficiently burning calories. It aids cardiovascular health, promotes weight management, and serves as a stress-relieving activity, suitable for those rebuilding their strength.

Q: How do activities like slow weights and kettlebell swings influence overall health? A: These activities strengthen core muscles, improve posture, and enhance muscular endurance. They're scalable to fit individual progress and recovery stages, making them ideal for long-term integration into one’s lifestyle.


  • Parkrun: A community-based, volunteer-organized running event promoting health, well-being, and social interaction.
  • TRX Workouts: A form of suspension training that uses body weight and gravity to develop strength, balance, and flexibility.
  • Slow Jogging: A running technique that emphasizes reduced speed and intensity to minimize strain, encourage regular physical activity, and improve overall health.
  • Slow Weights: A strength training approach focusing on controlled, heavy lifts with sufficient rest between sets, promoting muscle growth and endurance without excessive strain.
  • Erging: Rowing exercise, typically performed on an indoor rowing machine, targeting cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): A training technique involving quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by short recovery periods, aiming to boost heart health and metabolism.
  • Kettlebell Swings: A dynamic, full-body exercise that improves strength, cardiovascular stamina, and flexibility using a kettlebell.

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