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Back To Basics: How This Fitness Pro Leveled Up His Routine In 2020   

January 20, 2021
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Image by Jack Matthews
January 20, 2021

The year 2020 has been a challenging one for all of us, and I'm certainly no different. I've always tried my best to learn from failure and take those lessons with me wherever I go. This year may have been full of lessons, but I don't think it's because we failed (at all). Let me explain.

I came from a traditional CrossFit training background, I've been a coach for over seven years, I've been a nutrition coach for over a year, and I've worked in fitness since I was 13 years old (I'm now 30). When COVID hit, almost all the CrossFit gyms closed their doors because of social-distancing guidelines.

For years, I've thought that a proper workout meant I'd need access to a gym with big slabs of iron and fancy machines. But since the pandemic hit, I was reduced to nothing. Not a barbell, dumbbell, squat rack, or even a pullup bar. So I took it as an opportunity to hit the refresh button on my routine and get creative. I took inspo from anywhere I could find it—resources like RXercise became invaluable sources of motivation.

I went back home at the beginning of COVID to be with my family, headed up to a family cottage, and did what you're supposed to do when you're up in the middle of nowhere—we unplugged. My brother stressed to me that he wanted to make a change in his life and that he wanted to understand fitness and nutrition. So I went back to the drawing board and quickly realized it wasn't as complex as I thought. We started with nutrition, as that would lay the foundation for his new lifestyle. I emphasized to him that a whole-foods, no-B.S. approach was the secret to success. 

Image by Jack Matthews

For me, RXBAR's protein bars (and at the moment, Chocolate Sea Salt, in particular) are the perfect solution to this approach. Their versatility is what does it for me—whether I'm out running high-intensity intervals in the backwoods of Northern Michigan or hitting pullups at the playground down the street from my apartment in Fort Lauderdale. RXBAR makes the nutrition part of fitness exactly what it should be—simple, efficient, and exactly what I need. No more, no less.

On the fitness side, we went back to basics. The goal was simple—execute bodyweight movements at an increased heart rate for an extended period of time. So whether it was an AMRAP (As Many Reps as Possible) for 12 minutes with a weighted backpack, partner-style running interval training, or even cold-water breathing exercises in the freezing spring season lake—it didn't matter. 

I think the greatest part about it was it was a two-part learning process. For my brother, he was learning how to do the work, understand fitness and nutrition, and see the results. And for me, I learned that I don't need a gym—all I need is a body.

Finding this new holistic style approach to fitness has been incredibly liberating for me. I still love CrossFit, weightlifting, running, hiking, and yoga, but something about this experience of adapting to a new norm has changed my thought process of training forever—and I think that's for the better. I'll admit, getting motivated to get a workout in has been tougher in recent months, so I've needed some extra fuel to get my body going. I keep RXBAR protein bars on hand at all times, so that way I can always guarantee that no matter what the day throws at me, I'm fueling my body with the simple stuff it needs.

My ultimate takeaway from this experience? Stop overthinking your health. Go back to the basics—in your workouts, in your nutrition, and in your lifestyle. 

Jack Matthews author page.
Jack Matthews

Jack Matthews is a fitness trainer of 10 years who loves the outdoors and his dog Layla.

He currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida as a Creative director for multiple brands nationwide.

When he’s not getting tattoos or coffee you can normally find him reading a book in his apartment