|Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA - One of my Former Hiking Destinations|
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS (MMA)
MMA has taken the world by storm in recent years with the popularization of UFC and similar organizations. Take a look at some of the top fighters like Georges St-Pierre...absolutely ridiculous muscle definition. Of course they put in work at the gym, but you are crazy if you don't think fight training plays a huge part in building that kind of body as well. So naturally, I decided to go and seek out a great gym to learn how to kick some ass.
If you want to look for a gym, I can do no better than point you at http://www.findmmagym.com/ . Great comprehensive resource on the matter. As far as my experience, it was and has been awesome. Going in and sparring and really putting my strength to the test and driving my muscles to absolute failure, what better fun is there. Go check it out, many quality gyms offer free into classes so you've got nothing to lose.
The first time I went rock climbing I beat my upper body into the ground in a way I hadn't done in the gym in quite some time. And I had fun doing it! Right there and then, rock climbing became a big hobby for me. You can climb indoors, outdoors, whatever strikes your fancy really. Check out some of the guys you see there, they do things that require some incredible strength and power. It can be a bit of an expensive hobby, particularly if you go to an indoor climbing gym (perhaps $50-60 a month), so it may be something you want to restrict to doing only occasionally. If you want to look for a gym, just check out google maps for some local gyms in your area. I've found frequent climbing to really help my grip strength (great help during a heavy deadlift) and general arm and upper body size. Climbing also makes a great date.
If you have ever seen Casino Royale (with Daniel Craig), you may remember a scene where he is chasing a man through all sorts of crazy locales (top of a crane, construction site, etc.). That guy he was chasing is Sebastien Foucan, one of the world's foremost traceurs (parkour practitioners). Parkour is a sport where you basically find the best way to get from Point A to Point B, sort of like an improv obstacle course. Jumping over obstacles, between ledges, even running on walls Matrix-style, your only limit is your imagination (and courage). This makes for an incredible cardio workout. It's also being incorporated into military training!
There is also a strong gymnastics element with many practitioners throwing tricks like backflips to get over obstacles. I had never really thrown a backflip before in my life. But I went to a parkour session at an open gymnastics gym and we spent all day setting up obstacles and doing anything you can imagine to get over and past them. By the end of the day, many (successful!) flips and backflips later, my body was absolutely wrecked. It's incredible what some unconventional training can do; I hadn't gotten that sore from a gym workout maybe ever! Tons of fun too...I mean really, who doesn't want to be able to do a backflip!?!
If you'd like to find more information, check out http://www.americanparkour.com/ for all sorts of tips and guides. To find other traceurs in your area, I would recommend googling parkour and your city as your best bet of finding fellow traceurs. I have listed below sites I've used before to find fellow crazy folk:
Southeastern US (I was in Atlanta at the time): http://www.overflux.com/
New York City: http://www.nyparkour.com/
Alright guys, that covers some of my favorite albeit unconventional muscle-building activities. It makes a huge difference to vary up your training and hit your muscles in new ways. Give some of them a try,you might just find them to be a lot of fun and make some great friends along the way. Feel free to comment with some of your own muscle-burning hobbies.