Conservation Fitness Program, Day 25: Train Local

As we discussed yesterday, being a locavore doesn’t necessarily limit you to eating local. I pride myself on living a locavore lifestyle, including my eating habits, wellness habits, and my exercise habits. Yes, you can exercise locally, and today we’re going to discuss how.

Training local can have tons of interpretations. It can mean train close to home. Support local businesses and visit a locally owned gym versus a big chain. It can mean find a place which is special to you. Or it can mean something different altogether and be interpreted as training for YOUR body, and what works for you. Being a week of exploring what locavore is all about, I encourage you to find what meaning you derive from living local.

Doing your workouts close to home has gotten easier in recent years. Doing exercises IN your home is easier than ever. With online workouts, fitness apps, and gym equipment available for purchase, sometimes it feels like we have no excuse not to exercise. I know that’s not the case. I’ve done at home fitness challenges and they are easier said than done. But I do love the accessibility of many great workout programs online. Among my favorite are Daily Burn and Beachbody (although Beachbody is sorta a pyramid scheme, as long as you don’t get caught up in the upsales, it’s a great workout program).

As far as at-home workout equipment, I can’t help but recommend my own program of Reuse, Recycle, Reduce Your Waist. In fact, the book is on sale now. It shows all the great gadgets and toys you can make to create a dynamic workout experience, right in your own home, and spend next to nothing. Use items you have around your house, or can easily pick up at a thrift store. How much more local can you get?

The one thing I particularly enjoy about making your own workout equipment is how invested I feel in my own fitness. It’s kind of like the difference between spending $30 a month at a big chain gym and spending $100 a month on a CrossFit membership. You probably won’t feel guilty about not going to the $30 a month gym. And you can bet those big chains are counting on that. I mean, it’s only $30. But if you don’t go to something you’ve spent $100, or $150, it weighs a little heavier on your conscience. But that’s not why CrossFit or smaller sized group classes are so expensive. They are more expensive because of the quality exercise you are getting.

But I digress a little (although I stayed a bit on topic). The investment you are making when you create your own workout equipment is the time and your effort to make the items. I found I look for reasons to use my homemade medicine balls, dumbbells, and ab mat. Proud of my creations, I invent more workouts to utilize them. I have a feeling if you make your own equipment, the same will be true for you, too.

But you don’t HAVE to stay at home to do your workouts. In fact, if you are new to working out, it would probably benefit you to find a group class or personal trainer to get you started. Staying local is still your best option.

As I just stated above, going local may cost more money for fitness classes, but it is an investment well worth your money. You get a lot of bang for your buck by finding a locally owned and operated gym. These community members look forward to seeing you, and are genuinely interested in your health and fitness goals. Whereas if you go to a big chain gym, you are often on your own. Unless you pay the extra fees for personal training. And extra money for their challenges. And their products. But they still don’t share the genuine feeling of accomplishment that I have seen with smaller, local businesses.

At South Island CrossFit, I coach the Master Class and attend the Beginners Class. One of the reasons I love these two classes so much is because I get to interact with newer faces. I get to see how they start off hesitantly, but after only a few weeks, they gain confidence, strength, and skills they never thought they could achieve. They begin to believe in themselves, and seeing the results of their efforts keeps them coming back. It’s a great feeling being involved with someone’s fitness journey like that.

Not everyone can go to a gym, or workout from home. I get that. It’s why I created the Sloth Army, and why I started practicing ZooFit in the first place. I am all about experiencing nature, and doing things at your own pace. The Sloth Army is my way of combining my passion for the outdoors with my teaching style of positive reinforcement and operant conditioning.

I’m not as concerned with how far we ran, or how fast we ran. I’m more concerned with whether or not people showed up. And keep showing up. So I change things up from week to week. We explore different trails throughout the island. We laugh and have a good time. The part which gets me most pumped is when my Sloths are excited for the next meet-up. This means we are developing the habit of doing something active, and engaging them in exercise, rather than punishing them.

So, how about you? What are some of your favorite ways to train local? Do you have a favorite place to hike, run, or even swim? Is there a gym or group class where you connect with friends? Do you have an at-home gym to make working out as convenient as possible?

Train local, and train positive!


Breakfast: Paleo Pumpkin Muffins with homemade apple butter (omg, these are sinfully delicious)

Paleo Muffins   6 servings: 243 calories,  Carbs: 18.2g, Fat: 12.4g, Protein: 10g


  • 1 ½ cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp each ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup blueberries or pitted cherries (summer); ½ cup pumpkin (winter)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp slivered almonds or pepitas


  1. Line 6 muffin tins with cups and pour a small amount of melted coconut oil into each liner.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a large mixing bowl.  Add berries, stirring constantly, then the beaten eggs and honey.  Stir thoroughly until even consistency.
  3. Pour batter evenly into tin liners and place on middle rack of oven. Set temperature for 350 F. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn off oven and let passively bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with almonds or pepitas immediately after taking them out of the oven.

Apple Butter  Serving size is ½ cup- 218 calories  Carbs: 55.4g, Fat: 0.5g, Protein: 0.6g


  • 10 apples
  • ½ cup honey (substitute with organic cane sugar if you want to make vegan)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp each ginger and cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Peel all apples. Cut around core and dice.  Place in a crockpot and turn on low.
  2. Add the next 4 ingredients. Pour just enough water to allow apples to simmer until juices start to get released.  Put cover on top of crockpot and leave for 3-4 hours
  3. Turn crockpot on high and take lid off.  Stir well, and continue cooking for another 3-4 hours without lid.
  4. Turn crockpot off.  Add vanilla and stir well.  Let sit for up to ½ hour.
  5. Spoon batches into a blender, food processor, or ninja.  Blend well until a smooth texture.
  6. Transfer to a large container to use as a spread as desired, or separate into smaller containers for a special treat.

Lunch: Leftover Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Chicken
Dinner: Maple Chipotle Salmon
Snacks: Pomegranate and Vegan Cottage Cheese

Mood: I’m feeling pretty hopeful again about this program. After my second trial next month, the owner of the CrossFit gym has agreed to host a Conservation Fitness Challenge for existing members and as a program to entice new members.

We’ve done a half dozen fitness challenges in the past, so we feel comfortable running it. In the past, we’ve gone through outside businesses, and our reach hasn’t been as effective. I’m hoping in addition to knowing how to reach our target audience by being members of the local community, the draw of there being a conservation connection will give us an edge over other New Years’ deals and offerings. After Thanksgiving, we will be looking at ways to market the program through social media and local venues. I’m pretty damn excited.

Challenges: I got a little overwhelmed yesterday talking to another writer who started suggesting a dozen other ways to market ZooFit, most I’ve thought of, but haven’t gotten around to implementing. The YouTube channel is on the top of my list, but it’s been hard to get started. The overwhelming part came when I realized I had all these things I want to do, but haven’t remotely started on them. They’re on my list, but hearing people suggest it as a way to increase exposure (Derrick is far from the first to suggest it), it gives me anxiety about where my priorities are. And then I get overwhelmed, not knowing what I need to focus on.

Breathe. This week is the last for this particular trial. Next month I won’t be distracted from other writing projects by “having” to write my blog post (I don’t see it as a chore, really, it helps me gather my thoughts more than anything). I can finish the book, and start on the other projects I want to do such as videos, podcasts, and outreach presentations.


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