It can be really tough to stay motivated on a workout regime in Peace Corps. After being a regular exerciser for several years, I’ve fallen off the wagon pretty hard. I’ve found some ways to make the process more fun and manageable, however.
This weekend I finally undertook two projects I’ve been meaning to do for a while: DIY heavy bag and speed bag (instructions below). I’ve been doing Krav Maga on and off for the past four years and really enjoyed it. My new equipment is supplemented by occasional running and strength work with a Theraband (I highly recommend bringing a Theraband to PC with you).
Unfortunately, the heavy bag turned out to be too heavy to hang so it currently chills on a chest-height ledge. It’s also painful to punch full force even with hand wraps, so I plan to use it for form work instead. Still better than spending R400 and toting a heavy bag on a public taxi though. Kicks and knees are done in the air, but it’s better than nothing. The speed bag is more useful, and it will be great for doing speed and endurance work!
- Shopping/duffel bag
- Long sock or hose
- Lots of sand/dirt
- Trowel or shovel
- Duct or packing tape
- Rope, chain or utility cord
- (Optional) Zip ties
DIY Heavy Bag (~1.5 hours)
- Take an old shopping or duffel bag, preferably without holes.
- Place it where you want the bag to go eventually. I learned the hard way that it’s better not to have to drag it across the yard when you’re done.
- Fill with dirt/sand, leaving a few inches at the top. I borrowed gogo’s garden trowel, but a shovel would’ve been faster. If there’s not enough sand where the bag will go, use a bucket.
- Close using rope, tape, zip ties, etc.- whatever will work.
- Wrap in duct tape (or packaging tape if you run out) to prevent the bag from falling apart while you punch.
- Hang and/or place where desired. Chains may be preferable for hanging as these bags live up to their name. I recommend using a tree.
DIY Speed Bag (~30 min)
- Take a long sock or other similar type of item. I cut the end off a pair of pantyhose.
- Fill with sand/dirt or rice, leaving a few inches at the top. Use your hands to push the sand down into a round shape. Again, I used gogo’s trowel.
- Secure the top using a zip tie or similar, ensuring that you put a little rope through first.
- Cover with tape.
- I discovered one layer of tape wasn’t enough to keep the sand in, so I tied a plastic bag over top of the bag and then taped it again.
- Tie securely, ensuring that the bag is mobile but doesn’t move too far. A tree is ideal but since the speed bag is much lighter, there are more options for hanging. Leave plenty of rope in case adjustments are needed. I used utility cord instead, and it’s worked fine so far.
How do you stay fit in Peace Corps or overseas? Leave your tips, strategies and questions in the comments!
Also a big thank you to Aunt Patti and Kathryn Craig for their amazing care packages! I am so lucky and grateful to have people who send me such wonderful gifts.