How I Scored Brand New Crossfit Equipment for $8

Hint: The $8 was for duct tape.

I’m chubby. The gurus say good health, energy, and longevity depend (in large part) on the Picking Up and Putting Back Down of Heavy Things. Apparently lifting heavy objects has all kinds of fat burning, nervous-system stimulating, joint healing, mind-bending, joy-creating benefits.

Because I loathe gyms and I’m on a budget, I decided to build my own heavy-lifting equipment. Naturally, I turned to man’s greatest creation: duct tape.

Stolen Sand + Old Sheet + Duct Tape = Mark, Buff

Pay close attention – this gets complicated:

1. Steal 35 to 75 pounds of sand from your kids’ (or the neighbor kids’) sandbox.* Combine three or four trash bags (one inside the other), then dump the stolen sand into the bags. Use a bathroom scale to get the weight of the bag approximately where you want it.

*Be stealthy. These two caught me in the act, and I had to promise them room and board  until age 18 in exchange for materials and labor. I’ve never been much of a negotiator.

2. Seal the trash bags’ openings with duct tape.

3. Put the trash bags in an old pillow case, towel, or sheet, and encase the whole mess in duct tape. Tightly wrapping the tape produces something along the lines of a sand kettlebell:

…while a loose covering creates a more traditional sandbag:

Both are useful; they weigh the same. And finally, the hero shot – in which I make a dumb looking face and my wife takes a picture of my elbow (but you get a sense of the final product):

Voila. You’re now ready to perform the key lifting exercises that Crossfit nuts are so gaga about:

  • Squats – keep a straight back, knees behind toes!
  • Dead lifts – again, keep a straight back!
  • Shoulder Press – watch your head.
  • “Get ups” – throw the bag over your shoulder, lay on the ground, then get up. It’s ridiculously hard.

I tried out the new equipment this morning, and after about five minutes I was completely gassed. My hands were especially fatigued (one of the main benefits of sandbag work, it turns out).

*Make sure you use your new fitness power tool safely and effectively! I’ve found the forums at Mark’s Daily Apple very helpful for workouts and best practices.

Mixed in with some pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups, walking, and running – I’m told you have all you need to be extremely fit.

Who’s up for a budgeters’ fitness challenge?