In this article we chat to Johnny FD about keeping fit in remote locations around the world. Johnny discusses the more interesting gyms he’s come across, as well as what to do when there isn’t a gym option.
Johnny FD is an inspiration to us all. In 2008 he realized the standard 9-5 wasn’t for him, so he quit his sales job in California and moved to Thailand. From there he devoted his time to duel passions of scuba diving and Muay Thai Fighting. All at the same time, he managed to built a series of successful businesses.
Since selling the first of these businesses in 2013 Johnny FD has continued to follow his dreams all over the world, making him a true digital nomad. But as someone heavily into sports, exercise and physical activity, he’s always got his eye out for somewhere he can train. We at TrainAway have been fans of his since first crossing paths, and are amazed by some of the places Johnny pops up in. We’re even more impressed when he manages to find a functioning gym!
Johnny agreed to share some insights with us on the topic, which can serve both as a helping hand and inspiration for all. We started by asking him what motivates him to get off the beaten path.
What attracts you to the remote corners of the earth?
“We’re in the first generation where it’s possible to work online and earn while we travel.” says Johnny, highlighting his position as a pioneer of the attitude that you can earn money online from anywhere in the world. (Johnny sold his first drop shipping business for $60k whilst scuba diving in Thailand).
“It’s the first time in the history of mankind that we’re able to explore so much of the world so quickly, cheaply and easily. I’d feel silly not to take advantage of what my ancestors only dreamed of.” We’ve all done well out of a cheap flight on a popular route, but Johnny takes it one stage further. He does his best to visit places the rest of us haven’t even thought of.
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One of my favorite things about Ukraine is that there are pull-up bars for calisthenics everywhere. They’re in every park, in many apartment court yards, literally always within a 10 minute walk. It’s a culture that believes in strength and hard work. While most Americans can’t even do a single pull up, and many playgrounds don’t even have them installed anymore, and even if they did, adults aren’t allowed there. Sure we have muscle beach in Venice or the hood in New York for it, but it’s not easily assessable to everyone. Here in Ukraine, anyone willing to put in a bit of hard work has access. It’s something that I hope never dies out as people soften.
How challenging is it for you to stay in your active routine when away from the big cities?
“It’s been extremely challenging,” admits Johnny, which is no wonder, given that he’s been in North Africa and Ukraine during the last few months. Luckily, with TrainAway’s growing gym network off the beaten path, there was a solution. But Johnny hasn’t forgotten what it was like before that.
“My life before finding TrainAway has been a series of getting in and out of shape depending on how easy it was to get into a routine and find a gym while traveling.” It’s a story we hear very often. It’s amazing how quick you can lose fitness when you’re away from decent fitness facilities. This can also have health implications, both physically and mentally. So, every time we can help somebody like, or anyone else, keep up their active routine when they’re away from home, we’re happy.
Without a gym in sight, it’s always fascinating hearing about the lengths people will go to when there’s no possibility of accessing a decent gym.
Can you tell us the most extreme experience you had working out in a remote place?
We were expecting something interesting, and of course Johnny FD didn’t disappoint. “I once spent 3 months living on a tiny remote island in Borneo and would sprint up and down the jetty, do pullups on trees, and burpees in the sand as there was no gym on the island.”
For those of us living in busy urban areas with gyms all around it’s hard to imagine that there are places where there are no gyms at all. But there are definitely places where this is the case. The problem is, your body doesn’t always recognize this, so you need to work with what you have. Whether it’s trees, rocks, hills or the ocean, if there’s no gyms or health clubs, Johnny will make it work with what he’s got.
What’s the most incredible remote gym you’ve stumbled upon while traveling the world?
However, It’s fair to say that if there are fitness facilities available, Johnny will use them. Even if they’re a little bit unconventional! It’s not allways the standard indoor gym that excites Johnny, but some of the community projects he’s come across. It seems there are some impressive examples in Eastern Europe. “In Kiev, Ukraine, there is an open outdoor gym made by locals using old Soviet tank parts.” And, of course, Johnny had to try it out!
What’s next on your bucket list?
Johnny’s been traveling the world for over a decade already, but it seems he has no plans to slow down. “First I want to learn how to speak Russian and travel the former USSR,” he says, as if that’s just an ordinary thing to do. Luckily with over 80 gyms from World Class now live on TrainAway, he should have no problem finding a gym throughout Russia and Eastern Europe.
And, then, he says, it’s time for something completely different. “Then I want to go scuba diving in the Galapagos islands.” It seems Johnny isn’t bored of sun, sand and blue water just yet!
See Johnny FD’s Fitness Stadium Experience
Last summer Johnny visited Fitness Stadium in Odessa, Ukraine. It’s one of the most impressive gyms available through TrainAway, and Johnny recorded his experiences, for us all to see. As well as YouTube, you can also follow Johnny on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Hear more from TrainAway’s Ambassadors
We’re lucky enough to have ambassadors like Johnny throughout the fitness community. Hear great advice on traveling and working out from the likes of Jacob Sumana, Cecilie Lind, Kristaps Vilde and Josefine Achen. TrainAway is a digital platform that helps you find and access a gym anywhere in the world. Buy day passes to gyms near you using the TrainAway app, available from the App Store or Google Play Store.