!! OMG, a naked Q&A with PUMPKING !!


Photo by Brittany Shepherd

PUMPKING is an inclusive virtual fitness community that focuses on bodyweight exercises in guided 30-60 minute sessions six times/week. The sessions vary from high energy techno infused strength training or HIIT to relaxing unwinding yoga classes for people who spend a lot of time in front of their computers.

The “PUMPS” are fun, sexy and playful. There are modifications for every level of fitness and mobility.   The names of the workouts make you laugh and wonder, what is this guy up to? Some highlights: Chuckit inme Dumpa, an intense butt and lower body workout, Doug-Trio a three-circuit upper body pump, DMT! (Dynamic Muscle Time!) a full body strength flow… and so many more!

We sat down with PUMPKING himself, who goes by @argo.lots on Instagram, to get to the bottom of what sets this sexy fitness experience apart. The interview is accompanied by an exclusive autumnal NSFW photo spread by Brittany Shepherd (@shrittany).

Read the full Q&A and view the photos after the NSFW jump!

We love your energy and your party point of view! How did this develop for you?

One of the most important reminders that I give people while I am leading classes is that every exercise is a dance move. Everyone is a dancer in my Zoom room. The music is almost always in the acid, techno, deep house, funky house, garage and electro realm  (though a Britney-themed candle-lit PUMPKING is coming soon).

I have this really strong association between the physical exertion of dancing, the driving electronic rhythms of house music, and the euphoria of partying, drugs and sex on the dancefloor. Before PUMPKING, I had already identified, in my own workouts, that I was able to tap that euphoria to push myself harder in a workout.

I didn’t consciously cook up this strategy, but it came about organically when I began to share my workouts with friends at the beginning of quar.


Photo by Brittany Shepherd

So it’s like channeling the club for our own wellness?

I spent a good part of my twenties in the Berlin gay clubs. It was there that I discovered that I was bi, had my first real gay experiences, fell in love with the look and feel of bodies pressing around me to the penetrating beat. In COVID times we rarely get to experience this intensity, this togetherness, this shared exertion. I’ve modeled PUMPKING after some aspects of these club experiences.

In these environments, there is a lot of focus on bodies. It’s one of the most public venues where you can choose to exhibit your body as a sexual being, an athletic entity, a flowing energy. I’ve had my share of body envy, horniness and obsession in the club, but I’ve also experienced the dissolution of the individuality of the body and a kind of surrender to sweaty and spiritual communing.

In the workout, I seek to bring you to a state of mind where you can draw on something bigger than yourself to remove inhibitions, change your mental state, help you find energy, intensity, and focus that you didn’t know you had.

Photo by Brittany Shepherd

That is high concept! What grounds the workouts themselves?

We start every workout with PUMPKING’s three convictions:

  1. You have everything you need within the frame your body.
  2. You can move that body to build strength, increase flexibility and train balance.
  3. By moving your body in this way, it will help get your attention closer to where it needs to be on that day: out of your head and into your body. This workout will change your state and help you dedicate your focus to the things that matter to you most.

Photo by Brittany Shepherd

Many people are spending a lot of time on Zoom right now. How is the PUMPKING experience different?

Since the beginning of quarantine, we have all experienced an accumulation of physical energy that hardens deep down when we have no place to expel it or dance it out.  It makes us cramp our necks, tense our fingers and throw all of our energies at our screens. So with PUMPKING, I want to focus on getting you out of your head and extremely into your body where you can start to send that ball of pent up energy throughout your body and use it to give you strength and focus.

This ties into the use of bodyweight for strength training. I believe strongly that this is the most effective kind of exercise to look and feel your best. Bodyweight training brings you on a journey of discovery, building your body awareness, training your balance and flexibility, learning how to challenge yourself, how to work with the particular dimensions of your body and the limitations of your injuries or stiffness.

You have to grow in your mind, breaking down mental barriers, at the same time that you are building your body.

Photo by Brittany Shepherd

It sounds like you’re helping people find their own personal rhythm.

Every exercise in PUMPKING is designed to sync up with your breath and the beat of the music. I often tell people to forget their “motivation” and just let the rhythm of the music and the breath power their movements. By offering lots of different modifications we can gradually ramp up the intensity from minute to minute and week to week.

When you train in the gym, you’re always working with big heavy things that are outside your body, which increases your risk of injury and skips some of the best benefits of training, like body awareness, balance and posture. It’s easy to throw some plates on the rack and bang out some supersets.

But, for example, with one of the simplest bodyweight exercises, the pushup: where you position your chest, your hands, your feet, your knees, your pelvis, the speed of your reps, the connection between your mind and your muscles, how you project energy down your spine, into your fingers, how you hold your core, where you focus your eyes is all going to reflect much more directly on your level of exertion than barbell/dumbell exercise.

You have to grow hungrier for the burn at the same time that you grow more able to take  it.

Photo by Brittany Shepherd

Does working out in a group online offer any unique benefits?

Something surprising about training on Zoom has contributed to the inclusiveness of PUMPKING. Cameras are optional, so you can treat it like a one way stream, or you can throw your camera on to get feedback on your form and be seen by the community. Gyms can be scary. Walking into a weight room can feel like an alienating environment; testosterone is thick in the air, which can contribute to a pressure to perform, to grunt, to lift more than you are ready for.

When you train with bodyweight like we do in PUMPKING, as your ability to perform the exercises increases, the difficulty of the exercises actually increases as well, since you are performing the movement more completely, and using more of your body to do it.

Photo by Brittany Shepherd

What do you want people to take away from your workouts?

I believe the secret to looking good and feeling at home and confident in your body is finding an exercise routine that makes you joyful, that makes you crave movement, and that lets you explore your own body. Gains, toning, and weight loss aside, long time PUMPKING participants have shared that they have never felt more pain-free, or more excited about working out.

That warms my pumpkin heart and makes me feel good, like we’re actually doing something really important here. A genuine community has formed out of this quarantine experiment, and we are pressing on to 2021, growing every month. PUMPKING was just nominated by NOW Magazine as the Best Virtual Fitness Coach in Toronto!

Where can we find you?

If people want to try PUMPKING on for size there is a pay-what-you-can workout every Friday at 11 AM ET and the Zoom link can be found in my Instagram bio @argo.lots . Anyone who wants to come and give it a try is welcome to message me before and mention any limitations or injuries so I can make sure to offer modifications and variations that will let them participate.

Photo by Brittany Shepherd

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7 Comments on "OMG, a naked Q&A with PUMPKING"

  1. This is, hands down, the most un-erotic photoshoot I’ve ever seen. I’m actually glad there’s no nudity.

  2. Never thought I’d be jealous of a pumpkin…

  3. yes!!! go pumpking. this is the VIBE!!

    get in to it~!

  4. I was promised “naked”

  5. Ew…smarmy

  6. this post has distressed me in a way i never thought pumpkins ever could …

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