The Balancing Act – Fun vs. Fit

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My focus lately has been a little off.

Actually, very off, and all over the place. Based on the subjects in my last few posts, you can see my mind is outside. It’s finally starting to look like it’s supposed to in the Green Mountain State: very, very green, and I have become brain-swept with a renewed urge to just spend all my waking free time thinking about what I can do out there.

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columbine is in bloom!

Look, Columbine! Where’s my camera?

Hey, frogs are back!

Oh, ramps are out, so are morels and fiddleheads–lets go find them before it’s too late!

Look rose breasted grosbeaks are at the feeder, where’s my camera?

Ooh! Gardens–I need to get going on those!

It’s nice to be inspired. But this change of season is seeping  into my my typically rock-solid, gung-ho attitude towards the inside fitness I feel is really important.  My scheduled workouts have become kind of an afterthought. I’m procrastinating, waiting until the end of the day to do them. This may not be so bad for some people, waiting until later, but I’m really beat by late in the afternoon, and my mind isn’t really into it by then. Yesterday I clock-watched through the entire workout and was feeling down on myself.

look! an RBGB!

look! an RBGB!

If I’m like this now, this summer will be worse!

Trying to figure out where that super-motivated, fit and focused me went, and how to bring her back, I started thinking back to an experience that really make me thankful fitness is an important part of my life.  At about this same time last year, I attended a fly fishing class.  This was the 2nd time I took this class, because I needed a refresher on the knots and casts I learned the year before, and thought this women’s-only class would be a fun, more relaxed group. On the second day in the afternoon, we went out to a local stream.  There was one very reluctant woman in the class, I’m guessing she was in her 60s, who was there only because her husband had sent her. We were wading in the river on somewhat slippery rocks, most of us wearing borrowed and unfamiliar wading shoes,  trying to reach the bank on the other side, and working against the current. There was another woman, there on her own free will and excited to learn, in her mid-fifties. And she also was struggling to stay upright and cross safely, becoming a little more discouraged by the minute.

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a little fun with casting at class…

A few of us had to offer an arm and walk slowly with them, across the river, and over to the other side.

At the end of the day, as we all headed with gear towards our cars, I sided up to our wonderful instructor, Molly Seminek, who was visiting from Montana just to teach this class. We were silent at first but then began kind of a reluctant conversation about how tough it is for some people, wading in the water and having the balance and strength they need. She often advises clients to work on their balance and agility and their overall fitness and strength levels off the water, because it’s something that definitely works to their advantage when in the water, and on the riverside when you need to step over rocks or logs, or high banks. I mentioned how I feel strongly about the need to stay fit as we get older, and how yoga and weight training, has helped me too, in many ways. Hearing this was something she works on continually to keep herself in good form to keep guiding and doing what she loves every day as a career, was very reassuring.

This conversation comes to mind from time-to-time for motivation when I need it, as well as advice I hear from other sources, most notably from P90x, one of the strength training programs I like to rotate into the mix a few times per year. Tony Horton, the trainer mentions a few times throughout that jump training, and yoga and some of the other moves included are so great to practice and learn to do safety in a controlled environment, because it helps train you for all the great things you want to do in real life and in real settings. And I guess it’s because these are on DVDs and I have heard the same lines over and over again, that I can hear his voice in my head when I’m lunging down to dig up dirt in my garden and throwing it in a pile. And I’m reminding myself to not arch my back. Or let my knee go over my toes. And when looking for salamanders with my son, always bend my knees when lifting up heavy rocks, instead of pulling them from a standing position. Or when lifting him to cross the river when he’s about to swamp his boots.

My friends and family, when I ask for advice on this, tend to think it should be easy for me to just let go of my need to do any

always ready to join me on that hike...

always ready to join me on that hike…

formal exercise inside, because it’s just so nice out. I should just hike. Or run. Or whatever keeps me moving, as long as it’s outside. I don’t think one really replaces the other though, and with a set amount of free-time, I worry I’ll lose all that great endurance, flexibility and strength I work so hard to build the rest of the year, that enables my success on so many levels. But then again, it’s super-depressing being inside doing pull-ups and push-ups, or planks when I hear an oriole out the window chirping and the river rambling along, and always a labrador ready and waiting to be walked…

I have to figure out how to let my fitness life and my outdoor life live side-by-side this season, without slacking off in either. I want to be in my sixties, and crossing that river on my own, without someone else lending me an arm, and worry if I let it slide, even a little, I’ll lose momentum long term…

How have you balanced your fit lives when more fun activities are calling your name?

Do you make changes that help keep the strength training more interesting? Or take that outside?

Do you let fitness slide a bit throughout certain times of the year?

Do you have the perfect mix of both?

I’d love to hear some ideas and discussion.

For more information:

Molly Seminek: http://tietheknotflyfishing.com/wordpress/

P90x: http://www.beachbody.com/product/p90x-what-you-get.do

2 thoughts on “The Balancing Act – Fun vs. Fit

  1. Yes, I am in the same boat. Weather is nicer, birds are singing, lab wants to walk and the gym class goes to the wayside. But there are lots of things you can do while walking a dog, like lunges down the street, push-ups on someone’s lawn, etc. and of course running outside is so much nicer.

  2. Hi Susan! thanks so much for your comment–I like that idea, and maybe dropping to do a few push-ups on the grass? I love that where my mom lives they have outdoor walkways with stations for things like that–sit ups and pull-ups and various other exercises; I love that idea and wish they were here. Another friend mentioned this thing called a TRX you can hang from trees and do some cool things with? Will think about it while I walk/lunge Balsam down by the river…..so glad you your voice 🙂

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