This Trail Seems Longer This Year...

10:19 a.m. on March 12, 2010 (EST)
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I was prompted by another thread to seek the thoughts of some of our more experienced members.

The Topic? Good 'ol weight issues. I haven't found the right balance for me of eating, exercise, etc to achieve my ideal fitness level. And I certainly have not made myself do what it takes on the determination aspect.

For most of my life I have been lithe, strong, and very physically able to do most everything I have wanted. Until the last four years that is. My last year of College, getting married, and working a 8-5 desk job, plus another 30 hrs/week in the studio have had a negative impact on my fitness to a degree I never would have imagined. I swore I would never be truly out of shape, overweight, and unable to do all the outdoor and athletic things I enjoyed. Now I find that I am carrying 35 pounds I neither need or want, and have difficulty doing what I once found effortless. just over 4 years ago I could free lead climb a good 50ft face without braking a sweat & without a worry. Now I would be lucky to make it 20 feet without falling.

Of course my hubris causes me to gloss over my physical shortcomings and act like nothing has changed. But it has.

For some of you that have "been there, done that", what was your turning point? What made it important enough, or what helped you break through to beat the bulge?

11:06 a.m. on March 12, 2010 (EST)
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I'm in the same boat as you. Just got a real job, married, kids, and my stomach like to rest over my belt now. I've found that getting out hiking really helps. I could spend time in a gym but I'd rather be outside.

Go trail running, do yoga outside. Recently I got a slackline and have been amazed at how much of a workout it gives me, plus it is really fun. There is also the problem of finding time, I found that with a 8-5 job you always have the time from 6 to 8 to get in a hike. Usually if I put the things I want to do first and sacrifice a little sleep I feel more satisfied overall. Also, a sunrise over the mountains is the most beautiful thing and everyone should see at least one a week.

2:39 p.m. on March 12, 2010 (EST)
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It was the Soprano's that turned me around. They loved showing Tony wandering around in an undershirt with his prodigious gut hanging out. I realized mine looked just like his but I did not control a large international criminal enterprise, so it was impossible for people to find it sexy.

One thing I also wanted add as precaution to those of you under, say, 35: save some cartilage for your old age. Your knees, shoulders, hips, elbows, fingers and toes have to last you into your old age. The sooner you damage them beyond repair, the longer your life of hobbling will be.

6:18 p.m. on March 12, 2010 (EST)
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tommangan said:

"One thing I also wanted add as precaution to those of you under, say, 35: save some cartilage for your old age. Your knees, shoulders, hips, elbows, fingers and toes have to last you into your old age. The sooner you damage them beyond repair, the longer your life of hobbling will be."

Here here!

Your body will pay you back tree times over, later in life, for the abuse you subject it to. I have started having problems with my knees, shoulders, hands, plus I now have a hearing loss due to a motorcycle wreck. Wearing a helmet saved my life.


On the weight topic, if you expect to stay lean and mean, and think that will make you a better backpacker I offer these immortal words from Ray Jardine: "You're doing it all wrong". (I think that's verbatim, not positive.)

That bit of belly weight you have put on is actually backpack ballast, the older backpackers 'secret weapon'. It is also your energy reserve, you see, skinny people have no built in reserve. So even if us older hikers should somehow loose, or get separated from our food, we have that emergency reserve with us. It also helps with starting fires, a deeper belly button collects more lint, a great fire starter.

Look, your body is going to change with age, that does not mean you can't stay fit. But your 6 pack is going to try to turn into a 3 liter. You can fight it, but why? It's too much work to look like a twenty year old when you're forty.

I'm 44 years old, I can still bench press my body weight of 150 (barely), I can do 100 crunches & 100 push ups, so on and so forth.

I'm still fit, and have good endurance, but I just don't look the same naked in the mirror, and to tell you the truth I don't care as long as it doesn't get out of control.

I still look young from the back I think, and if you young guys aren't careful that's the only part of me you will see on the trail.

Backpack ballast!

I'm kinda jokin here, but kinda not.

10:53 a.m. on March 13, 2010 (EST)
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Thanks Trout and Tom,

at 30 I am already wishing I hd not been so hard on some of my limbs and joints. I wish I had been a tad less headlong in some of my activities :)

Though I am sure image does play some part in my desire to be fit again, I rarely think "man I look aweful" but frequently am disgusted with how difficult or impossible something is now that formerly was not. It is inevitable, certainly, that what I am able to do will decline over time even if I am at peak fitness, but I am pretty sure my strength and fitness level is what's causing my difficulties at this point. If I can get back to the fitness level you were describing you are at, Trout, I will be quite happy!

Thanks again for you thoughts

May 27, 2018
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