Thursday, October 4, 2012
After my friend Nikki ran her first marathon, I remember her telling me how afraid she was of losing her fitness. Only six days after she ran 26.2 miles for the first time, she went out and ran 10. Marathon training led to a superb level of fitness and she didn't want to be at any other level. I told her that it'd be unhealthy to be living in such intensity all the time and that she'd have ups and downs. She needed to let her body rest for a little while.
But when I returned from my bike trip, I understood. Suddenly I was obsessed with maintaining the level of fitness that I'd developed through two months of continuous biking. The problem was- how could I do that while suddenly sitting at a desk all day?
I'd managed to spend two months eating something like 4,000 calories a day and still losing wait. I didn't want to gain the weight back, sure. But it was more than that. I didn't want to lose the arm muscles that had developed from gripping my handlebars on the downhills, the thighs that had gotten even more thunderous than before, or the flat stomach that comes from 8 or more hours of constant cardio exercise.
So how am I doing it? I'm not exactly, but I am trying. I am working out almost every day. I've combined my usual cardio of running and biking with a weight lifting routine designed to keep my upper body toned and strong. I'm filling my weekends with my favorite sporting events- soccer on Saturdays and frisbee on Sundays.
My body isn't what it was on August 17. There was something remarkable about living a daily routine that led to such health and fitness. Sitting at a desk all day and then doing a workout, no matter how intense, just isn't the same for me. But I am in touch with reality and I know that living a life where biking is the only way of life isn't real.
What is real is my realization that fitness is not worth obsessing over. I make fitness a priority but it isn't the only thing in my life. I will continue to do what I can to stay healthy and happy and if my arms get a little weaker or my legs a little flabbier, then that's just how it'll have to be. Except, they won't because I won't let it happen.
What's your take on obsessing about fitness? Is it worth it? Can one maintain a constant level of superb fitness or is it healthiest to have ups and downs?