In today's cacophony of fitness and nutrition discourse, we're all choosing who is worth listening to. This is especially true when it comes to bloggers like me, who are informed aficionados rather than trained experts. I am decidedly average in terms of athletic ability -- and maybe a notch above average as a home cook -- but optimal health has been one of my passions for over two decades.
This introduction to How I Think About Fitness, together with its companion, How I Think About Food, is intended to lay out my philosophy on the subject. I don't mind if you disagree; I just want you to know where I'm coming from so you can decide whether you want to follow along. I'd love it if you do.
Fitness is Choices
I once heard fitness defined as the difference between the most you can do and the least you can do. When there is no difference, you're dead. I want that difference to be big. Huge! Expansive enough that I can say yes to any adventure: climbing mountains, descending canyons, running rivers, riding Tevis, traveling the world.
When I talk about fitness, I'm talking about maximizing my ability to truly, broadly, fully live.
Fitness is a Privilege
Several years ago, I experienced depression for the first time. Having always enjoyed an underlying sense of well-being, I was disquieted to find myself overwhelmed by the knowledge that, before I die, I will (probably) lose everything I care about: my family, my partner, my horses, my pets, my home, my strength, my mobility, perhaps even my mind.
I'm in a better place now, thankfully. Physical exercise helped me through the dark, back to gratitude and presence. It remains true that my body will eventually fail. Days will come when I can do less and less, and finally nothing at all.
But for now, I can run fast and climb hills and lift heavy objects. The more I do these things, the longer I'll be able to. Fitness is a privilege I don't intend to waste.
Fitness is an Obligation
I believe that, as an endurance rider, I am a member of a team. I have a responsibility to support my horse. That means having the flexibility to mount smoothly, the stamina to ride with balance and focus for many hours, the ability to walk many miles back to camp if my partner comes up lame.
My Fitness Biases
I have no formal training in exercise physiology, kinesiology, or biomechanics. I'm just a longtime consumer of information that has led me to a set of well-founded biases. These are subject to change based on additional evidence, but for now, I operate on these baseline assumptions:
You might also like:
Thanks for dropping by! I'm an endurance rider in the northwest region of the United States. This blog is about the practicalities of distance riding and the practice of being my best self for my horse. I hope you'll come along for the ride.
The Sweaty Equestrian