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Change Can Be Simple

Posted by johnnieraz on December 29, 2018 at 2:50 AM

By John Rezell

     Don't get me wrong. I'm as lazy as they come. Honest.

     Given a choice, I'd much rather join my mountain goat friend in the photo up there in Glacier National Park via a ski lift and just sit on a rock enjoying the view. I've never met a couch I didn't like. Naps? The greatest.

      When it comes to fitness, though, it's important to step up. The human body is an amazing miracle. It's something we should honor and take care of like a newborn.

      As we prepared for a New Year, it's easy to come up with lofty resolutions. A great many of my friends are in the cycling community and fitness is second nature. But I've got a lot of friends who don't have fitness high on their priority list. Their resolutions very well could be — and in many cases should be — about taking care of their bodies.

      So here's my tip. Don't make that resolution that you have to join a gym and workout five times a week. Don't demand that you start running or cycling every day. Don't even put a deadline on your goal.

      Keep it simple.

      One day many, many years ago, I dusted off my bike, hopped on and decided to chart a course for fitness. It beat me up, something fierce. My legs were as rubber as Gumby. My lungs burned like a New Year's bonfire. My head dizzy at times. My lunch plotting an early escape. Just as I was about to pass out, I decided turn around and head home. I made it. Barely.

      I quickly jumped in the car to check the mileage. Seven miles. Round trip. I gave my body a few days to recover. Then went for it again. My goal was simple. Another lucky seven.

      Eventually seven miles turned into 15. Then 30. Then 50. Eventually 100.

     It probably took me three months to get to 30 miles. Another few to get to 50. Probably two years to get to 100.

      I had no idea that in a few years I'd ride my first century (a 100-mile ride) down in Baja Mexico. Or pedal down the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to San Diego. Or that I'd climb mountains for the sheer fun of ripping down the other side like a maniac.

       Change doesn't happen overnight. It comes in baby steps.

       The key for me — someone who isn't one of those goal stormtroopers who just does it — is the Dory approach. Just keep swimming. Any advance, any improvement is a victory. It doesn't matter if days pass, or maybe even a week or so. Just don't throw in the towel.

        A year ago around this time, I tweaked my back. I ride my bike about 10-15 hours a week and hike on weekends, so I'm in decent shape. Cycling is great for your legs and lungs. Your core? Not so much.

        At the urging of my daughter, I focused on my core. I had started awhile back with pushups to strengthen my upper body. Barely could do 10 and laid there with trembling arms and a weak stomach thinking I was pathetic. A few days later, I tried 10 more. Eventually 10 became 15, then 20, then more.

        So I added sit-ups figuring it had to be easy since I was doing about 35 pushups then. At the start, 10 sit-ups was a chore, especially with my sore back. I thought I would vomit. I waited a few days and did it again. But 10 became 20, then 50, then 100. Now I do 200 sit-ups and 50 pushups most days. I couldn't feel better.

        I'm not out to be the fittest guy in the room, in fact, if you look at me you wouldn't think I'm into fitness at all — aside from my shaved legs. Never thought about group rides, much less riding in front.

        No, it's just about taking care of my body (since I plan to live to 130) and feeling good in the morning instead of like a car wreck. It means I can jump on my bike and ride up a mountain for three, four or five hours. Or hike with my teenage girls for two, three, four or more hours.

        Awhile back I went to see my old childhood friend Jack, who lives in Salt Lake City. We went for a five-hour hike climbing some 3,000 feet and wondered who, if any, in our high school class would be able to keep up. I wish they all could.

      It all began with reasonable goals, and not a lot of pressure on myself.

       Start simple.

       Don't push it.

       Take your time.

       Before you know it, you'll have the fitness to climb a mountain and catch a goat sunning. It's worth it.


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Reply Susan Paige Muros Parker
6:54 PM on January 13, 2017 
Just stopped in to feed my Badger page. Knew there'd be good stuff here!! a
Reply johnnieraz
7:19 PM on January 13, 2017 
Susan Paige Muros Parker says...
Just stopped in to feed my Badger page. Knew there'd be good stuff here!! a

Thanks for stopping by! I usually post a new blog on Saturday mornings. Take care!