A lot of us really want to work out more. Then again, a lot of us would be happy if we could start working out at all.
Motivation is tough. We know that working out will be good for us. We know that it will make us healthier and give us more energy, but it’s just so easy to “let it slide” one more day. (And then “one more day” turns into “one more week” and so on.)
Workouts are hard. They’re supposed to be. And that means that any speedbumps along the way can quickly derail our motivation.
There are a lot of things that can hold you back (including yourself), but a few simple workout motivation hacks can keep you right on track.
Use Positive Thinking AND Positive Feeling
We often hear the words “positive thinking” associated with any discussion of motivation, but the truth is that simply knowing that workouts are good for you and knowing that you want to be more active isn’t enough to get motivated.
Motivation is fueled by your feelings and emotions.
There was a great article in TIME Magazine that talked about this, and it can be summarized in one quote: “We need to think to plan but we need to feel to act.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can just decide to feel positive about your workout. There are too many outside factors that can impact how we’re feeling at any given time, and if we’ve got too much on our plate, putting us in a bad mood, we’re far more likely to procrastinate the next workout.
But we all have some things that put us in a better mood and let us block out all the negativity. And this motivational hack requires us to hang on tightly to those things.
We all have a much better chance of avoiding procrastination by planning ahead (positive thinking) and finding ways to improve your mood (positive feeling).
And what do you get when positive feeling and thinking come together?
And optimism is the foundation of motivation. Optimism is confidence that you will succeed because you’ve planned for it and you feel the results will be worth it.
Visualize Your Obstacles
Everyone faces different challenges, so, no matter how much we talk about positive thinking and planning, it’s important to remember that no plan turns out exactly like we imagined.
Sometimes, it just feels like something always – always – gets in our way.
If it happens once, it’s probably not a big deal. Twice… now you might start to feel your motivation slip. Three times, and most of us can assume we’ll be paying for a gym membership that won’t get used until next January.
The answer is to visualize your obstacles right along with your goals. Imagine all the things that could get in your way. Then, imagine how you will ignore/overcome/defeat each and every one of them. Then, when they happen, you’ll know exactly what to do.
Reward Yourself for Real
It’s easy to say that better health, more energy, and a better outlook on life are your rewards for sticking to a workout routine.
But for a lot of us, that is a little too intangible and way too far in the future.
A “real” reward is more tangible and more immediate.
Go to that movie, enjoy that amazing (and healthy) smoothie, buy that special thing you’ve been saving for. Give yourself something nice because you deserve it for this accomplishment.
Eventually, as our minds and bodies adjust to the workout routine, you’ll start to be more motivated by internal rewards – those endorphins that release when you complete a workout or push yourself to the next level. That’s the point when the workout itself becomes the reward.
Until then, it’s the external rewards that will increase your motivation levels.
Sometimes, one of the most effective forms of motivation is a little friendly peer pressure.
Yes, you’ve been told how bad peer pressure is, but you’re a little older now. You know how to have fun and where to draw the line.
So, use this competitive spirit to stay motivated. There are a couple benefits to this strategy.
One, you’ll be trying to accomplish your workout goals with others – which always makes it easier to stay motivated.
Two, the thought of the other people working out while you’re still curled up in bed is often enough to get you up and moving.
A little give and take, keeping things a little competitive, may be all you need to stick with your routine.
Use the Right Soundtrack
We’ve talked about the importance of using the right music to improve your run, but the same can be said for almost any kind of workout.
The right music at the right tempo can improve your overall enjoyment of the workout, reduce exertion levels, and make the time pass more quickly. That means your workout will be something you look forward to instead of something you’re forcing yourself to do.
Put Something on the Line
What will really happen if you don’t stick with your routine? For most people, the answer is “not much.” You’ll have to admit to your friends that you gave up, but beyond that, there isn’t much of a penalty.
On the other hand, if you give a friend $100 and tell them they can keep it if you don’t go to the gym at least 3 times a week, now you actually have something to lose.
When you have something very tangible to lose, you’ll be more motivated to see it through to the end.
Getting motivated to workout isn’t always easy, but it is always possible. You just need a good plan and a little optimism, and soon you’ll be maintaining your ideal workout program.
Every year, on New Year’s Day, a large chunk of the population takes the opportunity to make some resolutions for the next 12 months.
Unfortunately, only a small percentage ever keep at it throughout the whole year. In fact, as much as 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.
But you don’t have to be part of that statistic.
You can come at 2017 with a positive attitude and a solid plan and you’ll finish the year as a better, faster runner.
Not Just Goals, but Achievements
When your goal is to “start running tomorrow,” or to “be a better runner,” you’re probably not being specific enough in your goals. What you’re doing is declaring a great intention, but that’s not really what goals are about.
You can set some really effective running goals by defining what you want to achieve.
That’s the key. Goals and achievements work hand in hand. It’s really hard to have one without the other. So, let’s change the question to: what do you want to achieve this year? Will you:
- Run your first half marathon?
- Run your first full marathon?
- Run on specific days of the week, every week?
- Heal from previous injuries and start running again?
- Improve your running times?
- Run further than ever before?
- Begin cross-training several times a week?
- Introduce someone else to running?
These are just a few suggestions, but note how each has a clear achievement built into it. When you run your first half marathon, you’ll know your goals have paid off.
Tell the World
If “achievement” is the first element of a good resolution, then “accountability” is the second.
They say you should write down your goals to show that you’re serious about them. But, frankly, if you write it down without telling anyone, what’s to stop you from throwing it away?
If, on the other hand, you post your resolution to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and just about every other social media platform, and then you tell your friends and family members what you intend to accomplish, things will change. You’ve gotten others involved, now, and they’re going to want updates on your progress.
Find the Right Incentive
Do you react better to encouragement or pressure? To kind words or serious competition?
If you tell the world about your resolutions, it’s because you expect a response. So, what kind of reaction will help you the most? Some people need encouragement. Others need a challenge. (There’s no way you’re going to let that guy run a 5k before you do…)
So, even if you don’t tell everyone about your running, at least tell the people who will provide the best running incentives.
Always have the right gear for the right job. While you don’t necessarily need the top-of-the-line/most-expensive-thing-in-the-store level of equipment, you should have some quality, reliable gear for every run. Plus, this will eliminate one potential excuse for missing your run for the day.
Before you go out the door for your first run of the year, double check that your shoes are in good shape and not going to cause discomfort or injury. Clothes should be durable and appropriate for the weather. Bluetooth earbuds need to be fully charged so your music, podcasts, or audiobooks don’t cut out in the middle of the run.
Give Yourself a Break
Sometimes we fail. We can do everything right, we can have the best intentions, and sometimes life just gets in the way. The important thing is to understand that this happens to everyone and realize that one failure, one miss, one slip doesn’t have to keep you down.
It happens to all of us, so don’t give up, go easy on yourself, and learn how you can turn this experience to your benefit.
What is accomplishment without reward?
This is how you cultivate optimism. Focus on your accomplishments and the positive moments of every run. More importantly, reward yourself when you reach important milestones.
Final Tips to Remember
January comes and January goes, and for a huge percentage of goal setters, so do all those good intentions.
If you really want to stick to your running resolutions in 2017, consider some of these tips:
Find the fun – If running starts feeling like work, you’ll burn out on it much faster. To keep things fun, try:
- Running with others (also good for accountability)
- Signing up for a race or fun run
- Take a break on occasion to avoid mental and physical burnout
- Running in new places (not just in another gym, but someplace you have to travel to)
- Being an amateur coach and helping someone else enjoy a run
Identify your personal road blocks
– Is it the cold weather? Is it the hot weather? Is it trying to wake up early enough in the morning? Is it a favorite show that comes on in the evenings?
When you know what is likely to get in your way, you’ll be able to find a way around it.
Visualize your success
– Imagine yourself completing your next run. Visualize what it feels like to complete a half marathon. See yourself waking up early enough to run every morning.
Create the perfect playlist
– Music can do a lot to make your run a lot more fun and, in some cases, a lot more effective.
When Resolution Becomes Routine
The best resolutions are often the hardest to achieve, and most running goals fit right into that category. The good news is that while they may be hard, studies have shown that if you can keep at it for six months, you’re 10x more likely to follow through with it to the end of the year.
Find what powers your passion for running, and let that passion fuel your goals throughout the year.
You look outside your front window and see the world beautifully covered in white. You’re content with just watching the slowly falling snow while holding your hot cup of morning coffee. I can skip my run today. It’s too cold and it could be slippery.
You figure you’ll wait till January to recommit yourself to your running routine. Right now all you want to do is snuggle under the covers of your warm bed.
You know that you could run in the winter, but you don’t feel like it.
With motivation and proper clothing, running in winter can be enjoyable.
Here are some ways you can stay motivated and be properly prepared for cold, winter running:
The dark, the cold, the snow. These can easily sap our motivation to commit to our running routines.
The most effective way of staying motivated is through accountability and running with others. Having someone hold you accountable to your running goals and routines will spur you to carry them out.
Running with others is another way to keep you from flaking out on your runs. Knowing that your running buddy will be waiting for you will push you to the finish line.
Dress for The Cold
Depending on where you live, you’ll likely have to brave the snow, rain or both while running in winter. In addition, there may be wind and cold temperatures you’ll have to contend with. To be comfortable and safe during your winter runs, it is important to dress appropriately. How do you know how warm to dress? You want to be warm, but you also don’t want to wear too many layers that you get too hot while running. How do you find the right balance?
Some athletes recommend dressing for a temperature of 20 degrees warmer than it really is. The chilliness at the start of your run will go away as your body warms up further into your run.
Remember Your Feet
Nothing is more uncomfortable than wet, cold and prunny feet after a wet, winter run. When running in winter, it’s important to have the appropriate footwear that keep your feet dry and warm. Choose a pair of shoes that have less mesh and wear socks that wick away moisture that also keep your feet warm.
In the winter months, the hours of daylight become shorter meaning your after-work run will be in the dark. For night running, you want to be clearly visible. Wear reflective, brightly-colored clothing and bring along a flashlight or headlamp to make yourself clearly visible. The light will also help you see where you’re going.
Warm Up Pre-run
The cold air won’t seem as bad when you move around and get the blood flowing before your run. The warm-up will also keep your muscles from cramping up from the cold. If you’re meeting others for a group run, don’t stand around outside too long before your run.
Change Quickly Post-Run
After your run, it is important to get warm to avoid the post-run chills. Change out of your damp running clothes and drink something hot. If your hair is wet, put on a dry hat.
Handle the Elements
Winter often brings adverse running conditions. If it isn’t snow and ice, it is likely wind and rain.
On windy runs, it is best to start your run with the wind in your face and have the wind at your back at the end of your run. The wind can easily bring on the chills after you’ve broken a sweat, so you want it at your back.
You can also choose a running course that has an abundance of wind-blocking features, such as buildings.
Running in the rain or snow can result in wet and soggy shoes and socks. Below are handy tricks that minimize the wet discomfort and quickly dry your shoes afterwards:
- Rotate shoes
- Bring extra pairs of shoes and socks
- Wear plastic bags over the feet inside the shoes
- Insert crumpled newspaper inside drying shoes
Take it Slow
Slippery, wet roads and trails can make winter running dangerous. The extremely cold temperatures can also cause frostbite if you’re outside too long.
Instead of doing a long run, try doing multiple shorter runs. Frostbite and hyperthermia are some of the major dangers that you can catch if you’re outside for long periods of time. If you must do a longer run, do it in the middle of the day when it is the warmest.
Don’t be suckered into hibernating this winter. The cold days of winter shouldn’t stop your running routine. If you’re able to overcome the mental barrier of being unmotivated and the physical barrier of not being appropriately dressed or incorrectly handling the elements, you can succeed in maintaining your winter running routine.
Who knows? Maybe running in the cold of winter will be something you enjoy rather than dread.
Running “to the beat of your own drum” means something very different, and far more literal, to a runner.
The right playlist, playing songs at the right beats per minute (BPM), can have a profound impact on your running pace, your motivation, and your ability to block out that growing sense of fatigue.
The right song, at the right BPM, can help runners learn pacing while they train. And when the beat of the music matches the runners’ cadence, many start to find their performance improving, a more positive mental association with working out, and a great distraction from exertion and fatigue.
How Many BPMs are Enough BPMs?
The general consensus is that the best music for running lies somewhere between 120 and 140 BPM. A lot of genres fit in that range, and you’ll find a lot of mainstream dance, hip hop, and rock and roll in here.
Basically, it’s a tempo we’re rather familiar with.
And it also just so happens to correspond to the average heart rate during a routine workout.
However, there isn’t a single tempo or BPM that will fit everyone’s goals or exercise routines.
The right tempo range for your running playlist will depend on a number of things, from the length of your stride to the type of exercise.
Going for a stroll? You probably don’t need the latest techno-dance-electronica-pop tunes pushing you on. Songs that range from 115 to 118 BPM are great for a casual walk. If you’re more into power walking, then something in the mid 130s should work.
The 120 to 140 BPM range is a good area for regular runs or going for longer distances where you need to pace yourself.
If you’re pushing yourself with some short, fast runs, then you might want to go for something between 147 to 160 BPM.
How Do You Find the Right BPM for Your Run?
You don’t want to start running to the latest prog-metal songs blasting through your earbuds if you haven’t been exercising regularly. You should start at the tempo you feel most comfortable with, then the music can help you maintain and improve your cadence.
There’s a simple test you can perform to zero in on the best BPM for your run.
- Start by running for 15 minutes at a comfortable pace – one that you can keep up for the full 15.
- Count your steps for one minute.
- After a little more running, count your steps for another minute.
- Repeat this procedure at least one more time so you have a good average.
Use this average to see how many beats in a minute will naturally fit with your current running ability.
Can a Soundtrack Really Make or Break Your Run?
For some people, the answer to that question is an absolute yes.
Sometimes, the wrong album, the wrong band, and, most importantly, the wrong beat can throw off your run. Forget “getting in the zone.” Running counter to the beat of your music makes “the zone” something that only happens to other people’s children.
Some studies have suggested that listening to your music can improve your overall enjoyment in the workout, reduce exertion levels, and help the time pass quickly. As runners grow accustomed to this “performance enhancer,” they often find it surprisingly hard to make it through a run without their favorite playlist.
These runners have found that their best runs are all about energy management. When you know your cadence and can keep a steady pace, you’ll be able to shorten or length your strides as necessary. You’ll know when it’s time to push yourself a little faster or ease off a little bit and give your body a chance to rest up.
Music is a timing cue. It helps with pacing. It keeps you going. Choose the right music, build the perfect playlist, and get the most out of your next workout. Just remember that your playlist doesn’t have to run at the same BPM all the way through. You can carefully plan it to enhance the run and keep things interesting.
Simply put, the right tunes can tell your body that it can always go a little faster and a little further.
From the first hint of morning frost on the ground to the long, dark days of deep snow and ice of late winter, there’s nothing our bodies would rather do than bundle up with a warm beverage, an even warmer blanket, and tell ourselves that it’s okay to go into hibernation for a couple months.
It can’t be that bad, right? Bears do it, and look how strong they are. Come to think of it, hibernating in the winter is practically natural.
And yet, it’s really not. The further we sink into winter doldrums the harder it is to claw our way back out.
To that end, we propose the anti-hibernation theory – some simple tips and tricks to stay active during the winter months. (You can still make time to enjoy the warm blanket and beverage, as long as you still got your activity done for the day.)
Make an Action Plan
Your worst enemy for winter activity is the thought: “It’s a little too cold today, but I’ll do something tomorrow no matter what.
Take the time to write down a plan for daily activity. Treat it like a real, set appointment. This means putting it on a calendar and having your phone send reminders. Do whatever it takes to make physical activity a real priority for the winter.
Get Involved with Winter Sports
Ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, and even sledding are activities that you can usually only do in the winter, so you might as well take this opportunity to mix up your normal routines and expand your repertoire of recreational activities.
If you’ve never gone cross-country skiing before, that’s a new kind of workout you’re not going to forget anytime soon. Same with snowshoeing. There are a lot of seasonal opportunities, so take advantage of them while you can.
Go Indoors for Your Workout
Indoor pools, health clubs, and rec centers offer a lot of great options. You can join a team or sign up for some recreational basketball, tennis, or racquetball. You can enjoy a swim a couple times a week or even take some yoga classes. (That last one even has special classes that are all about doing workouts in excessively hot rooms. So, if you’re looking for a way to stay warm…)
Go for a Walk
Yes, it’s cold outside, but if you’re dressed in layers, you can still take a quick, 30-minute walk without freezing. And, just 30 minutes of activity a day can really help you feel more energized and refreshed. It may not seem like much, but even a short walk every day can help you stay fit and healthy throughout the cold months.
Try “Stealth” Exercises
You can get a lot of exercise without anyone ever knowing that’s what you’re doing. Walk the mall. Vacuum the floor. Shovel the snow. Rearrange the furniture. Play with the kids. There are countless ways to sneak in some exercise that others may not even recognize as exercise.
Whether you’re taking a few extra trips up and down your stairs or using the longer nights to go dancing at more clubs, if you’re staying active, it counts as exercise.
A lot of us have bought a piece of workout equipment thinking: if I have this at home, I’ll totally work out every day. These things usually collect more dust than they burn calories. Then, there are those of us who see those happy, active people on the front cover of a DVD and think: they seem to be having fun and I want to be like that. These DVDs usually get buried somewhere in the back of a closet.
The winter is the perfect time to dust them off and put those investments to good use.
Revel in Your Victories
Let yourself enjoy the fact that you just conquered the weather. You’ve stepped up and faced the challenge. You’ve fought the cold and came back victorious. This deserves a victory dance (which is another great way to stay active). As you start to rack up these wins, you’ll start to crave the challenge. The snow won’t be a deterrent anymore. It will be an invitation!
Be Safe and Healthy
The cold air can be more than a motivational impediment for many people. The winter air can make it difficult for some to breath and even trigger chest pains. As with any workout, always check with your doctor to properly address any medical concerns.
Winter Is Coming, but It Won’t Last Forever
Winter can naturally bring people down, and the shorter and longer nights contribute to darker moods. Regular workouts, however, can help improve your mood, increase energy levels, and even help you sleep through those cold nights better. There is even some research that suggests staying active may strengthen your immune system too, which means avoiding the traditional colds and coughs.
There may be a serious temptation to shut down and hibernate through the long winter, but by finding ways to stay active you can make these cold months a little more enjoyable. More importantly, you’ll come out the other side of it energized and ready to conquer spring, too.
You see them out there. Runners. Sometimes you see them out doing their thing in the wee hours of the morning while you’re getting ready for work. You may think they’re crazy, and it might be so, but running takes a certain type of person to enjoy it. Here are 10 things that only a runner would know:
- Runners never miss a run. If their schedule only allows for a 20-minute run, then it’ll do. If the weather is bad, well they go out and run anyway. A little rain, snow or ice just adds to the challenge. Running in the heat, however, makes running downright miserable. After all, not even runners enjoy being covered in sweat.
- Runners prefer running in the morning. There isn’t a better way to start the day in the mind of a runner than a brisk, pre-dawn run. As a morning run is ideal, many runners do struggle getting up early.
- Runners use running to boost their energy, not drain it. Many runners feel more alive after their run. Memory, mental alertness and happiness are also observed side-effects to running that many runners experience.
- Runners run harder and longer when they know they are being watched. Just like other physical activities where the participant is on center stage, runners want to look good and show off.
- Runners are devoted to their shoes. Runner strangely get attached to their running shoes and have a hard time getting rid of them when they can no longer be worn. Runners are also devoted to one running shoe brand.
- Runners like to plan their routes. Going on vacation or a business trip? Leave it to the runner to have a running route already scoped out. Runners are also creatures of habit in that once they find a route they like, that is the route they always run. This route comes after careful, in-depth research of local running spots. Runners, therefore, can let you in on all the running options nearby.
- Runners can’t stand being called “joggers.” Calling a runner a “jogger” or their run a “jog” are the ultimate insults someone can say to a runner,
- Runners love carbs. Runners don’t do diets because running burns so many calories. To get ready for runs, carbohydrates are a runner’s best friend. They are something to crave and enjoy, not avoid.
- Runners spend countless hours creating their running playlist. Runners need energizing music to listen to on those long, strenuous runs. As much time as they spend on playlists, most runners only enjoy a handful of the songs.
- Runners run through the aches and pains. Runners won’t stop running for a pulled muscle, cramps or blisters. Their way of working through the pain is seen as a form of strengthening and recovery, not to mention a badge of honor.
While runners and running may seem foreign to some, it is a great physical activity that increases one’s physical and mental health and helps better one’s mood. If you haven’t tried it, grab your music and hit the pavement. Runners also enjoy high-quality headphones that don’t have all the wires. Jaybird’s X3 and Freedom wireless headphones are great for runners, bikers and athletes. The sound quality is the best around, and their Bluetooth, wireless functionality makes it easier to move. Check out our headphones today and add enjoyment to your runs through your extensive running playlist.
We have all heard that voice.
It usually starts out as a whisper at the beginning of a tough workout, trying politely to negotiate terms or retreat all together. It gets frustrated at the end of the warmup when it realizes it is being ignored. Its tone becomes stern and volume increases to a yell as you take up the pace or load up the barbell.
Your muscles have no idea what is in store for them, but the voice in your head knows the ensuing perils of things to come. It begs: “We have had a long day,” “It’s not worth it,” or “What’s it all for?” It wants to throw in the towel, go home, and take a nap.
It usually isn’t hard to get past the first set of the session, whether it be smashing weights, cranking the pedals, or chasing pavement. But this is the critical time in the workout. Quitters listen to the voice and give in; champions know it’s going to hurt and drown the voice out.
The battle continues as your heart pumps faster and sweaty fingers curl into fists. Your nostrils flair open, drawing in more air, and sweat drips from furrowed brows.
You’ve angered this voice that sits in silence most of the day, content with the comfort zone of normal activities. It thinks it knows best, and it now demands concession.
But it doesn’t know best. You know this deep down, and you know the only way to achieve your goals is to squelch the screaming from the voice and ignore its commands to slow down or to leave that 2.5 plate off the bar.
Setting these goals was easy when the voice was quiet, or asleep, or speaking to someone else; pushing through requires focus and passion, but now the voice’s white flag waves viciously as you can almost hear the tearing of hamstring sinews at the bottom of a heavy squat.
Starting the second lap of your last 1600 your vision blurs and your eyes roll to the back of your skull. You can almost see the thought of quitting go by the front of your brain.
You’ve been there before and it doesn’t get easier, but ignoring this voice is an essential part of getting better and faster. Your passion is a critical silencer of this voice that begs you to stay in your comfort zone, and the right tools to power your passion makes the silencing a little easier.
Sometimes the voice of complacency grabs a hold of your earlobe and loudly screams straight down into you, but the X2’s always seem to yell: “Keep going!” a little louder.
It seems like with just a blink of an eye, summer is over (which, as a professional ski mountaineer, I’m not too sad about). I strive to be balanced as an outdoorswoman, and pushing myself in the summertime makes me appreciate winter even more.
Looking back, here are my top ten highlights from summer 2016.
10: Road Biking a Century.
Riding my bike for 100 miles was one of my big goals this summer. And the way I completed the goal was unintentional – I was on a two week road trip across the Canadian Rockies, equipped with road bikes, climbing and camping gear. On Canada Day, we were staying in Canmore, and I suggested we ride our bikes to Lake Louise for lunch. I did a quick look on the map to determine the mileage. I didn’t look long because I was eager to get going, but I thought the ride was around 40 miles one way (so 80 miles total). We set out on one of the most beautiful stretches of mountainous road I’ve ever seen, starting with a bike path and then going on to a two way highway. In the forest, we saw a grizzly bear. It was my first grizzly bear sighting, and I was thrilled to see it while on this epic ride! After 50 miles, we still had a little ways to get to the Lake. It turned out to be a 109 mile road bike ride. And I enjoyed every moment of it. Road biking reminds me not to fear the past or present, but to focus on the present moment.
9: Getting back on the sharp end after breaking my foot
In fall 2015, I broke a small bone on the ball of my foot. I was sidelined from climbing for awhile, and it was hard to deal with the feelings of inadequacy. One of the highlights of my summer was getting back on the sharp end of the rope after the injury. Injuries can be so difficult to deal with, it’s important to celebrate the progress and healing instead of dwelling on the setbacks.
8: Climbing Mt. Athabasca
Climbing Mt. Athabasca in Canada A fantastic outing on rock, snow and ice through Canada’s amazing glaciated terrain. Athabasca delivered!
7: The Timpanogos Traverse Mt.
Timpanogos is a huge mountain that lies just south of my Salt Lake City, UT home along the Wasatch front. It’s more than just a summit, it’s a massif with several of the highest peaks in the Wasatch range along it’s summit ridge. In August, I ran from the North summit to the main summit and down the Timpooneke trail. I love moving fast along a mountain top, and the Timp traverse was one of my favorite objectives of the summer.
6: Backpacking in the Sierras
In late August, I met up with photographer Meg Haywood Sullivan to do a 4 –day 3-night backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park. Backpacking is hard work, and it reminded me how much I love the challenge of surviving in the alpine with just the contents of my backpack.
5: Attending the first Wild Women’s Project in the San Juans of Colorado
In July, I visited a high backcountry hut in Colorado with a group of 16 of the outdoor industry’s most influential ladies – pro mountain bikers, trail runners, backpackers and environmental activists. It was like summer camp for grown up women, complete with s’mores, arts and crafts and yoga. I loved visiting the Opus hut and was so inspired by all the new personalities and mountain terrain.
4: Speaking up for Bear’s Ears
In mid-July, I attended a public hearing hosted by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel in Bluff, UT about the Bear’s Ears area, and spoke up, urging for permanent protection of this beautiful area. I visited Mexican Hat, UT, Valley of the Gods, and Gooseneck State Park during the trip, and fell more deeply in love with this part of Southeastern Utah. Attending the public hearing was a way to learn more about all the diverse interests in the land, and it was an experience I will never forget.
3: Bugaboo Spire
This year’s summer solstice also happened to fall during a full moon, and we planned to be on Bugaboo Spire during that time. It was also the 100 year anniversary of the first ascent of the Kain Route, which is the route we attempted. The Bugaboos had had an abnormally warm spring, so climbing had been in good condition in the weeks leading up to our trip. Right before we got there, it snowed three feet and buried the route. Instead of cancelling the trip, we decided to go up anyway. It was slow going through the snow and rock, and we didn’t summit, but we had the whole park to ourselves, and spent the entire day experiencing the mountain in all its glory. Needless to say, I can’t wait to go back to the Bugaboos!
2: Taking my two year old nephew to the climbing gym
When my nephew, Peter, came to visit, he showed interest in climbing up and down a ladder in my mom and dad’s library. To encourage him further, I took him to the climbing gym. It was challenging teaching a two year old how to climb, but I’m delighted to pass my love of climbing on to the next generation.
1: Overcoming my fear of mountain biking and getting back into the sport
When I first moved to Utah fifteen years ago, I spent a lot of time trying to learn how to mountain bike. Maybe it was partly due to not having a properly fitting mountain bike, but I fell all the time, and eventually quit. This summer, I decided to pick it back up to round out my summer training repertoire. Being so much higher off the trail, combined with the speed and exposure, has always terrified me, but I went to confront my fear, and had a ball doing it. Sometimes it’s good to revisit those things that scare you.
That concludes my summer recap! I’m grateful to be able to participate in so many different mountain sports – I find that variety is the best thing to preventing a plateau in my training!
We all want to have a greater ability to enjoy the things in life that we are passionate about. Most of us have some level of passion for fitness, but more than just having a passion for fitness, being fit can enhance our ability to enjoy other areas of our life that we are passionate about.
I’ve seen people’s lives transform and improve dramatically as a result of becoming fit. Do you want to enjoy your family, friends, and community more? Then get fit!
One of the biggest benefits of becoming fit is confidence and a greater ability to handle our lives. Having a greater level of confidence in yourself and your abilities directly transfers to an increased ability to pursue the things we love in life. No one ever said I wish I wasn’t fit, but many have said they wished they were in better shape, and how they could do more if they were.
Having a passion for fitness doesn’t mean you have to be a professional athlete or even compete in a sport necessarily. It just means you are passionate about leading the best life that you can, and understanding that having the freedom to move your body brings greater ability to enjoy all the good things in life.
We are physical by nature. Our bodies are meant to move. By design our bodies are meant to be pushed, to create locomotion, to get stronger, and that physical strength enhances every other aspect of our lives.
The passion for fitness and how being fit and healthy improves our lives can be traced back to the time of the ancient Greeks and probably beyond that even. What was the first Olympics other than a display of the love for being fit.
The Greek philosopher Socrates said it perfectly when he said:
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
I couldn’t say it any better than that. “It’s a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the BEAUTY and STRENGTH of which his body is capable.” That’s passion right there!
Find a way to make becoming fit and strong a passion in your life. Get involved in something physically challenging. That could be going to the gym, running a 5k, or a marathon. Maybe you decided you are going to climb the highest mountain near you. There are countless ways to challenge yourself physically. Don’t sit on the sidelines. I challenge all of us to get up and move on a daily basis.
Find what powers your passion for fitness, and let that power drive you to achieve greater happiness in your life.
As a Professional Athlete and Business Owner, I find myself dissecting situations all the time. What went wrong? What went right? How can I get better? The number one thing I can attribute to my successes has been a willingness to try. Without a playful curiosity with the unknown, we’d be frozen in stagnation. (e.g. how will the race go; what happens if I try this with my training; what will this person say about my proposal, etc)
There are two ways that people fail:
1. Giving up before giving it a try.
2. Looking for the win in the wrong place.
Number one has always been easy for me, but number two is something I have had to make a conscious mind shift and train myself to do.
1. Giving up before giving it a try
To achieve anything meaningful in our lives, we set goals. Maybe we want to get a promotion at work, run a faster 10k, lose weight, or finish our first mountain bike race. When we set goals, the goals are important to us and we get attached to the outcome. What happens if we don’t reach that outcome? Fear claws our vulnerabilities and we start to worry what people will think; maybe we weren’t “cut out” to do this; maybe we’ll never get there. These concerns and excuses are all a fear of the unknown. Sometimes, we get so paralyzed by some of our dreams that we won’t even attempt to reach them. Our limits are often self-imposed due to a lack of confidence. I’ve been there in many different areas of my life. The best reward is proving yourself wrong. It’s not always comfortable to push our limits, but that stretch zone makes us capable of so much more in our lives.
Ten years ago, the dream of becoming a pro mountain biker seemed impossible but through hard work, it happened. If you told me 5 years ago that I would be a World Champion in endurance mountain biking, that I could go off a 6’ jump on my bike, or that I would race in over 20 countries, I would have laughed in your face and said, “yeah right!” The stretch zone will surprise you and show you that you are capable of more than you think.
The point: the more you do, the more you believe you can do. Each time you stretch yourself, each time you grow just a little bit, your frame of reference expands a little more. Psychologist Abraham Maslow believed that what brings us satisfaction and happiness as human beings is to strive to reach our potential. That’s why when we aren’t go-getting, we feel like something is missing and we are looking for inspiration.
“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”
2. Looking for the win in the wrong place.
There are two main intimidating parts of a big goal: the time it takes to get there and getting started.
The second part of overcoming failure is redefining your win. What happens along the way when you fail? If you are truly intent on a growth, you will have letdowns along the way. Failure is only permanent if you allow it to be. How do you survive failure? It lies in within your focus. An example is my last race. It was a big goal of mine to win but when race day came, I had no legs and despite my best efforts, I finished in a lackluster 5th place. I was irritated because I knew I was capable of so much more, but I didn’t let it ruin my day. Instead of focusing on where I should be, I chose to look at things that I was doing well. It was pouring rain and I had been working on slippery, technical riding. For the first time ever, I felt confident and enjoyed the sketchy, slick descents. How else can you soften the blow of failure? Always do your best. Your best on one day may be different than your best on another day, but that is okay. With each challenging experience, it gives you something to fall back on the next time it gets hard. How many times have we thought, “Well I survived [x], I can get through this.” Adversity is good. It’s what makes us stronger.
Our perception is our reality. The goal should be to grow and get better, not to be perfect every time.
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”