functionally fit…


Yesterday I went on a 10km cycle through the villages and vineyards of the Champagne region in France.

Just a couple of minutes later I cycled another 10kms through the Loire Valley.

It was very scenic- and I didn’t need to leave the gym.

My gym has just replaced all of their cardio equipment and at 5am yesterday (yes, I know…my daughter has swim squad, what can I say?) only the new bikes were working.

I’m not a fan of bikes, but I quite like the whole tour de gym aspect of the new equipment. I can’t wait to try out the rest of the equipment this afternoon.

Anyways- I’m changing my attitude towards fitness.

I go to the gym 4, maybe 5 times a week. I do a couple of cardio sessions, a couple of weight sessions, or maybe fit in a swim or a yoga class.  Then there’s the dog that needs walking.

I find the strength sessions as boring as batshit, but I understand the benefits regarding increasing metabolism and the whole bone density thing.

My metabolism needs a great deal of…encouragement…so if strength training is going to help with both that and my PCOS symptoms, I’ll plug my music in or join a PUMP class and I’ll do it. Besides, the gripping bit that goes along with lifting things is good for my poor little writer’s wrists.

The other reason I force my way through my weights program is that the muscle work makes me feel more confident overall- as if I can do the things I need to do. On the whole, strength training (at normal levels) feels somehow as if it’s closer to being of some use in the real world.

Here’s the thing, I’m more into functional fitness these days- the sort of fitness that means I don’t cough up half a lung walking up a hill, the sort of fitness that means I can go up and down a step ladder and paint a room, the sort of fitness that allows me to dig over a garden and carry things. The type of fitness that supports my back and reduces the amount I spend at my chiropractor. The fitness that will help me achieve some of those things on my bucket list- things like the Routeburn Track.

Real life fitness.

By the way, I like my chiropractor- I’d just prefer not to see him as often as I do.

Anyways, these days the gym is more about discipline and the habit of going than any attempt to have washboard abs or guns (or buns) of steel. Sure they look great on the people who have them, but I no longer care.

It wasn’t so many years ago that I did the gym thing to the extreme. I was up at 5am each morning, walking during lunch breaks, and would go down again in the evening after dinner.

I was fit, but I wasn’t functionally fit. Nothing beats walking up hills to make you fit for, well, walking up hills.

It’s like when I was doing a heap of spin classes (oh how I hated them). I very confidently popped my bum on the seat of on a real bike to cycle around the wineries of Martinborough (New Zealand) and quickly realised the difference. Nothing beats actual cycling for, well, cycling.

I’m under no illusions that the metres I climb on the cross-trainer or treadmill won’t mean a hell of a lot when I’m trying to walk up a proper mountain, but in lieu of any real mountains to practice on…you get my drift. It’s why I’ll be swapping a session each week for a longer, more challenging walk. I’m determined to make it to Routeburn…one day…

Bootcamp and crossfit are also great activities for functional fitness- I just detest them- with an absolute passion. Another thing I’ve learned is that if I’m going to keep doing something, I have to enjoy it- not resent it.

I don’t have the time or the inclination to spend hours at the gym. These days I’m trying to be a little smarter about my workouts. These days I’m trying to be a little more functional in my approach. Besides, this afternoon I think I might take a tour on the crosstrainer to, I don’t know, New Zealand….

What about you? What’s your approach to fitness?

2 Comments on “functionally fit…

  1. Oh yes, I like the idea of functional fitness! A goal that’s sustainable and smart… very important.

  2. Pingback: friday five: oh the pain… « and anyways…

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