Extreme Fitness…Or is it?

As I rounded 50 on my series of 75 reps of Hindu squats this morning, I contemplated not only that my knees were sore but what it takes to be fit in American culture today. The truth is, you have to be a little odd. They don’t call it a fitness “craze” for nothing. We are no longer gathering and hunting, we are no longer walking everywhere we go, we are no longer (most of us) baling hay and milking cows on the family farm. We spend long periods of time just like I am now: sitting in front of some kind of screen. So in order to be physically fit in America today, you have to be a little obsessed. You have to be that person in the office who runs at lunch when everyone else is at the buffet. You have to pack your snacks instead of hitting the vending machine. And you have to get up in the morning when it’s dark and put on your running shoes. And this is all just to be reasonably fit. We’re not talking as fit as G. I. Jane up there (love that movie, would never happen in real life, but love that movie).

Here is what I like about being fit: I rarely get sick; I can lift boxes of Christmas decorations without injuring myself; I can run down the street to chat with my neighbor without getting winded; I can ski, skate, run, bike and swim with my kids. I can fit in an airplane seat. Here is what I don’t like about being fit: well, see, there’s not a whole lot in this column, but I do get irritated that I have to be a little obsessed. Oh, and I miss sleeping in sometimes.

When I was researching for this post, I came across some videos on triathlons. The entering argument for these events is that we are turning to these extreme endurance sports to create the PHYSICAL challenge lacking in our lives. Not satisfied with Ironman Triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run), endurance athletes like Lance Armstrong are turning to the XTERRA, which is all those things done cross country.

You can live Ironman vicariously on NBC Sports this Saturday when they broadcast the Ironman World Championships.

For the record, I have never done an Ironman, XTERRA or otherwise. But that doesn’t mean I never will…

What about you? Have any of you ever done anything extreme to stay fit? Any big fitness goals for 2012?

20 thoughts on “Extreme Fitness…Or is it?

  1. Coleen Patrick says:

    i agree with you that it’s necessary to make fitness a priority–especially with all the screen time! I do make a daily effort, but I could always amp up my routine–so I guess that is a resolution for me.
    I’m inspired by your routine, I often dream that I’m running (for sport, not being chased!) and in my dreams i feel like i can run forever.

    • Kecia Adams says:

      I LOVE those dreams. For me, it’s all about the goal. I can’t just workout without something motivating me to push on like a race or a team commitment. The hubster and I have been getting up in the morning together. It’s kinda fun. A little time to ourselves.

  2. I like to stay fit, and managed to do that until a couple of years ago when a torn ACL really slowed me down. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on the BMI scale (which my body type always skewed). This whole obsession with thin is a relatively newer trend, historically speaking. I’m all about eating healthy, and getting exercise – but maybe it’s not worth all the effort I used to put into it? Food for thought.

    • Kecia Adams says:

      I blew my ACL skiing many years ago. The first time back on skis is a blog post in itself! Hilarious–NOT. ๐Ÿ™‚ The eating healthy often is the bigger challenge and the bigger payoff too.

  3. gingercalem says:

    I guess I’d be in what some people would call the ‘obsessed’ camp but I don’t really see it that way. As I see it, we were given a body as our engine to get through life. I want my engine strong and fast and agile with the endurance to let me do anything I want to do. My husband and I own a CrossFit gym and we both run and coach our clients as well as workout hard ourselves.

  4. Last weekend, my 13 year old daughter and I ran in a 5K (our 2nd for the year) and we couldn’t help but notice all the “crazies”. (Us, included.) It’s fun and especially at a certain age (ahem) I no longer take fitness for granted. It does make me feel good though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My daughter and I are training for our first 10K and 1/2 marathon in 2012. Fingers crossed I can keep up with her training. (I don’t even attempt to keep up with her running speed. lol.)

    • Kecia Adams says:

      Hi Bridgette! I am running a 5K with my 11-year old tomorrow. I love that I can get out there with her and share that sense of accomplishment. The 5K we’re doing is a Santa Shuffle so there will be costume prizes. I’m sure that will add to the craziness! ๐Ÿ™‚ Ho, ho, ho…
      Great goals, BTW! It’s always the training that is tough, IMO. The race itself is a breeze if you’ve done your training.

  5. Shannon Esposito says:

    Y’all are making me feel like a total slacker…lol! I’m coming off a back injury (and weight gain with it, of course) I’m just trying to get back into my yoga and walking routine. I’ve never been able to run, not even in hs. I have zero stamina. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    • Kecia Adams says:

      Injuries are tough. Especially as you get…ahem…a little older. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not a great runner, I MUCH prefer the bike. For me it’s all about finding that thing you love to do, whether it’s yoga or walking the dog or triathlons. It is that thing you can be a little obsessed about because it makes you happy. And the thing changes too. I used to love step aerobics. Now not so much…

  6. Such a thought-provoking post, Kecia. I sometimes imagine the gym without the equipment, just a bunch of people exercising in place. Makes me giggle every time!

    I do think we’ve reached a crazy time during which our culture is overly obsessed with fitness….yet less active as a whole than ever before. I think the key is seeking physical activities we enjoy and aiming for balance and moderation. I ran 1 marathon years ago…never again. LOL! (To each their own, right??) Wishing you a happy, healthy season… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kecia Adams says:

      LOLOL! That’s a great thought: the world as a gym. Like a giant aerobics studio. “Feel the burn! Twenty more reps! Ready, go!” ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your well wishes…right back atcha!

  7. Deb Gibbs says:

    How did you start? Were you always in this frame of mind? Did you ever suffer a health condition and have to work your way back?

    • Kecia Adams says:

      Hi Deb! Thanks for your questions. So here’s my story: Almost three years ago I was about 25-30 pounds overweight. I worked out intermittently (or not at all for weeks), had no real schedule, and no particular goals. My clothes were getting tighter and tighter, but getting fit and eating right always seemed to fall to the bottom of the very long list. The usual stuff. Pictures of myself at my nephew’s wedding kind of snapped me out of complacency. Right about the same time, a neighbor of mine was getting her fitness training business going. I signed up for her Boot Camp group, and she definitely kicked our collective bootys that summer. ๐Ÿ™‚ I realized a few things about myself with that group: 1) if I had a social group to work out with, I was more likely to stick to it, 2) I needed a goal, and 3) I needed to specialize in one sport. I picked cycling because I love my bike, I’m not a great runner, and there’s a really great bike shop near my house. Last year I started racing my bike and that really pushed me into fitness and nutrition for a purpose.
      Over the years I’ve had to work my way back from a knee injury, a c-section, plantar’s fascitis, tendonitis in my elbow, severe shin splints, and general laziness ;).
      I actually think life is a continual process of starting over. You start something, it doesn’t go the way you thought, or you suffer a set back, or a success! and you have to start over. As they say: It’s the journey, the process, that counts.

  8. Great post, Kecia. Ironically, I just wrote about the same thing but from a totally different angle. Hope you’ll check it out.

    My most “extreme” fitness was actually spending years in dance studios, pushing for technical heights and rehearsing when I was beyond tired. My DH and I are both slightly obsessed because, as you say, it’s the only way to have a body able to do whatever you want it to do.

    • Kecia Adams says:

      Hi Alicia! I did check out your post. Thanks! I have always considered dancers–particularly ballet dancers–the most finely trained athletes of all. My favorite performance I attended was the Joffrey’s Romeo & Juliet at the Kennedy Center in the early ’90s. We were second row center orchestra and we could see the sweat and hear the little grunts of effort of the dancers as they performed. It was wonderful, gritty and so amazing!

  9. Kecia, great article. I put the link on FB and got so many comments. clearly the idea of super fitness is very interesting. congrats on your achievements. I’ve let my fitness completely fall by the wayside…sheesh. now I have to start over. but your comments make it clear that it’s never too late. thanks for the impetus

  10. Hi, Kecia,
    Love this post and your attitude toward fitness. I’ve walked off 22 pounds this year. For me, the fun is spending time outdoors, in a pretty park.. Seventy-five reps of Hindu squats? Whoa! Good going!

  11. […] in December I blogged about fitness goals for the year and how weย Americansย have to be a little extreme in our culture to be fit. One of my goals for […]

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