Fit for purpose?
Are we so blinkered in your fitness goals that we overlook our general fitness and functionality?
A recent trip to south wales for a break from the rush of everyday life saw me and my girlfriend standing in a car park looking across a stream and along the edge of ravine where a path meandered up the slopes. This was Penn-y-fan, one of South Wales most popular peaks and our plan for the day was a leisurely walk up to take in the view. Looking up the rocky ascent didn’t bring much cause for concern, the path looked stead and the mountain itself looked more like a large hill in comparison to the daunting peaks in the north. The sun was out and heat was cranked up but we had water, snacks and a will to reach the summit with no concern to the journey ahead.
The path up the mountain isn’t too steep, and the length isn’t too long either but it’s gradient is relentless and it wasn’t long before my back was aching, thighs burning and sweat was pouring. I’m no athlete but I am no slouch either – I cycle, regularly practice a range of calisthenics, Tabatha and HIIT training is core to my workout and now I have my FitBit i’m getting a minimum of 10k steps a day but this big hill was taking considerable toll on my body. By the time I was half way up I was stopping every few minutes. OK, it wasn’t the most gruelling challenge of my life, not even close, but it was clear that all the jumping, climbing and generally moving about didn’t seem to help me in this activity…in fact, if anything, it felt like it made it worse!
I have mentioned a few of my favourite exercises above and there are plenty more but I analysed everything I do and realised that everything I do requires a lot of energy in a short amount of time. Even my bike is designed for the short but hectic dirt trails of mountains and off-road cross country rather the long rolling hills of road cycling. Fact of the matter is; i’m just not built for it! I built this body of mine and the fitness challenges I have faced and conquered did nothing to help me scale a mountain. Of course, we all know this to some degree, for example train in Martial Arts and you can fight, train to lift heavy weights and get scarily big and may think you can fight but I’d still put money on the smaller but trained fighter.
My aim has always been to be promote overall fitness whilst try and challenge and improve in areas I am more passionate about. I have the workout days I do because I feel I need to and those I do because I want to…or so I thought. Walking trails and mountains when possible is one of my “Likes” but it seems I have been missing a big part of what I both need and want to do in order to scale those illustrious heights.
What to do?
Re-analyze, rework and refresh my workout plan, that is what is needed. That is also what I am doing. I might not always get it right but that walk in the country highlighted a big flaw in my training plan as well as a big flaw in my thought process. Not just for climbing mountains but for all walks of life. Why is it I am doing what I am doing? How should I go about doing it? What is it I am going to do to get the steps done? Many things come about we think we are ready for, think we can handle. Physically, mentally and emotionally but we should be careful, sometimes things that seem easy can cripple us.
This is not to sway from what we want and avoid those mountain paths, but to just appreciate the task in hand, recognise we may not always be as ready as we think we are and, like I will do with Penn-y-fan and a range of other mountains, go again and again and again.