Thursday, January 17, 2008

Blog 021 - training philosophy for life

I get a lot of e-mails about how one should train for fitness (as opposed to a specific sporting event). I like this question, but I’m sure my answer will raise eyebrows among the exercise and sports-training experts. Here it is:

I view myself as training for the game of life, and in life there is no off season, and one day is not more critical than the next , they all count and they are all here only briefly before they pass into our history and are gone forever. I want each day to be as perfect as it can be. Therefore, I want to be optimally fit all the time – regardless of the season.

Having said that, it is important to recognize that we cannot train "full-speed" all of the time. This will quickly lead to an "overtraining" syndrome and a decline in our overall health.

I regularly fluctuate the intensity of my workouts to avoid this issue of overtraining. But, (and you may be surprised to hear this) I am much less "scientific" and rigid about the structure of my workouts than most people. I workout seven days a week without fail. And I do specific routines each day (Monday is upper body weights and an aerobic component, Tuesday is leg weights and another aerobic component, etc.) But, some Mondays I feel really strong and so I do a really intense workout on upper body. Some Mondays I feel tired - I still workout, but maybe I vary the workout to be less intense. Sometimes I feel tired at the start of a workout and so I plan to lighten up a bit, but then as I get into it I start to feel really good - so I pick it up.

Basically, I create a broad outline of what I am going to ask my body to do, and then I listen to what it has to say about how we do it. I NEVER let my body tell me "I just don't feel like doing this today, lets take the day off." I just change the intensity.

In 1994 I got an unexpected phone call from the American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA). They wanted to know if I could take the place of another anesthesiologist who had volunteered to teach anesthesia for six weeks in Africa, but had to back out at the last minute? The hospital was in Tanzania, located at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Ever since I read the Hemmingway story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” I had wanted to climb that mountain (volcano) – here was a chance to do it. The ASA would pay for my plane ticket to Africa, and they didn’t care if I went a couple of weeks early in order to climb the mountain before I started teaching.

To take advantage of this unexpected offer of a trip to Africa I had to leave in two weeks. Kilimanjaro is just over 19,000 feet high. Could I be in shape to climb it in just two weeks? Irrelevant question – I train every day, year in and year out. I knew I was ready.

This photograph is a picture I took from the summit of Kilimanjaro looking past another peak at the first rays of the sun coming up through the clouds below me to shine on a new day. The moment was an emotionally powerful one for me – and one that I would’ve never had if I hadn’t been fit enough to make the climb on short notice.

My personal tag line stemming from that experience is this: “When life calls, will you be ready?”

Have a great workout.
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape



Rocky said...

Being prepared for life is a great way to think about life's opportunities. My tag line is: "Where will you live if you do not take care of your body"?

susan93940 said...

Very inspiring. I started listening to you when I decided to do more walking. Part of my walking plan last fall was to get an iPOD and listen to knitting podcasts. However while I'm walking I listen to your podcasts and listen to knitting podcasts at night from my computer.

You podcast about reversing aging thru more fitness definitely has worked for this 64 year old. Flexibility and strength have increased (do resistance band workout 3 x per week).

Hope this gets to you. I am susan93940m at gmail dot com.

Cassie said...

I saw these products by a company called It Cosmetics on the Today Show so I thought I would try them. I TOTALLY look like I’ve lost 15 lbs instantly and I feel like I’m finally able to get that “in-shape” look I’ve been working so hard for in the gym. Just thought I’d share this GREAT find!!!

Abbey Grace said...

It is the lack of discipline that got me into the training accident I has. Now I regularly take soma 350mg just so that I can work without so much pain.

Stacy said...

Thank you for the guidance. My philosophy - just keep moving. And make sure there is plenty of variety. I use a program with a ton of online workouts called MAKE IT FIT, It works for me when I need a little motivation and inspiration.

Chrish said...

Try these alternative health practices, a way of staying healthy and fit. I have tried many ways but this one is something, I was inspired to create CYH (CreateYourHealth) as a way to empower you to take responsibility for your life. This site gives a lot of information regarding health alternative choices. You will enjoy everything about it, specially their topics about alternative health practices, vinyasa flow yoga, ear coning, prolotherapy, dynamic psychotherapy and neurofeedback. Check this site

Chrish Tiyan said...

I’m a health buff and this site is awesome, got all I need for more holistic way to stay in shape. It has all the alternative health practices like vinyasa flow yoga, ear coning, prolotherapy, dynamic psychotherapy and neurofeedback, I’m sharing this site to you.

Marek Mahdal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Taylor said...

That's an awesome view. :) Congratulations for achieving your goal of climbing Kilimanjaro. Kudos to you for keeping fit and for sticking with your exercise regimen. Not many can achieve what you have achieved.Your posts are truly inspiring. :)

buyenergydrink said...

Determination as inspiration.

buyenergydrink said...

Determination as inspiration.

buyenergydrink said...

Determination as inspiration.

Yüz Germe said...

The post is very informative. It is a pleasure reading it. I have also bookmarked you for checking out new posts.
Yüz Germe