Leisure Life: Why Be Fit?

via Jeff Griffith-Jones – AVAC

Leisure Life

Of course there are the obvious reasons to maintain an optimum level of fitness: prevent disease, reverse obesity, look more desirable, maintain health in later life, etc. But what prods us as individuals to stay fit? Ideally, each of us will have a trainer adept in self-determination theory and stages of change model who will place us into one of the dozen or so categories of motivation for fitness and train us accordingly—great trainers do this.

For me, it’s pretty simple: I want to be able to do what I love. That means getting outside and playing without getting injured and participating in sports at a moderately competitive level.

The steps needed to get fit however have never been very appealing to me. I consider them a necessary evil. But knowing the crucial importance of fitness and my category of motivation helps. I recognize that I need to set a goal (mountain, triathlon, keep up with my dad on a bike), put money down on it, then tell people about it so I have to suffer embarrassment if I don’t follow through. Sound complex?  I like to think of it as me being highly in tune with my extrinsic motivation.

Last weekend I reached my most recent extrinsic goal: complete a half iron distance triathlon and do it in less than seven hours. After months of training, in the end, a couple things kept me healthy and sane during those six and a half hours at 7000’: stellar nutrition and effective mantras.

Jackie Vail at AVAC helped me with the first part. I hired her to guide me on taper, pre-race, and race day nutrition. She adapted a plan to my plant-based lifestyle without blinking an eye, inundated me with enough info to last the next year, and left me healthy enough that post-race I felt like I only just ran a 10k.

As for mantras, that’s more art than science. As Jesse Thomas points out in this month’s Triathlete Magazine, “yes, it feels funny to tell yourself something corny and positive mid-race or workout, but it works. If you want to take your racing to the next level, embrace the crazy!”

Here’s how I mentally embraced the crazy at Donner:

  • When I was tired: Jeff, what the hell else would you be doing on a Sunday morning?
  • When I had doubts: Have fun with it! (said like Luke Wilson in ‘Old School’ when he tells 400-lb Weensie to do the gymnastics vault and let 92-lb Abdul spot him).
  • When I needed to kick ass: Lock S-foils in attack position…accelerate to attack speed! (Star Wars…duh)

My humble advice: really figure out how you are motivated to get fit, set goals, get a little crazy—and have fun with it!

~Jeff Griffith Jones


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