I admit there are days of a year gone by, that I sought to cultivate a sexy appearance in my fitness regime and I am glad to say those ideals are a thing of the past. I do hope that in my pursuit of being a great age-group triathlete that my physique is appealing to my (in the words of Ricky Bobby, 'smok'n hot wife') wife but, I hope that my primary ambitions of being fit, being healthy and being balanced in life it foremost.
I teach swim lessons, coach triathletes, and teach water aerobics at the local downtown health club. This health club has gotten local reviews for its reputation of being a top hook-up venue. While I won't make comment on this reputation, I was struck by a scene today that I should like to make reflection on.
At noon, a group of master's swimmers meet at the pool to endure an hour of grueling training that is prescribed by the national master's swimming association. Many of these guys are in their prime of fitness, while they are past their prime of, what most people would call prime of, age. In their late 30's, 40's and 50's, these guys are as buff as a physical specimen can come! They guys swim 5 days a week for 1 hour and they have every right to boast for their accomplishments athletically, but their fitness level and level of healthy lifestyle is unparalleled. It is a marvel to me that these guys are some of the least vain people I know! They are not the types to stand in front of the mirrors and check-out their muscular appeal, or strut about in pompous display of their physical superiority-no, these guys are down-to-earth real type guys that enjoy being athletically active and being good stewards of their bodies. While many an on-lookers there were admiring their appearance, that was not an ambition that they sought.
Thinking about my own ambitions for fitness, health and wellness, I was convicted in comparing myself to these guys. I think this is a pitfall of many endurance athletes-no all athletes. While we pursue 1st place, a top 10 finish, or just the completion of our first triathlon, we all have periphery aspirations of weight-loss, a trimmer mid-section, or a more 'cut' physique.
November and December can be two of the most fatty-food, high-calorie, sweet-infested months! Being of Scandinavian heritage, this is especially the case with foods like Rømmegrøt, Lefse, oyster stew, and pickled herring. Although I won't abstain from the indulgences of the norkse heritage, I will challenge myself and my athletes with this charge-moderation the admonition and not complete abstinence of good foods. Eating one piece of lefse, one bowl of rommegrot, or one bowl of oysters stew will not be the ticket to sure weight gain and poor base-season training effects, but too many of any will be.
I realize that for many fitness, a good race result or a personal best are not the goal...vanity, appearance and accolades of friends as being prettiest, skinniest, or fittest is the only acceptable reward for hard work, regimented training, and healthy diet...but each of those fleeting pursuits will be as a vapor, and the day will be gone. Seize the day. Live for a healthy and balanced life. Put fleeting vanity aside and enjoy good food, training, and family through the holidays!