I remember an article I read in Saturday Night magazine some ten years ago (maybe more). I can’t remember the author. But it went something like this: Young man decides to join a hiking group for the upcoming Spring season. He has only a couple of months to get into shape for these day-long hikes into the mountains. He’s already pretty fit, so he joins a gym and starts to train on the stair climber, figuring it’s the closest to hiking in terms of muscles used, etc. Plus it’s one helluva workout. After two months of stair-climbing and weight-training, he’s fit and buff, with incredibly strong legs and great aerobic capacity. First hike comes up and here’s his words (I paraphrase): “I knew I was in trouble an hour into the hike, when the 60-something lady behind me, blew past, leaving me last in line. I suddenly realized that the only thing using a stair-climber prepared you for….was using a stair-climber!”.

I’ve been riding my Tacx trainer for a few weeks now (3-4 times a week) and I can definitely feel myself getting stronger. But it’s boring as Hell. I remembered that the best times I ever had, and those where I was fittest, were always related to real-world activities – my favorites were always biking, hiking, and squash – rather than gym-based workouts. So, earlier this week I took a membership at my beloved Morgan Arboretum, a wonderful nature sanctuary and environmental research center owned by McGill University. I had been a member for many years but let it lapse 5-6 years ago. Today marks my third 45 minute walk this week, and frankly….I’m beat. There’s no comparison between hauling around a 250+ lb. carcass up and down an undulating terrain, and sitting comfortably on a stationary bike watching TV…regardless of how hard you feel you’re working out and how much sweat you put out.

Funny enough, the only time I ever lost a huge amount of weight (50 lbs. in 3 months) was in 1975 when I went to Greece for the Summer and did no “exercise” other than walk for 5-6 hours a day.

So, I’m making a commitment to getting back to real-life, fun activities, instead of the artificial and obsessive bullshit of fitness clubs (not that there’s anything wrong with these 🙂 ).