Focus on Fitness

With winter bringing shorter days, colder temperatures, and excessive quantities of generally unhealthy food, it’s a good time to get thinking about fitness again. It’s easy in the summer time. It’s light for hours after getting home, and the warm weather makes it a lot easier to bike to work, go for a walk or run, and just generally be active in the outdoors. Like many people, I’ve had a tendency to gain weight as the weather turns cold, and lose it in the summer. Since I decided to get in shape back in the summer of 2005, I’ve been periodically tracking my weight.

As you can see, I dropped from over 190 to hitting 170 in roughly four months when I first started. Then winter hit. When it warmed back up I spent a lot of time hiking 14ers and running, and hit the mid-upper 160s. I may have been thinner than what is ideal, but man, I was swift. The same thing happened in the winter of 2007 and repeated the next summer. I gained 22 pounds in less than five months, and never took it off despite all my time on the bike. While I’m fast, strong, and by no means fat, I do have a few pounds I could shed which would make me faster and stronger.

Enter the Wii Fit. I finally found one online last week, and it arrived yesterday. It has fun activities for various benefits, but one of the best aspects is weight tracking in only a minute or two every morning. I set a goal in Wii Fit to get sub-25 for my BMI in two months (at my height, that line is at 176). That will require a loss of almost two pounds a week, which may be overambitious. Regardless, I need to get there prior to the spring ski mountaineering season. An extra layer of wool or polypro is far better than extra fat to stay warm.

I’m lucky enough to have a friend who is also actively working to get back in shape, and fantastic backcountry skiing opportunities nearby. A hard skin up in cold weather can burn several hundred calories per hour. Even better, each lap you’re rewarded with a ski run through untouched powder and no crowds, with low-speed quads to get you up any where you want to try. Even better is light winter mountaineering. The cold, wind, and gear weight can result in so great an energy burn that you could lose a pound of fat even after a huge meal at the end of the day to recharge.

Get out there, burn some fat, and most importantly, have fun!

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