I Am Physically Prepared: Reasons Why I Stay in Shape Year ‘Round

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Life of a personal trainer.  

It’s funny, between the ages of 18-22 years old, I didn’t really value my fitness.  The fitness that I did have was a byproduct of being an athlete in a sport that places high demand on conditioning and the ability to repeat those high intensity efforts, therefore I really didn’t know anything else.  Having strength and being conditioned was a part of life, as it is for so many athletes.

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When you play a college sport, you quickly find that you have to stay in shape damn near year ‘round.  For hockey, there is a period of down time between the end of the competitive season and the beginning of off-season training, but it is quite short.  Maybe a week or two at the most.

When you’re not on the ice, building aerobic/anaerobic capacity along with hockey specific skills, you’re in the gym building qualities like strength and power.  The efforts put forth in the gym are designed to boost to on-ice performance, as is any off-season training program for any sport.

After I graduated from college, the byproduct of fitness that I had enjoyed from athletics also left.  Training was no longer mandatory for the rest of my life, it was optional.  Many of you know what this feels like.  It’s strange, because everything is so regimented for so many years, and all of the sudden it just stops.  I no longer needed to keep myself even remotely close to the sort of shape that I did when playing, however I chose to keep up with it.

I trained smarter once I was done with college than I did when I was under the supervision of a full-time paid strength coach at the University. 

I learned that there was a whole other world of training methods available that we athletes had not be exposed to.  It’s still frustrating to think that our programs were a tweaked variation of the basketball or football team’s strength and conditioning program, but in reflection doing something in the gym was better than doing nothing.

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Fast forward a few years, about six to be exact, and I still train hard 3-5 days per week.  My training frequency (days per week) varies depending on my professional career schedule and other activities, but for the most part I am able to workout as much as I would like.

I love it.  I am grateful that I have taken care of myself post-college athletics.  It has allowed me to run races with buddies or skate with current college hockey players without stressing about my physical abilities.  If you think this sounds silly, I would bet that many of you have turned down the opportunity to run a race or play a sport because you thought that you weren’t fit enough, saving yourself some sort of embarrassment.  I’ve pulled that one myself.

I call it being “physically prepared”. 

Being physically prepared is nothing special.  In a recent post about aerobic conditioning, I shared a pie chart showing how my workouts are divided up between strength, aerobic and anaerobic interval training.

The chart is accurate at the present time.  But if for example, a friend called me up and asked if I wanted to pedal a Century Ride (100 miles) with him, I feel confident that I could do it with very little additional training.

Why?  Because I am physically prepared.

If I travel to Colorado to join a buddy in climbing a 14’er (14,000 ft mountain) I am confident that I can handle it no problem.

Why?  Because I am physically prepared.

I think you get the point.

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For most of the year, my training has no other purpose than to:

1)    Keep my body capable of handling short or no notice physical stress.

2)    Keep me lean and mentally self-confident (there is a large mental component to why we workout in the first place).

3)    Keep pushing myself to avoid giving in to the stereotypical  activity levels that supposedly come with adulthood, career and family.

4)    Make a small time commitment for a large ROI with my day-to-day health and ability to fight off sickness throughout the year.

Subconsciously, I also train with the motivation to do my best to avoid Orthopedic issues later in life.  I don’t want to find myself lying on the operating room table (having a joint replacement) because I was lazy.  That’s an expensive mistake that will hit you hard financially and physically.  Our bodies are sophisticated but at the same time we are also a bunch of pulleys and levers, and keeping the right amount of tension on each pulley and lever will help avoid going under the knife.

I also never want to be a statistic on the nightly news that shows deaths from completely preventable disease.  I won’t be that person either.

Bottom line:  You’ve to strengthen and condition yourself with the future in mind.  Always in mind.

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All of us are going to have a different opinion about the amount of fitness that we should keep.

Constantly making an effort to improve your strength and power, cardiovascular capabilities, joint range of motion and stability in those joints will keep you moving for the long-term.

Fitness should be tailored to each individual.  You should maintain a fitness level needed to successfully move through life pain-free and safe-guarded against injury while meeting the physical demands of day-to-day life without worry or hesitation.

But in my own case (and many others I am finding) keeping a lifestyle that is full of movement whenever and wherever makes the journey a lot more exciting, and I call it being physically prepared.

Cheers to joining the physically prepared!



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