We’re living in an interesting time. Everyone and their dog seems to be wearing some sort of fitness watch and while counting the number of calories being burnt at all times we’re all jumping madly between some training App to the next, all in an attempt to get shredded in less than 30 minutes.
I’m not saying that these are all bad and I’ve been equally guilty of being sucked into one of the various Keto or STRAVA wormholes, however, I believe that the idea that you need a gadget or some sort of fancy watch with enough tech to launch you into space is sending the wrong message. Ultimately, all these “gluten-free”, “Banting-friendly”, “Blue-tooth” operated-lycra-running-tights do is make someone else a lot of money and it will never out-compete, true fitness or what I like to call “mountain fitness”.
There is something that tackling a steep mountainous ridge will do for you that no amount of burpees or TRX workouts can ever give you. I’m not saying that those types of exercises aren’t useful, actually I believe that hitting the gym or doing regular core exercises is a must, but you’ll end up losing out if all you do is follow some HIIT app 3 times a week. There’s something powerful about going into the mountains where the only use for your phone is the camera attached to it and you’ve got to keep moving for hours.
Being “mountain fit” is more mental and emotional than anything else. Sure, someone has climbed it before and trekking for 4 hours or 2 weeks sounds a little pointless, but that’s what we need! The simplicity of just moving and being in a wild setting that makes you feel small and insignificant is exactly what makes it the “ultimate workout”. The first 30 minutes is always the hardest, but soon you will be in the zone and I’m not talking about your “ideal fat-burning zone”.
Climbing, running or hiking up and over mountains is hard, long and you’ll be sucked into your own thoughts where the sound of your breath and the crunch of earth beneath your boots becomes your only existence. Added to that, “which rock we’ll picnic on for lunch?” will become your only worry that day! I see it as a mental-reset of sorts. Even if I get a little scared, cold and exhausted at times, I always return smiling and buzzed for the next outing.
While 30 minutes of gym is good and these gadgets can help, always know that the ultimate mind and body workout is outside and it’s free.
As the great Yvon Chouinard said, “The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex. What’s important is leading an examined life.”
Written for: Hi-Tec SA Blog