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Everything in moderation

I’m watching a guy get fat. He’s in his early thirties and he’s at a point in his life when he’s ready to move into the body of a larger man. It’s not a secret, he jokes about it himself. He grabs his belly and shakes it with pride. 

I’ve seen plenty of old friends get big, but never as it’s happening. Usually I run into someone I haven’t seen in years and I realize they are much larger. But this guy I see every workday. And six months ago he was many pounds lighter. When I met him last fall he had the kind of frame that could go either way. 

I heard he used to x-country ski and asked him about it, he proudly claimed how he was a nordic ski racer in high school. I’m not saying this just to fat shame some guy. I know life is stressful, and finding time for a healthy lifestyle isn’t for everyone.

I guess I’m only on this topic as another way to explain the weird dichotomy of my life. I have my feet squarely planted in two separate worlds. I scroll through my Strava and see friends announce that it’s a leg day. Or proudly displaying a wattage goal that they’ve hit. I can do this while I listen to coworkers complain that Arby’s used to give you a lot more fries with the combo meal.

I’m no health nut. I eat ice cream most nights before bed. I eat microwave burritos and my wife forces me to bring a piece of fruit in my lunch. But I have mountain biking. I have a form of exercise that I’m addicted to. I would rather mountain bike than anything else if I had the choice. When I’m not doing it I think about it. Strava gives me congratulations if I go for a ride. But I always want to go for a ride anyway. I need Stava to congratulate me if I fold a load of laundry or mow the lawn.

I used to think I stayed in shape because I had a physical blue collar job. But lots of coworkers have disproven that. I’ve worked with mechanics who fit the definition of morbidly obese. 

I know riding keeps me fit, but I don’t think of it that way. I don’t set fitness goals. Sometimes I make the climb up The Grind, but most times I don’t. I savor the feeling of exhaustion when I reach the top. I love that part of mountain biking, the Yin and Yang of climbing and descending. It’s a mathematical equation that always works out. Every foot of climbing equals a foot of descent. Unless I shuttle or ride a chair lift.

Still, I think I’m sitting somewhere in the middle of the fitness spectrum. Eating fast food several times a week seems just as foreign to me as monitoring my ride to stay in ‘Zone Four.’

 The most important health aspect for me is whether I’m injured or not. My version of a high impact workout is if I impact the ground. 

I know I wasn’t in shape when I was only dirt jumping. Pushing up to the start hill isn’t much cardio. In a sense the modern all-mountain bike is what saved me. Now I can get all the fun of thrashing down the hill, but I can also make the climb up.

Just as I’m not mocking my chubby coworker I don’t mean to offend my super fit racer friends I bike with. Everyone should be doing it their own way. To quote Hunter S Thompson, “I’m not one to advocate for drugs, sex and violence. But it’s worked out ok for me.”


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