Jumpin_Jimmy wrote:

> For me, I ride the bike on trails to keep the basic cardio 
> and leg strength. ... The flow of 
> trail and the obvious hazards of trees, 
> roll overs, rocks and drops keeps the reflexes ready for the 
> woods skiing phase of the year. 
> ...
> Muscles do need power too, though. I used to do the gym for 
> years in my 20's and 30's (and 
> credit weights for a solid foundation of muscles and strong 
> bones) but I hit on a redneck 
> workout that seems to be paying off OK. These days, I 
> chainsaw (one saw is a 16 inch bar, 
> another is a 20 inch 
> monster), lift the bucked up wood, wheelbarrow, split, and 
> stack at least 100 horizontal feet 
> worth of VT maple firewood for the winter. 
> ...
> I find hiking kinda boring, but I'll do it. 
> Then comes earning turns before the areas begin to spin the 
> lifts...but even in the middle of 
> winter, when the lifts are spinning, I try to get in one 
> small hike and ski as part of a lift 
> served day. This is a key way to maintain in the winter when 
> your body wants to get fat 

I used to MTB to keep myself in shape for the ski season, but the
reality of the 11-hour commute/work day plus kids means I don't get out
on the bike much.  Getting in a decent ride in daylight during the week
pretty much means I don't see the kids that day.  Weekend activities are
family activities, which means hiking slowly with the kids, working in
the yard, or taking one child for a jog or road ride.  I tried to pass
that off as training the past couple of years, but the results were
pretty pathetic when it came to keeping up with better skiers or fitter

This year, in no small part motivated by not wanting to be in the worst
shape of my life on my impending 40th birthday, I decided to unpack the
weight set and get some regular exercise.  On weekdays, I'm usually
doing the workout of the day from, and about once a
week, I get in a long ride or hike or do some sort of homeowner's
workout, whether that be taking down, cutting, and splitting trees
(nowhere near the amount that Jim does), doing landscaping, or
construction projects.  

I agree with Jim that the farmer workouts are some of the best.
Splitting wood, pushing laden wheelbarrows, and carrying sacks of
feed/bales of hay provide a better whole-body workout than the classic
fitness regimen of separately performing muscle isolation exercises,
core-stengthening programs, and aerobic exercise.  Swinging a maul or
carrying around bags of sand and concrete on your shoulder will work
your as surely as any pilates class, while building arm & leg strength.
Speed the work up a little, and you'll get plenty of aerobic
conditioning, too.  

The Crossfit workouts appealed b/c they're short and intense - giving a
great workout in a relatively short time, they're generally pretty
simple, and they combine strength and aerobic conditioning in fairly
functional ways.  They're also something I can do in my garage and
backyard after the kids are in bed.  They're only fun in a masochistic
"is-this-for-real?" sort of way, but I always enjoyed martial arts
training sessions that ran along those lines, so it works for me.  It
also appeals to the geek in me, in that many of the workouts repeat, so
my progress is measurable, whether that be a measure of how fast I can
run 5K, clean and jerk 135#s 30 times, or climb Mount Monadnock; a
maximum weight I can squat; or how many series of 10-20 pullups and 400
m sprints I can do in 20 minutes.  Did I mention that it's only fun in a
masochistic sort of way?

- Patrick

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