Dream vs. Reality: Spring Fitness

Reconciling the outdoor dichotomy. 

We all have dreams—some big, some small—that fuel our outdoor ambitions. A bigger fish, steeper ski line, harder climb, or faster race can be the ultimate motivator, pushing us to new personal heights. Sometimes, though, reality gets in the way. And by “reality,” we mean beer, house chores, and any of the seven deadly sins. 

This is it. This is the spring you’re whipping yourself into really good shape. And of course, you’ll do it without joining the gym, changing your diet, or cutting back on booze. No need to get crazy. You’re just going to spend more time on epic outings—hiking, biking, running, and skiing your way to “mountain fit.” You’ll be strong but not bulky; thin but not skinny; toned but not wiry. Day-long ski tours with a full pack will blast that soggy midsection into washboard abs and transform those deltoids from overripe avocados into rock-hard cantaloupes. Low-elevation dayhikes with plenty of up and down will tone your tush and make you the envy of all your barre buds, because you got yours without forking over a monthly membership. 

Après-activity will be spent sipping micro ales and snacking on nachos, because you know, you’ve earned it—and mountain fitness requires hearty refueling. You’ll bask in the warm sun of long spring days, laughing with your fellow recreation-fit amigos, smiling smugly at the poor suckers leaving the gym, pale and pudgy after a scant two miles on the treadmill. You’ll feel as good as you look, and prospective partners will flock to you like moths to a flame—a buff, sun-tanned, smoking-hot, mountain-fit flame.

You exercise hard for one day, feel terrible, and make excuses for the rest of the season. You're fatter, less fit, and you've somehow become a chronic flatulent. The IPAs at après have destroyed your gastrointestinal system, giving you pounding headaches and so much bloat that your bike shorts don’t fit. The money you spent driving across Hell’s half-acre to find dry trailheads far exceeds any health-club dues, and as it turns out, sauntering around on low-elevation trails doesn’t burn a whole lot of calories. You tell all your friends that the Dad Bod is in—just look at Leo. You’re going to enjoy life while you can, because it’s too short not to eat bacon and drink beer; for all you know, you could die tomorrow in a freak electrical fire. Fuck fitness—you want fries. Besides, you have all summer to get in shape...