Hey all. Sorry for the long pause, but I was caught up in Christmas/New Years celebrations and then a week-long vacation that took me to Memphis, Tennessee, and Breckenridge, Colorado. I hope everyone out there had a fantastic Christmas celebration with friends and family and was filled with joy thinking about the gift God gave us on that day.
As for fitness goals, they really take a hit around the holidays, don’t they? I started back into my fitness regimen this week and it hurts. All those cookies, cakes, egg nog, and beer really take a toll. However, I was introduced to a new winter workout while in Breckenridge last week: skiing. While this probably isn’t new to most of you, I’m usually a winter-hater that refuses to go out in the cold and prays for April. Living in Iowa also limits your exposure to skiing: no mountains (or even hills) around here.
So that is why skiing was such a nice surprise in Colorado. Instead of sitting on the couch and watching football or re-runs, I was training my legs in a way they have never been trained. Skiing puts near constant pressure on your quads, as you are always leaning forward with bent knees. It also strengthens your knees, ankles, and hips, as you are constantly turning your body with your legs. As a bonus, your mid-section gets a great workout because it has to balance all of this effort and keep you upright as you go speeding down the mountain. All of this is one exercise!
Now, if you were working all of these body parts in a gym, you would get results but it wouldn’t be much fun. Skiing is fun. You are flying through the snow while going down a beautiful mountain, for Pete’s sake. There are huge pine trees rising up on either side of you and a gorgeous mountain landscape out in front of you. Now, if you’re from Colorado or Wyoming or Utah this probably isn’t as exciting, but it is rare and beautiful when you are from Iowa.
Besides a great physical workout, skiing in this scenic place also offered me a spiritual renewal. I was able to really connect with God (I always do better when I’m outside in His creation). I could look at the mountains, trees, streams, and animals he created in their natural setting and I felt so blessed to be healthy and active enough to be a part of it in those moments. Sometimes I forget just how big His creation is, but a trip into the mountain wilderness will quickly remind anyone. It’s a beautiful world, and if I can get some exercise and hang out with God in it at the same time, then I guess I’m a pretty lucky guy. Getting healthier in my body and mind is the goal of this journey, and my trip to Colorado did both at once.
Today we bring you a special message to help you live healthier and stronger. This message is particularly for our male readers, and it comes from a couple guys that know them well: their own legs.
Right leg: Hey there. It’s me, your right leg. Thank you for sitting down right now; I was getting so tired that my ankle was sweating through the sock.
Left leg: No joke, bro. I felt like I was carrying you around all day. Maybe if I had some regular exercise over here, I wouldn’t be so wiped…
RL: And that is why we are here to talk to you. We think it is great that you are going to the gym, working up a sweat, and trying to get into better shape. This will definitely improve your energy levels and your overall health.
LL: It’s also gonna clear your mind, dude.
RL: Correct. It will also help you to de-stress. But why are you letting your arms and chest have all the fun in the gym? What? We get 5 minutes on a treadmill and we’re done for the day?
LL: Right on. Running is legit, but I need more than that. I look like a drinking straw down here while your left arm keeps giving me smack talk and punching me in the thigh.
RL: Running is great for cardiovascular help and it will burn off fat as well. Which is great! But we need some weight training, just like the upper body. Don’t be afraid to do a few squats, or leg extensions, or calf raises, or…
LL: Or some left-legged curls. I heard the ladies love those.
RL: Shut up, Leftie. The point is, you need to dedicate some fitness time to your legs. Nobody (ladies included) likes a guy with a huge upper body on top of a pair of wet noodles. In fact, your legs should be stronger than your arms, as you will use your leg muscles for far more practical purposes throughout the day. We see a lot of guys at the gym neglecting their legs and focusing on the “glamour” muscles in the arms and chest. Don’t be that guy! We are going for full-body health and fitness here, not just pretty arms.
LL: And if you have weak legs, you put a lot of stress on your back during exercises, bro. And we all know what a whiner that guy is.
RL: Weak legs can lead to poor exercise form, and this leads to injuries. We don’t want you getting hurt! God gave you legs, so take care of us and use us properly, and we will support the rest of that body you are working on.
LL: Dude, you like sports right? Well a good solid foundation of strong legs is crucial in just about any sport out there. Give us some love and we will return the favor on the court or field. And sports can even help you to make us stronger. Think of fun stuff like biking, surfing, and hiking.
RL: I think you see our point. So, next time you head to the gym, make sure you give us a “legs day”, instead of reserving all of your energy for your biceps, chest, and back. We even have a day dedicated to legs in our own workout plan on this site!
LL: And bro, stop looking at your triceps in the mirror so often. It’s creeping me out.