Weathering the Storm: Your Fitness Journey

It seemed like a normal sunny Calgary Saturday afternoon. We had spring fever so we decided to go on a family bike ride. Our plan was to haul our bikes in the truck to a park area and then do about a 20-30 km loop and then drive home.

We had one reluctant teenager in tow, but convinced her that this would be an easy ride and lots of fun. We wore layers of clothing, knowing that Calgary weather can get cool in late afternoon.

The start of the run was perfect. The paths were clear and uncrowded. (Red flag: Were we missing something important that others knew?) In any case, we got about 10 km into the ride in good shape. We had a head wind, but convinced those less enthusiastic that the wind would be at our back on the return.

Looking up and to the west, we saw that the sky had turned dark and thought it may be wise to turn back a little early. We only had 10 km to return to the truck and thought it was no big deal. That is, until the wind shifted and now we were again riding into a head wind. (This fact was not lost on the less enthusiastic in the group.) Then the rain started. Not bad, until it turned into sleet, hail and finally snow. The last 8 km was a full on blizzard. As prepared as we were, we didn’t have snow tires or gear for these types of conditions. It was actually laughable at how quickly things had gone from sunny and mild to winter blizzard.

We finally got to the truck, frozen and soaked to the skin.

Why do I tell you this? Well aside from the humour that we now enjoy over this story, it’s a lot like your fitness journey. You start off with optimal conditions:  time scheduled in and a solid plan, enthusiasm, motivation: the proverbial sunny skies. But then life rears its ugly head and things go south in short order and the storm hits.  Your enthusiastic start gets sidelined when your work schedule changes, the kids get sick, company arrives, you get a sore knee, or whatever other interruption life throws at you.

As with anything, your fitness journey is never an easy ride all the time. Your job is just to keep plugging away, showing up for workouts, even if they aren’t your very best, but putting in the consistent tiime and over time it will all pay off. The sun will come out again and it will get easier, all those ducks will line up in a row again. That’s just the cycle of everything. The key is not to wait for the prefect time to get into a workout program, as this will never happen. The key is to make time and do your work outs even under less than ideal conditions.

The funny thing that our bike trip from the South Pole proved is that we had a great feeling of accomplishment when we finished. We looked out the window from the comfort of home later, and we were pretty proud of the fact that we weathered that storm. The same is true with you and your workout. You’ll always feel great about taking care of yourself. There’s an immediate pay off after every workout as well as the long term health benefits you’ll enjoy.

So, a family bike ride probably won’t happen for a little while and we’ll be more likely to check the long range forecast before we go. But for now, we have one funny family story to share and we sure feel great after having conquered Calgary weather that day.