I think I’m getting the hang of the early a.m. roust, coffee and cardio, in that order. But for several years now, I’ve taken off Wednesday mornings (when partner and I are both healthy!) and drive this butt over to Ironworks (climbing gym) in Berkeley, where I manufacture Wedensday's sweat. And getting this old “butt” up the wall is becoming more and more farcical each year.
According to the article “Rock Climbing” by Tanya Tiessen in Alive Magazine, rock climbing “addresses four of the five components of physical fitness” including “muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition and flexibility.” A climbing guide and friend, with whom I climbed some pinnacles on Mt. Saint Helena a few years ago, describes climbing as “playing chess with your body over an expanse of rock.” I still like his characterization.
I was excited to see that Sandrelle has been hitting the climbing gym! Indoor climbing is actually a lot of fun and a lot of work—but in some odd, new ways. Mentally and physically challenging, I was surprised by how significantly balance and coordination skills figured and how "climbing" resistance worked as opposed to, say, dumbell or cable resistance. Later, I remember reflecting on the amount of focus and concentration involved. Built-in meditation (and exhausting!).
Later, comfortable on a gym wall, I eventually moved outside for an entirely new rock experience. I’m incredibly lucky to live in the S.F. bay area, with so many gorgeous hunks of granite scattered here and there (mostly “there,” as in the Sierras). I’m also fortunate that a very supportive pal, once a Yosemite climbing guide, introduced me to the outdoor experience. An ardent supporter of my lifestyle transformation, he has, nonetheless, verbally kicked my tail a few times to help unstuck me in the face of lots of exposure (at least to my way of thinking) on my way up a cliff. (Nothing like yelling up a canyon that, "I'm gonna die!")
But, besides working up a good sweat and giving the body a great workout, climbing is ultimately fun. The teamwork and trust required and given and returned is so rewarding. And believe me; NO ONE is ever left out of the arrangement. After so many years of feeling excluded and isolated, climbing has fed me more than any meal I can think of.
Is there any sport or activity that you’ve experienced which feeds your soul AND burns calories?