The Nomad Fitness Struggle

I’m sitting here writing a blog entry on the sofa instead of doing a workout, which speaks to a universal problem with fitness, right? Laziness. I think that’s why routine really gets me into working out, and it’s why it’s so hard to maintain a fitness schedule on the road. Routine is a total bitch.

Right before we sold Tracy’s house and hit the road, I was the fittest I’ve been in my life. I’d been going to a really serious boxing gym a short walk from the house, and I mean not the kind where ladies hit bags with pink gloves while listening to pop music, but the kind where burgeoning pro boxers train, and on the side they make money by coaching classes (okay, with one or two middle-aged white ladies in them).

Seriously, this guy was typical for my 6:00 am class. Not that I sparred with him, or with anyone, since it took me a full year just to build stamina and strength, much less learn from square one about even how to box.

God I loved that gym, though. I was terrible at boxing, so every minute I had to push myself, mentally as much as physically. I swear, even just on the bag you have to be figuring out move combinations and coordination while you’re exhausted. Plus numbers. We used to run hard and do insanely complex calisthenics to get worn out, so that when we started with punching and ducking and sidestepping we’d know what it was like to try to do the moves and think in a reduced state. I learned so much about myself that one year.

To my point though: that was when we hit the road. Goodbye gym. Goodbye routine, support system, reason to get all sweaty and feel good about myself. I took with me my jump rope and a list of daily exercises a trainer gave me that I could do on a yoga mat, and I still have that piece of paper. My god how far I’ve fallen since then, though.

This was the first place we stayed, and each day I did that workout on my mat. When the weather sucked, I would do yoga inside.

When we got the tent, I moved my mat there so that when we were in campgrounds, none of the old creepy guys who loiter around those places could watch me. Each day, I used to pick a routine on my phone from my Nike Fitness app, and sometimes I’d do my old standby: Rodney Yee’s Power Yoga video, which I recorded as audio only before we left. That sucker kicked my butt for years.

But, in the tent I have to move things to make room for the mat, and often the ground isn’t level, and whine whine whine it seems like a lot of trouble.

I started telling myself that hiking and biking and the occasional time in the kayak were enough, and I didn’t need to do an actual workout. That’s where I went downhill fast. Add in menopause and now ACL surgery, and I suddenly find myself old and fat and soft.

So, just now, I took a break from writing and did a 30-minute chair yoga routine.

(This guy, Paul Eugene, is the bomb.)

I’m going to have to figure out how to do this in the trailer (I have no chair there, only the benches at the table plus the sofa, but maybe I can sit on the ottoman). I’m going to have to figure out how to do this outside (all the camp chairs sag at the seat and have arms). I’m going to have to figure out how to do it routinely. But I can.

While I’ve been typing this, I’ve been texting with friends on the road. Shana and Marcus tell me,

Melanie and Doug inspire me with how unstoppable they are. I’m pinning this photo I took of them while we hiked in Alaska together. They were 70 and 64 at the time!

My friend Melissa is in her 70s and hikes, rows, lifts weights every day. Now, she has the advantage of a house and a routine, but I’m no longer gonna let that stop me. I am stronger than I know. I repeat Marcus:

13 thoughts to “The Nomad Fitness Struggle”

  1. I feel you. While I wasn’t a gym rat, I was always active and in good shape. Then menopause and a blown knee…. now I don’t recognize myself and don’t have the energy to do anything about it.
    Boxing? Wow.. that’s a serious workout.

    1. Are we the same person? I’m trying this chair yoga thing because it *sounds* easy. And yeah, boxing. I used to say it was like playing speed chess on roller skates.

  2. I have been getting non-stop chair yoga ads on social media for a couple weeks now and have been both increasingly annoyed and really curious about why they have suddenly appeared and is it just me being targeted – and now here too and I’m convinced it’s a conspiracy 😄 I need to get out the Rodney Yee back DVD you sent me years ago when I had the slipped disk and do it because I’m losing flexibility fast and I’m sure he can put it right. He certainly helped with my back, painful as it was!

    1. Do you think your google results and mine are intermixing ever since you mapped how to get somewhere from Brownsville? I feel like that shouldn’t happen, but stranger things have!

  3. Discipline is hard, especially in confined spaces. I’m proud of myself for walking around 4 miles every weekday but Thursday for nine years now, but it ain’t always easy to climb out of bed at 5 a.m. when it’s dark and cold and I just want to burrow beneath the covers. I blame it on the fact that I’m a stubborn Taurus.

  4. Well hey now…an honorable mention! I have so many fitness ideas for you we may have to schedule a phone call. Fitness in small spaces. Fitness with limited equipment. Fitness on the road. No excuses. We’ll at least not yet for you. For a little inspiration you might watch the movie Nyad if you have yet to do so. Fitness as we age is not for the timid. Sometimes it’s more about what we still can do instead of what we can no longer do. As a Leo who loves to talk about herself it’s all I can do to resist telling you I just managed to do 4 chin ups. But that would be bragging so I’ll resist. I’ll text you some ideas later. You should be able to do resistance training in the truck if you had a mind to. A lack of will power? Try developing some won’t power. I won’t get weak and flabby. I’m with Marcus. Now get to it! Go on…get to it.

    1. Melissa, I love that “more about what we can do” part, but your enthusiasm still is scary to me – I’m slowly getting back on board here, but slowly. I don’t want to get ambitious and then defeatist. May I consider you my long-range coach when needed?

      1. Me and my enthusiasm would be thrilled to be your long distance coach if and when it’sneeded. Whatever that may mean. And remember, just because your knee is jacked up doesn’t mean the rest of you gets to slack off. Happy Saturday.