Thursday, November 5, 2015

Back to the gym

I donate a lot of money to my gym in the summer months.  I don't think I made it there once between the middle of June and the beginning of October.  I could alleviate this problem by paying month to month instead of yearly and putting my membership on hold during the summer, but I have the superstitious feeling that once I did this, it would rain every day and we would have no fires.  Instead, I try to ignore the flurry of emails from my gym: "We know it's hard to stay motivated.  Here's a few tips to get back in the gym!"

When they're not digging fireline or hiking up and down hills, firefighters come up with innovative ways to keep in shape.  Hackysack circles flourished during the '90s; now this is seen as very retro and more people play Foursquare.  J. bought a Frisbee on our type 1 helicopter assignment; it was constantly getting lost in the tall grass, necessitating some calorie-burning searching.  Spontaneous ax-throwing competitions occasionally ensue, until a handle breaks or a crew boss appears to say knock it off.  If all else fails there is the card deck of pain: each card corresponds to a certain exercise such as pushups, and a certain number of reps.

The gym seems like a somewhat soulless place after a summer of running hills called Hamburger and Bloodsucker, dodging bears in the woods, and lifting rocks instead of dumbbells.  It gets the job done, but it's not the same as K. suddenly exclaiming, "Ab challenge!" and everyone joining in, even the pilot.  I'm glad I have the option of elliptical machines and barbells, but I really don't miss it when I'm gone.  There's something about pushups and lunges in an open field full of helicopters, watching a smoke column rise in the distance.  A room full of sweaty strangers running to nowhere will never match up to that.
Homemade pullup bar on a fire in Alaska


  1. I'm sure you've got that right...and the crew and the fresh air to add to the "fun." Cute photo. The 'mother of invention."

    1. I forget who made the pullup bar but it was sort of genius.

  2. I'd always rather exercise outside than in. Way to go for making the most of your outdoor "gym."

  3. Very creative ways to keep in shape--the "card deck of pain" is a gem.

  4. I love the card deck of pain!!!! How awesome is that. Creativity in exercise makes is SOOO much better. I have resisted rejoining the gym because of that 'stuck inside' putting in miles going nowhere....but winter is right around the corner and that means I have to find something to keep the momentum going...because while I can run when it's not too icy, I tend to look out the window and say "There could be patches of ice, I better not go!" ha


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