If anyone is pondering their fitness goals for the new year, I can honestly say that nothing works as well as moving off-grid. Before we had a chance to hit the scales during our visit with the Colorado fam for Thanksgiving, we could only guess at how much weight we had lost since moving to the mountains in June.
Our pants were falling off and our once-plump faces were missing a chin or two, but we had no idea of the number of pounds we actually shed in adopting our new daily routine of hauling water, cutting wood, hiking the driveway, etc. (Not to mention typically eating only one hearty meal per day.)
Amid all these super-charged changes bringing more definition to our muscles, there’s no doubt we are by far and away in the best shape we’ve been in this millennium since leaving our favorite pubs and pizza joints behind in the tropics, even if we don’t have a scale to confirm.
The ‘eat less and move more’ practice worked okay for me while in Florida, but the mundane activities of walking the block and depriving myself of tasty foods seriously lacked the luster that off-grid living now delivers.
To compare, people pay big money to mimic the physical labors of homesteading when they join crossfit or boot camp clubs in an effort to get fit in suburbia. While these challenging fitness programs definitely work at helping professional desk jockeys become stronger and more determined, the appeal is lost on me. The contrived setting makes it hard to stay motivated when there’s really no chance of actually flipping truck tires or climbing ropes while making the trip to pick up Thai food on the way home for dinner.
Out here in the hills, lifting mud-laden tire chains and 5-gallon jugs of water over the truck bed, loading and unloading lumber, and dragging fallen snags to the wood pile is exhilarating because it’s a matter of survival, not just vanity. Living and working off-grid, your body adapts quickly out of necessity, especially when it’s really hard to make excuses not to ‘work out.’
The effort is hardly noticed because the results aren’t just in the mirror. The results of physical labor here on the homestead show up in more tangible – and necessary – ways. Sixty or ninety minutes of work isn’t just a stinky sweat fest. We can feel satisfied knowing that our exercise will ultimately keep us warm and give us clean water to drink.
Above and beyond seeing the progress, we’re surrounded by a natural splendor that only does more for the spirit and generates a greater sense of connection to our place in this amazing world. The mental and emotional fitness found by embracing our spectacular environment can’t be duplicated on the screens in a spin class.
Most people plan the drive to hike in the forest on occasional long weekends so they can clear their heads and push their bodies to the summit. We give thanks everyday that we can make that trip out our back door anytime we want, and we do it often. The mind-body connection is easy to nourish when you live off-grid in a place such as this.
In reflection of the scale in Colorado telling us we’ve lost 35 pounds each, it’s easy to say that we belong to the most premier health club on the planet. We are feeling great about what the new year holds for our health, and we wish you all the very best to meet your personal fitness goals in 2017.