A couple of weeks ago I was camping in the middle of Yellowstone National Park for a story I am working on about Yellowstone Expeditions, a yurt camping company that operates in the park during the winter. When we went skiing in the park, I wasn’t even close to being able to keep up with the retired folks on the trip. I spent the entire day sucking wind, sweating profusely,eating snow to replenish the sweat, and basically struggling to keep up. Yellowstone Expeditions owner, Arden, had to take me on a massive short cut to make sure I was able to finish. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and a bit embarrassed by how bad I had let myself go.
At dinner, Arden told a story about one of his guests who was in his late seventies. Arden was worried that he wasn’t going to be able to handle the rough back country of Yellowstone. Arden asked the guest if he ever worked out.
“I watch two hours of TV a day, the nightly news and Xena Warrior Princess,” the guest said.
This answer did not allay Arden’s fears. Arden asked his guide to keep a very close eye on the guest.
The next day the guest asked if he could break trail. Breaking trail is the very difficult task of skiing first through the powder to create a packed trail in order to facilitate the skiers who follow. The guide leading the expedition reluctantly agreed figuring that he would let the old man break trail for a very short bit and take over once he became fatigued.
The elderly guest bolted through the snow setting a pace while breaking trail that was even hard for the guide to maintain while following on the trail. He broke trail all day that day and every day on his trip.
When Arden heard the news, he approached the guest and asked why he had said that he only watched TV when asked about exercise.
“Because that is how I exercise. I get on my treadmill and go as fast as I can while watching the news and then Xena.”
I tell you this poorly told tale – Arden tells it better than I write it – to explain the whys of my silly workout that I am starting today. I don’t get the nightly news at my house since I don’t get broadcast television, so I am going to ride my wife’s elliptical everyday while watching Xena Warrior Princess on Netflix. I plan on riding it everyday and pushing myself further everyday until I reach the end of the series. At that point, I hope to be able to make it through two 50 minute episodes without stopping and while maintaining a brisk pace. If I can’t manage that by the end of the series then I will start the series over until I can. I don’t imagine that I will like Xena, so I am using this as motivation to reach to my goal. Once I reach my goal, I will allow myself to watch whatever I want while on the elliptical.
I figure that if this workout is good enough to allow a man twice my age to break trail all day, every day for a week, then it should definitely be able to whip me into shape.
As of today, I weigh 219 pounds, the most I have ever weighed in my life. I hope to be 180 by the time I get through the series.
Today, I managed to make it through the first 25 minutes of the episode one. I hope I am not too sore to finish the episode tomorrow.