From climbing mountains to running marathons, a job at GearJunkie requires a solid level of fitness. Our ‘How I Stay Fit’ series profiles editors and contributors on our staff for a peek at their fitness habits and idiosyncrasies working out and adventuring in the outdoors.
I can rattle off any number of adventures or gnarly one-off experiences being an editor with GearJunkie has afforded me. But when it comes to staying fit, there’s really been one key: my truck.
Specifically, the fact that it stays parked damn near all the time. I know, it’s not great, cars need to run. But I’d argue that we do too.
I bought my truck in 2002 with 35,000 miles on it. Eighteen years later, and I’m just now flirting with 80,000 miles — just about 45,000 miles in nearly 2 decades. Virtually every mile I’ve traveled for my daily commute, errands, or social meetups has relied on the power of my feet to get me there.
And coming from Minnesota’s brutal winters and boggy summers, and now living in the Mile High City, I take no small measure of pride in that fact.
Everyone on staff at GearJunkie is a beast in their own respect: climbers, ultrarunners, adventure racers, alpinists, hunters, and more.
But we’re also generalists. Everyone on staff can hang in a variety of outdoor activities. And we all have our own routines to keep in shape year-round — because you never know when adventure will call.
Senior Editor Adam Ruggiero: Cycling, Boxing, Anything on or in Water
Fitness motto: There’s no greater fitness (or life) coach than a dog with no leash and no fences.
Personal stats: 6’3″, 190 pounds, 37 years old.
Favorite sports: Bouldering, paddling, hiking, boxing, biking really fast.
Work highlights: Raced Minneapolis’ world-famous velodrome (R.I.P.), Team Winner Powderhorn 24 bike race, former record-holder for GearJunkie’s weekly adventure run.
Weekly routine: Moderate-to-fast 4-mile run to (and from) work twice per week. Bodyweight exercises three to four times per week at home or gym (pullups, pushups, box jumps, etc.), including bouldering sessions once or twice per week. Combine this with a 45-minute heavy bag boxing workout twice per week — or as necessary to blow off steam.
For all other daily errands, bike through the city (fast; typically 6-20 miles per day). For any days I’m not feeling it — and they do happen — I’m nice to myself. I go for a walk and enjoy looking up at the sky. There’s a time for fast and there’s a time for slow.
How I keep it fun: I think there are two elements at work when it comes to keeping things fresh.
First, mix it up. I used to force myself to pound out a run, just because I assumed I should. But I learned that you draw no benefit if you’re not mentally stimulated or excited by exercise. Don’t want to run? Don’t run! Give yourself options and use your imagination. Heck, I’ll invent a game where I throw a lacrosse ball against a wall and chase it. (I may also just be part-retriever — not sure.)
Second, keep being active until it becomes second nature. I used to be a total couch potato, and then I decided to change. When something is new, it will be difficult, and you’ll have to work at it to rewire yourself. But once you’ve made working out an indispensable piece of your day and happiness, you’ll look forward to it — no matter what it is!
Recent fail: Too many to count. If you’re not falling short, you’re not going to get better. But, there’s one very important note about daily commutes by bicycle: Stay alert! Despite all the advances in bike infrastructure in many cities, most places are still designed and built with cars in mind.
I was recently forced off my bike, while I was in a bike lane with bike lights on, by a car turning into a parking lot. I had the right-of-way, and there’s no reason this person should have attempted that turn.
That said, I still ended up on the ground with a giant bruise on my hip. The lesson? Don’t be righteous on a bike, be smart. Your safety is of utmost importance.
One thing I forgot to mention: Rest! I cannot stress this enough — rest is fully half of the recipe to getting and staying fit. I think we focus too much on the work in the world of fitness, but you only get stronger and faster as you sleep. That’s when your body takes all stimulus you’ve given it to modify itself and prepare for the next go around.
If you feel sluggish, tired, or weak, that’s a signal your body isn’t ready for more work. As you pursue higher and higher levels of fitness, it’s crucial that you understand the ways in which your body speaks to you. Because it will always check in to tell you how it’s doing and what it needs. Listen to it.