Mary wearing gray pants and orange shirt, crack climbing on toprope in Indian Creek
Crack Climbing at Indian Creek, Utah

How I Stay Fit: Reporter Mary Murphy

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.

From skiing the back bowls at Arapahoe Basin to team bouldering sessions, it’s no secret working at GearJunkie requires a level of fitness.

Since I was hired last year, I’ve had countless opportunities to cover some of the coolest outdoor gear around, but also plenty of opportunities to push myself in sports. In my world, “meetings” can translate to hikes, and “research” can translate to skiing.

Being the newest member of the GearJunkie team also requires a certain level of mental fitness. I’m constantly reminding myself that I don’t have to have the same work or fitness routine as my coworkers — we all challenge and pace ourselves differently, and that’s OK.

Sometimes, work takes priority over a morning run or climbing session. Recognizing that is important for me, and I’m constantly looking for more ways to integrate fitness into my fluctuating work routine.

Reporter Mary Murphy: Climbing, Standup Paddleboarding, Skiing

Mary paddle boarding
Pack-paddleboarding in British Columbia

Fitness motto: Wake up early, and everything else will follow. (Also, never underestimate the power of a good playlist.)

Personal stats: 5’8”, 120 pounds

Favorite sports: Hiking and climbing

Work highlights: Running at SufferBetter Trail Fest, gravel biking in Utah

Weekly routine: I climb 6 days a week, alternating between rope climbing and bouldering, and morning, afternoon, or evening sessions. I also try and do weightlifting and bodyweight exercises 2-3 days during the week.

Then I hike, paddleboard, ski, or trail run on the weekends. In the summer, I hike 14ers on a weekly basis. Last year, I did my first two winter 14ers, which was awesome. I don’t have the most hardcore fitness routine, but staying active through the activities I enjoy works for me.

I used to work as a camp instructor, which meant I spent 8 hours a day, every day, in the hot Colorado sun. It meant I was mountain biking, climbing, kayaking, and literally running around. It meant footraces with a pack of 10-year-olds and towing a train of tired paddlers back to shore (my all-time towing record was seven kids).

Weekend burnout was real — I was constantly seeking balance. Now, with an “office job” that revolves around the outdoors, I feel just as fit, but also more balanced than ever.

How I Stay Fit: Founder & Publisher Stephen Regenold
How I Stay Fit: Founder & Publisher Stephen Regenold
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 idiosyncracies working out and adventuring in the outdoors. Read more…

How I keep it fun: Sticking with my routine is really enjoyable for me. If I skip out on climbing, I just don’t feel like I’m starting my day on a positive note.

That said, flexibility is sometimes necessary based on your schedule. Don’t beat yourself up for skipping out on your weekly yoga class if you’re tired. Recognize that fitness is super important for your body but should also be fun; it shouldn’t feel like an onerous duty or a daily requirement.

I also like to keep workouts fun by changing up where I work out, like doing a cardio workout on a trail one day and in my building’s gym on another, running at a new trail or local park, etc. I’m a big fan of disco music while lifting weights. And I paddleboard year-round (i.e., in winter), so that’s a fun challenge.

I’m a big believer that if you find a sport that makes you happy, do that as much as possible, and you can’t go wrong.

Mary in Nepal
On the Everest Trail in Khumjung, overlooking Namche Bazar in Nepal

Recent fail: I’m very thankful that I’ve only had a handful of injuries, and none of them are recent. That being said, a “fail” isn’t always a physical injury. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m not taking enough risks or pushing myself hard enough — a failure to grow and seek out more challenges.

My most recent “fail” was while trail running in Golden, Colorado. I started out for a fast, 5-mile run but ended up stepping wrong on a loose rock halfway in. I quickly gave up running and hiked the trail instead.

It wasn’t the workout I’d planned for. Even though I finished the trail, I was moving at a slower pace. And that mental failure of not reaching my planned goal was hard for me.

Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee.

She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.