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It had been a long couple of weeks.  Between the transition from the school year to summer, a long road trip and making sure I was prepared for my clients, I really hadn’t taken the time to workout.  I finally carved out an hour to go down to the basement for some high intensity Spartacus intervals.  On so many levels I needed it.

On my way upstairs to change into a pair of gym shorts and a T-shirt, Katie called to me from the living room.

“Daddy?”

“Yes?”

“Can you show me how to play some chords on my guitar?”

She had received the guitar as a present many years ago, but had never really picked it up.  Over the last year she has been playing a lot of piano on her own (she’s almost as good, if not better than I am now), but I think the performer in her would love to be able to stand on stage with a guitar in her hands.

My workout was calling to me.  All I wanted to do was go downstairs and sweat for 60 minutes.  I took another step up.

“Please?”

How could I say no.  Katie is 13….13 going on 26.  Having spent time with my father-in-law this past weekend, I am all too aware that our babies grow quickly, time compresses, and change happens in the blink of an eye.

I sighed.  I can’t honestly tell you whether I sighed because I wasn’t going to get a much needed workout in or because I had a realization that time is flying by.  Perhaps it was a combination of the two.  Regardless, I came back down the stairs and sat down with Katie.

The next hour was a mix of teaching her some basic chords (A, Am, G, D, C, F, E) followed by a jam session where she sang a bunch of songs I don’t know, while I played the ax.  It helped that all the songs had pretty easy chord progressions.  It didn’t take long to get in sync, not just rhythmically, but expressively as well.

Ultimately, connecting with my kid was a heck of a lot more satisfying that any 60 minute workout could have been…I just hope nobody saw me jamming on her pink guitar.

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There is no way around it, I run a lot of miles, at least relative to the general population.

4 to 5 days a week, 40 to 50 miles per week.

There is no question that running is a huge part of why I am in the shape I am in.

***

But I don’t think that is the whole story.

Yes, diet has a lot to do with it, but truth be told, I sincerely believe that it is the work I do away from the road, the treadmill or the dining table that makes an impact on how fit I am.

No, I am not talking about the elliptical, or the core workouts, or the stretching sessions.

I am talking about the hidden mini-workouts that can occur anywhere, for anyone, at anytime.

These workouts don’t make me break a sweat. In fact, I hardly am aware that I am doing them. The only thing they require is that I take an extra 30 – 60 seconds while going about my every day business.

Whether it’s parking a little further away from the grocery store, or walking up to my daughter’s room instead of yelling up to her;  whether it’s going up and down stairs with a little extra pop or just taking the stairs instead of an escalator or elevator – these extra steps add up over the course of a day – burning a few more calories here and there.  Is it enough to get INto shape? No, BUT, it IS enough to get the blood flowing through your limbs and get them used to the idea of movement.  If you think about moving on a regular basis, you are that much closer to actually doing it.   The hardest part of getting off the couch is, you guessed it, getting off the couch.  Inertia is one of the most powerful laws in the universe.  If you are constantly at rest, you will, in all likelihood, stay at rest.  That’s physics.

But if you start small and slowly build, you can develop into a fast flying, calorie burning machine.

A long time ago, completely unrelated to running, I felt like I was in a rut and going nowhere.  My mother said to me, “look at your feet.”  She correctly took my silence on the phone to be confusion.  She then continued, “when you are climbing a mountain, if you are constantly looking at the peak, you won’t be able to see your progress very well. You may  well feel like you are spinning your wheels.  But take a moment and look at your feet.  Look at the distance they are covering with every step.”

It was an “a-ha!” moment in my life.

It’s the same with these mini-hidden-workouts – start small…look at the feet, see the progress.  Eventually the regular workouts have to and will come.  Inertia will make it so.

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Why do you run?

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