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Date Sent:      December 28, 2011
Subject:           I Hate to Exercise!
From:               John Bondon
I hate to exercise. I have never enjoyed going to a gym or health club as a form of exercise. Instead I have always enjoyed playing sports. So ever since my childhood, I would always get my weekly dose of exercise thru sports. And of course, hiking is one hobby I enjoy too.  Hiking is a great way to get more physically fit. You can start out with slower, shorter hikes and then graduate to longer ones after building endurance. If you hate to exercise but have made a resolution to get in shape then I hope you will consider hiking as a fun alternative.

Recently I got to listen in on a marketing round-table discussion and the gentleman in the hot seat was a fitness trainer named Rick Bramos who's specialty was helping those that are overly obese get back in shape.  The interesting thing I learned from the discussion, and never realized before, is that apparently training someone who is extremely out of shape requires a different approach than someone who is more physically fit. Most physical trainers are hard core -- boot camp style yelling and screaming at you, in your face approach to motivation, much like what you see on the "Biggest Looser". But this guy's approach was completely the opposite.  Many of his clients came to him after being humiliated and driven to tears by the military style trainers.  Many would have given up on the idea of fitness completely had they not taken one final chance and enrolled in this guy's program. 

Then Christmas Day I caught a glimpse of an interview between Dr. Drew and a different personal trainer named Drew Manning.  The theme of the interview was very much the same.  Mr. Manning had gained 70 pounds on purpose so that he could better understand his clients and try to inspire them that it is still possible to get back in shape and lose that weight. 

So these two discussions got me thinking.  I know there are a lot of people who read my emails every week but never come out on a hike. Either they are too busy or possibly intimidated. Especially this time of year, people make resolutions to get fit, try a new hobby or become more active socially. And I suspect some people join this group as a result. The question is how long after joining and reading my emails do they actually come out on a hike, if ever?

The different approaches of the fitness trainers got me thinking that perhaps hiking clubs have a similar dynamic.  Every club has its own philosophy or approach, and thus attracts a certain type of member.   Some clubs cater to the fast paced endurance hikers, some to slow paced, nature hikers, while others are strictly gender based.  And some groups are more structured in their rules and procedures.  I started this group and included the word "casual" in the name because I am not into the hard core, fast paced or highly structured hiking styles. I wanted to create something much more laid back and open for all types.  All that would be required is a genuine interest and desire to hike.

What I like about our group is that you (the hiker) have the choice to set your own pace. We have had hiking leaders offer the longer faster hikes, while others have lead shorter, slower hikes.  Some of our hikes involve more streneous steeper terrain.  Other hikes are on flatter, even paved trails.  But we never impose any rules on hikers that mandate a participation quota, penalties for not RSVPing or not showing up, or force members to take turns leading hikes.  Compared to the strict requirements of some other hiking clubs, we are much more laid back.  

Don't be intimidated if you are someone that has been just reading my emails, yet been wanting to join a hike.  Don't let the fear of the unknown -- not knowing what to expect on your first time out with us -- stop you from fulfilling your New Year's Resolution. Just like there are plenty of personal trainers to choose from there are many hiking clubs, too.  If you are looking for a hiking club to get more physically in shape or simply are a total novice to hiking, I expect you will click just fine with our group.  But even if you don't, if you are someone who prefers more structure, I bet you will find another group that will better suit your style.  My point is, don't just sit on the side lines reading my emails, worried that you won't be accepted or fit in.  Give yourself that little push to get out there and find a group that works for you.



Happy Trails,

John




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