As you might imagine, a 10-12 hour day of taking care of patients, supervising other physicians and providers and helping run three businesses takes a toll on you. Not to mention ‘second shift,’ taking care of two boys and helping with the household chores in the evenings. Exercise for me is the ultimate stress reliever; healthier than pulling up a barstool or reaching for the TV remote.
As an adult, I’ve always made exercise a priority. I exercise an average of three to four days a week; logging roughly 10 hours. In a former life, I was a competitive athlete and played soccer at the University of Michigan. This gave me a tremendous foundation of fitness knowledge. Maturity and decades have given me wisdom I pass onto my patients; “It’s not just putting in the time, it’s the time and the effort!”
Typically, I compete in long distance cross country mountain bike races, often climbing thousands of feet elevation and over 40 miles in a single ride. Downhill is a throwback. It’s an all out sprint for three minutes. It reminds me of younger days riding BMX bikes; catching ‘air,’ putting on pads and full-face helmets. Except now it hurts more when you fall!
Since moving to the mountains, nearly a decade ago, I’ve fallen in love with mountain biking. It’s the right blend of aerobic activity, strength training and, most importantly, adrenaline! It’s a blast. You have to literally do something that ‘makes your heart beat fast.’
I typically get out two days during the work week for a 90 minute ride or trail run. These sessions are typically at 80-90 percent level of work. In other words, I’m hurting by the end and can’t carry on a conversation during the ride. By doing this, your activity counts twice as much. So, I’m getting twice the workout, or the equivalent of a three hour work out, in these 90 minute sessions. On the weekends, I’ll get out for a longer ride, typically 3-4 hours and will put in a 40-50 percent effort. In other words, I’m putting in the time. I’ve done some specific training for downhill by riding some lift-accessed terrain at ski slopes this summer.
It’s all about striking the right balance between exercise, good nutrition and rest. A coach once told me, ‘events are won in bed.’ Never underestimate the value of a good night sleep. Listen to your body, don’t push when you’re hurt. Recovery is the most important aspect of training. Last, remember to have fun out there!