Fitness & Active: Top 10 Ideas and Solutions

1.  It Works if You Walk It: Yes, walk!  Walk the dog, walk around the block, walk to the gym, walk to the store, walk on the beach, walk alone, walk with someone, walk nowhere in particular or somewhere with a purpose, walk anywhere!  In our opinion, WALKING IS THE MOST UNDERRATED WORKOUT!  We can write ad infinitum about why we love walking - don't sleep on the power of walking. Here are some reasons we love walking:  
  • First, walking has the lowest fear/procrastination factor.  Often times we'll build up going to the gym, for a run, etc. and then just skip it.  Walking is actually enjoyable! 
  • Second, walking is ridiculously accessible - it's free and whether you already in shape or not - you can do it. 
  • Third, we can do other great activities while we're walking (again, because walking is actually enjoyable) such as being with nature, talking to friends/family on the phone, talking to God/Higher Power, thinking, strategizing, gratitude lists, getting present, listening to music or an audio book, being with friends or pets, shopping, arriving at our intended destination - the list goes on. 
  • Fourth, just from a caloric output perspective, walking is badass!  We love our Apple Watches and tracking our fitness - and we have found that walking a mile and running a mile burns the same-ish amount of calories (100-150 total calories).  It's not a perfect science and we're not claiming it to be - but based on our Apple Watch stats - you end up pretty much in the same neighborhood in total calories burned.  I don't know about you, but we'd rather walk a pleasant mile through Encinitas than hustle out a mile running most days. And we know our knees always prefer the former!

    That guy who loved sitting under apple trees [Sir Issac Newton] once said, "A body at motion stays in motion; a body at rest stays at rest.”  We agree - and our motion starts with walking.  

    2.  The BEST Contrary Action and Holistic Workout - Yoga: For those who already do yoga, congrats, you get it - 'nuff said.  For the majority of people (including us) who are (in our case, were) certain yoga is not for them because [insert excuse here], WE CHALLENGE YOU TO TRY IT.  We get you - but just hear us out.  As former gym rats, athletes, egomaniacs, inflexible statues, pride juggernauts, etc. - we were not trying yoga in a million years. But then we entered recovery where we took suggestions and tried to have an open-mind for a new experience.  We did not want to try yoga - but we did it as a contrary action.  And today we stand by yoga as the best holistic workout - mentally, physically and spiritually.  Why is yoga the best workout? 

    • First, for us it is a major pride and fear check.  Yoga is humbling and challenging - there is no two ways about it.  It doesn't matter if you can run 10 miles or bench 225lbs, initially it will be a mental challenge to hang in with the discomfort of following an instructor through a series of seemingly awkward contortions in a room full of people you assume are experts in yoga and judging you. Reality check: It's Not All About You.  Everyone is focused on they're own practice and form - not yours.  You are doing great by just hanging in there - just keep coming back.  It's the ultimate "progress not perfection" activity. Trust us, within a short time you will see what we mean when you are off in your own happy place not thinking twice about what the blonde in the front row thinks.
    • Second, it's a killer physical workout from head to toe.  Yoga is an everything strength workout - arms, core, legs, and all the little muscles in between.  To state the obvious, it also enhances flexibility. To state the awesomely not so obvious, our little Apple Watch clocks the hour long hot yoga sessions we do at Yoga Tropics at ~600 total calories burned (more than a 4 mile run!).
    • Third and perhaps most importantly, Yoga can be a wonderful spiritual experience (if you want it to be).  Every yoga session is an opportunity to set an intention, get present, breathe and meditate.  Literally, many yoga classes start with the instructor reminding you that can you can set an intention for the class if you would like, that the entire session is fundamentally a continuous breathing exercise, and closes with a relaxing meditation (called Shavasana). 
    • Fourth, in our experience, we feel absolutely euphoric and energized walking out of a rigorous yoga session (perhaps, some may say rocketed into another dimension? ;)

      Mind, body and soul - holistically, yoga is is a true life changer.  And for us, it all started as a contrary action.  We suggest trying whatever yoga class sounds appealing to you (there are tons of great options!) or that you are actually willing to put into action - whether its a YouTube video that you follow from the comfort of your living room or a studio you've curiously walked by a thousand times in town - you will not regret it as long as you stick with it.  Honestly, we were too scared to start in a studio and started with Sarah Beth Yoga YouTube videos at home.  Then after about 3 weeks of building some confidence, joined Yoga Tropics in Encinitas and never looked back.  Another great, money saving tip for trying out different yoga studios is signing up for Class Pass (we have that too). But don't just take our word for it - try yoga yourself or join us and experience the many yogi promises for yourself! 

      3.  Surf & Swim: When it comes to physiques - we think surfers and swimmers take the cake. When it comes to activities, what is cooler and more serene than all those surfers you pass along the 101? We live in the surf mecca of the continental US - so why aren't you paddling out? Whether you're a native San Diegan or a transplant first time surfer kook (like most of us) - you're body doesn't care.  Surfing and swimming are tremendous physical activities that we believe dwarf any upper body weight training in a gym.  Plus your joints will thank you later when you didn't spend a lifetime maxing out two rep PRs on the bench press.  If you're not the strongest swimmer, that's okay!  Just find a gym with a pool and take baby steps (or strokes).  We started out swimming at the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA in Encinitas.  Then we bought 8ft foam Wavestorms from Costco and journeyed out to Beacons and the many other amazing surf spots North County has to offer.  There are also tons of awesome surfs shops to check out like Hansen Surfboards, Encinitas Surfboards, and Concept Surf Shop if you're looking for some pro advice on surf boards and wetsuits.  If you're a dope veteran surfer - rock on.  If you're not - that's okay.  The exercise component is the same for everyone.  The beautiful coastline views, sunrises and sunsets are the same for everyone.  The wildlife (dolphins, seals, etc.) that pop their heads up to say hello are the same for everyone.  And the thrills of catching your first few waves are worth it. If you've always wanted to get out there - get out there.   If you need a little community courage - join us for a no-judgement, agro-free paddle out.  Whether you're getting barreled or flopping about - a picturesque workout is guaranteed. 

      4.  Jogging (or Yogging?): Let's get high... Runner's High.  Finally, a wonderfully healthy high that doesn't leave us dopamine deprived and depressed for a week.  Not feeling up for a run? No sweat - try a slow run that people often call a brisk walk (see #1 on our list).  Really, any aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up for a sustained period of time (including jogging, walking, swimming, biking, hot yoga, circuit training, etc.) can result in a "runner's high".  Don't believe us - let's check in with the experts: 

      • Per Healthline"A runner’s high is a brief, deeply relaxing state of euphoria. Euphoria is a sense of extreme joy or delight... Running and aerobic exercise release a flood of endorphins into your blood. Endorphins are often called the “feel-good” chemicals because they produce feelings of happiness and pleasure...  [Additionally] Exercise releases endocannabinoids into the bloodstream. If you feel euphoric or deeply relaxed after a run, these molecules may be the responsible party...  Endorphins act on the same part of your brain as opioids like morphine. That’s why they’re called the “happy” chemicals. They’re released during exercise or in times of pain or stress, as well as in response to eating or sex." 
      • Per Harvard Law School graduate and world renowned defense attorney Elle Woods, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands."

        Given our addict and alcoholic tendencies, we have honed in on the runner's high.  But jogging (or any aerobic workout) obviously has tons of other great health benefits including reduced anxiety, reduced feelings of depression, increased memory and focus, increased flexibility and improved mobility, increased immune system, improved response to insulin and weight loss or maintenance (Healthline).  We lace up our Brooks and cruise out for a leisurely 5k (~3 mile) jog once a week to work off some of those pesky weekend calories.  Feel free to join us and get healthy high at your own pace. 

        5.  Bodyweight Workouts [aka Inpatient Intensive, Home, Travel, Budget and/or Jailhouse Workouts] and Weight Lifting: Regardless of whether you have access to a robust set of weights and equipment at a gym or you have a slightly limited/restricted selection at the moment, (unpopular opinion coming...) we think bodyweight workouts trump lifting heavy things up and putting them down.  We're in the minority here - we're not trying to win this one.  You love the gym - that is awesome - we are stoked for you.  We would simply be lying if we said we did too (and went to the gym for that matter).  For us, an intense bodyweight circuit of push ups, bodyweight squats / lunges, pull ups / chin ups (any home pull up bar works), and ab workouts (such as planks, mountain climbers, bicycle crunches, oblique twists, etc.) is enough to grind out a diesel workout anywhere (inside, outside, at home, at the gym, on your work trip, etc.).  With that said, if you love the gym - get yo gym on.  In recovery, a lot of us started working out at the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA or LA Fitness.  Find a spot that works for you from Equinox and the Bay Club to 24 Hour Fitness and Planet Fitness.  The right gym is the one that you actually show up at and feel comfortable with.  And if you're looking for some motivation and workouts to try at the gym - check out our dear friend Taylor's Instagram.  We love you Taylor.  

        6.  Golf Fever: Yes, in recovery we have contracted golf fever.  No, most of us did not golf before recovery.  No, most of us still don't truly shoot below 100 without a little help from our Uncle Mulligan (with the exception of a few golf maestros).  No, most us don't have the fanciest or complete sets of clubs or play at the at the elite courses.  But here is the key - we have fun.  We laugh at the bad shots and celebrate the good ones.  Golf is easy to take too seriously.  Let's take a step back, regardless of whether you are a scratch golfer or first time golfer, fundamentally you are walking through and/or driving a fun little cart around a stunningly beautiful field with some good friends after a small ball without a care in the world.  With that attitude, its hard to hate a day of golf.  There is a huge selection of public golf courses to play in San Diego County all year round from world famous courses like Torrey Pines, quick Par 3 courses like Lomas Santa Fe Executive, night golfing at courses like Mission Bay and VR golfing at places like the Del Mar Golf Center.  We started out at the driving ranges at the Del Mar Golf Center and Encinitas Ranch before journeying out for a full round.  We became JC Members, play twilight rounds and use golf apps like GolfNow to keep expenses within reason.  Today, we get out at least once a week (with Encinitas Ranch holding a special place in our hearts).   

        7.  I want to ride my Bicycle, Bicycle, Bicycle: Who doesn't love a bike ride?  Whether you're a casual beach cruiser, pedal assisted e-biker, virtual Pelotoner, Soul Cycler or hardcore road cyclist - biking is awesome. You can't really go wrong adventuring anywhere along the coast from Del Mar to Oceanside and everywhere in between.  It's just a great, healthy way to get around.  Though we've definitely almost hit some along the 101, we're not competitive cyclists ourselves.  We fall more in the camp of randomly renting a bike from a surf shop like Concept, cruising the different overlooks at I street, Beacons or Stone Steps and then rewarding ourselves with some Graham Central Station or Oreo Dough at Cali Cream.  To each their own!  Either way - bike on! 

        8.  Whack It with a Racket (or Paddle): Not sure about you, but we played our fair share of table tennis in early recovery. So let's step it up a notch and take it off the table, outside and onto a slightly bigger court.  Whether it's pickleball, racquetball, tennis, squash, paddle or badminton - every racket sport is an absolute blast and a phenomenal workout. Not sure which one to try - give pickleball a shot. It's exploding in popularity because its simple and fun. Not sure where to play?  Join us every Saturday evening from 5 - 7pm at Bobby Riggs Racket & Paddle in Encinitas.  Another wonderful part of living in North County is there is an immense selection of places to play - tennis courts outside at the park, a quick and dirty badminton set up at the beach, or a squash court at the gym.  Not willing to pick up a paddle, give Spikeball a whirl. Whichever option tickles your fancy - just get out there and whack it! 

        9.  Literally Do Anything: Don't like our ideas - no sweat.  Just get out there and sweat in your own way.  Do something, anything - it's better than nothing.  Some other activities we love range from ice hockey (join us for some pickup Friday afternoons at Icetown in Carlsbad), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, axe throwing, cold plunging, snowboarding (when we have time to sneak up to Big Bear or Mammoth Mountain), and CrossFit.  Whatever gets you out and about.  There's so much that we can do now that we are sober - and we're here for it.  

        10.  Watch Your Fitness: We swear by having some type of fitness watch.  We personally use Apple Watch but get whatever works for you. Why?  It's our little accountability friend that reminds us when we've sat around all day.  Maybe this is old school, but have you ever put a rubber band around your wrist to remember to do something?  We have.  Welp - our Apple Watch is kind of like our modern rubber band with a few other capabilities.  Not to mention you can check your progress and metrics if you have some fitness goals.  Our absolute favorite part of having an Apple Watch is that if we walk more than 10k steps OR workout for 30 minutes or more in a day we can donate a meal to someone that is hungry in San Diego FOR FREE in two seconds via the San Diego based app Vizer.  Talk about making being of service simple - this is the best app on the planet if you ask us!  We've donated over 100 meals just by doing our everyday activities.  Oh yeah, the fitness watches also tell time which is helpful now and again.