Healthy Friends

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Well I did it again already, I tried hiking and had a much better response!  This week I had scheduled to hike the Manitou Incline with my friend and colleague Nestor.  Nestor has also lost quite a bit of weight in the recent past and loves Crossfit.  He taught me how to climb ropes and I’m looking forward to many more fitness related excursions!   Nestor had done the incline countless times and it’s a very popular place to visit but there are people that live near Colorado Springs that incorporate it as a regular routine.

The Manitou Incline is in Manitou Springs, just outside of Colorado Springs.  It’s known for Pike’s Peak and the incline.  The ‘trail’ is less than a mile but climbs 2000 feet in elevation in that short of a time.   (7,000 – 9,000 feet for those curious) I was feeling great and thought I would knock it out and leave him in the dust and maybe even go for a run later.  While Nestor is very fit, I know my cardio is more advanced than his but with his experience, I fell behind by 20 – 30 stairs.  For flatlanders, this hike feels like it’s straight up.  When you have hiking experience, you can tell when it’s not as steep.  I finished the incline in 40 minutes which is pretty advanced for my first time.  I think I could cut off a few minutes easily, just knowing the course now.  While it was hard, I never felt like it was impossible.  I didn’t cry or get too frustrated.

I have been wanting to do the incline for 2 years now but it was undergoing some renovations after recent flooding and I forget about it because of it’s location.  Without Nestor inviting me, I might not have gotten it checked off the list this summer.  It’s so important to find friends that help support your journey.  Fitness and health have brought so many people into my life that I might not have otherwise known.

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Off the top of my head, I can count 7 friends (there’s probably more… ) that I now have in my life because of how I live my life.  When you make a change in your life, it attracts new kinds of people.  As I have changed, so have my friends and who I spend my time with. I don’t consider everyone a friend and I don’t use that word lightly.  I’ve found it difficult in my adult life to make TRUE friends when we moved to Colorado but fitness opened that door for me.  I have cultivated so many positive relationships and experiences with people I have met in my gym life.  One of my closest friends I met at my first gym, and although I no longer go there, we still see each other all the time.

Healthy people attract healthy people. Broken people attract broken people.   Now, that’s not to say we don’t all have our problems or my friends and I only go out for salads.  We drink beer and pizza too but I feel like our relationships are focused on health and well being.  We constantly discuss bettering ourselves and our society through various ways and not just fitness. We hike, climb, run, box and laugh.  We don’t sit around and count calories together or compare waistlines.  But there’s an underlying thread in all of my relationships now: How can I be better?

It’s so important to surround yourself with others who are on a journey.  Even if it’s not fitness related, someone who is trying to better themselves, as you are, is going to be much better support than someone who isn’t.  A stick in the mud is a stick in the mud.  I had to let a few friends go over the last few years because they just didn’t match my new lifestyle.  They would constantly complain about a situation they were in but would never try and change it.  They would claim to want x,y and z for themselves and then sit around and do nothing for two years.  I know not everyone can have the self determination that I do.  I know I am mentally strong and I can’t expect that from everyone I know but I also can only try to support and motivate another person so much. So watch out for these types of people too.  When you start to change, other people that want to change will flock to you.  Give them the support you can and give every friend a chance but over time you’ll see who is happy being unhappy and who is really wanting to change.

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