Off-grid is the best fitness plan

If anyone is pondering their fitness goals for the new year, I can honestly say that nothing works as well as moving off-grid. Before we had a chance to hit the scales during our visit with the Colorado fam for Thanksgiving, we could only guess at how much weight we had lost since moving to the mountains in June.

Our pants were falling off and our once-plump faces were missing a chin or two, but we had no idea of the number of pounds we actually shed in adopting our new daily routine of hauling water, cutting wood, hiking the driveway, etc. (Not to mention typically eating only one hearty meal per day.)

Amid all these super-charged changes bringing more definition to our muscles, there’s no doubt we are by far and away in the best shape we’ve been in this millennium since leaving our favorite pubs and pizza joints behind in the tropics, even if we don’t have a scale to confirm.

The ‘eat less and move more’ practice worked okay for me while in Florida, but the mundane activities of walking the block and depriving myself of tasty foods seriously lacked the luster that off-grid living now delivers.

To compare, people pay big money to mimic the physical labors of homesteading when they join crossfit or boot camp clubs in an effort to get fit in suburbia. While these challenging fitness programs definitely work at helping professional desk jockeys become stronger and more determined, the appeal is lost on me. The contrived setting makes it hard to stay motivated when there’s really no chance of actually flipping truck tires or climbing ropes while making the trip to pick up Thai food on the way home for dinner.

Out here in the hills, lifting mud-laden tire chains and 5-gallon jugs of water over the truck bed, loading and unloading lumber, and dragging fallen snags to the wood pile is exhilarating because it’s a matter of survival, not just vanity. Living and working off-grid, your body adapts quickly out of necessity, especially when it’s really hard to make excuses not to ‘work out.’

The effort is hardly noticed because the results aren’t just in the mirror. The results of physical labor here on the homestead show up in more tangible – and necessary – ways. Sixty or ninety minutes of work isn’t just a stinky sweat fest. We can feel satisfied knowing that our exercise will ultimately keep us warm and give us clean water to drink.

Above and beyond seeing the progress, we’re surrounded by a natural splendor that only does more for the spirit and generates a greater sense of connection to our place in this amazing world. The mental and emotional fitness found by embracing our spectacular environment can’t be duplicated on the screens in a spin class.

Most people plan the drive to hike in the forest on occasional long weekends so they can clear their heads and push their bodies to the summit. We give thanks everyday that we can make that trip out our back door anytime we want, and we do it often. The mind-body connection is easy to nourish when you live off-grid in a place such as this.

In reflection of the scale in Colorado telling us we’ve lost 35 pounds each, it’s easy to say that we belong to the most premier health club on the planet. We are feeling great about what the new year holds for our health, and we wish you all the very best to meet your personal fitness goals in 2017.


11 thoughts on “Off-grid is the best fitness plan

  1. What a great reflection, Sue, thank you!! LaVeta sounds like magic, and the people there true treasures. So happy to know you had the chance to live so close to nature and your community, and the end-result is finding your passion in the kitchen and the ability to help others. Proud to know you and looking forward to a visit soon. Lots of love, and grateful for your comments!

  2. Thanks, Murph! We’re in a donut hole, apparently… All around us in negative double digits, and we’re at 40 today! Just an inch of snow when others seeing feet. Knock on Ol’ Scraggly, we’re enjoying the mild winter season this year. It might be warmer here today than in Florida!!

  3. Awesome! Reminds me of my days in LaVeta, cutting and hauling firewood, also feeding 2 kids and cats, dogs, and 1 cockateil. I did have a grocery store I walked to, thats one big convenience! Charlies market was nice enough to let folks charge there bill till the end of the month, state employees get paid once a month. feeding a family of 4 I had to budget and cook a lot at home. I think that all helped in me making a career of cooking. I cooked for the Senior citizens twice a month and also worked part time in the Ryus Ave bakery and a lunch place on main street. PMS,( positively main street) My Aunt Jean retired at 88! from the seniors dinners so I got the job, she passed away a year ago in March at 104! I learned a lot at the bakery and the restaurant. We did the fresh farm to table thing cuz we had to! Living rural that is the life. I knew many of the seniors and they all had gardens and still canned there food and hence had good health and long life. My Aunt Jean had 2 trout ponds on her ranch that she stocked. For a fee you could come fish and always would go home with a good catch. In the 1970’s a restaurant owner would fish there for there evening special. Just got back from LaVeta and Charlies market is still there at 81 yrs old. I met my niece and her husband there for lunch. They were on vacation in Red River N.M. so half way for them and us was LaVeta. 1 1/2 hr drive. How do you guys cook? Pueblo West has about 8 ” of snow and blue sky’s. The best to you both in the new year !


  4. Winter wonderland here with about a foot of snow and current temps of 4F. Last night had -8 wind chill temps so was grateful to have warm shelter and hot tea/coffee. Shoveling snow is great exercise and great cardio–so getting my quota for a few days. Hope your homestead fared well & you three stayed warm.

  5. Lovely to hear from you, Lu! The news is really blowing this storm up, and we’ve seen our Colorado friends become buried under a thick white blanket today. Hopefully, we’ll just skate by with only a few inches- enough to sled this weekend!! 🙂

  6. Great to be on Nature’s own fitness program. Stay warm, safe & well hydrated in the upcoming snow storm and arctic cold front. Hope your water lines do not freeze & you can enjoy the serene beauty of a northern NM winter wonderland.

  7. You are on the REAL Planet Fitness workout!! (without the garish Yellow and Purple paint scheme)

  8. Thanks, T!! Not saying we are solid all-pro athletes… Definitely not ready to take on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge, but it does feel good being more fit. Now we just have to figure how to rig up our drone for pizza pick-up!!

  9. Dang, Carey! That’s awesome! Kudos to you and Ben. This might be one of my favorite posts. Keep it up!

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