Our Daily Sweat…

by Coach Steve Ilg, ryt/uscf/cpt

road race ihbc

coach, doing the do at this spring’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic finishing 9th in the King Of The Mountain competition which combines the Road Race and Mountain Bike Race.  pic by www.naggan.com

Sweat. What I call, ‘Wholy Water.’ It’s our most intrinsic version of the water element.   It’s also the manifestation of a human’s highest, most sincere form of human motivation.  Sweat connects all fitness warriors.  Age does not matter.  Ability does not matter.  Even the uniqueness of our athletic endeavors does not diminish the timeless bond between fitness warriors.  If you and I vibe, it’s not because I have more podiums than you,  or you are better at a certain sport than I.   Our unity arises so familiarly because we have arrived at a station in our lives where we realize, or at least sense, that lifestyle exercise is not something extra. It’s not just another errand ‘to do’ in our lives. Our Daily Sweat is instead a necessity toward transforming our lives into a graceful symmetry of self. What I am saying is that lifestyle fitness is like a daily base camp for developing more meaningful life journeys.

I’m gonna let you in on something about me that most do not know about “America’s Outdoor Athlete*.” Shhhh…I spend far more time training indoors and internally, than I do outdoors and externally.   That’s right;  I actually spend many more hours practicing yoga, breathing exercises,  and diligent nutritional discipline (which is why I rely on BodyHealth’s MAP Amino’s and COMPLETE, Sunrider Herbs, and Asea for instance) than I do running, skiing, cycling, and climbing here in Durango, Colorado.  Even when I was at my peak outdoor fitness levels,  rarely did I train over 15 hours outside per week. Many cyclists that aren’t even professional crank out 20+ hours per week.  Instead, I choose to work this way.

My philosophy is that all outer podiums begin from within. Here is how I train myself and my students;  we begin with cellular (or nutritional) fitness.  From cellular fitness spawns general (or what I term, “Wholistic”) fitness.  From that broad-spectrum of kinesthetic, mental, and physiologic capacity comes immune response, recovery, and regeneration.  Sport specificity is actually the smallest slice of my training ‘pie chart’…this is polar opposite to most conventionally-trained athletes.  They train very specifically and that inevitably creates gross imbalances and weaknesses which inevitably catches up with them in the form of mental burnout, injuries, and/or performance stagnation.  Sport-specific athletes are easy to spot in my High Performance Yoga™ classes…their wholeness has been ignored and it shows.

I consider nutrition in varied ways. First, I consider nutrition to be grossly categorized as either ‘cleansing’ or ’empowering.’ You can read more about this in my books.  I also consider things like Word Choice, Posture, and environment to be sources of either ‘depletive’ or ‘conducive.’  For me, wise nutrition begins by Awareness…am I preparing a meal mindfully with gratitude?  Or am I just ‘on auto-pilot’?  How about sitting at the computer in conscious posture?  Don’t you think that makes a difference in your overall health?   Are you beginning to understand?  Do you see how breathing into repetitions at the gym, or trying to keep a competitive ego in check during a yoga posture, or reigning in a moment of runaway anger can actually transform our notion of nutrition and “sweat” into an ongoing cultivation of self?

My Daily Sweat is no longer chained to the actual droplets (or cascade) of perspiration during racing or training in my beloved High Peaks.  More often than not,  my deepest ‘sweats’ are triggered within the fabric of my daily life;  Breath and Posture,  Mindfulness, and Appropriate Action.  My highest workout is everywhere.  Am I brave enough of a warrior to be present with it?  Usually not…my mind is too busy.   All I know for sure is that workouts are for everybody, everywhere and that the most profound Daily Sweats cannot be bought, even by the lavishly rich.

May all your Sweat feel sacred…

Head bowed from beneath the Sacred San Juans,

coach steve ilg
durango, colorado


Steve Ilg authored his first magazine article at age 16 and his first book (THE OUTDOOR ATHLETE by Johnson Publishers, 1985) when he was 25.  His most recent book is, TOTAL BODY TRANSFORMATION (Hyperion, 2005).  Steve has competed in 7 World Championships in 5 physiologically diverse sports and was a pioneer of online fitness training.  Visit his website, his pro shop, and his internationally acclaimed Teaching blogs at: www.WholisticFitness.com

One Response to “Our Daily Sweat…”

  1. Kit Johaneson says:

    The truth!!!!!
    Get me back to my very crooked wandering path.
    Again thank you – Steve
    Ai Imawa
    Fit Kit

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