What Stops Us From Getting Outside?

If I haven’t talked about this before, then I constantly think it. I sometimes feel so bogged down in the city that I feel this urge to get out and into nature. The trees and wind and stars and sky don’t judge me, bother me, poke me, or invade my privacy. They just… exist.

What’s amazing about The Peakbaggers and, now, Discover Your Wild, is that it’s given me an opportunity to get outside without any excuses. I’m motivated by the goals of both projects and always surrounded by people who sometimes feel what I do and want the same – to get out of this busy buzz of city living. One of the neatest things about Toronto is that this can happen right outside my front door.

I never saw Toronto as a city that could provide this for me until I actually moved here. I took up residence in The Beaches and ran the boardwalk every morning at 6am because it was there and it was beautiful. I never thought I’d be a runner, or want to run for that matter, but I did and I shocked myself and most my friends. That little decision to change is what has brought me here, to this point, today.

Two weekends ago we took The Peakbaggers to MEC Outdoor Nation where 135 like-minded people gathered to discuss things like motivation and barriers. Shannon Lyon of the Natural Leaders Alliance created and led an amazing activity where the group of us each took little dots and placed them in a variety of categories. She first asked, “What stops you from getting outside?” and I went up and put my three dots on three of 13 categories. Then she asked, “What isn’t a problem for you to get outside?” I basically ran to motivation, cultural connection, and friends to go with (factors that would be so different for me only a few years ago). Shannon then flipped the question. “Think of someone you know who doesn’t get outside. What, in your opinion, stops them from getting outside?”

Shannon compiled the data and found the following:

  • What stops us: money, time
  • What we think stops them: motivation, self-confidence
  • What sometimes stops us: friends to go with, skill level, time
  • What we think sometimes stops them: motivation, skill level, body type
  • What doesn’t stop us: motivation, cultural connection
  • What we think doesn’t stop them: time, friends to go with, transportation

– Results from Natural Leaders Alliance‘s motivation/barrier workshop

Our smaller barriers of motivation and self-confidence are our friends’ biggest barriers, Shannon explained. But one observation in particular validated my love for this blog, itself, and that’s Shannon’s observation that “we all sometimes get stopped by not knowing the skills.” If we want the Peakbaggers and Discover Your Wild to be a success, we want to focus on these elements – motivation, self-confidence, friends to go with and time and ability to learn the skills. This is our goal and this excites me so much. I feel all these barriers, and here is a program to combat them.

Last weekend Brian and I booked and Air BnB cabin (get $32 off your next trip here!) on the back acreage of a farm in Kawartha Lakes. One of my favourite feelings over the time I spent there was the same one I feel when I’m hanging in a park like Christie Pitts or running the boardwalk in the Beaches. It’s that of connection – to the earth and sky and air… and bugs. Oh, and the people around me! Alone or in a group, I’m never the only runner, slackliner, smiler… The only difference between this secluded farm and Christie Pitts is that you can feel the subway come and go below you if you’re lying on the south side grass of Christie Pitts park – and whole other set of emotions comes with that!


The Peakbaggers and Discover Your Wild are yours as much as they are ours. I sound preachy but, hey, it’s working for me! We’re all climbing mountains of different sorts and, if I’ve learned anything since we’ve started, it’s that we’ll all get much farther if we go together. So, let’s go together.

What stops you from getting outside? Let us know in the comments below!

We’re heading to Trinity Bellwoods Park on Wednesday, July 15th at 7pm for a WOD in the park – that means we’re going to do a workout in the park! Bring your runners, water bottle, fury friend, or non-fury friend! Stay tuned to @ThePeakbaggers for more details.

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How to Stay Active When You Feel Too Busy

I’ve fallen into a vortex of “other things” (possibly termed “distractions” (I’m in denial)) that have been keeping me from training to climb a mountain. While Brian works on his mountain training regiment and Matt hits 6am CrossFit classes, I’m twirling my thumbs on a film set (my day job), stress eating and standing still. When I think about the work do be done, I panic. But what can I do, I wonder?

It’s really easy to get caught up with the tasks that pay your bills. We all have responsibility and most of us want to exceed our own expectations. In my panic I turned to the nearest railing and did ten push-ups against the wall. I felt better. Just a little bit better.

But I’ve deceived you – I haven’t totally been standing still while working but, compared to my usual routine of running, yoga, and strength training (bootcamp or crossfit) multiple times a week, it feels like I’m going nowhere. The classes I take keep me sane and centred and help me feel good. Without them I feel like I’m immobile, despite hustling around all day. On set, I make time to stretch throughout the day. I consciously correct my poor posture, a result of being too tired to think straight/stand straight. I obsessively plan which days and classes I’ll attend once this production I’m working on wraps. And then I stretch again.

“How do you do it?” I asked a colleague of mine who runs every evening, despite our 10-18 hours work days. This particular conversation started with him asking me if I ran last night, something he’s been asking since day 1 of prep. “No,” I replied, a bashful look overcoming me once again. “How do you do it? When we’re working 18 hour days, how do you find time to work and run and spend time with your family and…”

“You do it because you want to do it,” he said. “You do it because you’d rather run for an hour and get 5 hours sleep then get 6 hours sleep. Or you run for 30 minutes with your kid or partner or you find time with them and with your running. You do it because you want to.” Pursing my lips, I nodded. It’s that simple.

He told me that you have to want to do something bad enough that you actually do it. Thinking about it doesn’t cut it. Good intentions only get you so far, he said. You have to get up and go. Put your shoes on, and give yourself 15 minutes on the pavement. You’ll feel better, he said.

That night, as inspired as I was, I got home and was so tired I fell asleep after putting on my running tights.

When you exercise, your body creates endorphins that make you feel good. Really good. So good that when you don’t exercise, your body craves those good vibes and you feel awful. You feel guilty. You feel depressed. I’m feeling all of these things and I’m giving it up. I’m leaving these feelings at home.

In an effort to curb my “inactivity” while on a busy contract, here’s a few things I’ve drummed up during my mini breaks:

  • Dynamic stretches (arm and leg swings, body shakes and twists)
  • Always take the stairs
  • Walk as much as possible
  • Stand up every 30 minutes
  • Wall pushups (and when people see you doing these, invite them to join in!)
  • Calf raises (when standing, lift yourself on to your tippy toes and lower yourself down again)
  • Offering to carry things for coworkers
  • Constant hydration

Nothing beats getting outside, running through the trees, hiking up a hill, and enjoying the sunlight. I am grateful for all those moments I have in parks and pathways and in nature because, when I’m busy like this, I crave them. Distractions are a great way to motivate you to get creative with your body and abilities. I plan to take FULL advantage of summer once we’re wrapped here. But for now… I’ve got a couple wall pushups to do!


Do you have any tips and tricks for staying active while being busy? Let us know in the comments below!

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Mountaineering Training – Week 1

A few weeks ago I asked myself, “How do I get ready to summit mountains ranging from 1,651m – 5,956m?” Then I asked the Internet.
Most trainers will tell you that the best way to train for any sport is to do that sport. By that logic, the best way to train for mountaineering is to go up mountains. The problem is that I live in Toronto and there aren’t any mountains close by. Sure, I can drive for 7 hours and be in the Adirondacks. But realistically, I need a daily training plan that will get me alpine-ready.

Enter Fit Climb, a website with tons of FREE training plans to get you mountain ready. I just started following their 8 Month Mountaineering Training Plan. This plan is designed to get someone ready for elevevations below 7,000 metres – which is perfect for me.

I’ll run you through how the first week has gone and what I expect going forward, but first I’d like to give you the basics…

The Basics

The main goals of any mountain fitnes plan is to increase your endurance, strength, balance and agility. Here is why each of these elements is important:


As most people know, the higher the elevation of the mountain, the less oxygen is available. What this means is that as you climb, your body has to work harder to get the same amount of oxygen. So, if you can raise your endurance level, your body becomes more efficient. This level of efficiecny is measure by something called your V02 max – the ratio of how much work your body can do in relation to oxygen intake.


As the height of a summit increases, or as the technical difficulty increases, there is an increase in the amount of gear to carry. Mountaineers can easily be carrying packs of over 40lbs and dragging sleds of over 200lbs, so strength is a key factor. The focus is on abdominal, back, and leg strength. Strength in these aresas also increases your efficiency of movement and help with your endurance levels.

Balance and Agility

Things like carrying a pack, moving up steep elevations, and crossing unstable terrain all are tests on your balance and agility. The more comfortable you are standing on one foot or balancing on one hand, the more comfortable you’ll be when your body starts to get tired, or the terrain shifts, or you have to move around various obstacles.

Here is what I did for Week 1 of the new fitness plan I am following and my notes on how it all went down:


  • 10 min dynamic warm up
  • 30 min run
  • 1 set of 10 reps of the following:
    • Step ups front
    • Step ups side
    • Step downs
    • Push Ups
    • Crunches
    • Plank (60 seconds)
    • Mountain climbers

This day felt great. I always start with a dynamic warmup instead of a stretch. Stetching before a workout can cause injury, while a dynamic warm-up (like leg-swings, air-squats, a light jog) can prepare your muscles. I’ve been running for the past few weeks and so the run went well. I ran 5.04km at an average pace of 5:58/km. The workout afterward went smoothly; the hardest part being the 60 second plank.


  • Rest Day


  • 10 min dynamic warm up
  • 20 min cardio @ 70% MHR
  • 3 sets of following:
    • Squats (15)
    • Step ups front (40)
    • Step ups side Left and right (40)
    • Step downs (40)
    • Push Ups (10)
    • Crunches (50)
    • Plank (60 seconds)
    • Mountain climbers (50)

Because I biked for over 20 minutes this day I went right to the workout. During the workout it felt great and I kept an even pace. Total time was 36 minutes. Almost immediately after, however, my adobinal muscles began to really ache.


  • 10 min stretch and warm up
  • 40 min stairs @ 70% MHR
  • 20 min walking

For this I focused on keeping an even pace, keeping my head up, and breathing consistently. I completed 2,061 steps up and 1,976 steps down.


  • 10 min stretch and warm up
  • 30 min cardio @ 70% MHR
  • 3 sets of following:
    • Squats (15)
    • Step ups front (40)
    • Step ups side Left and right (40)
    • Step downs (40)
    • Push Ups (10)
    • Crunches (50)
    • Plank (60 seconds)
    • Mountain climbers (50)

My calf muscles were quite sore from Thursday and I skipped this workout.


  • 10 min stretch and warm up
  • 2-3 hr walk or hike with 15-20 lb pack

I skipped this wokrout as well and went for a longer bike ride. However, I wish I hadn’t skipped this.


  • Rest Day

Final thoughts

This week went relatively well and I’m excited to move forward. I’ve been doing CrossFit for 3 years and this plan really showed me where there are still some weaknesses. My cardiovascular system is already improving drastically with a few runs a week. My abdominal strength still needs work.

I’m curious about what you do to prepare for mountains or other similar acitivies. What are you doing? How are you staying motivated? Let me know in the comments below. Also, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and never miss an update.