How Fit is Fit Enough?

Today’s First World Problem: I enjoy too many different types of exercise.

You already know I love running. I’ve backed off a bit this summer due to a slightly sore hip and the Texas heat, but I still hit the trail a couple times each week. After Hotter’N Hell, I’ll start running more to prepare for the big trail run in October.

My new road bike is a blast to ride, and with Hotter’N Hell 50 coming Aug 25 and a 27-mile warmup race called The Goatneck (?) on July 28, I’m trying to ride three times a week.

So that makes two activities, both of which make my muscles stronger but potentially tighter. To help them stay loose and maintain muscular balance, I’ve been practicing yoga at Jenny’s gym once a week with her guest pass. I’ll probably join eventually once they offer a good deal. So now I’m up to three activities.

As you might have wondered, since I already run and ride, why not add swimming and become a triathlete? I’ve never been a competitive swimmer, but I could probably learn. Or why not take up tennis to strengthen my core further and add some upper-body activity? Or why not hit the weight machines to support all the other work I’m doing?

So far no one has offered to sponsor me as a full-time athlete, and to be honest, I’m not exactly holding my breath. So I still need to make a living. Plus my body needs sleep and food from time to time. And I have two cute little boys and a loving wife and want to spend time with them. My grass grows (much to my chagrin) and needs to be mowed. I go to church and spend time with friends and family.

Something has to give, which leads me to today’s question:

How fit is fit enough?

How would you decide? Does working out four, five, or six days a week make you fit enough? What about three hours a week? Five? Ten? Is it being able to fit into your preferred pant size? Is it winning races in your preferred sport(s)? Is it being satisfied when you look in the mirror? Is it being satisfied with how you feel? Is it a heart rate, blood pressure measurement, or cholesterol level? Is it being able to run/ride/swim a certain distance or lift a certain amount of weight? Is it not being tired at the top of the stairs or being able to pick up your children or grandchildren?

I’m still working through this question myself and suspect it will take a little while to find the right balance. I definitely need to limit my activity to some extent, so don’t look for me in the Hawaii Ironman anytime soon. Rest days are important, so I’ll need at least one or two each week. Perhaps some days I’ll ride a bit and then run a bit, or maybe ride to the gym for a yoga class.

For those of you who do exercise, how do you decide how much to do?