The author’s wife hikes down the ridge of a still snow-covered mountain. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

The author’s wife hikes down the ridge of a still snow-covered mountain. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went to the Woods: The summer bod

It’s summer bod time.

Not in a show it off at the beach sort of way, but a maximize quality use variety.

The last two months have been the preamble, the introduction, the time to get your body squared away for the brutality of summer.

Hopefully by now you are in shape, running a program that allows for efficient use because you didn’t move here, or haven’t stayed here, to waste June inside watching TV, sleeping in, or hungover.

We have entered the daylight zone in which #keephammering becomes impossible. That’s not a defeatist attitude. It’s truth. One cannot possibly hammer each hour of every day and not crash. Even Cameron Hanes sleeps. The punishing nature of continually scraping the bottom of the daylight bowl leaves a mark and threatens future quality. It’s like going to your favorite place for breakfast and absolutely hammering it, only to drive to your favorite lunch place and punishing that menu too. By the time dinner rolls around you might have the stomach for the best appetizer, entree and dessert on the menu, but who can run that program the next day and the next for the next two months? Alaskans are gluttons for epic summer adventures, but consequences loom to the unprepared. Reality strikes. Hopefully you’re ready for the long game.

It’s not as simple as subscribing to a Full Send mantra because that’s another hashtag, that’s not reality. We live in a world in which you can pretend you are doing it like it has never been done before by posting photos that represent the you you wish you were. But the reality is we need sleep, and there’s nothing wrong with trimming the fat and limiting indulgences to better experience a wild summer. The key is to be able to access more of our capabilities with purposeful preparation and training.

The summer bod must be able to smoothly navigate work then smoothly shift into sport mode to chase trout, halibut or king salmon, pull the shrimp pots, check a bait station or glass the flats for a bear.

The summer bod must be prepared for a weekend program that demands focus, energy and resilience — yet not show up to work on Monday pathetic and used up. It’s about prioritizing and keeping a steady pace all the way through August. I used to tell my basketball players to never say they gave 100% because they have no idea what their 100% is and, even if they did, it would always be changing as we got better as a team. Still, we must avoid redlining or being wasteful.

The summer bod must be maintained and cared for. LeBron James is one of the most absurdly gifted athletes on the planet. Yet he spends over a million dollars a year to keep his body in peak condition so he can not only remain a dominant NBA player, but also flail with dramatic vigor whenever breathed upon. Sure we don’t have money like that, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care.

There comes a time when we should value the quality of the experience rather than simply dragging ourselves through things we should be enjoying. I know that sounds super old, but I like to think about it more like proper maintenance. Take care of yourself like you take care of your gear, and it will last longer and work better, right? (Don’t ask me about my seize-up halibut reel and, no, that’s not a metaphor for my knees).

So don’t take it easy this summer. If anything, find a new depth to your energy reserves. Be more efficient and proficient with your hammering.

Netflix will still be there this winter.

• Jeff Lund is a freelance writer based in Ketchikan. His book, “A Miserable Paradise: Life in Southeast Alaska,” is available in local bookstores and at Amazon.com. “I Went to the Woods” appears twice per month in the Sports & Outdoors section of the Juneau Empire.

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