Remember not to tip the scales. By Claire Sykes Have you got that work/ life balance sorted yet?… What about the sport/ life balance?? Autumn makes me ponder these things as I prepare for a change in the season; I blame it on the subtle crispness in the air and the lovely stillness (apart from the two recent cyclones which caused havoc all around me.) This permeates into my soul, and sets off deep thinking patterns which lurk in the back somewhere. As we know fitness comes in many levels: The couch potato who does no exercise and is overweight and unhealthy. The healthy but unfit, these people have a healthy lifestyle but also reasonably sedentary. Weekend warrior who will get out once a week and enjoy a ride or walk. Fit people live an active lifestyle and get out as much as they can. The fit obsessed will not miss a session at the gym or a run even if not feeling well. The Super fit people base their life around exercise and are driven to better themselves. I am aiming my pondering thoughts around the fitter end of this scale….have you ever avoided making conversation with certain people because you don’t want to get stuck talking about a subject like the politics of track cycling… or intricate and gory details of how many “Godzone” teams had to pull out because of trench foot this year!?? What about non competitors who will book a motel on an overseas holiday because of the in-house gym!….or the competitive, who misses out on life because they are training or racing, or preparing to train or race. What are your reasons for exercising or competing? Think about how many of us use sport to feel good about ourselves? Mm yes this might be me …I have been doing just this, over many years to the point of feeling really great! Here’s the thing… we exercise, and it takes us to a higher sort of state, the adrenaline does that. So we do some more, the more we do, the more we “have” to do, the fitter we become the more we can do! We become addicted if you like to the rush of endorphins. Before you know it…not only do we get a kick out of the actual physicality of exercise, we also get a rush out of talking about our next race, buying a new pair of shoes, planning a training run, the anticipation of paddling down the river, remembering the thrill of that bit of single track on the mountain bike. The list goes on… my point here is, at this rate, we spend a big portion of our daily life “on a high” if you like…what is wrong with that I hear you say? Well, the other side to this state is normality and the ups and downs of life, some of which can come out of the blue and knock us over. We have a long way to fall now, how do we cope with these times? The adrenaline fuelled “high” we have come to know and love has plummeted to low gear. It sounds like a few people have exchanged some of life’s basic equilibrium which keeps our scales balanced, and replaced it with the crazy seesaw action, which one may observe at your local playground. Let us observe and learn from others… Back to the lovely season of autumn, with abundant figs and grapes….a friend who is a long distance swimmer presented me with a little bag of gummies she had made. These were a trial for different types of food she is making to take on a long distance swimming race in Samoa in April. She is a big fan of Vitality™ New Zealand Muscle Performance caps, so she opens a couple and puts them in along with gelatine, honey, lemon juice then sets them in neat little moulds…..yumm!… gotta eat well when training and racing to!