Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How do fitness and multisport skills translate into a better outdoor experience?

How do fitness and multisport skills translate into a better outdoor experience?

Let’s be honest with ourselves… whether we like it or not, fitness is the base for everything active; winter sport, running, cycling, swimming, outdoor adventure, and just about everything else.  Staying active is so important in helping a person gain the skills needed to attempt challenging activities in an outdoor setting.  Unfortunately, creating a personal lifestyle filled with physical fitness isn’t exactly on their list of high priorities.  I promise you, if you can create that lifestyle, and I mean a SUSTAINABLY active lifestyle, you will be happy.  You will gain confidence to try new things.  You will crave more. 

During high school and early college, I didn’t live a sustainably healthy lifestyle.  I KNEW exactly how I was supposed to be eating, exercising, sleeping, etc.  I always had a passion for fitness, skiing, and particularly cycling.  I also loved exploring the outdoor world, but there was a huge, and I mean HUGE learning curve on my path to creating my sustainably active and healthy lifestyle.  At age 18, I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now.  On the weekends I stayed up until 3 or 4am eating junk with friends.  I was over-scheduled every day of my life with music rehearsals, homework, and concert performances.  My lifestyle was suffocating me, however I KNEW exactly how healthy my life was actually supposed to be.  There was a happy, active me fighting to get out and live. 

In March of my senior year of high school, I decided to sign up for my first century 100-mile bike ride.  I trained on a hybrid bicycle that weighed 35-pounds and borrowed a road bike for race day.  I made a solid playlist to listen to, packed some snacks and sunscreen, and was on my way.  I spent the first 10 miles familiarizing myself with the gears on my borrowed bike, but other than that, the first 40 miles were manageable.  Mile 50 on the other hand… I actually thought I was going to die.  I sprawled out on the ground and almost threw up.  When I began to feel better, I hopped back on my bike and just kept going.  When I passed the finish line, a nice lady behind a snow cone stand handed me a cold, red snow cone and congratulated me.  With a quavering, emotional, “Thank you,” I sat on the ground and cried.  I finished. 

The strange thing is how much I have grown since then.  A century ride turned into a regular, unorganized, weekend event with friends.  I gained a desire to eat nourishing foods.  My passion for skiing grew because my body was happy with me.  My life has grown into a multi-sport bonanza!  I love being active!  I have the confidence to try new sports!  KOLIFIT encourages everyone to join in and try new outdoor activities.  The company aspires for its members to choose a healthy lifestyle and always live it.  I always did KNOW I needed to be healthy to have a better outdoor experience.   I promise… it doesn’t matter how or where you start being active.  It just matters that you start. 

Living an active lifestyle is much more than simply working out and having a poor attitude about it.  KOLIFIT invites you to discover your active potential through adventure and positive outdoor experience with others.  You will find happiness in pushing your body to new limits and setting personal fitness goals for yourself.  Try paddle boarding.  Rappel down a waterfall.  Ride a bike.  Hike a mountain.  Hop in a kayak.  Go for a trail run.  You already KNOW how you should LIVE.  With KOLIFIT, the possibilities for new sports and outdoor activities are endless.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why We Do It

Why do we do it, where did KOLIfit really come from, and what drives us to continue exploring?

Our commitment to fitness has to be for more than our own physical health, more than finishing an event, more than winning a race or setting a personal best. Being fit has to be more than just maintaining health, it has to be more than just doing because you know you should. Fitness is about creating access, about knowing, always, that things are within reach.  Being fit is being able to ascend the mountain, swim the sea, or travel endlessly through unknown roads, without question, without hesitation, and most importantly without doubt. It’s easy to lose sight, to make excuses, and altogether miss the bigger picture. We all do it, we all have those moments when we ask “why am I doing this?” It doesn’t matter whether you are an elite athlete or just trying to stay healthy, we all inevitably wonder if what we are doing is worth the time and effort, if the perceived sacrifice has any real tangible benefit. The answer usual presents itself in one of two ways.

A missed opportunity that reminds us that staying fit is more than just the gym, more than just our physical health, more than the next big race or event, or
A moment of pure gratitude recognizing your commitment to fitness gave you access to a special place or moment that would otherwise not been possible.

I grew up as an athlete, it was almost as though I knew nothing else. For the longest time I chased that little black line across the pool, back and forth, hour after endless hour, meter after meter searching for one more second. From there it was riding and racing my bike through western Colorado, back country farm roads to mountain passes, pressing ever harder into the realm of competitive sport. Finally, I settled into long distance running, chasing my dreams down endless roads, over mountain tops and through bottomless valleys. Competitive sport not only set me free, but gave me an outlet and escape from so much of my life, opening doors of opportunity to explore, not only my own limits, but my environment, my surroundings and my community.
Through hundreds of races, tens of thousands of miles, countless injuries, and shattered dreams, I often reflect back on why. What was the driving force really behind these pursuits? Where did my fitness take me, both physically and mentally? What is it I remember most, what do I carry forward with me, and why do I keep coming back?

It had to be for more than my own physical health, more than winning a race or setting a personal best. No, it was more. Fitness has given me amazing opportunities in life, the ability to explore, to see my world in such a unique light and with such beauty. Through all the racing, the wins, the PR’s, the exhilaration of accomplishing a goal, those memories, as cherished as they are, are not what I remember most. It is the training, the environment, the lifelong friends and community I take with me.  The amazing sunrises and sunsets, countless wildlife, wildflowers, exotic locations and city streets, forever etched into my memory. The conversations, laughter, support, and friendship. Picking each other up, supporting one another and sometimes just the rhythmic sound of friends’ feet hitting the pavement in silent solidarity. Fitness has the ultimate ability to bring us together, not just with each other, but to our environment, and our community.
KOLIfit is rooted in the belief that a commitment to health and fitness is more than just working out because we’ve been told that’s what we should be doing. Our health is about connecting our own physical wellbeing to our mental state, to our environment, and our communities.
Reconnect, come to a KOLIfit workout and take what you KNOW you should be doing and LIVE the adventure!  
Know it – Live it = KOLIfit

Monday, October 19, 2015


Canyoneering….What is it? Most people haven’t a clue, so instead of boring you with a Wikipedia definition, I would like to invite you to participate in one of  KOLIfit’s Canyoneering workouts.  It is a word that is defined and redefined with experience.

This mysterious outdoor adventure is one of the most amazing outdoor experiences. People from all around the world come  to Utah to experience a slot canyon, and it amazes me how many people that live in Utah have not hiked one of these canyons. Most of us have seen pictures of the beautiful sunlight illuminating the bright orange sandstone walls, ironically taken to encourage us to connect with the outdoors.   

Canyoneering has intrigued me since my youth. My first canyoneering experience was hiking through the Narrows in Zion National Park when I was 16 years old. I remember this trip vividly because my father let me drive he and his friends the whole 5 hours.  My aging years have enlightened me on who benefited from this most.  
The Narrows is a 16 mile hike through a relatively easy slot canyon. Our group decided to make it a two day trip by camping at the halfway mark. We were an experienced group of outdoorsmen and thought we would save energy by packing light with a small wool blanket, water bottle, water filter, backpacking stove, and a minimal amount of dehydrated food. I think that was the only time in my life that I voluntarily cuddled up to my dad. SLEEPING (if you want to call it that) WAS SO COLD!  I was grateful to see the sunrise in the distant sky so we could start hiking again. Moving would be the only way to keep warm. The warmth of the sun only lasts a brief moment in a narrow canyon. It was hours later before I stopped shaking and I could feel my feet again, but this discomfort did not ruin my experience. Hiking the Narrows was one of my first true connections to nature. The red rock desert is a hallowed place.  I understand why people go to the desert to seek refuge and to have spiritual experiences. Something I cherish with my outdoor experiences.

If I had to rate canyoneering on a Aaron Ogden Bucket List scale of 1 through 10, I would rate it at  a 9.5. Canyoneering is nature’s playground that can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities.  It has so many satisfying moments. I have strolled up Lake Powell canyons barefoot in luminescent sand, and I have also stemmed and bridged across crevasse like walls shaking from fear thinking “HOLY @#$% what have I gotten myself into?” Slot canyons have some of the most beautiful unique features the world has to offer. Expedition conversations naturally gravitate toward theories of how canyons were created, or “how that rock got there,” or the power of water. Every canyoneering experience is unique, even if you return to a canyon for a second time. I remember hiking Chop Rock Canyon for my first time, lots of down climbs, stemming, bridging, and squeezing through narrow cracks that shred my clothes to bare skin.  Several years later I went back to Chop Rock after a rainy spring and we almost swam the entire canyon.

I treasure the skills and wisdom I have gained from canyoneering such as, practice your knots in
church, always carry a head lamp, and ALWAYS respect Mother Nature.   The great white shark of canyoneering is flash floods. Before every canyon there is a thorough checklist to ensure a safe adventure. I remember doing my homework before taking a youth group down Granary Canyon in Moab.  The weather reported a slight chance of thunderstorms around noon.  So we decided to hike half of the canyon and exit before the expected afternoon showers.  As we exited the canyon we could see off in the distance dark ominous clouds beginning to accumulate.  As we reached the cars it began to rain. As we reached the main road it began to downpour with hail and cracks of lightning and thunder. A great respect for flash floods was developed by the boys that day.  It was amazing, hundreds of waterfalls, torrent rivers raging with debris, and a deep sigh of relief that we stuck to our plan.    

I chuckle at amazement of tourists as I watch them react to the towering red rock walls of Zion. Sometimes I have this desire to go up to them and let them know that this is only the tip of the iceberg of the park and to really experience Zion they need to go hike a slot canyon.  But, it greats to see people have the same desire I have and that is to connect to something that is so awe-inspiring.  

KOLIfit invites you to join us on our next adventure.  Go to for more information.