Dear Athletic Chef:
I am a recent culinary school graduate and am working at my internship right now. Although it has been an enjoyable experience so far, I have one question for you. How is it that you manage to be an athlete and a chef?
I used to run 5 days a week and I used to run for hour or longer runs when I did. I’ve trained for a few distance races and really enjoyed training for them. Now, I feel like I can never train for one again. I tried to maintain my fitness level while I was in school, but it just didn’t happen. I had super early classes and I was working full time. I had homework to do and a 35 minute commute to school and a 45 minute commute back. Now, I am on my internship and I am on my feet for 9 or more hours a day, often times standing in one place prepping food.
My knees are killing me, but then again, I’ve always had bum knees. My quads are so tight that I can’t squat without uttering a groan that sounds like I’m 80 years old. My calves have been in pain since day one of my internship and after rolling out pizza dough for 2 hours straight, my arms felt like they were going to fall off. My whole body aches when I get home from work sometimes. I’m just plain exhausted!
I know I signed up for this lifestyle voluntarily and that it is a physically demanding job. I also know that the culinary world is not forgiving and often times I will work long hours and not be able to do everything I’d like to outside of work. But, can’t I keep my running? It’s the only thing that keep me sane. I had a bad day at work on Friday, working my first shift on the line. The only thing that made me feel better was going for a hard, hot run the next morning. I paid for it later at work when my feet were screaming at me, but I didn’t care.
Isn’t it possible to remain reasonably fit and still work in the food service industry? Tell me your secrets, please, because I am very frustrated and a little disheartened. Last year at this time, I was recovering from running my second marathon. Now, I get sore when I run 6 miles. I’ve been doing some yoga, which is a nice change of pace from the frantic energy of a kitchen. I bought some compression socks that seem to help the soreness in my lower legs and I wear padding around my bunions so my toes won’t ache as bad. Surely, there must be some way to incorporate running into my life. Thanks for listening to my ramble.