Pick One: Fast, Easy, or Cheap

Kym Zest


This is the best scenario for pursuing goals that will be fun, safe, and successful:

✅ I’m able to be patient and spend seasons and years developing the fitness and skill for ambitious endeavors.

✅ I’m ready to commit effort and time to research, learning, planning, and training.

✅ I’m willing to invest money in equipment and professional services.

Understandably, most people can’t check all those boxes. So my suggestion is this: pick one shortcut and be willing to go all in on the others! Let me explain. 

If you choose fast, be willing to put in work and invest your money. A really big ambitious goal that you give yourself a short timeframe to accomplish means the research, preparation, and training are going to take over your life. It also means you have less time to make gear, test gear, and wait for deals. When you don’t have time to learn things the hard way by trial and error, season after season, it often means instead paying for classes, guides, coaches and more. 

If you choose easy, it may mean investing money and being patient. It is possible to do big ambitious adventures and have it be fairly easy. For example: you could hire a coach, trainer and body worker, so all you have to do is show up for workouts. And then hire a guide to do the food and route and gear prep as well as help keep you safe on trail. You can also make it easier simply by distributing the cost and preparation effort over years. Turn that one year goal into a three year goal! 

If you choose cheap, it’s going to take elbow grease and more time. You can make gear and find used gear. You can create your own strength workouts and design your own training plan. You can read all the guides and reviews and stories to plan your trip. You can create and test all your own recipes. It’s rewarding and affordable, but it does take more time and effort. 

This is simplified to illustrate a point. Can you be just partially fast, easy, and cheap? Definitely. Just realize that it's typically quite difficult to shortcut everything at once. Pick your path, think through the trade-off and enjoy the journey toward your goal! 


Pick One: Fast, Easy, or Cheap Zest Ed

Kym is the owner of Zest Ed. She and her husband Will coach recreational, endurance, adventure athletes to achieve their goals while teaching them about the process of preparation and training. When not racing or adventuring, they live in an old apartment in Minneapolis with their kitty Pigeon, where they enjoy books, beer, and bike and run commuting year-round. Follow them on Instagram @zest_ed_athletics, and check out their website ZestEd.net 

Trail talk


Amy Hatch

Amy Hatch

Fair point, Julian. It was meant more as a metaphor. Cheers.

Julian Nuss

Julian Nuss

You should always use the switchbacks to practice LNT.

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