The fitness diaries: Drew Ibarra

Challenge amplifies well-being

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Drew on the Peterson Ridge Rumble 20 mile trail run in Sisters, Ore. Photo by Glenn Tachiyama Photography

As one might assume, the director of physical activity programming for our college, Drew Ibarra, is an active man. In addition to running up to four days each week, he joins in Faculty Staff Fitness weight or corefit classes whenever he can. Since moving to Oregon in 2008, Drew’s discovered a love of trail running and enjoys climbing the Cascade Mountains. On his fitness bucket list, however, is an activity very different from being on the trail – scuba diving.

Drew doesn’t stay active just because it’s part of his professional life. He defines his overall well-being based on his ability to engage in physical activities. Living an active lifestyle also challenges him and builds character when times get tough.

“I personally think we spend too much time trying to make life easy, and in doing so we never prepare ourselves for the tough times in life,” Drew says. “I once did a 100 kilometer run. Doing something like that has helped me put my day-to-day life into perspective. The up-all-night with the kids, the long days at work, or the tough family circumstances that pop up seem to go more smoothly.”

Drew says that his personal fitness philosophy lies in the realm of challenge. “When I think of different challenges I have tried, I only consider it a challenge if there is a chance of failure,” he says. “But since I like trail running I often try to find races or design events that push me to finish challenging distances instead of hitting specific time frames.”

Drew has been active since he was young, comepeting in many sports and eventually coaching. When he and his wife, Alicia, had their first child, his activity level plummeted. His weekly schedule is more stable now that Coral and his second daughter, Lily, are older.

The hardest part of being active, he says, is fitting it in to the daily grind. When it becomes a priority, there are ways to make it work while finding that delicate balance. You can take a class or schedule a recurring time to meet friends to work out, he says.

Drew’s professional fitness philosophy has to do with personal preference. “I like the idea of getting more individuals engaged in physical activity and to have success at the early stages of participation,” he says. “While I personally like trail running, I think any activity that keeps individuals moving and is exciting to them is the right way.”

Although fitness has been an important part of Drew’s life, it hasn’t come without challenges. He’s experienced injuries that have forced him to stop running and pick up swimming instead. Raising children has been another scheduling challenge, which he’s still working on. He also says that he’s joined social circles that engage in the types of activities that he enjoys.

And even physical fitness professionals admit they have guilty food pleasures. Drew will be the first to admit that he enjoys ice cream from time to time.