“Why I…” explores the passion of athletes — from all walks of life, at different levels and with diverse interests — in their own words. Finding your passion is key to staying motivated to live a healthy lifestyle.
We continue our series with Andrew Siciliano, host of the Red Zone Channel on DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket and “Up To The Minute” on NFL Network. Here, Siciliano shares his wanderlust for hiking and what he does about it…
During football season, I’m chained to L.A. I’m in the studio five to six days a week, including the seven hours I’m on my feet every Sunday. So on Friday or Saturday morning, I set out early and find a nice hill to climb.
Hiking is the perfect combination of exercise, escapism and nature. Sometimes I take a book. Sometimes I pack a lunch. Whether I hike a couple hours or a few miles, it helps me get away, turn off my phone and clear my head before what’s inevitably a crazy Sunday.
My back sucks. And running on concrete is not my friend. So in between hikes I work on my core strength — and my bad neck — with Pilates. Or I’ll get the bike out and ride the trails along the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica down to the South Bay or up to Malibu.
“Hiking is the perfect combination of exercise, escapism and nature.”
If I’m not outdoors, I’m usually making the most of my gym membership on a treadmill. But I’d much rather be on a mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean than sleepwalking my way through a workout while watching SportsCenter. Because let’s face it: We all hate the gym.
Every chance I get, I head to the Santa Monica mountains near the Ventura county line and do the seven-mile loop at Sandstone Peak. It’s the highest place in the Santa Monicas, which is technically not that high. It’s a great workout and good distance. I can bang it out in a couple hours and get a great view from the top. If I want a full-day hike, I’ll do Mount Baldy, which, at 10,000 feet, is an ass-kicker.
I’m on local trails every week, passing people in their 60s and 70s. When I’m their age, I might be a heck of a lot slower than I am now, but hopefully I’ll still be there.
When the season wraps up, L.A. and I part ways for a while. Last summer I went back to Peru for a two-week hike in the Cordillera Blanca, a range in the northern part of the country. I’ve done the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Patagonia across the Perito Moreno glacier. Half Dome. Zion. Glacier National Park. You name it, I’ve hiked it. Or want to.
“When I’m their age, I might be a heck of a low slower than I am now, but hopefully I’ll still be there.”
This off-season, I’d like to go back to Argentina and hike the Fitz Roy or do Petra Through the Back Door — it’s a hike through the desert in Jordan and up and down the canyons to Petra, an ancient city built into the side of sandstone cliffs. If I can find a friend to go with me, great. If not, I will do it myself.
From: Reston, Virginia
Marital status: Single
The big one: Summited Kilimanjaro
Favorite hike: The Kalalau trail in Kauai, consistently rated one of the world’s most dangerous trails. Probably one of the most beautiful places on earth.
L.A. philosophy: There are skeptics who don’t like our politics or think we’re all Hollywood. Good. Don’t move here. More for us.
—As told to Danny Bonvissuto