Sunday, September 18, 2011

The challenge of travel

As I write I am finishing my first week of a three week vacation. Being due a 3 month sabbatical because I have been at my position for 10 years, I opted for this shorter vacation for many reasons, including a desire to not be away from home or church for such a long time. We also have kids at home which makes getting away for a longer time harder.

Travel presents its own set of challenges for the striving for fitness. But with some planning and resolve, travel does not have to derail your fitness plans. The challenges are two-fold: exercise and eating (yeah, the same two as being at home!)

Our three week vacation plans include(d) 4 days of travel with a night in different locations, a week at my parents house, a few more hotel nights, and then a seven day cruise.

Exercise is grounded in our Beachbody programs. Although I have 'finished' INSANITY, I decided that I would bring the max DVD's with me (wife and sons brought ASYLUM). I also brought Tony Horton's Fountain of Youth Yoga from the One on One series for a change of pace. We also borrowed a portable DVD player from a neighbor to play them on. Also brought the running shoes.

Traveling to the West Coast, the time change has worked to our advantage. We've been in bed early and up really early so we can get out workouts in. I have done them in hotel fitness rooms, hotel rooms, and now here at my parent's house. One day I have not popped in a DVD has been the day we left the hotel extra early to go to the Grand Canyon, but I did hike up and down hills for over 6 miles, much of it on uneven ground! My wife and sons have been intermingling ASYLUM with running since they are training for a half marathon in mid-October.

Eating healthy on vacation can be a bigger challenge. Restaurant food is not only expensive but often laden with calories and unhealthy ingredients. One of our first stops after renting our car and driving to our first hotel was to go to a grocery store to shop for healthy, nutritious foods, and a cooler to put them in. We made sure the hotels we stayed at had microwaves or we did alot of paleo-type eating (raw veggies, fruits, nuts, etc.).

Eating at my parents house was/is different challenge, with issues of lots of prepared foods, and other packaged things we would not usually eat at home. The bigger challenge here is portion control and not falling into old patterns of extended family type eating. Snacking has to continue to be fruits, etc., rather that other available, but less healthy options.

The cruise portion is the part that worries most people, but thankfully I have positive cruise experiences in the past. You can lose weight on a cruise! I have. Food choices have to be carefully made, which more me means avoiding the starches and sugars. The waiters are happy to substitute extra veggies for the starches, and fresh fruit for sugary deserts. And just because food is available all day and evening doesn't mean you have to eat all the time! Yes, I eat more on a cruise than I do at home, but I avoid unhealthy. The key is to burn calories. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Last cruise I counted in one day I climbed up or down over 70 flights of stairs on the boat! There is also a workout room on most boats, a deck for jogging, and on the boat we are using (Disney) a basketball court. And of course you can always do those Beachbody DVD's in your room.

CHOOSE to eat well and CHOOSE to exercise and your vacation does not have to be disaster to your waistline!

Friday, September 9, 2011

INSANITY results, and a new challenge

As of Saturday I am 'finished' with INSANITY. Overall I have liked the workout program, but not always the workouts themselves while doing them. I have surprised myself that with all the jumping I haven't had more problems with my knees and ankles. And I was also surprised by the amount of upper body work in the form of all sorts of push ups of varying types. Nowhere near the upper body work in P90X, but more than I thought.

The results? Since July I have lost over 35lbs. A pretty good start. I have a ways to go yet, but am hopeful.

The biggest change for me has been getting the eating in line. Having an eating plan and sticking to it has been the key, which I have done extremely well since the end of July. Eat well and feel better about workout out. Work outs go well, motivated to eat well. Rather than living a vicious circle of failure it is replaced with a positive reinforcing circle of progress.

So what is next? I am due a sabbatical from work but instead we are just taking a 3 week vacation out west. It will involve air flight, multi-state driving, and staying in some hotels, at family's house, and a cruise ship.

The challenge is to keep the positive circle going. It is important to have an eating plan includes being flexible about location and content while traveling but also knowing that portion control and individual food choices can be done well. And of course the nonnegotiable is EXERCISE.

We are packing INSANITY and ASYLUM dvd's, workout bands, and of course running shoes for those days playing the dvd's will not be convenient. Jennifer is picking up a tiny dvd player today to pack so not having a player won't be an excuse. And hotels and the cruise ship and workout rooms.

Last time I took a cruise I lost weight! I took the stairs instead of the elevator most of the time, worked out in the weight room, and watched my food intake. I am making it a personal challenge that in the 3 weeks I am away I will lose 10lbs. It is 3.3 pounds a week, upper end of what is considered a healthy weekly weight loss, and I am pushing for upper end!

We leave Monday and with smart phones and an iPad, I will keep you up to date as we go.