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Fitness Journal: Working Out on Vacation

ParisThe summer is almost here! That magical time is often when families pile in the car and hit the open road – like Chevy Chase and family in National Lampoon Vacation – but many adults opt for a different sort of trip to get away from it. Instead of a week at Wally World you might opt for time away on a cruise ship, which hopefully turns out better than Leonard DiCaprio’s experience in Titanic, or a week on a beach, which hopefully isn’t as eventful as DiCaprio’s adventure in The Beach. But wherever you go we bet you’ve got the same concern: How do you stay in shape while you’re off having fun and relaxing?

Wherever your vacation takes you, vacation it should be – like the lyrics to the Go-Go’s song – a time “to get away.” What it shouldn’t be is a time to take a vacation from your workout routine, especially if you’re training for a big event. Even if you just want to stay in decent shape vacation calories still count, even if you’re not being charged for them.

Don’t Forgo the Workout
Unless you’ve specifically signed up for an active vacation, it’s important to find a way to make your exercise fit into your vacation in a way that doesn’t feel like work. Cruise ships, beach resorts and many hotels do offer a gym. Don’t avoid it; instead hit it early in the morning so you don’t have an excuse after a day of leisure activity.

If there is no gym, bring a workout program with you.

“Those would be easy to take on vacation and could be done in a hotel room,” said Dillon Martin, professional fitness coach. “They are typically designed as a 30, 60, or 90 day plan. My wife is taking two of her eight TurboFire DVDs with us when we go on vacation so that she can keep up some of the workouts.”

Dillon added that, “A week’s vacation doesn’t mean you will go backwards, and if well timed, it might be a positive in your workout plan.”

Super Leisure Vacation?
There are certain vacations that offer the promise to just sit back, relax and soak in the rays. This however can seriously impact a workout routine, even if you’re just focusing on staying fit or watching your weight. Two weeks on a cruise ship and you might end up looking too much like the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island by the time you reach your home port.

“If your vacation involves is one of pure leisure, such as a cruise or a trip to the beach it becomes hugely important to work out,” said Steve Edwards, director of results and fitness advisor for Beachbody. “A cruise ship has food available around every corner. While there are opportunities to work out and do things, it is so easy to sit on a ship – or a beach – and just not move.”

Edwards suggests moving regularly, and that means more than just turning over to get an even tan. He also recommends making regular trips to the gym.

“Throw it on the daily schedule and get it done and, and if you like even out of the way,” said Edwards. “That way you can then spend the rest of the day relaxing.”

But even when you relax break it up with a stroll around the ship or down the beach, take stairs instead of the elevator and if you’re at a resort take a walk instead of a cab after dinner. Consider some fitness opportunities too; many resorts and cruise ships offer exercise classes, climbing walls and even team sports like basketball and soccer as pickup games. And even if you don’t normally meet with a trainer spring for one while on vacation – you are treating yourself after all.

Vacations are about breaking from the routine so trying a new activity like rock climbing might be something else you can bring home with you.

Will You Be Sightseeing?
While most some people would count a hike in the woods during a vacation as a workout, the same consideration isn’t always given when it involves a walk along the Seine in Paris or through the Roman Forum. A day spent walking and taking in the sights is actually quite a workout in itself.

“It certainly can be,” said Edwards. “Walking around Paris all day can make you more tired than a real workout,” says Edwards. “If you’re on an active holiday, there is no reason to worry about breaking your workout routine for a few days.”

In fact, if you’re planning to see the City of Lights this summer and will to take in the museums and enjoy walks around town the city, you might even leave the running shoes at home and bring some comfortable walking shoes instead. Trying to get in a run after a day in the Louvre isn’t necessary and it could even be more than your body needs.

“Walking around Paris all day is a lot more athletic than a typical day at work for many people,” Edwards added. “Sightseeing can be mean 10 hours or more of activity and that is equal to an ultra marathon – the sort of race where people walk stretches of it.”

If you just can’t skip the workout and absolutely feel the need to go for a run on the Seine after looking at Mona Lisa and her pals, think about dialing back the workout Martin suggested.

“If you are walking six to nine plus miles a day while exploring the city this will cause fatigue, especially if you are not accustomed to that much walking,” said Martin, who suggested that dialing back to the intensity to 60 percent or, he says, is a good way to handle the fatigue. “Alternatively you could do shorter workouts and up the intensity. For example, find a pool and do 10 x 100 meter hard intervals. Done in under 30 minutes.”

And that leaves time for lunch or dinner.

The Vacation Diet
Food plays a big part of any trip away from home. When on vacation, most of us tend not to cook. And, for many, exploring new restaurants and sampling exotic cuisine is part of the experience. While those training for a big event should use caution, for those on more active vacations shouldn’t worry about a post-trip bulge if they indulge just a bit.

“It depends on your goals and what you are actually doing,” said Edwards. “If you are training for something it’s a lot more important to be careful, but for those who work out for general fitness, eating on vacation should be part of the fun.”

Just walking around a city all day requires a much more massive caloric burn than sitting at a computer.

“The more active you are, the more you actually need to eat,” Edwards added. “If you’re moving around, you might really need some junk food. Think of how ultra marathoners and bicycle racers eat a lot because they’re burning so many calories.” If you are training for a big event, such as a triathlon, it might be necessary to watch the diet and get in those workouts…or if you can, time the vacation to come after, not before, the big day.

And feel free to let loose a little. It is a vacation after all, and overdoing it at the desert table or bar early on in a vacation might just be the best way not to do it again.

Hit the Bike… Or Not
It is hard to avoid some walking on vacation, but increasingly it is hard not see people riding bicycles. While you can’t ride a bike on that cruise ship, you can rent a bike in many European cities. While the traffic of Paris and Rome may not be for the faint of heart, many destinations are quite welcoming on weekend afternoons when roads are closed to traffic. Other cities, such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen are ideal for seeing the sights on two wheels.

Even American cities are become bike friendly, with smart bike rentals popping up.

Of course if you spend a lot of time after work on two wheels, a vacation can mean time away from the bike and if you can’t rent a bike running and jogging can still provide a way to work the your legs. So when you head back home you’re still feeling ready for a long ride.

“Running or jogging is a very efficient way to build some aerobic fitness, and only requires a pair of shoes, shorts, wicking tee, and a sense of adventure,” said Stages Cycling’s power education specialist Benjamin Sharp. “However, for the trained cyclist, the impact of running can be a painful experience as supple quads and calves are pounded by the pavement. In many cases, a short walk around the neighborhood of the hotel, first thing in the morning, might be all you need to keep the athlete’s mentality and find equilibrium in the restfulness of a vacation and the desire to be able to perform when reunited with the bicycle.”

For those who work out regularly sometimes the best part of a vacation is getting back into a routine when it’s over.

 

Timex/Sodahead Survey on America Work Out Habits

TimexTimex may take a licking and keep on ticking, and now the company that manufactures and markets innovative timepieces has offered the results of a new study that look at people’s workout habits. What is notable about this study is that while there is the perception that most Americans don’t get exercise, according to this Timex/Sodahead.com survey 73 percent of respondents are working out at least once a week. Moreover 29 percent spend between 30 minutes and one hour on their physical activities. Read the rest of this entry »

Play the Whole Life

Whole-Life-ChallengeLife isn’t a game, but staying fit doesn’t have to be work. The Whole Life Challenge promises to make fitness fun – or at least less of an ordeal. This eight-week online and in-your-life game allows players to compete with friends and family and make choices regarding health, fitness and lifestyle habits.

The idea here is to turn making positive changes in health, fitness, and lifestyle into a game-a game that every player can win by making daily choices that support your long-term health, life and vitality.

While the current registration is closed, players can sign up now for the next challenge, which will take place between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Read the rest of this entry »

Health Guard

Guard-Your-HealthThis week the Army National Guard announced the launch of Guard Your Health, a website developed to be central place for Army National Guard Soldiers and family members to find information and resources on health topics and medical readiness. To this end the site is tailored to the unique health and wellness needs and experiences of Army National Guard Soldiers and families.

Visitors will get access to health tips, expert commentary on health related topics and community forums on a variety of topics including nutrition, exercise, stress, sleep, dental health, readiness and family resilience.

Guard Your Health Official Website

Wipe Out

Action-WipesThere are times when a shower isn’t possible, and after a run, ride or other workout you just don’t feel clean. If a shower isn’t in the works than Action Wipes might be answer. These full-body after-exercise cleaning wipes also require no rinsing.

The maker claims these wipes contain natural ingredients that will actually leave the user’s skin feeling clean and refreshed. These include plant-derived ingredients such as oils including Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Ylang Ylang and Frankincense. These wipes are also naturally antibacterial and antifungral, and feature no harsh sulfates, parabens or synthetic fragrances and these are even alcohol-free. The 9×10-inch wipe is also durable enough to be used to clean up the equipment as well.

Action Wipes Official Website

Trigger Point Downsizes with Grid Mini

The foam roller is one of the more overlooked workout accessories out there. We have one, but it got put away somewhere and as it’s out of site, it’s our of our routine. Unfortunately. This is one case where smaller might actually be better. Trigger Point is introducing its GRID Mini foam roller, a smaller version that will be compact enough to leave out, or take with you.

The GRID Mini from Trigger Point is 5-inches tall, and 5.5-inches in diameter. It has an attractive texture that might even blend in with modern décor – so it can stay out in your living room without becoming unsightly. While that’s one of benefits we like, Trigger Point also stresses that the smaller (and lightweight) equipment is portable and can be taken to the gym or even packs in a suitcase for a trip so you can get your workout on the road.

Trigger Point will make the GRID Mini available in April during IHRSA in Las Vegas.

Trigger Point Official Website

Weekend Reading List (02.23.2012): Tour de Mass, Campy Goes 80, Personal Coach, US Vs. Lance

Tour de Mass

From BikeRadar: Dozens of mass rides planned to celebrate Tour de France 2013
Spectators and riders travelling to the 100th Tour de France will be able to take part in dozens of organised rides unveiled by the race organiser today.

Race organiser ASO said gran fondos and organised rides are being planned in each town “holding a stage” to allow spectators to get a closer experience of the Tour and also contribute to the atmosphere of the world’s biggest race. All the action will take place on Monday 15 July – Fete du Tour day – which coincides with the race’s second rest stop. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Reading List (02.16.2013): Run in the Sun, Sinead Had Speed?, Tri on the Rise, Helmets for Kids

Run in the Sun

From Men’s Health: Why You Should Move Your Workout Outdoors
Winter blues are reason enough to seek out the sun. But here’s another: People with adequate levels of vitamin D—produced when your skin is exposed to the sun’s rays—have about half the risk of developing type 1 diabetes, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Nutritionist/Author’s 5 Tips to Encourage Weight Loss before the Holidays

The holidays are around the corner and it’s very easy to give into temptation and make unhealthy food choices. Dr. Wayne Andersen, co-founder of Take Shape for Life, has provided the following five tips to outline the simple actions we can take to encourage great weight loss before the holidays. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Reading List (12.01.12): Air Out There, Good Eats, Effects of Exercise, Interval Efforts

Air Out There

Via Men’s Fitness: Does Outdoor Training Make You Dumb?
A new study looks at the effects of air pollution on mental ability. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Reading List (6.16.2012): Racing Messengers, Olympics Get Social, Excessive Exercise

Racing Messengers

From BikeRumor: Brave or Brazen? Underground Bike Messenger Races Explored in the New Line Of Sight Trailer
“Line Of Sight is a rare view into underground bicycle messenger racing which has become a global phenomenon. For over a decade Lucas Brunelle has been riding with the fastest, most skilled urban cyclists around the world while capturing all the action with his customized helmet cameras to bring you along for the ride. Read the rest of this entry »

Device Lets You Know the Quality of the Air Out There

While it is possible to see smoke, and even to some degree smog, it is sometimes hard to know what the quality of the air might be. For many, even a little pollution in the air can go a long way towards big respiratory problems. Unfortunately, it isn’t so easy as just looking out the window to know whether the air quality is good enough for extensive physical activities.

A new personal monitoring device may make it easier to know whether you might want to keep the activities indoors. The MircoPEM was created by North Carolina-based RTI international, and is small enough to be worn on your body and help you know the quality of the air out there. It can measure pollution content of the surrounding air, and monitor your workout levels at the same time – and more importantly inform you if you should cease activity. Read the rest of this entry »

Just be SMART About Fitness and Diet

It is probably an obvious point, but we need to be smarter about our fitness, and here is where technology can help. But to be smart, we can be SMART – as in using Self-Monitoring and Recording with Technology. These were among the findings of a new study announced at last week’s American Heart Association conference in California, that overweight adults who used handheld devices to deliver personalized dietary and exercise reminders were actually able to better stick to their diets than those who simply kept paper diaries or used unresponsive electronic devices. Read the rest of this entry »

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