Training On The Go
In this day and age of instant gratification — fast food, fast cars, getting pissed at the internet taking more than 5 seconds to load Facebook — we tend to be impatient with our goals and not realize how far we’ve progressed on our journeys, whatever they may be. In the fitness industry, I see a ton of clients who work their butts off for 75% of the year, but come the Summer, vacation awaits! I’m going to tell you how to keep up with your workouts, even when you can’t find the time to get to a gym, a pool, a walking path, off the blanket on the beach…you get the idea.
Here’s a little personal example of how to exercise in a pleasurable way, without crushing your vacation spirit. I just recently got back from my annual Summer vacation in Ocean Park, Maine, where I’ve been going every year since I was born. I know, creatures of habit, right? So I told myself that I would allow myself one week off from any sort of overly demanding physical activity, and give myself maybe one or two or seven cheat days on my meals. This is my one week to unwind, let my body recover from my year-round training schedule, and come back to work and training rejuvenated.
However, this doesn’t mean that I COMPLETELY stopped exercising, or ate like a gluttonous pig. I walked a half a mile to the beach every morning with all my stuff, walked back to make lunch, then walked back to the beach for more sun before I again walked back home to the house at the end of the day. For those counting, that’s two miles of walking a day, which is more than enough exercise to say that you kept relatively active while away on vacation. This doesn’t include all of the swimming in the ocean, body surfing, tossing the ol’ pigskin around, etc that I did while I was away. Every single one of these things is enjoyable to me, but is a big deviation from the lifting and conditioning I do in a normal week at home.
Friends and family ask me all the time what the best form of exercise is. From here I go into assessment mode. What means does this person have? Do they enjoy running? Do they enjoy lifting? Do they enjoy punishing their body as much as I do, or do they wince and get crazy over a paper cut? Actually, that’s not fair…everyone winces and gets crazy over paper cuts, but you get my point.
But I digress. If you’re on a long vacation or find yourself short on time, there is always a way to just get up, move around a little, and get the blood flowing. And there’s ways to do this in a way that’s actually enjoyable for you! *Gasps!* An hour long workout is 4% of your day. A half hour workout is 2% of your day. You’re telling me you can’t utilize 2% of your day to better yourself and quality of life? I know we’re all busy and don’t have Hermione Granger’s super awesome time turner from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but I can guarantee you that you can find a half hour a couple days a week to do some sweating.
Here’s a few examples:
1) Hotel workouts.
Not sure what to do? The possibilities are endless! All you need is your body and the equipment in your room. A workout that I have many of my clients do in a situation like this, is a reverse ladder progression. It might look like this:
Pushups – 20 reps
Squats – 1 rep
Plank – 10 seconds
As you go through the workout, the numbers on the pushups and squats change, and the plank will always remain the same. So on set two, it looks like this:
Pushups – 19 reps
Squats – 2 reps
Plank – 10 seconds
You keep this progression going and the workout is not over until your pushups are down to 1 rep and your squats are up to 20 reps. You may also substitute any of these exercises for whatever suits your equipment availability or change the amount of reps to more or less in order to alter the difficulty level. Workouts like this take about 15 minutes or so, and burn you out pretty quick. If you don’t have 15 minutes in your day, I think it’s time to sort out your priorities. If you don’t believe me, listen to Ron Weasley.
2) The Great Outdoors
You already saw my example of how to get a healthy amount of activity without exerting much energy at all, in walking to and from the beach. Those were half mile increments, which just about every human being on this planet should be able to do, with a few extreme exceptions. If you’re not on vacation and just don’t want to waste these beautiful days in a gym with a bunch of other sweaty people, get out and go for a hike! There’s literally hundreds of absolutely gorgeous places to go hiking in New England, where I’m from, and I’m sure wherever you are that statement holds true too. Here’s a link to a great website with a ton of trails to choose from that includes how many miles the trail is, the views, and the difficulty levels. You can also go running, play sports, walk your dog (or cat if you’re one of those people.) Kidding of course…kind of.
3) Go fun places
This might be the most simple of them all, and it includes a TON of walking. Ladies (and gents, to be fair), how many of us love to go shopping?!
You’d be amazed at how much walking you do when you walk around a mall or outlet shops for a couple hours. Is shopping not your thing? How about a fun place like Six Flags? Walking around the park, standing in line, etc, is more than a few hours of being on your feet and enjoying the beautiful weather in a fun environment. The best part, again, is that you don’t think of this activity as exercise. It’s just a fun activity to do with your friends and family. How about heading to play ultimate frisbee with your crew to just bro out for a bit? Maybe go golfing, and if you can avoid the alcohol cart and the bar (which is the true test of self-discipline), you’re walking 18 holes and getting a lot of reps in with that golf club. And if you haven’t golfed in awhile, you’ll know which muscles you worked the next day! I went to the range a few days ago and my obliques are STILL screaming.
Bottomline is that no matter how busy you are or how many different activities you have planned, there is ALWAYS a way to find some time for at least a half an hour of exercise a day, even if you can’t find the time to get into the gym. If you can’t find your way here to The Way as often as you want during your busy months, the worst part about it will probably be that you miss me (and my awesome workouts) so much that it hurts.
Okay maybe you don’t miss me THAT much. But you can always find a way to get in a little exercise, even if you can’t find as much time in the Summer months to get to The Way, or your own gym. Keep kicking ass and working hard!
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Eric Fish, B.S., CSCS, is a Strength & Conditioning Coach at The Way HPI located in Cranston, RI. He specializes in Hockey Performance and runs the Sports Performance program, working with athletes of all ages and ability levels.