Staying Fit On The Road

I don’t know about you, but when traveling my exercise routine used to pretty much go out the window.  Combine that with a love – ok, obsession – with good (read decadent and calorie laden) food and a devil may care attitude toward calorie content when dining out and you have the potential for waistline disaster on the road. 

As the 1-2 pounds put on during a work trip or vacation don’t come off as easily anymore, I know I have to get more serious about exercising on the road.  To that end I’ve had two mainstays: hotel gyms and 24Hour Fitness. 

I bought my 24Hour Fitness membership back in the day when you could get the “any club” membership reasonably, and I generally only use it when traveling.  There’s a 24Hour by my office in Orange County and my office in Santa Rosa, making exercise on office visits possible, though not always probable.

When 24 Hour isn’t available (like in Indianapolis) – and sometimes even when it is – the hotel gym is my default.  Every one has a treadmill and that’s enough for me.

Yesterday, I slept in a bit too late and so headed to the hotel gym instead of 24Hour.  Every piece of cardio equipment was taken.  What?!  This is pretty much unheard of and given my time constraints put me in a serious jam.  I headed back to my room, figuring I would try to fit in a workout after dinner (yeah, right) and then I remembered the Shape Magazine Travelista iPhone app.

I read about the app in the magazine a month or so ago, paid the $2 fee, and downloaded it.  It then proceeded to remain on my phone unused.  The app contains 8 workouts including a “No-Machine Calorie Burner,” “Tube Toners” (for those smart enough to carry an exercise tube in their suitcase) and 3 “Hotel-Room Shape Up” routines. 

I chose “Hotel-Room Shape Up 1” expecting a mild routine of chair dips and lunges – the usual exercises one resorts to in a hotel room.  It kicked my butt.

The workout consisted of 3 circuits of 10-15 reps of 8 moves that together, target every main muscle group.  The standard chair dips, lunges, crunches and pushups are present, but there’s also some creative moves like triceps extensions with water bottles for weights and a one-leg plank that keeps you in position so long your arms start to wobble.  By the end of the second circuit my heart was pumping and I was starting to “glisten” (women never sweat).  By the end of the third and final circuit my arms were shaking.  This morning?  Sore, in all the right ways.

When I ended the workout, I tapped the “complete” button and discovered a nice little bonus feature.  The app tracks your time (30 mins 7 secs for my workout) and saves it for you with the workout name, time and date, so you can have an on-the-road exercise log. 

The Shape Travelista app is now a solid addition to my road warrior workout routine, adding in strength training in the convenience of any hotel room. 

What do you do to stay fit on the road?

It’s All About the Fundamentals

Sage words of advice for our Mariners, that.  But this is not about the Mariners and how they’ve lost 7 of the 8 games I’ve seen played at Safeco Field this year.  This is about how brushing up on the basics, or learning them in the first place can help take your yoga practice up, oh about 10 or 12 notches.

The yoga studio I go to just started offering a Power Vinyasa Fundamentals class once a week.  Having been to one, count it one, power vinyasa class and falling miserably behind pretty much the entire time, I knew that if I want to mix vinyasa into my yoga routine, I needed to get up on the basics.

While hatha, which I love, focuses on flexibility, vinyasa is driven by strength.  In hatha you hold a series of poses for a really long time, in vinyasa you power through the poses in a rushing river type flow.  If I wanted to keep up with the river I needed a guide.

So off to the fundamentals class I went.  The class was a mix of yoga newbies and frequent practitioners who wanted to work on their form.  For an hour and fifteen minutes the instructor – who bears a striking resemblance to Ewan McGregor, yum – demonstrated, explained and individually corrected every student in  every pose of sun salutation. 

The class was conducted in a manner similar to dance choreography, we would learn a step and then another and then add them together. 

About 75% of the way through class – and remember the heat is on at about 103 the entire time – I was chosen to demonstrate putting all the steps together while he coached me through and corrected my form, very slowly (I’m pretty sure I was picked because I happened to be in the middle of the room).  

What this means is I got to hold high plank for like, forever and then attempt to move into low plank (I went for the modification and put my knees down) and stay there.  It also means that I was a mass of cascading sweat while being adjusted.  And let me tell you, it is disconcerting to have a hot guy put his hands on you – in a purely professional manner of course – when you’re dripping with sweat. 

It was worth it though.  I walked out of class with a corrected warrior 1, 2 and chair position and full knowledge of the poses in sun salutation.  I also got to stare at eye candy for an over an hour – not a bad way to spend part of a Sunday morning.

The morning after class I woke up and soon discovered that those planks had taken their toll – my chest and arms were sore, as in having lifted weights sore even though no weights were involved.  But that’s ok, I worked it out at hot hatha that night.