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?

Dieting Revelations

 
 

The Dreaded Scale

The Dreaded Scale

 Confession:

  • My entry into dieting was at 13. 
  •  By age 14, I knew how to drop 5 pounds in 3 days by eating nothing but apples, oranges, and 3 eggs per day.
  • At age 15 I tried my first liquid diet – I lasted 5 days before the nuns at my boarding school found out and made all of us on the “diet” eat solid food.
  • I’m 5 ft. 7 1/2 inches tall and yet, even at 115-120 lbs I was rarely 100% happy with my figure.
  • The best I ever looked was my last year in college.  I weighed 127 lbs (my highest weight in college ), worked out 2+ hours a day and when I walked nothing jiggled.  Was I happy with my body?  HELL yeah!  I was totally stoked! 
The Good Ole Days

The Good Ole Days

Eating problem, you ask?  No.  I hate throwing up, so never fell in the bulimia trap, I never had the self-discipline to be anorexic and I’ve always been to lazy to be exercise bulimic.  The formative years of my life were in the body obsessed 80s, a time before people were told that you’re beautiful no matter what your size, etc.  It was the time of Cindy Crawford, Christie Brinkley, Claudia Schiffer, and Kelly LeBrock.  These women weren’t heroine thin – they were HOT!  And for a girl with a fast metabolism and an hourglass figure, their look was almost obtainable. So for the past X no. of years I’ve watched my weight, dieted when necessary and always known the calories of most foods I ate, even when not paying attention.  

In recent years, I’ve battled against metabolism slowdown, read nutrition and health info. nonstop, flirted with different exercise regimes and most recently, consulted with a nutritionist. 

But you know what?  I’m tired of always thinking about food.  I’m exhausted by not eating when I’m hungry.  In other words, I’m OVER IT.  

Here’s what I’ve learned.  I hope it will help fast-track your own learning process if you find yourself stuck in similar patterns: 

  • Staying thin is a life-long endeavor.  You cannot diet down to a weight and stay there if you revert to your old eating habits.  Sad but true.
  • Moderation really is key.
  • Tune in to your body.  If you’re hungry eat.  If you’re not hungry, stop eating.  It doesn’t matter that you still have 4 forkfuls of the best chocolate cake ever on your plate – just STOP.
  • Get rid of the junk food.  It isn’t helping your weight or your overall health.  There really is a difference between good and bad calories.  In other words, read labels and if there is anything on the ingredient list you can’t define – skip it.
  • Ditch the splenda, the equal, the sweet-n-low, the sugar free gum, the aspartame.  Artificial sweeteners can actually make you hungry because they are sweeter than sugar.  Be like the French, sugar in moderation defined by the easily measurable sugar cube.  Ditch the sugar “grains.”
  • Eating should be pleasurable, not stress-inducing.
  • EXERCISE.  Thin, fat or somewhere in between, if we want to live long we need to exercise and that means cardio and strength training.  Find several things you love and mix it up.  For me this means, tennis, pilates, hot yoga and maybe taking up ballet again someday soon.
  • Get out there and live life.  I don’t know about you, but food rarely enters my thoughts when I’m walking on the beach, biking on the boardwalk or checking out the latest festival or play in my neighborhood.  The opposite holds true when I’m hanging out at home. 

Any other suggestions?  Please share so we can all learn from each other. 

So, I have a new focus these days and new goals: 

  • Exercise for heart health, muscle tone and flexibility.  You know, things that will help me live a long and active life.
  • Eat for nourishment and health.  As natural and organic as possible and fine-tuned for the health issues I already have (slight anemia and low Vitamin D).  So yes, I’ll still be working on getting in those veggies.
  • Listen to my body.  Stop eating when I’m not hungry, eat when I am.  Yep, this is the KISS (keep it simple stupid) method.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes and any discoveries along the away.  And as a parting note, I just have to say THERE ARE THINGS THAT TASTE AS GOOD AS THIN FEELS! 

  

 

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Mixing Up The Exercise Routine: Tennis Anyone?

Tennis Anyone?

Tennis Anyone?

It’s been drilled into us by now that we need to exercise, exercise, exercise – at least if we want to lead healthy, active lives beyond the age of 50.  While “live fast, die young” was an attractive – if not lived-up to – mantra of my teenage years, passing on at 35 doesn’t look so attractive anymore. 

There’s also the weight consideration.  From what I’ve read, we will naturally gain weight as we age and our metabolisms slow (lovely), but if we weigh more than we did in high school we are much more likely to die a horrible death from some protracted and painful disease.  (Seriously, health articles have become as dramatic and ineffective as terror alerts – what exactly does orange mean anyway?) 

With all that in mind I attempt to exercise regularly.  If I make it to the gym (rarely, given rain, parking and the desire to sleep in) my choice for plugging away at the 30+ minutes of daily required cardio is performed on the elliptical for maximum calorie burn in minimal time.  For 30 minutes I “run” like a hamster on a wheel as fast as I can.  At home,which let’s face it, is most of the time, I hit my treadmill and again plug away for 35-60 minutes depending on how much time is available and whether I’m run/walking or walk/walking.  As I find many reasons to avoid this scenario, however, I’ve had to find tricky ways to stick exercise into my schedule. 

I started with pilates – once a week for an hour, one-on-one with an instructor.  That covers one day, but that one hour burns less than 200 calories, so while great for core, strength and stretch, and keeping up with my instructor’s entertaining social life, it’s not giving me a serious cardio workout.

Enter tennis.  About 15 weeks ago, I signed up for tennis lessons.  The lessons are through the Parks and Rec department and for the price of one pilates session, I get six, once a week, 1 hr and 15 minute lessons.  The perk?  Tennis is a serious workout.  It engages all of the major muscle groups and during game play and even drills you’re running all over the place to get to the ball.  So that little cardio requirement?  Done.

I’ve also found it’s really, really fun.  Unlike the elliptical or the treadmill, tennis feels like recess.  It’s also social.  Yes, you can practice with a ball machine, but playing with a friend or learning with a group guarantees you a better time, some friendly competition and face-to-face interaction, something that is becoming rare in the digital age.  Lucky for me, my husband, lil sis and several friends play so on the weekend, if a court can be reserved (and getting an indoor court in Seattle in the winter is the equivalent of winning the lottery) I can work in another calorie busting tennis session. 

If you’re not a natural exercise lover, find a sport, a dance class, anything that will keep you going back for more.  Yes, we have to exercise, but we can at least have fun while we do it 😉

I May Be Obsessing, But I Hate My Scale

Is it possible to gain 2 pounds in 2 days without midnight raids to McDonald’s, Dick’s or Ben & Jerry’s?  Because it appears that I have.  I know what you’re going to say, it’s hot (84 here yesterday), you’re probably retaining water (my husband, who is a fat burning machine, already said that this morning when he noticed a 5 pound upswing that will no doubt result in a 7 pound weight loss tomorrow – SO UNFAIR!).  With the amount of water I’ve been slugging down, however, I can’t see how that is possible.  Besides, this isn’t the first time this has happened and for some reason that 2 or 3 or 4 pounds that suddenly appears one morning does not disappear the next, or the next.  

The worst part is this seems to be fairly common for women my age – out of our twenties but still on the right side of 40 – even for bitches like me who managed to stay rail thin through college on a diet of pizza, burritos and beer – ok, mostly beer – without doing much in the way of exercise.  Those days are clearly over.  Excepting my still genetically blessed friends, all my other girlfriends share the same creep of the scale problem.  One of my girlfriends in OC, who is the most disciplined of us all, has become a pescetarian, puts in an hour on the treadmill or elliptical every morning and goes to 3 or 4 classes at the gym – JUST TO MAINTAIN!  The rest of us, increase our exercise, watch our calorie intake (failing miserably every time we go out or – horror – have a glass of wine) and complain about our ever-widening hips.  Should we just except fate?  For a girl raised on a steady diet of supermodels in the 80s and 90s and knows genetic disposition can be conquered or manhandled, there’s only one answer to that question – HELL NO!

So, enough bitching.  No more 5-6 day a week workouts, I’m going for every day and it appears that I will have to engage in the methods that have always worked in the past but are so painful – no sugar, minimal fat, limited liquor.  Goodbye chocolate, goodbye cheese, goodbye butter.  And honey, if you’re reading this, there’s going to be a lot less meat in our meals.  Hmmm, yes that’s the plan, starting . . . Monday.  Hey, I should at least get to enjoy the weekend!