Monthly Archives: August 2013

Vacations – Your Workouts and Eating

Vacation. The time to “escape” from reality and have some fun. But alas, it can also break that nice little routine you may have going with your workouts and eating. So how do you prevent a vacation from a setback?

The answer may not appear simple. There are so many vacation scenario’s – an all inclusive cruise or resort; a trip to a major destination (Hawaii, Paris, The Caribbean, etc.); visit family; camping….and more. Each poses it’s own issues with regards to keeping up with your workout program, and more importantly can really throw curveballs at your nutrition (I was just in Oahu, Hawaii, and the food choices were wide and varied and all so tempting – and I think Hawaii has the best food of anywhere I’ve ever travelled to).

But there is a simple answer. That simple answer is: Think ahead and plan accordingly. Think about your particular trip and what’s available to you, and adjust your plan of attack accordingly.

Here’s a few thoughts on scenario’s I have experienced first hand:

On cruises, many ships have fitness facilities, so there is no problem getting in some sort of exercise. You can jog around the deck or on a track if the ship has one. Also, see the next paragraph for in room ideas. Regarding food, you can order off the menu and ask for less butter etc. Just portion control, and hold back on licking the plate clean if the portions are large, and indulge in a few bites of the delicious deserts instead of devouring the whole thing. I haven’t been to an all inclusive, but I assume it’s somewhat similar.

If you travel to a hotel with a kitchen, great. Make your own breakfast and lunches to save $$, and maybe even a dinner or two. Make something fancy – you’re on vacation. At restaurants, try to order smart. Request cooking in little or no butter, get dressing on the side, don’t get desert. Look for hotels with fitness facilities as many have them, even if they’re small. Buy a set of exercise bands for travelling. You can find discounts at local gyms if there are any. You can jog. If there’s a pool, swim laps for 1/2 hour. You can find simple routines on the internet to workout in your room – combinations of crunches, squats, lunges, burpees, jumping jacks, push ups with variations, mountain climbers, sprinting in place. These are all things that can be done in any room without equipment.

Camping is no different. When you treat yourself to a restaurant, there’s usually healthy alternatives for you. And cooking and camping go well together. Chicken, pork, fish. Salads and steamed veggies. As far as exercising, same as with hotels (minus the fitness facilities). You can bring bikes along. Maybe you’re into kayaking. In my case, I take my exercise mat, DVD’s, and my laptop along and workout at the campsite.

In short, there’s really no need to treat a vacation much differently then at home. Maybe you’re escaping work, or family issues – a vacation is about cleansing the mind. But with your own body, nothing should be different. Nutrition wise it may be more challenging if your only alternative are restaurants, so you just have to commit yourself to ordering healthy and maybe not finishing everything. Any supplements you take at home should come for the ride and be taken every day as you always do. Maybe you have to modify a protein shake if you use a blender, but with ice and water and a shaker cup you should be at a minimum good to go. There is always a way to workout wherever you are. It may not be your regular routine, but something is better than nothing.


Travel Is Wonderful But Family Trumps All

I love Hawaii. For the past two weeks I have soaked in the sights and sounds from a place many people only dream about coming to, paradise if you will. I appreciate swimming at Waikiki Beach while looking at Diamondhead. I love the drive up… the coastline with the ocean on one side with mountains on the other. I have loved the variations of food here. The different beaches and towns offer much to the senses. [cost of living is another story]

But all of that takes a back seat and is a distant second to what has been most special about being here. It’s about being with family. Crystal has been out here for almost three years, and over that time we get a week or two a couple of times a year to visit with her when she’s on leave, which is not nearly enough. When she’s come home to MA on leave, she stays with us but also visits other family members. But with us coming to her house here in HI, it’s been two weeks with us three being together. Crystal was kind enough to let us sleep in her bed while she sleeps on a decent air mattress (not nearly as comfortable as her own bed). We all sleep in the same room. And we all are 100% at ease, as this is the way it should be.

Being with a 28 year old grown woman with her own life, yet her wanting nothing more than to just be together with us, her parents, cannot be explained with words. The deep bond Denise and I have with our daughter (the same bond we have with our son Joshua and daughter-in-law Irina) is what it’s all about. It’s awesome being in Hawaii, but as Denise tells me (and I agree), that’s just a bonus but not important. If this was anywhere else not as “special” as Hawaii is, the feeling would be the same. It’s sad this trip is coming to a close, but we will be seeing Crystal again soon.

I love my family with all of my heart, and will cherish this trip forever.


Family – Integral To The Healthy Lifestyle

I love talking about fitness and nutrition. I truly want to help people find their own personal path to living a healthier life. It’s a good feeling to hear people talk about how their own body and/or inner feelings no longer make them feel down, and knowing that I in some way big or small have helped them along the way.

But sometimes, life gets in the way of me talking about fitness and nutrition. And this weekend, that “life” has been quite special thanks to family. I’ve said it many times, but the healthy lifestyle isn’t all about nutrition and exercise. It’s about living. It’s about grabbing a moment and cherishing it. It’s about knowing what is most important.

This weekend I spent some quality time with my son and daughter-in-law, my nephew and niece (by marriage) local to me, and my nephew (by marriage) and niece that came up from Florida to visit. I love them all dearly, and they each brought something that made the weekend so much more special, and something to always remember. I have a grandson who is nearly 4 years old now, but each of the aforementioned couples just recently had babies, and they all converged on my house. Words cannot describe how precious the grandsons and grand nephews are, and how I feel right now having this weekends memories with me for life.

Thank you SO much Joshua/Ira, J.C./Julianne, and John/Meagan for making my (and Denise’s) weekend something never to forget. DSC03402

Plyometrics – One Form Of Exercise, But What Is It?

Plyometrics, as defined in Wikipedia: Plyometrics, also known as “jump training” or “plyos”, are exercises based around having muscles exert maximum force in as short a time as possible, with the goal of increasing both speed and power. This training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid or “explosive” way, for example with specialized repeated jumping. Plyometrics are primarily used by athletes, especially martial artists, high jumpers, to improve performance,and are used in the fitness field to a much lesser degree.

Personally I had never heard of Plyometrics until I did the P90X fitness program, one of the signature fitness programs put out by a company called Beachbody. I personally never enjoyed going to the gym, nor do I run much. At home fitness is something I’ve always enjoyed, and after more than two decades of building a home gym, I now find myself enjoying exercises that are performed in front of the TV with my body weight and some dumbbells (my Nordic Track, Elliptical, Treadmill, and Single Stack Weight Machine get very little use now). There is no equipment used in the P90X Plyometrics routine. It’s a series of various moves repeated in two rounds of each set. It works pretty much every muscle in some form.

I made this video showing clips of each of the moves from the P90X Plyometrics program to give you a better idea of what Plyometrics is:

As you can see, Plyometrics can be pretty intense. It really works the lower body while burning off quite a few calories (according to my Polar watch, that 57 minute workout which includes 7 minutes of warm-up burned around 600 calories, although I never trust the readings to be all that accurate). This is just one example of a variety of exercises you can do to keep yourself active and fit. Personally, I have found that the fitness programs in the Beachbody library provide me routines to work my entire body with a mixture of resistance and cardio training.

Working out at home isn’t for everybody. The key is to find an exercise routine that you will enjoy doing each day to keep you active, whether it be the gym, running, cycling, etc.. If you happen to be interested in an at home based workout, check out the useful links section to get an idea of the programs Beachbody has.