You CAN Workout While On Vacation!

Good morning! I hope you all had an awesome weekend ūüôā It felt good to be home and able to do things that helped me feel back to normal after getting home from Italy. Speaking of Italy, today’s post is going to talk about my workouts while I was gone, as well as my mentality behind them and tips to getting them in. I want to preface this post that as I mentioned in my “Ciao America” post, I went into this vacation with a different mentality towards working out than I normally do. I only packed a few outfits and mentally was really OK with not working out at all if that’s how it panned out. And, just because I ended up working out more than I anticipated, it really was just the way it ended up panning out like that. When you’re traveling for 10+ days abroad with a big group of people, it’s also nice to get in some “me” time before joining the gang for breakfast. Ya hear me on that?! ūüėČ

So, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the workouts! First off, we WALKED a LOT. Seriously, when we were in Rome, we were logging anywhere from 8-11 miles, which is no joke! With that said, during those days I definitely wasn’t focusing on running much, but instead would do push-ups, squats, lunges, planks, etc. Here’s the roundup:

  • Friday & Saturday (5/22 & 5/23)- No workouts these days as we arrived in Rome at noon on Friday and Saturday we took our time getting up and getting going. However, we still walked over 9 miles on Friday and 10 miles on Saturday! I love being active and moving a lot, so this made me happy ūüôā

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  • Sunday (5/24)- I woke up Sunday feeling the itch to move and sweat, so I laced up and gave myself 20 minutes to do that. Our apartment was across the street from a river and I had seen people running along it the day before so figured that would be a good idea (I was nervous about the workout scene as I didn’t want to look like “that American” who NEEDED to workout and run, but it was a very common thing to see in the city!). I even found some steps to run up and down and an area to do some walking lunges, squats, push-ups, etc. It was a great start to the day.

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  • Monday (5/24 & 5/25)- I FINALLY got RM to go for a run with me ūüôā I knew we’d be in the car for 2+ hours on our way to Pienza, so I wanted to get some movement in before that- and good endorphins going to help get me through the car ride ūüėČ We did a 20 minute run throughout some super cute streets- it was fun to run together!
  • Tuesday (5/26)- We were going to a winery so I didn’t have much time, but squeezed in 15 minutes of squats, lunges, push-ups, planks, tricep dips, leg lifts, etc. before we met for breakfast.
  • Wednesday (5/27)- I went out by the pool at our B&B and did this¬†20 minute workout.

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  • Thursday (5/28)- I went out by the pool again and was able to do 25 minutes of various exercises. This view was so awesome!

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  • Friday (5/29)- Even though I knew I’d be in the car for 2+ hours, I decided it was a good rest day for me since we had to be up early and since I hadn’t rested in a bit.
  • Saturday (5/30)- I went for a 25 minute run since our final destination was on much flatter ground than Pienza ūüėČ We also walked a lot!
  • Sunday (5/31)- Rest day. We were out late the night before and RM said that biking to the city center would be our exercise for the day.

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  • Monday (6/1)- This was our departure day and I knew it was going to be a LONG day of travel between the 2+ hour ride to the airport and the 8+ hour flight home, so I knew a run first thing was going to make me feel so much better. I ran for 28 minutes.

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And, that’s it! As you can see,¬†I stayed really active, but I never once felt like it was impending on my vacation or my time with others,¬†which is good because¬†that was not something I wanted. I didn’t want my workouts to run my day, and my 20ish minute quickie workouts certainly didn’t do that. But, since I love moving and sweating and the feeling during and after a workout, I’m glad that I was able to squeeze stuff in. Not to mention it made getting back into the swing of things muchhh easier upon my return to the gym! But let me tell you- I was SO SORE last week after a few strength training sessions- I guess not lifting a weight for 12 days will do that to you ūüėČ

I’ll end this post with 3 tips to get in your workouts when traveling:

  1. Do it first thing in the morning, this way, you won’t risk the chance of having cocktails or a nap replace your workout. Plus, who wants an afternoon workout looming over their heads all day?!
  2. Make them short- as I mentioned, I kept mine right around the 20 minute mark which was more than enough time. Let’s face it, your workouts probably aren’t going to be the same as they would be back home, especially if you’re traveling abroad, so figure out what you can do with what you have and bust it out. There’s no need to be spending 45-60 minutes working out when you’re on vacation (in my opinion).
  3. Make it fun! I didn’t even think about inquiring where the closest gym was while I was in Italy. Rather, I made due with what I had- either running or bodyweight HIIT workouts was what worked for me. It was fun to get creative and do things I might not normally do if I had access to a full gym.

If you’re looking for more tips for staying active while on the road, check out these posts:

NBGNO: How to stay fit while on the road
Tips to stay healthy while on the road
Tips for morning workouts

Questions for you: How do you stay active on the road? Do you like to workout when you’re on vacation? What’s your “go-to” travel workout if you don’t have a gym?

Wednesday Workout: The Great CrossFit Debate: is it “bad” for you?

Last week I came across a few articles floating around Facebook revolving around CrossFit. One, in particular, caught my attention: Why I don’t do CrossFit. Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while (thank you!), it should be no surprise that I’m not a CrossFitter. But, that certainly doesn’t mean I don’t like it or think it’s a bad way to workout.¬†I appreciate it for what it is and admire the strength avid CrossFitters get from the workouts, but¬†it’s just not the type of workout I¬†prefer to do.¬†I’m not saying I wouldn’t like it if I tried it, but for right now, I love teaching group exercise.

In addition to the strength and fitness gains from CrossFit workouts, I think there’s a lot of other really beneficial aspects of it:

  • Working out in groups rather than solo
  • Motivates you to push yourself outside of your normal boundaries and limits
  • Teaches you new exercises and ways to workout
  • Can become a “friendly” atmosphere where you get to know other regulars in the class
  • You go to have someone tell you what to do, push and encourage you and answer questions

It’s funny, though, because I think those same benefits from CrossFit can be found in the group exercise setting, at November Project workouts, with¬†running clubs, etc. Basically, I think that you can find benefits from whatever workout you choose to do, but at the end of the day, you should be doing workouts that make YOU happy and push YOU in a way you want to be pushed.

Not everyone wants to flip tires, climb ropes, power lift or do a million burpees, which you’d likely do in various Crossfit WODs (Workout of the Day), but at the same time, not everyone wants to dance for a workout or run umpteen miles or workout in the confines of a group exercise studio. And you know what? That’s totally OKAY! It’s good, actually, because it is what makes working out¬†a “sport” that reaches out to so many people- there’s something for literally everyone and it’s up to each of us to find out what we enjoy doing the most.

The reason why I decided to write about this today is because I’m just tired of seeing people lash out at the CrossFit world. To me,¬†if people enjoy those workouts and being part of the CrossFit family, so be it! What does that have to do with yourself or your workouts? We are all entitled to our own opinions about what is right or wrong, good or bad. And, for every article that bashes the CrossFit workouts, there is likely another one out there explaining the benefits of it. My friend, Brian, shared two with me:

When I read through these, I found myself agreeing with them more than the ones bashing the “sport”. To me, the people bashing the workouts in the CrossFit world are less scientific and more just looking to state things to cause an uproar. To see how people feel about the various CrossFit articles surfacing as of late, I¬†brought the discussion to my Facebook page and a few people had some really good thoughts and comments in regards to the article that was posted.

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The comments went on, but that was the jist of what people were saying. I love when people are passionate about workouts and what they do and when they share their experiences doing various things (CrossFit, November Project, Running, Zumba, etc.).

So, after reading through a lot of articles last week, I still feel that at the end of the day, you should be doing workouts that you ENJOY and that make you HAPPY (maybe not happy while you’re doing them, but after!)- and if that is CrossFit or Zumba or Swimming or November Project or Running- it’s up to you to be mindful of your body and know your limits. Injuries can happen anywhere and although we trust that¬†coaches and instructors are there to protect us by showing us good form, we are all responsible for ourselves. Too much of anything can be a bad thing and rest should be an integral part of our training regime (yes, I know I don’t always follow that, but I’m trying to be better!!).

I want to hear your thoughts, though. Are you a CrossFitter? What is your favorite part of the CrossFit workouts and experience? If you don’t like CrossFit, why not? Did you have a bad experience? What type of workout would you prefer to do? Do you find yourself agreeing more with the articles bashing CrossFit or the ones promoting it?

Sometimes Workouts Have To Take A Back Seat

As I mentioned yesterday, I wanted to spend some time today sharing a little bit about what I’ve been dealing with over the past week or so. It’s certainly been a frustrating time for me, but it’s given me time to think about a lot of stuff!

So. Let’s talk about health… and how much I (and I’m sure some of you can agree) take it for granted on a day to day basis. It’s not uncommon for me to workout at least an hour or two a day for 6 days a week. It’s just become part of my normal daily activity. I love it, I love the endorphins I get during and after a good workout, I love the feeling of sweat dripping from my face (and arms… and legs… and knees… and hair…), I love the feeling of working out with others, I love the feeling of teaching a class full of hard working members… you get the idea. Working out has just become a huge part of my life, so when that is taken away from me- even if it’s only for a few days- it’s really hard on me.

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I’m not worried that I will gain 5 pounds or lose all my muscle definition and cardio endurance I’ve gained over the past X number of years of working out. It’s more than that- it’s my source of stress relief, it’s¬†my “me” time to think or not think, plan or not plan, it’s something I do for myself each day that helps me relax, get centered and appreciate my body and its abilities.

Last week, over a short amount of time, I came down with a weird skin condition (for the sake of privacy, I’m not sharing what I was diagnosed with) that literally made me the most uncomfortable I have ever been. My hands and feet were incredibly painful and so swollen I couldn’t bend my fingers and it hurt to put on sneakers or brush my teeth. My arms/legs were covered with spots as well, and although they weren’t painful, they were itchy as hell. Needless to say, my number one priority and concern during the first part of the week¬†(ok, actually most of the week)¬†was, “what the F*** (pardon me) is going on with my body right now? When will it stop? What is causing this? Who will be able to tell me what it is and how fast it can be healed”. Working out was such a distant thought in my brain, which never happens.

However, as the medication started to have positive effects on me and I started to feel a little better, I was getting antsy. Working from home all week with pretty much no social interaction is such a foreign thing for me, and is not something I enjoy, so when you pair that with having physical limitations inhibiting you from working out, it makes for a cranky Monique. Actually, more than cranky, I was frustrated. Why me? What have I done to make my skin react on me like this? Why do my hands and feet hurt so bad? {Cue the “woe is me” music…}

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After I spent some time (ok, a lot of time) feeling bad for myself, stressing myself out and crying to my¬†parents, I realized I had a choice: I could wallow in self pity and be miserable, OR, I could appreciate the fact that what I had was likely nothing TOO serious, and certainly nothing fatal. Yeah,¬†it’s super¬†uncomfortable and annoying, but it would be so much worse.¬†So, I did my best to keep myself busy with work, blogging and talking on the phone to take up some of my abundance of “free” time (it’s so annoying that when I actually HAVE free time, I never remember all the things I want to do when¬†I’m busy and don’t have time. Anyone else have this issue?).

And, you know what? It wasn’t the most miserable thing. Sure, I got bored and certainly got cabin fever, but I think the fact that I knew, physically, that I couldn’t be as¬†active as I normally am¬†and really couldn’t be in public helped me accept it more…. Until things started to feel a little better. At that point, I was getting restless from lack of movement. Even if I don’t work out on a particular day, I can usually bank on walking at least a few miles in my normal commute. That doesn’t happen when you don’t leave your house for 48 hours… just saying.

Thankfully, I was able to come up with a very modified, no-contact, no impact workout on Wednesday that I did (going to post for you this week!), and then on Thursday, after g-chatting with Athena and asking her for more suggestions for exercises that didn’t require any touching with my hands (planks, push-ups, tricep dips, anything with weights, etc.) or jumping, I got in a really good- and fun- workout on Thursday after work. An hour passed within a blink of an eye and I think I smiled the whole time (my 3 mile walk during the day in 50*, sunshine weather didn’t hurt my mood, either). Granted, it wasn’t high impact, but you know what? It left me sweaty and sore and gave me that boost of endorphins that I was really craving.

So, what’s the point of this long rant, you may ask? Well, I wanted to catch you up with what’s been going on and I wanted to show you that if you want to make something happen, you can. I knew I physically needed to let my body rest for a few days (Sunday- most of Wednesday), which I did, but I also knew that for me, I needed to figure out a way to get some endorphins flowing once things started to clear up. And, you know what? Having to step outside of the box and my “normal” workout regimen was actually kind of fun. I was able to do things I hadn’t done in a super long time and, because of that, I felt the effects of it the next day. Our bodies get used to doing the same things day after day, week after week, so when you throw in “new” moves or variations, it wakes up some muscles that may have been dormant for a bit (Athena wrote up a great Sunday Sweat Talk on this topic on Sunday- couldn’t agree with her more!). Next time you find yourself with injuries or something else that’s limiting you from doing your usual workouts, I challenge you to talk to friends and try to find “new” exercises that you can do- you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results AND probably won’t be bored because it will be new to you.

Your turn to talk! When’s the last time you changed up your workouts? How do you deal with being cooped up at home for an extended amount of time? Who do you go to when you need fitness advice, ideas or motivation?

Happy Birthday Papa Bear! {and 5 things I’m looking forward to this weekend}

Hey there! Happy, happy Friday! And a very special Happy Birthday to my dad, aka: Papa Bear! Thank you so much for all your recent help with moving me into my new apartment and always being there when I have a stupid little question to ask your or need someone to keep me company while I walk home.¬†¬†Also, since my dad is a twin, it’s only fair for me to wish a happy birthday to his twin, Uncle Joe! I hope you have a wonderful day with your family ūüôā

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….

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have been waiting for this weekend to come ever since Monday morning rolled around. I feel like I have so many unfinished things on my to-do list that I’m really looking forward to having time to at least cross some things off! On top of that, while I was in the shower, I realized there are lots of things I’m looking forward to, so I thought I would share 5 of them with you ūüôā

  1. Cristina’s birthday get together at Tia’s on Saturday night. I always like having events like that on my calendar for the weekend because it’s a great excuse to get together with my girlfriends!

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2. Working from home today. There’s something so great about knowing on Thursday night that I don’t have to pack up my lunch and other bags and make the trek into the office the next day. Today is also¬†my much-deserved rest day so it’s nice to not have to schedule in a workout.

3. Starting my Saturday with a workout that doesn’t include teaching (not that I don’t love it, but when I don’t teach I can get up and get my workout done nice and early! Or, not nice and early and do it later in the day… it’s nice to be on my own schedule) and then tackling my “to-do” and “to-get” list.¬†Don’t worry, my¬†Saturday won’t be filled with only errands; it’s supposed¬†to be nice out, so I’m going to take a few hours to relax and sit by the Somerville pool since I’ll be in the area!

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4. Spending Sunday with my sister! We haven’t hung out since¬†last weekend and I miss her (okay, and I need her styling advice with various apartment decisions I need to make).

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5. Exploring my new neighborhood a little more. I found a lot of things during my run on Tuesday, but I know there’s lots more to see! I need to get in touch with some of my friends who live in the area, too… it’s going to be great having people around!

Your turn!! What are you looking forward to this weekend? Any fun plans? Do you have any twins in your family?