Take the Stairs – Two at a Time
When it comes to fitness, it’s really beneficial to change things up now and then, otherwise our body adapts and tends to experience a decline in exercise benefit if we keep doing the same routines. The same principle applies to our mental and emotional selves as well: routine is comfortable and can help us to be more productive, but it also causes us to tune out and lose focus.
When I travel, I rarely make it to the gym, and yet I still exercise. Now I know there are fitness fanatics who diligently hit the gym, no matter where in the world they are. If that’s you, that’s awesome! I admire your dedication and discipline.
When I’m in a new place I want to do new things.
I love the outdoors, so whenever possible, I want to be outside soaking in the fresh air and experiencing new sights and sounds. For that reason and because it’s really good to change up routines periodically to keep the body from adapting and reaching plateaus, I work in fitness as a part of the travel experience.
In a recent trip to Las Vegas, we stayed at the Green Valley Ranch Resort Casino & Spa, in nearby Henderson, Nevada. It’s a beautiful hotel with an attractive tree-lined, cobbled stoned street called “The District“, right across from the hotel with shops, restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and a Whole Foods at the end on one side of the street and The Cheesecake Factory on the other side.
For dinner the first night we power walked to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. I ordered a yummy salad with asparagus and beets for dinner, no cheesecake or other dessert ;-). I stood with my back to the cheesecake display case and did not look at the dessert menu. I love cheesecake and occasional treats are fine but I never start a trip with treats because it sets me up for feeling awful with sugar-brain hangover, (sugar negatively impacts mental clarity).
I don’t start a trip with treats because it sets me up for feeling awful with sugar-brain hangover.
For snacks we power walked the approximate five blocks to Whole Foods where we got some snacks for the room and the flight home: apples, raw nuts, some Amazing Grass Raw Reserve Green Superfood packets to add to a water bottle and some nutrition bars.
Be careful! most nutrition bars aren’t nutritious!
Read the labels carefully. Avoid those that contain soy, (most do!), gluten and sugar. Our favorites are Quest Protein Bars and Raw Revolution Chocolate Coconut Bliss Bars . But use these sparingly! Even the healthier of the so-called nutrition and energy bars can be high in sugar. E.g., I’m not thrilled that the Raw Revolution has dates and agave, and even it’s modest (for the food type) 12g of sugar is still three teaspoons in one small bar! Just dates would have been a sufficient sweetener and with more nutritive value and fewer grams of sugar. But when you have a sweet tooth or can’t access a healthier fresh food option, these are a reasonable “go-to” treat or sustainer.
Use nutrition bars sparingly for a treat, not as a daily staples.
It’s far better to get your nutrition from nature than from any package. My all time favorite snack for on the plane: Clementines! They’re easy to peel with few to no seeds, so not messy, and they smell amazing, benefiting much of the plane with the pleasingly fresh aroma of a natural air freshener.
It’s far better to get your nutrition from nature than from any package.
During the half of the year when citrus is more in season, I travel with a couple handfuls of Clementines or Satsuma Tangerines, placed in a Ziploc back along with a couple paper towels and a plastic produce bag for the peel refuse. These travel well and I prefer them because they are easy to peel and virtually seedless.
For more info on citrus varieties, check out this helpful citrus guide.
Back to exercise while traveling: The Green Valley Hotel has lots of GREAT stairs indoors and out. They also have elevators and escalators. I never took an elevator. How boring to stand to wait to get into another—smaller—box, and wait to be taken somewhere, when we could be energizing our system and stirring up our circulatory system, elevating heart rate and strengthening muscles on the stairs while enjoying incredible views or artsy decor. Instead, I always took the stairs – two at a time. And if I went up an escalator, I climbed it two steps at a time.
I recharge my battery in between conference sessions by charging up the stairs two at a time!
Movement is life, and I’m just not into standing still! And I don’t care what people think. While some people may be so shallow as to think critically about a woman taking on the stairs in this potentially unladylike fashion, I’m getting in some great step-ups! Let them take the escalators and elevators. I’m recharging my battery by charging up the stairs two at a time!
With the long staircases at The Green Valley Ranch, two steps at a time was the equivalent of 18 step-ups, and I did this a minimum of five times a day, and usually more. I also ran almost everywhere I went. That means that every day while at a sit-all-day conference, I was able to get in around 100 step-ups without actually working out. And here’s the really great news:
By taking the stairs, the fat percentage in each leg decreased by 2-3% and muscle percentage increased by almost 1%!! Wow! And I didn’t step foot in the gym! (Analysis thanks to the awesome Tanita Body Scan Monitor Scale.
The other thing is walking. There was a lovely healthy cafe in the nearby District called Rachel’s Kitchen. They had healthy omelets, wraps, salads and green juices. We stayed away from their smoothies because while they contained fresh fruit, they were also made with frozen yogurt.
Beware hidden sugars and calories in seemingly healthy smoothies.
Women: Wear Shoes You Can Stride In!
There’s no question that heels on women look feminine, sexy and sophisticated, (so long as you can walk gracefully in them!). BUT… they inhibit movement and ruin your feet. So I wore only my Flatform Tevas, which you can read about here. Sure it was a conference for entrepreneurs, which means we can typically establish our own dress code, but if it was a conference where we had to have nicer business or business casual, I love my Kork-Ease’s platform sandals! I’ve actually run through airports in these too, and have even done squat jumps on stage in them. I have broken a couple straps though, so I’m sure that’s not what they were made for! Bottom line..?
Choose fitness lifestyle apparel with form and function and be at the ready to be active.
Function and Fashion
With today’s vast array of fashion choices, you can look great while still being comfortable. In the past comfort meant sweat pants and gym attire meant a warm-up suit.
Today, forward fitness clothiers are providing—and innovative companies are allowing—active lifestyle clothing that can take you from work to workout and back again. I always have on a fitness top and pants, capris or skort (for more casual around town) as my base layer. Top it with a cool top or cardigan, and accessorize with jewelry or scarf, etc., and you’re off and running while looking ready for work.
We started each day climbing two flights of stairs, two at a time (36 step-ups), and a very brisk walk, all with the added benefit of a light weight in the form of our laptop backpacks. At Rachel’s we enjoyed a healthy breakfast at an outdoor cafe for good food and fresh air, which was a huge relief after the dark, smokey casino interiors you have to walk through to get anywhere at Vegas hotels.
At breakfast our favorite was the one on Rachel’s Kitchen menu called “The Favorite“, featuring three eggs scrambled with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms and basil. It was served with hash browns but we substituted a small side salad for the hashbrowns, and the wheat toast for gluten free.
After breakfast, it was another “weighted” brisk walk back to our room for another 4 flights of stairs (split up in two locations) and ~72 step-ups before our meeting started. Each morning we arrived feeling energized and fantastic, even without stepping into the gym.
Oh, and I snuck in at least 30 squats, 10 push-ups from the side of the tub, 10 close-grip push-ups and 10 dips each morning, lunchtime and evening. So that’s another round of each of those each day in under five minutes total time for all three “fast fit” sessions.
5 Minute Workout
- 20 Knee-ups (alternating knee to chest from standing position)
- 30 Squats (I do these first two to warm up)
- 10 Push-ups (from floor or side of tub)
- 10 Close grip push-ups (from floor or side of tub)
- 10 Dips (from side of tub)
On the last day I allowed a several treats throughout the day: fresh fruit smoothies (YUM!), a small yogurt with fresh fruit and a spoon of granola, and a Cookies and Cream Quest Bar, and a generous scoop of pistachio ice cream that was being served. The very next day I put in a healthy “fix” by having a green juice of spinach, kale, celery, cucumber, ginger and lemon. Just one of these and my cells were singing! AND…not only did not gain any weight during this trip but I also increased muscle and decreased fat!! Yay!
Oh, hey! And don’t forget to power walk in the airport. I actually enjoy it when a flight is short on time because it gives me an excuse to run through the airport. When someone is fit, this is not stressful. In fact it actually relieves stress to be able to be vigorously physical before another round of sitting. So when I’m running through the airport, I’m smiling! ?
What are you favorite fitness travel hacks? Please share in the comments section below and on our Facebook Page. We’d love to hear from you!
BOOKS & PROGRAMS
Adonis Golden Ratio System, with John Barban
Bodyweight Burn System, Equipment Free Workouts And Synchronized Diet – Lose 21 Pounds In Only 21 Minutes Per Day, with Adam Steer
Fat-Burning Kitchen, turn your body into a fat-burning machine, with Mike Geary
- My Trainer Fitness for At Home 6 pack (also great for travel and the gym, not just at home)
- My Trainer Fitness 100 Calories 6 pack (great for home, gym & travel)
- My Trainer Fitness for At Work 6 pack (great for travel too… keeps you off the floor :-))
- My Trainer Fitness Outdoors 6 pack (great for fresh air workouts)
Vitamix 5300, more powerful, fits under counter (this is on our wish list to replace our old Vitamix. What powerful blender do you use for making healthy smoothies and green juice)?
FITNESS APPAREL & ATHLETIC SHOES