Road Warrior Fitness: 20-Minute Hotel Body-Weight Workout

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Last month I had a flight that got cancelled and pushed out a day due to all the storms on the East Coast. The upside was that there are worse places to be stuck than in Florida…but the downside was that I would be missing a favorite workout class that I had signed up for in Portland to keep myself motivated and productive after a half day of travel.

But rather than let it derail my fitness routine (or keep me in a gym when I’d rather be catching some final rays of sun), I created a quick 20-minute body-weight workout that could be done in the comfort of my hotel room. It’s the best of both worlds — a mix of cardio and strength that comes in an efficient, yet effective, package.

The workout consists of four rounds, with four exercises in each round. The first exercise in each round is always a cardio move, followed by moves that target the upper body, lower body and core in the second, third and fourth exercises, respectively.

Allow yourself a minute or two to recover between rounds, and you’ve got yourself a great way to get a full-body workout in before you hit a full day or meetings (or an afternoon at the beach)!

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How do you stay fit while on the road? 

Virginia Visit, In Pictures

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After sharing a peek into our recent trip to Italy (here and here), I’m rounding out the “how I spent my summer vacation” series with some shots from a swing through Virginia to visit family on our way back to the West Coast.

The scenery may have changed, but marathon training continued full-steam ahead — with the addition of a few essential accessories, such as bear spray and my favorite hunting hat, of course.

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Beautiful scenery, and best of all? Fewer hills than Italy!

The flatter routes and quiet stretches were welcome changes from some of our climbs through some of those tiny, crowded, winding roads overseas.

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By this point, we were also going through a bad case of animal withdrawal after not having seen our dogs for a few weeks.

So we were a little over-eager to “rub some fur,” whether it was spoiling the horses next door with carrots or visiting these funny little fellows down the street each morning.

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After our runs, we’d sit out on the deck for what we dubbed as “critters and coffee” to watch all the wildlife in action (birds, groundhogs, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, and more).

But there was one run-in that made me think twice about tromping around the woods after seeing it up close — a timber rattler, the only rattlesnake species in the northeast.

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In between running, wildlife watching and ramping back up at work, we got our hands dirty with a few projects around the house.

My favorite was this anti-erosion wall, which required equal parts brains and brawn to haul the rocks and then piece them together like a huge puzzle.

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Another bonus of being out in the countryside, practically in the middle of nowhere? Getting to shoot stuff!

Hubby’s a crack shot when it comes to blasting clay pigeons with his shotgun, while I prefer to use my 17 caliber rifle for a little target practice.

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We toyed with the idea of extending our stay since I work remotely and Hubby doesn’t start his job until next month…but sometimes it’s better to just rip the Band-Aid and get back to reality.

Plus, I like to look on the bright side — when one vacation ends, it means you can start planning and looking forward to the next one!

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Next up in our travels: KineticFix makes the move north to PDX! Stay tuned for all the details…

Italy Vacay, In Pictures – Part II

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In my last post I gave an overview of our summer travel in Italy — the where, if you will — but what, exactly, did we do while there?

Well, first off, marathon training on vacation — let alone finding running routes in tiny towns with some crazy elevation changes — certainly proved interesting.

But I love checking out new places on foot, and Hubby was game to tackle some hills so we could enjoy the views (the shots above and below are from Taormina in Sicily).

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And as much as we love relaxing during a good pool or beach day (believe me, we had a few of those), we also like to “adventure” around. That’s how we ended up at the crater of Mount Etna, an active volcano.

Hubby’s the figure up top, leaning his full weight into the high winds; I ventured about two-thirds of the way up before turning back around so I wouldn’t get blown off the side of the mountain.

I’m all for getting a good rush, but sometimes you just have to know your limits!

photo 3 (2)Luckily, not all of our days were as adrenaline-filled; one of our favorite parts of the trip was grabbing a cappuccino and either people-watching or scoping out the scenery — or both — like when we stopped at this cafe near a swanky hotel in Ravello.

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And you can’t help but want to take in some of the culture when traveling in Europe. We’d heard rave reviews of the art in Florence, so one of the high points of our day trip there was the Galleria dell’Accademia and its sculptures.

One of the not-so-high points? The wait to get in to see David, which was about three hours for the ticket line, plus another hour and a half for the actual entry from there.

Here’s a helpful hint: Cut that time in half by paying a little more for surplus tickets from tour companies (shhh!).

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Speaking of buying…Italy’s small towns have some of the most wonderful shops.

This linen store had every pattern and color imaginable, and the store owner was all too happy to show us the goods (Hubby also made a friend).

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But the absolute best part of traveling in Italy?

You guessed it — the food.

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With our daily morning cappuccinos, I discovered a new obsession: sfogliatelle. They’re light, flaky, crispy ricotta-filled pastries that look like seashells (see in the background below).

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The pizzas are out-of-this-world with a thin, chewy crust and the most delicately-seasoned sauces. I like to keep it simple with basil, mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil.

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One thing we weren’t expecting was the stellar seafood; I guess we take it for granted coming from the Bay Area, but this stuff was fresh.

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So fresh, for example, that this little lobster was walking around the seafood display case next to me before he was plucked out and cooked to order in Taormina.

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All the produce was super flavorful, too. In Italy, they don’t serve something unless it’s in peak ripeness, so you’ve got to try pretty hard to get a bad meal there.

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And that whole farm-to-table movement? Well, you can’t get much more local than in Tuscany.

One night, for example, the owners of the villa made us dinner, which began with bread that was baked in a stone oven and seasoned with rosemary growing on the grounds.

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Or this awesome meat-and-cheese spread from 13 Gobbi in Montefollonico where we sampled homemade mozzarella and a duo of prosciuttos, one of which was wild boar from the area.

A tip: If you go there, also order the pecorino pasta. Words don’t do it justice, so just watch this video of the owner working his magic to see what it’s all about.

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And as long as I’m on the subject of cheese, I can’t forget the lovely house-made burrata at La Porta, one of our favorite spots to frequent while in Monticchiello.

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But this dish from our day trip to Pienza featured one of my favorite things in the entire world: TRUFFLES!

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We capped off the trip with an experience that merged art and food at La Pergola, Rome’s only Michelin three-star restaurant.

From the atmosphere of the room to the table settings, from the service to the plating…it was a bucket-list kind of meal.

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And last, but certainly not least, was our gelato mission, which ended in a final tally of 15. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

As a result, we’ve got some great memories (and a few extra pounds!) to carry us until the next trip.

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In the meantime, I’m on the hunt for some authentic Italian delicacies in Portland…so if anyone’s got suggestions, I’m all ears!

Italy Vacay, In Pictures – Part I

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If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you may have seen some of the shots I posted from our recent Italy trip with Hubby’s family.

But I got a lot of questions about where we went and what we did, so I thought it’d be fun to do a little visual recap here on the blog!

Our first stop was Ischia, which Hubby and I hit solo because it was recommended by some friends of ours. It’s billed as a locals’ getaway, which means it’s just as beautiful as nearby Capri, but much less crowded.

Although it took — literally — planes, taxis (yes, plural) and a water taxi to get there, it was well worth it.

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We stayed at a family-owned resort called Giardino Eden, and since it was early in the week, we had most of it to ourselves for sunbathing, swimming in the Tyrrhenian Sea and chowing down on all the amazing, fresh local fish.

And although we didn’t get a chance to hit up any of Ischia’s famous thermal pools, we did take a day to scooter around the entire island to scope things out. Then it was back to the hotel to nap some more in the sun.

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Well-rested and adjusted to the time change, we headed to stop no. two, which took us south to a city called Taormina in Sicily. We hopped on an EasyJet for the short flight from Naples to Catania, and settled in at the Hotel Villa Diadoro.

The shot below is the view from our balcony, which overlooked Mount Etna (still active and steaming!), as well as the bay of Naxos. We did a little adventuring around this area, which I’ll share more of in my next post!

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From Sicily, we flew back to Naples and headed over toward the Amalfi Coast to Positano, which we had briefly visited while staying in Sorrento during our last trip.

This leg we decided to wing a bit, however, so we didn’t book our hotel — the Conca d’Oro — until the day before. It turned out to be a great spot, but they don’t call it the “Vertical City” for nothin’; it was 107 steps from from the street to the hotel lobby!

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It was another 578-ish (we lost count) steps down to the local beach, where we hung out during one of our days there. And there may or may not have been some good shopping done along the way… 🙂

We hit our fill of tourists pretty quickly, though, especially since it was high-season and the streets are pretty small, so the next day we decided to escape up the Amalfi Coast via scooter to Ravello, which had one of the most incredible views I’ve ever seen.

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For stop no. four, we headed to Tuscany to meet up with Hubby’s family at a villa they had rented for the week.

We’d all been to this area before together and fell in love with it, so this time we wanted to kick back, relax, explore the tiny hilltop towns and fill up on all that amazing food (and wine!) for which they’re famous.

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One of our day trips, for example, took us to Pienza, which is a village that was rebuilt by Pope Pius II into an ideal Renaissance town — intended as a retreat from Rome and representative of the first application of urban planning.

My sister-in-law and her hubby led the way as we poked around the little shops down each alley and took in the sights.

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The closest town to us, however, was tiny Monticchiello, a pretty little medieval village in the heart of the Val d’Orcia.

There’s a restaurant there called Osteria La Porta that Hubby’s family has been going to for years — and we again frequented it on this trip in the mornings for cappuccino, between jaunts for gelato and one evening for a fantastic dinner.

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Our villa itself was a remodeled 18th-century farmhouse, but the property also housed a vineyard, olive grove and several other buildings, including an old 16th-century church and rectory tucked in back of everything.

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One item on our to-do list was a day trip to Florence while in Tuscany because we weren’t able to hit it last time. But after checking two sights off  list — Michelangelo’s David, as well as the Florence Cathedral — we had enough of the crowds.

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Before we knew it, our fifth and final stop had arrived: Rome!

Last time we hit all the major highlights, so this was a quick two-night layover before our flight home.

On the schedule? One final Italian feast at Heinz Beck’s LaPergola with Hubby and his parents, which turned out to be one of the only times I’ve been so full I haven’t been able to polish off the last of my dessert.

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There was one more person we had to see, though, before we could consider our trip complete: Pope Francis.

He happened to be in town and was scheduled for his usual Sunday blessing in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican; although it was difficult to see him (upper window, second from right) and tough to understand (all in Italian), it was still a special experience for Hubby, his mom and me to share.

photo 1 (7)Those are the highlights in a nutshell, but stay tuned for my next post, which will cover more of our excursions — and eats — while overseas!

Have workouts, will travel: How I stay fit on the road

Photo courtesy of DangerouslyFit.com

Photo courtesy of DangerouslyFit.com

We all know that the best way to stay healthy is to make eating well and exercising a daily habit. But what happens when a trip throws you off your usual routine?

Between travel and a move, Hubby and I are hypothetically “homeless” (that is, without a permanent address) for almost two months this summer. Deep breath. 

We need a constant amid the chaos. And for us, that’s a good sweat session. So here’s how I plan to stay on track when everything else feels like it’s spinning out of control:

1. Make a plan. Figure out what works with your schedule, and commit to making it your new routine for the interim. For me, that’ll be a quick morning run before breakfast each day to start things off on the right foot.

2. Have a goal. It’s easier to motivate yourself when there’s something bigger at stake. Having my marathon training all mapped out will help me take the guesswork out of my daily workouts.

3. Keep it simple. K.I.S.S. — yep, “Keep it simple, Stupid.” Between running and body-weight exercises, I’ll be streamlining my workouts as much as possible over the next few weeks to keep things uncomplicated.

4. Mix it up. Variety is the spice of life, so when I’m running a lot I mix in complimentary workouts. This often means adding a few new DVDs into the rotation:

Yoga helps balance tight running muscles, so I’ll pop in one of the 12 Yoga Warrior 365 classes and laugh along with instructor Rudy Mettia’s irreverent approach to the practice.

– And for an intense, efficient cardio session when the weather’s not cooperating, I’ve been turning to BurstFIT Fire for a full-body, high-intensity interval workout in a mere 20 minutes.

5. Enlist some help. Having a partner in crime makes it much easier to get up and out each morning. That’s when I lean on Hubby; we keep each other honest about our workouts while on vacation, plus it’s fun to explore new cities that way.

6. Cut some slack. When things get super hectic, it’s good to know when to give yourself a break. Over the years, I’ve realized that an extra rest day here and there won’t hurt my training; in fact, taking a breather can actually help in the long run.

What are your best tips for sticking to a fitness routine while traveling? 

HITS Napa Olympic Triathlon: Week 5 training recap

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It was no surprise that when both my training plan and travel schedule ramped up this week, my anxiety level quickly followed suit…that is, until I stopped fighting it and decided to go with the flow (sipping Pina Coladas poolside also proved helpful with this). It’s the Golden Rule of training: Sometimes you’ve just got to take a few steps back in order to move forward.

I had been hitting it pretty hard the past few weeks, and with a tweaky knee and some nagging plantar fascitis, my body seemed to be telling me to slow my roll. So a day after I got back from Michigan, Hubby and I boarded a plane to Costa Rica with some friends for what might be our last official “spring break.” It was the perfect opportunity to embrace some recovery time — and enjoy Pura Vida.

Here’s how the week played out…

Week 5 Olympic Distance Training Plan – planned & (actual)

  • Swim 60 min. (bodyboarding in the ocean – CR)
  • Bike 60-90 min. / Run 30 min. off the bike (55-min. spin & 25-min. treadmill run – MI)
  • Swim 60 min. (swimming around in the ocean – CR)
  • Easy run, 45-60 min. (30-min. treadmill run – CR)
  • Rest or active recovery (rest/travel)
  • Long bike, 90-150 min (70-min. recumbent bike – MI)
  • Long run, 9-12 miles (5-mile outdoor group run – CR)

Although I missed my long run, the five-miler was in some pretty intense heat and humidity, so we decided that the qualitative effort had to count for something extra. Then it was time to enjoy some views…

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And make some new friends! Here’s Hubby with an adorable Capuchin monkey. They may be small in stature, but they’re big in personality.

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We took an incredible Crocodile River Tour in which one of the guides hand-fed all kinds of crocs — from a new baby they were training up to an 18-footer they nicknamed Osama bin Laden.

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And on another tour of Manuel Antonio National Park, we encountered all kinds of creatures, including this juvenile Three-Toed Sloth. Hubby spotted him in the woods, so our guide went over and grabbed him to give us a closer look.

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In between, we enjoyed some of the local cuisine. My favorites were the fresh fruit (pineapple, mango and papaya), hand-made tortillas and empanadas, plus Gallo Pinto, a traditional mix of rice and beans.

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Here are Christian and Matt, our travel companions, flexing to demonstrate how we got a little balance and strength training in (sort of) while touring the hanging bridges and ziplining through the rainforest.

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We rounded out the week with a little surfing (Hubby and Matt) and bodyboarding (Christian and me) at Jaco Beach, a prime spot to catch some waves.

Although I didn’t get a structured swim workout, splashing around in the ocean and learning to navigate the powerful waves definitely helped me develop some more open-water swim confidence.

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Stay tuned for week six…I’m on more travels, but will be trying to keep better consistency with training!