The hard parts about committing to the FITT for Travel Program have been making the time and then sticking with the schedule. So, I’ve come up with some strategies.
Embrace the gym workout. The nice thing about doing your exercise routine in a gym is that the environment is a controlled one. For temperature alone, it’s been great to be inside exercising where it’s cool. I also like the variety of equipment. And the YWCA Health and Fitness center is a gorgeous facility.
Make a schedule. If it’s Tuesday, then I know I have to arrive early to work to get my workout in. If it’s Saturday, then I just roll into my workout after training my clients.
Make notes – mental or physical. Keeping track of what is working and what isn’t will keep you both motivated and on top of anything that needs to be tweaked.
Focus on your goal. Too much time to think on “do I work out, or not?” is of no use.
It’s best not to think about it… just start. It works every time. Think of this as a metaphor for life.
So there you have it. Remaining consistent and sticking to the schedule and plan is a great way to inch toward your goal. Remember to focus, commit and just start. Really, don’t over think this. In all the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never heard anyone say, “that workout was a waste of time”. They never are. And just know, you’ll feel better at the end.
It’s good to be active. Not having a car and using public transportation has kept me quite mobile and fit in a number of ways.
And, even though I maintain good health through active living some FITT training is needed so that this mostly outdoor adventure can be enjoyed. This trip is taking me to Australia, which is a rugged country. More lung power and strength are on the top of the training plan. The hills are steep, the distance between facilities requires lots of walking and the climate there can be harsh. All this equals at least 10km a day of walking, carrying a day pack filled with water, snacks, rain gear– you get the gist.
Here’s what my 7-week FITT for Travel plan looks like:
- Tuesday & Saturday: a moderate to hard 45-minute gym workout (that can be done outside or at home) using 15 minutes of interval training to increase aerobic capacity, 15 minutes of resistance training to increase strength and 15 minutes of stretching all muscles used.
- Thursday & Sunday: a 10-20 minute swim using a mild to moderate pace. Adding core exercises and stretching in the water for a total of 45 minutes.
- Monday, Wednesday & Friday: an hour of mild to moderate activity – cleaning the house, gardening, shopping or going for a long walk.
- Diet: will continue to work to make healthy food choices and not be afraid of food. Over the years I’ve learned to eat what I feel like in moderation. That’s the key to having your cake and eating it too. Healthy aging is all about taping into the bigger picture of holistic health.
- My top six exercises for any travel program are chest press, shoulder press, lat pull downs, rows, squats and side leg lifts. They can be done anywhere. When I am doing these, the focus is on 1 set of each exercise to muscle fatigue using a moderate weight and different tempos.
- On the day you travel make time for some activity and stretching.
- Always check with your physician before you start an exercise program.
Do you need help designing your FITT for Travel program or setting it up with reps, weights and sets? Find a fitness trainer in your area, or get in touch with me.
The trip is planned for early September. It is now 7 weeks before boarding the airplane. Time to get myself ready to schlep suitcases, take long plane rides and walk long distances.
As a fitness trainer I’ve developed travel plans for clients, and many for myself. The personal trips included climbing the many steps of Machu Picchu, navigating the very uneven terrain in the Galapagos Islands and hiking up steep Amazon river banks.
My clients have learned training techniques that helped them surf and snorkel, reach the base camp of Everest, walk the West Coast Trail carrying 40-pound backpacks, and more. The formulas used to develop these individual programs were used to organize overall exercise routines based on the goals and level of activity already in place.
The FITT formula
FITT stands for frequency, intensity, time and type. Another formula is SMART, which stands for specific, measured, action oriented, realistic and timed. The latter formula says almost the same thing as the first except that it adds the important component of being realistic (R). What every formula you use, it’s good to start slowly. Give yourself time to build up to fit and strong. Besides, it’s nice to feel smart.
The FITT formula + R
- FREQUENCY – Stands for the number of times the program will be done in a one-week period.
- INTENSITY – Mild, Moderate and Hard are examples of the way we use intensity. Do you need every workout to be hard? It’s best to include a variety of intensities into your exercise plan.
- TIME – How much time do you have for each session?
- TYPE – What kinds of activities will be used?
- REALISTIC – Be reasonable and work up to that heavy weight, extra rep or level of intensity. Take into account your daily routine and plan accordingly.
Next week I will spell out how I've built my FITT for Travel plan.
Use this checklist to help you breath, release and relax your muscles. I use it all the time both for myself, my clients and in class.
Being aware of the different parts of the stretch will keep you focused and present in the moment, which in turn will calm you down.
If you are strapped for time, hold each stretch for 3 breaths. That’s about 15 seconds. More time equals more flexibility, relaxation and breathing. It’s good to note that holding a stretch for 6 to 12 breaths equals about 30 seconds to a minute.
So, next time you find yourself stretching, use this checklist to help you focus your energy:
- Isolate the muscle – focus on the core muscle you’re going to stretch
- Find zero tension – once you’ve found the muscle, you need to relax so you don’t feel any tension
- Find the first awareness – focus on the second the muscle begins to stretch
- Use minimal force – keep it gentle
- Allow loss of tension – now that you’ve stretched the muscle, focus again on relaxing into the stretch
- Breathe – make sure you keep breathing throughout the stretch; it’s amazing how often we hold our breath while doing an activity
- Be patient – I know it’s hard. Breathe
- Do stretch #1 (Warming up the Spine) in the morning when you get up. This will loosen and wake up your spine getting you ready to move.
- Stretches #2 (Calf), #7 (Piriformis), #8 (Upper Back and Neck), #10 (Low Back) and #11 (Chest and Shoulder), are great to do throughout your day.
- Stretches #3 (Hamstring), #4 (Buttock), #5 (Hip Flexor), #6 (Quadricep) and #9 (Abdominal) are best done when you have more time to relax.
- Remember to relax your jaw and keep breathing throughout the stretches.