Wet therapy, tiny spaces and the worlds least active human.

Workout

My family and friends are still in disbelief that I actually write a blog with an element of exercise to it. I’ve gone from being the worlds least active human (when I was a teenager) to being addicted to running, boot camps, bikram and anything else that likely to make me sweaty (get your mind out of the gutter). I completely love it all. Exercise not only plays a role in my physical wellbeing, but a huge role in my mental wellbeing. It’s like therapy (wet therapy). So, traveling around, going from backpackers to small hotel rooms, has left me without my usual variety of incredible running and workout back drops! But I would never let that stop me – no, no, no.

I created myself a series of ‘small place friendly’ workouts before I headed off. So, if you find yourself in a tight spot – here are a couple of workouts to help you keep moving.

Indoor Cardio Booster

Cardio can be one of the hardest things to tackle in a small space. When there isn’t a gym full of treadmills or a vast open space to run around, people tend to just skip the heart rate rising cardio set. But you don’t have to! Try this workout… the key is to do each round as fast as you can and only rest when indicated. If you are competitive (like me) time yourself and try and beat yourself each round.

  • 10 x burpees
  • 10 x star jumps
  • 10 x mountain climbers
  • 10 x high jumps

30 SECOND REST

  • 25 x burpees
  • 25 x star jumps
  • 25 x mountain climbers
  • 25 x high jumps

30 SECOND REST

(Repeat both sets again, then follow with a nice stretch out.)

Workout2

Body Weight Strength Session: 10 to 1

Mix up that awesome cardio set with some strength training on alternate days. Don’t worry, no dumbbells needed… just you and your body. This one is super easy to change up depending on what you want to do. Fancy a full on leg day? Why not do squat jumps and lunges or kick backs and side raisers. Abs need a workout? Give v-sits and leg lowers a trial. Play around with it and have fun (very sweaty painful fun).

  • 10 squats – 1 push up
  • 9 squats – 2 push ups
  • 8 squats – 3 push ups
  • 7 squats – 4 push ups
  • 6 squats – 5 push ups
  • 5 squats – 6 push ups
  • 4 squats – 7 push ups
  • 3 squats – 8 push ups
  • 2 squats – 9 push ups
  • 1 squat – 10 push ups

To add an element of cardio, inbetween each set either sprint the length of your hotel room (if its long-ish) or do 10 x star jumps.

(Finish up with a nice stretch out.)

Top Travel Tip: One thing I made sure I found a wee bit of space for in my pack was a skipping rope. It’s not huge, it packs up small and its a great one for getting that heart rate up! Either break up one of the above work outs with 20 second skipping bursts or just go hard out for as long as you can – just you and your jump rope.

Workout3

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Cocktail umbrellas and the most comfortable trousers ever.

YOGA

I think I’m getting old.

Yes mum (and probably dad too), I hear you grunting and rolling your eyes at the suggestion of 25 being old.

But I’ve gone beyond the dislike of 4am home times and nights of candy flavoured alcoholic beverages served with mini umbrellas (ok, I still like the mini umbrellas). Now that I’ve hit that quarter century mark, I find complete joy in sitting down and just taking everything in, in me time, and in inner peace. (I know, inner peace, what even is that?)

I love taking walks, reading books and yoga. And I swear I am not 50.

I live a full life. A life that starts at 530am and often doesn’t end until late (late for an old person that is), and I like indulging in the silence that those activities bring. I’m not going to lie, in yoga I’m still getting the hang of the whole relaxation time, I do struggling not to start organizing what to eat for dinner, or wear to work, but I’m learning. You see, running is my planning time, but yoga is (as awful and corny as it sounds) my ‘me’ time.

Unfortunately I don’t get a huge amount of opportunity to do it, but recently I had the pleasure of attending a class run by none other than New Zealand yoga’s equivalent to Madonna (see I told you I was old, look at who my ‘queen of pop’ reference is), Nikki Ralston (pictured above).

It was a modest 830am start, and a room full of Kiwi fashion media poured in, got kitted out in Ice Breaker’s latest yoga gear, then kicked off with a good hour on the matt. It was the perfect start to a random Wednesday.

YOGA2

I don’t often write about the launches I go to, or much of my work related activities, because I think the internet can get clogged with too many people preaching how much they love something simply because it was handed to them on a plate, and too many regurgitated press releases disguising as reviews. This Ice Breaker launch however was different. It was peaceful. It wasn’t a room full of models showing you how good these pieces could look, it was a room full of you, road-testing how good these products could feel. And boy did they feel good. Made from merino, rather than the nylon that most of my work out gear is, it felt infinitely light and breathable. It bridged the perfect gap between loose and comfortable yet tight enough that it never got in the way. A complete win for any yoga (or perhaps pilates) session. Plus the tops were super bright, and who doesn’t like Bright gym gear? You need to own that shit! Stand loud and proud in your orange singlet and yell at the top of your lungs “I AM WORKING OUT, THAT MAKES ME BETTER THEN ANYONE WHO IS NOT” … I kid, I kid. Sort of.

After an hour with Nikki, we were offered breakfast and green smoothies. I was one happy camper, walking to work on an unusually sunny hump-day sipping on a juice (in the most comfortable merino capri’s ever).

YOGA3

Hand on heart, I wore those damn yoga pants all day (yes, to work) and it took A LOT for me to actually change into pjs come the end of the day.

Taking that time for myself in the morning really set me up for a great day.

So, mum (and dad), I really do think I’m getting old, wise, and all those things you hoped you would instil in me. Because right now, I’m way more excited about reading a good book, getting into bed nice and early and putting on my damn yoga pants (and not taking them off) than I ever was about sneaking out of my bedroom window after you guys went to bed.

Sorry about that by the way. Sort of.

The “what’s in my bag” smelly edit.

I love looking at the posts of fabulous fashionistas who take incredible photos of what’s inside their handbag. They usually have sophisticated purses with a perfect pile of the latest apple products, a single Dior lipstick and a COMME des GARCON coin purse in brilliant red. As much as I would love to do a look into my handbag (not that it would look a thing like that), I thought it might be more useful or perhaps more interesting to look into my gym bag(s). Lucky for you they are yet to invent smellavision.

I have three main types of workouts I do each week (sprinkled with a few random ones to keep the manically ‘spur of the moment’ boy happy), running, bikram and the gym. Here are my top picks to make sure you have all you need packed and ready for any of these.

Edit

The most important tool in running (apart from your legs) are your shoes, make sure you are wearing the right ones for your feet. For me, those are Skechers GOruns. I love them. If I could I would buy them flowers and take them out to dinner. The boy might get jealous though.

If I want to date my shoes, then my Garmin Forerunner is probably my secret mistress. My running changed the second I got a GPS watch, and I have since not stopped tracking my distance/time/splits etc etc. I still don’t know if obsessively watching my stats helps my running or not, but it’s great for the competitive streak in me. Every run I try to time beat my last.

Edit2

I seriously love that my Country Road gym bag is big enough for a change of clothes, my hot yoga stuff, two towels, all my post yoga essentials and the mat! It makes it so easy. So I would recommend, spending a bit of time to find something that you can literally shove EVERYTHING you need in.

The only other note I would give about bikram is go for as teeny tiny an outfit you feel comfortable with. Believe me there will be someone there in less and when you are head down, bum up in the middle of the triangle pose in a room heated at 45 degrees, you won’t want any extra clothes. That and drink water. As much as you can pre and post.

Edit3

Runners and gym shoes should be different. If you will be doing any sort of weight training, lifting, squatting or lunging (which covers large amounts of gym activities) you need shoes that ground you at the heel. Other than that, wear what you want (I would strongly recommend against denim).

So, no designer lipsticks here, just the streamlined packing of a seasoned fitness freak.

I can hear all my past travel companions lol-ing (yes literally lol-ing) at the idea that anything packing I have every done could be “streamlined”. But this is (pretty much) exactly what you will find in my gym bags (give or take a few extra kilos of unidentified bits of paper, extra towels and the endless supply of extra undies*).

*I have a serious phobia of finding myself without undies (seriously). I don’t know how I convince myself that in the process of my day I will manage to loose the pair I am wearing, BUT IF I DO, I am always very prepared. You don’t even want to know how many I pack when I go on an actual holiday.

Hot and half naked.

When I asked people who had done bikram before what I should expect going into my first class they all said something along the lines of sweat, sweat, sweat and more sweat, and I rolled my eyes. Quite honestly, I thought I wouldn’t. I knew it was meant to be hot and all, but I’m just not a sweaty person and even when I push myself really hard at the gym I tend to stay pretty dry (I know you were all dying to know that). But I knew my pre-emptive smugness was wrong the second I walked into that room. The heat shocked me, hitting like a tonne of bricks. Also shocking was the quantity of almost-nude people (a lot).

Bikram

I did my class at Britomart Yoga Bikram and they had a rather good deal, $20 for your first three sessions (to be used in a week). The boy came with me (surprisingly I didn’t even have to twist his arm), and we started with a breathing exercise, then worked our way through a serious of 26 poses, and ended with another (this time rather vigorous) breathing exercise. The teacher said that for your first class the challenge should be to simply stay in the room for the entire 90 minutes. And boy was she right – it was a challenge. But not only did I do it, I also made attempts at every single pose (although quite a few of them were failed attempts).

I hated it. For the first 70 minutes. I just sat there getting angry at myself. Angry for not being good at the poses, or not being flexible, or having the sheer idiotic idea of staying in a room that was so bloody hot (40.6 degrees to be precise). But, just as we were drawing to a close, I started to find my stride. I ‘m glad (and think it was well thought out) they give people a few classes for one price, as each time I returned it got better (and I wore less). I have now completed all 3 of my sessions and I’m eager to head back for another asap.

The temperature seemed to vary a little bit from class to class (probably relating to where you are in the room and how many people show for the class). And the last class I attended felt the hottest of them all. I came away feeling completely drained, but I had a huge sense of achievement and a great sore feeling the following day (you know, the one where it actually feels like you did something good for your body).

I would highly recommend giving it a go – and sticking with it for at least a few sessions. I’m a little concerned that it could get a dull, with bikram being the same set of poses every class. But in saying that, I do love the idea of clearly being able to see progress.

I will keep going, and I think the boy might even keep coming too. People who poo-poo it as being not real exercise should just give it a go. And I will laugh at you as you struggle to put your head between your knees as you kneel on the ground pulling your feet towards you with hands so sweaty holding onto your feet is like keeping a grasp on your soup in the shower, whilst trying stop yourself from passing out in a room hotter than a Las Vegas heat wave.

Someone should have definitely have laughed at me. Maybe someone was!

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