I’ve you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know I’ve had the great fortune to be traveling a bit Upstate to Lake George this summer.
In the past, vacation meant for me the best of intentions on Day 1 and then after a couple days of less than perfect eating and maybe too much wine (thus too sluggish to get up and workout the next day) I’d get caught up in the vacay mindset of: “Whatever, I’ll just get back to it when I’m home!” Of course I’d get home feeling puffy, tired, and guilty – and that’s no way to come off a beautiful vacation!
This summer means a fair amount of travel for us and whether it’s one vacation or twenty, the forget-it-I’ll-start-again-on-Monday mentality is unhelpful to us.
It means more yo-yoing and less results – and certainly no long term change (i.e. working out as a everyday habit, not as part of a diet). And for me, I’m not necessarily interested in losing while on vacation – but I’m certainly not interested in gaining! Keeping up with my workouts while traveling and on vacation isn’t about being a bad little dieter, it’s about feeling good. Seriously.
I just plain feel better – and am nicer – when I exercise every day. And although fat loss isn’t my main priority now, building strength is. I’m still reeling a bit from weak core and pelvic floor issues after Baby #2 (who just turned one!!!) and in order to continue to make any sort of strides in strength I have to be consistent. (Had a recent set back with a herniated disc so I’m even more committed to my core+floor work!)
After this set back I’ve been taking it easy with my lifting. For the past 4 weeks it’s been lighter and mostly at home. I found that especially after having babies a home gym (although uber modest) was essential or I was going to average one workout a week. Some days it’s a matter of at quick at home circuit or no workout at all – and you can guess what my preference is for you and me both! Removing any barriers to getting it done will always increase your ability and ease with being BETTER. #letitbeeasy I posted a pic recently on IG and Facebook after a home workout and was asked what my fav pieces of equipment are for home and travel, so here they are!
Yoga Mat, No brainer right?
Great for yoga as well as any floor work (like much of my rehab exercises), a great place to set a weight or kettlebell to protect wood floors, and my knees are super sensitive so I do any kneeling exercises on the mat as well.
They don’t really get cheaper or more space saving – and versatile – as resistance bands. My friend and Girls Gone Strong founder Molly Galbraith traveled for several weeks in South America a few months back and worked out almost exclusively with bands. See how she did it in this video. I am not working with bands right now, except the minibands for some lateral band walks to activate my weak ol’ glutes before any lifting. Lateral band walks can be part of a circuit as well, the thicker the miniband the more resistance. Valslides Celeb trainer Valerie Walters came up with the genius idea for these little babies. They allow some sliding motions and are super compact for travel. They also only set you back about $29.95.
Her website has loads of exercises that you can do with these but just a couple fun ones I’ve been up to lately are hamstring curls (lying on back, knees bent, heels on the Valslide, pulling heels in to buns) and lateral lunges. TRX I invested in this about 5 years ago and haven’t looked back since. It allows pulling motions – which if you’re working body weight only at home can really up your exercise options. Now you can do a row, bicep curls or tricep extensions, knee pull ins for the abs and many, many more. This is a crucial tool for me at home and for travel – it folds up to the size of a pair of sneakers.
At Home Equipment:
In addition to everything above, I also have a few recommendations for home workout equipment that will give you a bit of weight without taking up much space:
1-2 KBs of varying sizes can give you a variety of options for not only some weighted squats or lunges, or some presses but some great metabolic work (i.e. kettlebell swings). Post baby I bought an 18lb/8kg and a 40lb/18kg bell. I wish I’d had one more in the middle for those first few months and am now am ready for a heavier one.
Rogue Fitness has decent shipping rates (these are obviously heavy!) and they are excellent quality kettlebells. Powerblocks This is my go to suggestion for the person who doesn’t want to go to the gym – or wants more options for home.
I love the gym, but many, many women I work just plain do not. Either they don’t’ feel comfortable or they just struggle to get there in any consistent manner. Consistency is the key for results, so anything that ups the likelihood you’ll get it done is a win in my book – these certainly do that. With the Powerblocks, you have the range of a full set of dumbbells but their nesting design makes them quite the space saver. I recommend the U-70 series (stage I, II or III depending on how heavy you want to go). You won’t outgrow these until it’s time to invest in a squat rack 🙂
You’d be surprised how much you’ll find to work with if you just look. For example, if you have a wood floor and a couple hand towels you can sub those for anything you see done with a Valslide. Last week at the lake I used a variety of rocks from the property as weights for goblet squats and one arm overhead presses. And I utilized a hill for sprints and walking lunges – even strapped on the baby for a little extra weight 🙂
So by all means if you’re busy, are a new mom or travel at all be sure to invest in a few pieces of equipment to make it easier to get it done. Can you tell I’m a big fan of this idea?
Here’s an idea for a metabolic circuit using this minimal equipment: Body weight or KB goblet squats TRX Row Body weight or KB weighted walking lunges OR reverse lunges if you are in a small space Push ups OR TRX pushups Valslide or TRX knee pull ins + Complete these as a circuit for 4-5 X through with as little rest as possible (only as much as you need to go again), each exercise 10-12 reps + Optional: Stair sprints (if you have a hallway with stairs) or hill sprints to finish OR as a stand alone session #beBETTER