Sunday, August 11, 2013

Healthy Camping 1.0: Working Out

I was MIA for a few days recently due to a camping trip! It was TONS of fun, and I got to visit with my godparents and their children (well, not really children any more... the youngest is 22!) whom I grew up with.

Many of my family and friends live out in the country, and I was raised with frequent trips out to the lake and barn. Going camping was something that was simply excepted every year, usually multiple times. However, as I've gotten older, and many family has either moved, became sick, or passed away... our trips have died down.

I am blessed my godparents recently bought a camper (their old one broke years ago), so we can start going again! I will be sure to do a recap soon. ;)

Anyways, I thought that it would be a good idea to do a post about how to stay healthy when camping. Everyone I was with out there knows that I strive for a healthy diet and lifestyle, so they were understanding when I didn't snack of the loads of chips, pre packaged sweets, and cola, or when I chose to pre make and bring my own food so I had something for meals when they were eating hamburgers with refined breads and high fructose corn syrup infused sauces.

I decided to make the first post about how I kept up with my workout schedule while away.

I know what many of you are thinking, "It's vacation, just skip a few workout days, relax...". However, this is simply not how I think. If I decided to do this, my body would be restless all day long, and I would honestly be VERY grumpy. That hour of working out is ME time. I challenge myself, let out frustration, and in turn feel FANTASTIC afterwards.

Plus, you only ever get what you put into something. Just because I'm not at home doesn't give me an excuse to not work out. I'm responsible for my own body, and my goal is to build muscle, and get stronger. That isn't going to happen on it's own! So, I took initiative, and planned my workouts with what I knew I would have available, and with what I brought.

Me planking on top of a bench. I know I look like... well, I look like a dirty old camper.

Know The Area You Will Be Staying
Not the entire camp, just your site. Is there a trail near you where you can go jogging? Are there benches, or a park you can utilize? Where is the smoothest ground surface, and where is the shade going to be when you work out? Knowing these things will help you plan your workout details.

Be Prepared...
Don't leave the house without packing your tennis shoes, socks, and a pair of workout clothes (I also brought my lifting gloves). I suggest pants that are tight and go to about your knees (think yoga capris), and a tank that has a built in bra. You don't want to be packing your entire workout wardrobe, only what you need.

This goes for any equipment, too. You always are going to want to have a mat, or a towel at least. You can use your own body weight in stead of actual weights, of course, but I always like the added resistance. I packed a pair of 5lbs and 10lbs. If I had a kettle bell I would have packed that instead. You can also take a medicine ball, hand or ankle weights, really anything you would like and have room for.

The simplest, easiest form of resistance would be a resistance band. You can use this multiple ways, either hold it or tying it to a chair, bench, or tree.

Time Wisely 
Typically, you will find yourself camping in the warmer parts of the year. This being said, it is not the best idea to start your workout in the middle of the afternoon, when things are the hottest (unless, of course, you're staying in an air conditioned cabin...but that is a different story!).

I always work out in the morning. I naturally was woken up by the sun around 7, so that's when I did my workout. You could also do it in the evening, however I think you may find yourself too tired after a fun filled day of fishing, swimming, kayaking, or just being in the heat.

Utilize Your Own Body Weight
I know I said I brought dumb bells with me, but I also made sure I used my own body weight to the best of my ability. Lots of people will find themselves with no equipment what so ever, so this is really important for them.

If you have a bench or chair, try things like step-ups, box jumps, and Bulgarian Split Squats for the legs. For arms, you can do incline or decline push ups as well as tricep dips.

Other body weight movements include lunges, squats, regular push ups, pull ups (on trees, poles, ext), planks, burpees, squat jacks... there is a long list of things you can do!

Utilize Natural Equipment
You may find that you have plenty of "weights" all around you. Rocks, chunks of wood, containers of water, bags of charcoal... anything that you can safely handle that adds resistance, use!

Have Water at The Ready!
Make sure you have WATER!! You are going to be outside, with no air conditioning. Be sure to put tons in the cooler not only for during your workout, but for after too.

Make Sure You Have Music, or Use Nature as Your Song
Lots of people listen music while they work out. This is great! However, I am just pointing this fact out because you may be relying on the gym's radio station, or some other form of tune that you won't have here. Your phone may not access Pandora or any other app that requires internet connection, or wifi, due to your location. So please plan accordingly! Create a playlist that doesn't need internet, or bring CD's and a radio.

This being said, you may NOT be able to use a radio. The people in your own camp, or any neighbors you have, might not want to listen to your head banging Metallica, or the brand new Beyonce song. Just in case, bring a pair of ear buds.

If you don't have any music, and do not have anyone else who will work out with you to keep you company, use nature as your stereo. Listen to the birds or crickets chirp, the sound of the trees in the wind, and the lake washing up on the beach. It may not be the best thing to pump you up, but sometimes it is alright to just get away from technology.

I stayed at my grandmothers house for a few days before camping, and then headed out to the camp site. I was camping for about 2 and a half days (I was there two mornings, so I worked out twice on site.) Here is what my workouts looked like:

Day 1: Upper Body

I used my dumb bells and did my Upper Body Explosion workout, found here.  

Day 2: Lower Body

I created this lower body workout using my location and equipment. I used: a bench (as pictured above), a mat, and 10 lb dumbbells.

 *Cardio= 1 minute jumping lunges, 1 minute jumping jacks, 1 minute jump squats

15 Bulgarian Split Squats with DBs/leg, 15 Plie squats  X3
15 Step Ups with DBs/leg, 15 Squat X3
10 laying leg lifts (Pilates style)+10 leg circles each way/leg, 10 back lenges/leg X3
15 donkey kick/leg, 15 Fire hydrant/leg, 15 knee circles/leg X3

12 leg drops, 12 Bicycles, 1 min plank hold X3

Each of these workouts took me about an hour to complete.

These are just a few tips to help keep you on track during your camping trip. Of course, it is also important to keep active outside of your workout! Enjoy a trail hike, go fishing or swimming, take a kayaking or canoeing trip!

What are some ways you keep active while camping, or traveling in general?

I will blog about how to go about food while camping soon!


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