Luckily my training over the past 2 months has been more consistent than would be indicated by the frequency of my posts.
I recently got back to the US after traveling in Europe since March 6th. While traveling I was working on my new training program (coming out June 6th!), giving a few clinics, playing a few tournaments, and trying to be a tourist as well. It was a busy, but awesome trip the whole way through. The best part, of course, was meeting players all over Europe. I look forward to going back!
Truth be told, my training goals were modest. I needed to stay in passable shape for a few tournaments. I needed to maintain my movement quality for my own fitness clinic demonstrations. I am not at the peak of my game. But I am in tournament shape and feeling and looking good despite two months of subsisting on Italian gelato, Belgian chocolate, and pommes frites with mayonnaise. I’ll call it a success.
5 Lessons for Training and Traveling
1. Something is Better Than Nothing
A few days after my fun and awesome workout in Copenhagen, I went to Gotenburg Sweden to hang out with choroprator and throwing expert, Christian Sandstrom (more on him in later posts). I had hoped that since he works at a fitness facility I might sneak into the weight room at some point. Unfortunately, that never happened but I did find myself with an evening free when it was still light out. It was chilly, but I put on my spandex and went in search for a spot of grass to do a quick lateral movement workout.
Being unfamiliar with the neighborhood, I managed only to find a grass/gravel/mud spot down near the river. I did not even have a stopwatch (I lost if before leaving the US). I was able to do something resembling my normal lateral movement work intervals because I know how many repetitions of each exercise I can do in 30 seconds. But I had no way to keep track of my rest intervals, so I just did it by feel, trying to be the same amount of tired before beginning another work interval.
It had been a long time since I’d done a lateral movement workout so I planned in advance to go easy. But still, at the end of the workout I did not feel very tired. And I asked myself “did that even count?” But it does. I showed up, I did the work. It will not always be pretty, but if you are an athlete it will always be done.
Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Get out the door and find something to do as best you can on that day, in that moment, with the equipment you have available.
2. Being Active is Good
I did not get in a workout every day. Some days I spent mostly on a train. Upon entering a new city for the first time general exploring took precedent over finding a good place to workout.
I did a lot of exploring this trip. Mostly by foot, sometimes by bike. Though I was not training as hard or even workout out as frequently, I replaced a lot of my sitting hours with walking. This made more of a difference in my fitness than I would have expected.
With infrequent workouts paired with an active lifestyle, I’m was able to maintain more of my fitness than I felt I deserved.
3. Environment Matters
I was most successful when my lodgings were right next to a park. In Lausanne was I got in a real workout every day. It was one of the few places I consistently did complete sessions with a full warm up, footwork and agility drills, and conditioning sessions alternating between linear and lateral work. It was a perfect routine for two weeks before Paganello.
Conversely, I did almost no workouts during the week I spent in Brussels. There was a park only a few metro stops away but somehow this short distance was insurmountable. It was also the week after Paganello and it was easy to rationalize that I needed some time to recover. And time to eat chocolate.
4. Habits Matter
Even while traveling, you will develop certain routines. With several days in one place, I fell into the routine of work, workout, shower, tourist. It’s difficult to maintain habits when everything around you is constantly changing. But you still brush your teeth every morning and you will still eat lunch every afternoon. If your habit includes “workout after brushing teeth”, or “train before lunch” you will be more likely to figure out how to get it done.
It won’t always work. Part of the point of travel is to experience novelty and a break from routine. Enjoy the novelty. But also enjoy the stability that routines can provide when you’re traveling for longer periods of time.
5. Make Fitness a Part of Your Tourist Experience
My one day of Copenhagen before heading off to Sweden I was determined to get in a workout after spending all of the previous day on a plane. So I mostly ignored the city and went instead to a park near the Lasse’s apartment. On the way there I saw the Carlesburg brewery building, and was pleasantly surprised by the parkour area in the park. I cannot imagine an area in a US playground devoted to balancing on beams, trampolines, and jumping on and off of things.
Later in Paris, I only had one full day there. And, because it’s Paris so I felt like I had to (I wanted to) see EVERYTHING. I skipped all plans for a workout and spent a whole day walking around sightseeing. It was great. Except every time I saw a jogger in the park I felt like I had missed out on something. Walking is a great way to explore a city. Jogging is a faster way to explore and find out where everything is. Though I’m normally opposed to long runs, a 40 minute morning jog would have taken me to a lot of sites that I just wanted to look at without going into, given me a great sense of the city, and allowed me to visit all of the beautiful parks in one trip.
In Amsterdam I went on several long runs thought their massive and beautiful parks. I enjoyed this infinitely more than the noise and knick-knack shops in the downtown area.
Where will you go?
Few things will improve your travel experience like an international ultimate tournament! Pagenello was awesome as only Paganello can be. Paganello draws teams from all over Europe, a few from the US, and even one from Colombia. Still, at Paganello I the team was mostly from the US. So it was a special pleasure to play with an amazing group of women from Sweden and Denmark as part of the team Moonlanding at the Wonderful Copenhagen Ultimate tournament.
I hope that at some point in your life you’ll have the opportunity for an extended travel experience. Whether it’s vacationing, working, or a mix of the two I strongly encourage you to find a way to make it happen! We are very lucky that as ultimate players, we have access to an amazing community with a tendency towards hospitality. There’s no better way to make instant friends than to find a local practice or tournament!
Have you traveled extensively? What did you do to stay healthy and fit?
I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments. Any other ultimate tourists out there?