Weight Watchers Weight Loss Program: Time To Lose Some Weight Again

About 4 years ago I mentioned on this site that I was going to be joining Weight Watchers with my wife.

We both went through the program for many months, and in the end we had both lost quite a bit of weight. I ended up losing somewhere around 40-50 pounds by the time I was done.

While I was happy with the program, I didn’t keep on with the maintenance program in order to keep the weight loss going, and over the past 4 years I’ve slowly watched as the weight crept back on. One pound here, two pounds there. Before you know it I had gained all of the weight I had lost back.

Joining Weight Watchers Again After 4 Years

Weight Watchers: Small steps can mean big changesAt the end of May this year I decided that I had had enough.  I had weighed myself and I was back up to my all time high weight, 278.  Granted, I’m 6’4″, so I wear that weight better than some, but I know I weighed much more than I should. Having that much weight on your frame tends to weigh you down, puts pressure on your knees and back and just leaves you tired at the end of the day. It was time for a change.

I’ve been through a couple of different weight loss programs in the past, but Weight Watchers just seemed to be the one that was easiest to work with, and that had enough support, resources and results to back it up, that I knew I would join them again.

On May 31st I joined Weight Watchers Online, the online only version of the program.

While I attended Weight Watchers meetings in person the last time I went through the program, I just didn’t feel like that part of the program was necessary for me. I’m a self starter when it comes to things like this, and I feel like the online only version of the program should work just fine, especially since I’ve been through the program before.  For those that need more moral support, guidance on changing eating and exercise habits or if you just enjoy the camaraderie of attending meetings, that is still a great option.

A Week And A Half In – Weight Loss So Far

So how has the program gone for me since I joined a week and a half ago?  I started the program weighing in at 278, and as of today, 10 days later, I weighed in at 271.8 – a weight loss so far of 6.2 pounds.  (Disclaimer: People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week).

While Weight Watchers says people can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week my results so far has been 4.34 lbs. per week.  I seem to remember having a similar situation last time I did the program, where I lost 3-4 pounds the first few weeks, and then I promptly leveled off after that losing 1-2 pounds a week after that.  We’ll see what my results moving forward are!

UPDATE: 4 weeks in and I’m now down 13.2 lbs. Going well!

What Has Changed Since I Attended Weight Watchers Last

ww-appThe Weight Watchers program has changed since I last attended.

Tracking Your Points Is Easier

With the program you’re constantly tracking your eating habits, with all foods being assigned a points value based on their nutritional value – the fat content, carbs, protein and so forth.

In the past I was able to track my points online in their online points tracking tool.  That is still available, and works well, but since I last joined the program has released a set of new apps for tracking.  They now have a Weight Watchers tracking app for  the major platforms, Android and iOS.  In the past they only had an app for iOS.

The app also has been updated so that it’s easier than ever to track  your points and weight. The app has a handy bar code scanner. You can just scan whatever food you’re about to eat, and it will automatically bring up that food’s point value and allow you to track it. While it doesn’t work 100% of the time, I’ve only had 1 or 2 foods not come up. Even those were easy enough to enter manually.

More Resources

While the site hasn’t changed a ton since I last joined, there do seem to be a lot more resources available on the site from healthy recipes and help forum, to online chat if you need someone to talk with about struggles you’re having.

Why Weight Watchers Works For Me

So why has Weight Watchers proven so effective over the years for others, and for me?

  • It helps with portion control: Weight Watchers has helped me to realize just how out of whack my portion sizes have gotten. When you’re eating more than you should, you’ll just naturally start gaining weight. With Weight Watchers I slowly start to realize just how much I need to cut back my portion sizes by. The crazy part, I leave feeling more satisfied, and less over-full.
  • Healthier eating decisions: I’m making better eating decisions, eating more leafy greens, fruits and so on. Those types of foods are zero points on the program, and as such it encourages you to eat them.
  • Becoming more active: When you’re changing your eating habits and seeing the weight come off, it only encourages you to be more active – to only encourage progress more!

Losing weight isn’t rocket science. It typically comes down to eating healthier, watching your portion sizes and becoming more active.  While it isn’t exciting, it can be tough to stick with it unless you have the help of a good program like Weight Watchers.  They’ve worked for me before, and I know they’ll work for me again this time.

Off to eat a healthy snack!

Are you trying to lose weight currently – and if so, how are you doing it? Tell us about your progress as well!

Join The Weight Watchers Program With Me!

Disclaimer: This site is an advertising partner with Weight Watchers. I will receive compensation if a new member signs up through one of the links above. Please know that this review does discuss my true feelings of the program and how it has worked for me.

Review Of The New EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale

A couple of weeks ago I got a new scale from the folks over at EatSmart, the EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale. I got an EatSmart GetFit body fat scale to review from those same folks about a year ago or so, and I was impressed with the accuracy of that scale, the beautiful design and especially the ease of use (you just step on the scale and it turns itself on!).

This new scale arrived in the mail just a few days after they said they were going to send it, but it’s been sitting in my closet through the busy holidays until now. I finally got around to opening it to do a review today.  So let’s do an unboxing and review of the EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale.

The EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale

The EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale can be found at a number of places online, including my favorite online retailer, Amazon.com.  It currently sells for a very reasonable $44.95 on Amazon.

So let’s look at some of the specs behind the scale, and look at some of the things it measures.

  • Track Long Term and Short Term Weight Goals with EatSmart Proprietary AccuTrack Software
  • Proprietary Automatic User Identification Technology; Stores profile data for up to 8 users
  • EatSmart “Step-On” Technology – Get instant readings with no tapping to turn on!
  • Large 3.5″ White LCD display – Easy to read in any lighting
  • Auto Calibrated; Auto Power-Off; Runs on 4 AAA batteries (included); 100% EatSmart Satisfaction Guarantee

The main selling feature of this scale is the ease of use, and the fact that it tracks your weight for you over time. Who wouldn’t want that in a scale?

Opening The Scale

The scale came in a pretty thin box from FedEx. After opening the box up the packaging for the scale shows a picture of the scale’s glass surface with gray and black coloring. (see below)  On the back of the box there’s a photo of a pretty young woman, measuring her tiny little waist – motivation I suppose?

When you open the box you’ll find several things hiding inside.

  • The Precision Tracker scale
  • 4 AAA batteries
  • Manual

The scale itself was wrapped in a plastic bag. After unwrapping it and setting it down you can see right away that this scale is well built. It has a nice reflective glass surface, with an attractive black and gray backing. While I prefer the all black look of the GetFit scale I reviewed last year, this one isn’t half bad.  The backlight is a bright white light that you can read in just about any light, again, I prefer the blue backlight for the GetFit scale, but this one is still nice.

When you take the scale out you’ll need to insert the batteries in the recessed back panel, and as mentioned before it takes 4 AAA which are included.  The other EatSmart scale I have takes the same number of batteries, and a year later they’re still going strong. You shouldn’t need to replace them very often.

The scale can be set to report your weight in either lbs or kgs, so if you want to have it list in kg you’ll need to click on the little “units” button on the back of the scale.

EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale

Setting Up The Scale

Setting up the scale is extremely easy. You just click on the “set” button on the front, choose which user you are (user 1-8), and then step on the scale. It will weight you, and from then on it will recognize you by your weight, and record your ongoing progress.

Tracking Your Weight Loss Progress

One of the greatest selling points of this scale is how it tracks your weight loss progress for you.  Here’s a look at how it works.

EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale

So basically when you weigh yourself it will recognize which user you are. It will then give you a weight reading, and if you’ve been weighed before it will tell you your previous weight. It will then tell you what your total weight change in that time has been – along with your total weight loss (or gain) since you’ve been using the scale.

Using The Scale

I’ve been using the scale for a few days now, and so far it has done exactly what it advertises.

  • The scale seems to be pretty accurate as far as the readings go.  It gives a similar weight to the other two scales we have in the house.
  • Easy to use after initial setup
  • Looks beautiful, although not as pretty as the GetFit body fat scale.
  • Love the ease with which you can track how you’re doing on your weight loss goals, etc.

So there you have it. I love the scale so far because it’s easy to use, it’s accurate, it looks great and it makes checking and tracking your weight changes so much easier by removing un-necessary steps that you might otherwise have to perform, like recording the weight numbers from day to day.  Only things I would like to see added to the scale is tracking of body fat percentages, and some sort of wi-fi functionality to also track your numbers online or on your computer. In this price range, however, I see how that might not be feasible. In any event, a scale worth checking out.

Have you tried the EatSmart scale, or any other weight tracking scales? What are your impressions?

Racquetball: A Fun Sport That’s Also A Great Workout!

Racquetball is an interesting sport, more so because it has the strange honor of both being old enough to be established, but young enough that it benefits from at least the beginnings of modern game design theory.

It is also a great way to stay in shape, and fun besides. But where do you begin if you want to start playing racquetball regularly?

Benefits of Racquetball

racquetball for fitness

First of all, you might be wondering what the benefits of playing racquetball are. Being a one on one sport that requires strategy, the social benefits are immense. But from a purely health stand point, racquetball is an excellent calorie burner. In a twenty minute game, you can expect to burn off 600 to 800 calories. It also greatly builds on your co-ordination, flexibility, and cardiovascular health.

To begin playing, you need a few pieces of equipment. The primary piece you need to have is a racquetball court, of course. These can be a bit hard to come by since they share little in common with a tennis court and other sports, but any dedicated sporting or racquetball institution should have one.  Our local health club has one that you can use, however, it does mean you’ll have to cough up the normal membership fees in order to use the courts.

The other pieces are a bit more easy to collect, involving a racquetball, a racquetball racquet, and racquetball eye guards. You can play without the eye guards, but due to the nature of the sport it’s extremely inadvisable.  Most health clubs will also require you wear eye protection for liability reasons anyway.  You may also want to invest in a glove, as rather like golf your grip on your racquet is extremely important and can be enhanced.

You can find most of these pieces of equipment in any good sporting goods store, although some may require a more rigorous search with equipment experts like Yonex U.S.A. who specialize in racquetball supplies.  I was able to find some affordable equipment at extremely affordable prices. You can fully equip yourself for less than $100, less if you try.

Racquetball Strategy

Strategy in racquetball can be quite nuanced. The floor, the walls, and even the ceiling can be legal targets for the opponent to bounce the racquetball off of depending on the timing, so a ball can come out of nowhere. As such, the best strategy is to take up the middle court to cover as much ground as possible.  This can of course backfire, however, depending on your opponent’s skill level and the strategy they employ. Be open to changing tactics.

Alternatively, if you can get to know your opponents style, you can take a more effective approach and work to block or respond to his usual choice of hits.   It’s all about knowing your own strengths, and finding out your opponents weaknesses and attacking accordingly.

Racquetball is a great social sport that involves a lot of exercise, strategy and fun. It can be daunting to get into, but if you do and enjoy it, you will have a life long passion.

Have you played racquetballl, and did you enjoy it?  Tell us your thoughts!

Medifast Weight Loss Plans Review: A Great Way To Lose Weight Fast

I‘m a big guy at 6’4″, and because of my tall frame I tend to wear excess weight pretty well. While I would be considered overweight by most measures I don’t necessarily look too bad. Because of that a lot of people will look at me funny when I say I’m trying to lose weight, because they don’t think I really need to lose any weight.

Despite what others think, I really do want to lose the excess fat, over the past ten years I’ve struggled with my weight off and on. I’ve had periods where I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight, like in 2007 when I was down to around 225 lbs or so, down from around 260. I’ve also had periods where life got in the way and I overate, and my weight ballooned to an all time high of 271 in 2011.

Last year I reluctantly joined the Weight Watchers program with my wife, and we both ended up losing around 30 lbs on the program. I got down to about 241 pounds after 6 months or so in the program. At the end of the year we ended up stopping the program due to being out of town and having a bit of burnout, and in the meantime we both ended up gaining about 15 pounds of the weight we lost back.

A month or two ago I decided to give the weight loss another chance. This time my starting weight was 255.5, and I didn’t want to do Weight Watchers this time, I didn’t want to be the only guy in meetings with 20 women again, I wanted to try a program more focused towards guys.

A Simple New Plan With Medifast
Medifast Diet

So what plan did I decide to give a try? This time around I decided to give Medifast a try. Some family friends had gone on the program and had lost a considerable amount of weight in a short time period. Here’s a quick blurb from the folks at Medifast giving an overview of the program.

When you want to lose weight and get healthy, Medifast makes sense. Whether your doctor has recommended that you lose weight or you just want to look and feel better, Medifast can help you get results quickly and simply.

Medifast has been recommended by over 20,000 doctors since 1980 and is clinically proven to be safe and effective. Studies at major university teaching hospitals have proven Medifast Meals to be safe and effective. Studies published in major medical journals have proven meal replacements to be an effective method of weight loss and weight maintenance.

So Medifast has a good track record and has been recommended by doctors for over 30 years to lose weight and get healthy. Maybe not a bad program to try. When I checked out the company’s website, they also have two main programs to check out, one for women and one for men.

I decided to jump in on the Men’s program and try it out for a few weeks.

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan

So how does Medifast work? There are a couple of different ways you can do it. You can sign up through one of their weight loss centers, and attend and get weighed in at their bricks and mortar location.

If you prefer, you can do it all online like I am. You just sign up, buy your Medifast meals online, and then you start eating the Medifast meals 5 times a day – every 2 to 3 hours. Then eat your own healthy “lean and green” meal once a day, usually either at night for dinner, or at lunch. Here’s how they explain the program, and the meals:

Medifast Meals are doctor-designed nutrition. Each has a similar nutritional footprint, which means you can choose among more than 70 items and be thoroughly nourished and satisfied. Our low-glycemic meals are low in calories and fat. After a few days on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan, your body will reach a mild fat-burning state, so you can lose quickly while preserving muscle tissue.

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan for weight loss is simple. Each day, you eat six times, once every two to three hours. The plan puts your body in a mild fat-burning state so you lose weight quickly and safely without taking weight-loss drugs or missing out on nutrition. You choose five Medifast Meals (the “5”) and one self-prepared Lean & Green Meal (the “1”), consisting of measured portions of lean protein and non-starchy vegetables. You can make the Lean & Green Meal yourself, or order it in a restaurant. The plan is easy to follow, with no guesswork and no counting of carbohydrates, calories, or points. Medifast Meals are portable and are either ready to eat right out of the package or mix easily with water. It’s the perfect fast weight-loss plan for those with busy lifestyles.

So basically they have designed these easy Medifast meals that you’re supposed to eat which give you all the nutrition that you need every day. You eat the meals, but all the while you’re creating a deficit in calories so you’re losing weight. You also eat your own lean protein and green veggies meal, and that’s it. Super simple!

The only problem I’ve had so far with the program is with some of the food options. They have everything from shakes to bars to soups and brownies. Some of the menu choices aren’t half bad, but others are, quite frankly, awful. I’m about a month in now and I’ve tried most of the menu options, and I now know which ones I prefer. Until you find which ones you like, however,  you may end up buying a few that you don’t like.

If you want, you can also work out while you’re on the program, although they suggest holding off on too much exercise for a week or so until your body gets used to your new level of calorie intake.

Weight Loss With Medifast: 1 Month Later

I’ve been doing the 5 & 1 Medifast weight loss plan for just over a month now, and in that time I’ve lost quite a bit of weight, at a faster rate than I did on the Weight Watchers program.

  • Starting weight: 255.5 pounds
  • Current weight: 241.5 pounds
  • Weight lost: 14 pounds

I’ve lost just over 14 pounds in about 5 weeks, about 3 pounds a week or so. All that and the change in my fitness has been minimal. I may have been walking or playing with my son a bit more, but not much more. The main change has been the diet.

I plan on adding in more fitness back into my schedule, working out in the mornings 5-6 days a week. I’m sure doing that will only increase the amount I’m able to lose – although at some point I expect somewhat of a plateau. We’ll see.

Medifast: A Good Way To Lose Weight Fast

So far I’ve been pretty happy with the Medifast program. It’s dead simple to do, you just eat 5 of their pre-packaged food choices every day, and one meal of your own. That’s it. No points to keep track of, and no weekly meetings (which could be a downside I suppose if you get something out of them).

The only downsides I’ve run into include the fact that some of the food choices just don’t taste very good (so you’ll need to try them out to see which ones you like), and the fact that it can be pretty expensive. I’ve found that it has cost around $150 or so every two weeks (You only pay for the food). Granted, I’ve cut my grocery and eating out spending substantially by doing the program, so in the end I think we’re actually spending less. But for those who are good about keeping food spending low, doing the program may mean an increase in your food budget.

Have you tried Medifast in the past? What were your thoughts about the program?

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5 Ways To Maximize Your Workout

Millions of Americans are currently committed to some type of exercise routine. While any regular physical exertion is a good thing, you may not realize that there are a few simple steps you can take to maximize the results of your workouts and feel your best during your downtime. Here they are in no particular order.

Hydration and Nutrition

It is imperative to properly hydrate yourself in the hours leading up to any workout, especially in a warm climate. Having a bottle of water with you during your routine is also a very wise move. During a workout, your body uses the vitamins and minerals within to propel the muscles, much like a wood-burning stove or a coal-powered train. The higher the foods that you consume are in nutrition, protein and other beneficial elements will go a long way toward determining how you feel during and after your workout.

Stretch Afterwards

For decades, athletes got in a habit of extensively stretching before a workout, then simply getting in their cars and driving home once their workout was complete. Over the past decade scientists and trainers have realized that stretching after a workout loosens the muscle tissue and allows the impact of aerobics, calisthenics and reps with workout weights to sink into your muscles, giving you maximum results.

Mix It Up

The number one mistake that athletes make when structuring a workout routine is to do the same thing every time. Mixing up your exercise routine is essential to keeping your body progressing. Folks that do the same routine for months on end will often complain of a plateau phase where they are no longer noticing physical improvements. Mixing up your routine with a variety of workout weights will prevent the plateau stage.

Time of Day

Although mixing the exercise is essential to getting the most out of your workout routine, the time of day that you exercise should be relatively consistent. Work and relationship obligations sometimes take precedent over working out, causing the workout times to vary slightly, but determining if you are a morning, afternoon, or evening exerciser is a good start to getting the most out of your workout routine.

Recovery Sleep

The most commonly overlooked component of a good workout is some restful and regenerative sleep. You may not be in a position to get a full eight hours, but as long as you hit the pillow sober and relaxed, you’ll certainly feel well enough to power through your next workout.

In short, getting the most out of your workout is all about working smarter and not harder. You should also keep an open and observing mind toward what your body is telling you, and feel free to take down notes about things you discover that can help you maximize your efforts.

P90X Update: Sickness Plus Injury Equals P90X Reboot

A few weeks ago I started the P90X program.  I was primed to start the new year off right, getting in shape and losing weight.   I got about two weeks into the program and all was going well.   Sure, my eating wasn’t as good as it could be, but it was going OK.  I was almost a month in on the program when life happened – slowing down my progress.

Sometimes Life Doesn’t Cooperate

Sometimes when you’ve got a plan and you’re determined to follow through, life just doesn’t want to cooperate.  At our house I’ve had a couple of setbacks that have slowed down my P90X progress.

First, we all got sick at our house.   We’ve all been sick off and on for the past 2-3 months it seems.  One person will get sick and we’ll all slowly take our turns.  This time we were all sick for about a week – and for a second week I was taking care of my wife and son who got sick before me.  Being sick and caring for others takes a lot out of you, so I just didn’t get any of the P90X program done during those two weeks.

After being sick for a couple of weeks – despite the fact that I had almost been a month in already, I decided to reboot the process and start P90X all over again from the start.

P90X program

Another Setback

This past week I restarted the whole P90X program from day one.   Then on the yoga lesson of week one I re-injured my shoulder.  I’m not sure what I did, but I have an old shoulder injury from a while back that seems to have resurfaced.  I never had it diagnosed, but when it hit it made it extremely painful to do certain exercises or motions.  I took a couple of days off from P90X, but continued again with Kenpo over the weekend.   The shoulder still hurt, but I was able to get through it.

Yesterday I did the chest and back workout with pushups and pullups.  I was able to get through it because most of the motions in the workout didn’t seem to aggravate my shoulder.  There were maybe 3 sets of pushups that I had to skip because they were too painful, but otherwise I made it through.

So for now I think I’m gonna continue with P90X while avoiding some of the reps that have motions that hurt my shoulder.  If it doesn’t get better in a couple of days I’ll probably head in and get it diagnosed.   We’ll see.

The Good News…

It hasn’t all been bad news thankfully.  Despite the fact that my P90X experience has now seen a couple of false starts and reboots, I’m still confident that the program will work for me.   In fact it already is.  Since December I’ve lost about 10 lbs doing the workouts and healthy eating, dropping from 255lbs to 245lbs in weight.  I’m determined that this body will never see 250lbs again!

Two And A Half Weeks Down On P90X. How Many More Are There?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on this site talking about how I was considering starting the P90X® workout program because I needed some structure in my fitness life, and I thought this looked like a good program to try.

I got some great feedback from some friends and colleagues online, many of them saying that they had done P90X®  previously, and that they highly recommended it.  Most of them said the program was tough, but that it was ultimately worth it for them.

With all the great feedback I decided to jump in and give it a shot.  I bought the program and was hoping to start the first Monday of the new year.  Unfortunately our family had a flu bug and I ended up getting sick as well.  I pushed back my start date one week.

P90X program

Getting Started On P90X – Bring It!

I finally got started on P90X® one week into the new year. The day before I started I did the fitness test to make sure that I was “ready” to do the program. Most of the things I didn’t have much problem with, but a couple of them, including the pull ups and push ups, I struggled with a bit. I did enough to be OK to start the program, however.

Week One Of P90X

That first night doing P90X® was  a bit of a struggle, but I managed to make it through that chest and back routine.  What was involved?   A whole lot of pushups and pullups.   The first week I did actual pull-ups, aided somewhat by a chair as beginners were instructed to do in the video.  The two following weeks I had actually purchased these resistance bands (highly recommended – good quality), and used those for the pullup portions instead.  The pushups have been tough as well, and during some reps I’ve had to go from my knees – especially in later rounds.  I especially hate the decline pushups, and have failed on those a couple of times.

The following nights of the first week were also tough.  I was still struggling with that initial soreness that you get after you haven’t worked out for a while, and it was tough doing the plyometrics, shoulders and arms, and other workouts when I was so sore.

Week Two Of P90X

The second week was still tough, but I wasn’t quite so sore – which made it easier.   Our family also had another bought of the flu pop up (again!), and so I was only able to workout 4 out of the 6 days because i was busy taking care of the family.  My eating wasn’t nearly as good week 2 either.  I had some nasty food (as Tony Horton would say), and I think that wasn’t helpful in my weight loss goals.

Another thing that I noticed was that while doing the P90X workouts you are working hard most of the time.  They give you chances to catch your breath during the workout, but you’re always sweating and huffing and puffing.  I have never been as drenched with sweat as I have been after doing these workouts – even and especially the yoga workout.  Make sure to bring a towel!

Week Three Of P90X

With the first two weeks in the bag (with mixed results), I started week 3 on Monday of this week.  It does seem like I’m slowly starting to be able to do a little bit more in the exercises, and without quite as much soreness afterwards the next days workouts are easier to complete.

Week three I also started doing the workouts in the mornings, getting up early so that I could complete them before going to work.  After doing it for 4 days this week now I have to say I prefer working out in the morning because you feel good all day, you get it out of the way and then you can relax at home at night.

Today I did the yoga workout and had to cut it a bit short because I got up late – and the yoga workout is almost an hour and a half  long.  Tonight I’ll either finish that or do some other form of exercise.

P90X So Far: Tough But Worth It

So I’m just over 3 weeks into the P90X program, and I have to say – it is tough!  I’m not sure I’ve ever sweated this much or worked this hard since I was in high school football.  The workouts are tough, but you can feel your body getting stronger.  I’m still fudging it a bit on some of the exercises, especially the pushups, but I’m getting better every week.

Now that I’m almost done with 3 weeks, I really think that I can stick with this for the entire 90 day – I can do this!

Are you considering starting P90X as well? Have you already started – or completed a round? Tell me about it in the comments!

Get Ripped in 90 Days

How To Exercise While On Vacation Or On The Road For Work

One thing that can be extremely difficult to do is continue exercising or working out while you’re on the road.   Often the places you’re staying may not have adequate workout facilities or weights that you normally work out with.

What is a person to do when there just aren’t many great options for exercising?  It’s time to get creative!

how to exercise when traveling

Exercising On The Road – Get Creative

When you’re on vacation or on the road for work it can be tough to maintain a regular workout schedule.  If you plan ahead, however, it can be done.

So what are some things you can do to make sure you maintain your regular healthy lifestyle while on the road?

  • Stay at a hotel with workout facilities:  When you’re booking your hotel make sure that they offer some sort of a workout facility with weights, treadmills and so forth.  Most hotel booking sites will make a note of hotels that offer those types of amenities.
  • Go running:  One thing you can always do even if your hotel doesn’t have a treadmill is to go running in the area that you’re staying. It can be fun to go out and see the area  where you’re visiting – and see it early in the morning before things get busy. Just don’t get lost!
  • Do body weight exercises: You can do body weight exercises in your hotel room.  Things like pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups or squats.  Check out a program like Crossfit.
  • Bring your own workout gear: You can bring lightweight exercise gear like resistance bands in your suitcase and get in a good weights workout routine.  Put video workouts on your ipod or laptop!
  • Go hiking or walking while sightseeing:  When sightseeing do plenty of walking while you’re checking out the sites.  Or if you’re in a more natural setting, go for a hike! You’ll be exhausted at the end of the day!
  • Incorporate fun healthy activities like golf or tennis:  Take time for golf breaks and check out the local courses. It can be fun to see a course you’re not used to.  Or play some tennis with a friend.
  • Do Yoga:  Yoga can actually be quite strenuous, so try doing some while on the road.
  • Play beach games:  If you’re on the beach at a tropical location, get in on a beach volleyball game or play frisbee on the sand.
  • Take a bike tour: Many popular tourist locations will do bike tours, or allow you to rent bicycles by the hour.  Go out for a spin!
  • Swimming:  Go for a swim in the hotel pool or the ocean.  Swimming can be great exercise!

So as you can see there are a myriad of ways to stay on your fitness regimen while you’re out on vacation – or on the road for business.  Just get creative and you’ll come up with a bunch of other ways as well!

How do you stay fit while you’re away from home?  Tell us in the comments!

Can Playing Golf Help You To Get Fit?

A while back I wrote an article on this site talking about how running can be a great cardio exercise, but how there are so many exercise alternatives for people who don’t enjoy running (of which I am one).

Among alternative exercises that we listed:

  • Doing a workout video
  • Playing basketball
  • Rowing machine
  • Hiking on local trails
  • Spin classes
  • Stationary bike
  • Roller Blading

The alternatives are really numerous and you’re really only limited by your creativity.   There are a ton of exercises out there for non-runners.

One of the alternatives that I didn’t list, but that truly can be great exercise, is golf.

golf and fitness

Golf  Can Give Great Exercise

One thing a lot of people really don’t realize is that golfing can be great exercise.  I think people have an image in their heads of a bunch of old fat guys riding around in a cart and stopping off for drinks  and food at the clubhouse.  But the truth is that golf can help you to burn hundreds of calories.  Playing 18 holes of golf can be about the same as walking 3.5 to 6 miles!

Research conducted by Neil Wolkodoff of the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver found the following statistics:

Golfers who walk and carry their own bag burn 721 calories, golfers using a pull cart burn 718 calories, golfers walking with a caddie burn 613 calories and golfers riding in a golf cart burn 411 calories on average.

So if you carry your own bag and walk the course when you  play, you can burn in excess of 700 calories. That’s not too shabby!  Even those who rode a cart still burned more than 411 calories by golfing 18 holes.

Not only does golf give you some great exercise, it can prolong your life!  A Swedish study by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports and based on data from 300,000 golfers found that golfers have a a lower death rate than others:

The death rate for golfers is 40 percent lower than for other people of the same sex, age and socioeconomic status, which correspond to a 5 year increase in life expectancy. Golfers with a low handicap are the safest.

They found that those with a lower handicap – those who typically play more – had better health.  Also, because golfers tend to golf into old age, they will enjoy the health benefits for longer as well.  So start golfing and add years to your life!

Of course in order to enjoy the health benefits you have to be a regular golfer, and not a once every 3 months type golfer.


Golf is another great exercise alternative for those who don’t like to run, bike or do workout videos.  It will help you burn hundreds of calories while being low impact and doing something you enjoy (if you’re good enough and not hitting it into the sand traps!)

Next time you may think twice about taking your buddies up on those golf offers because you’re in fact improving your health and prolonging your life.   So go hit the links!

I Started My P90X Journey Last Night. Do Your Best, Forget The Rest!

A few weeks ago I talked about how I was considering jumping in full bore and trying P90X. I had heard it was tough, but when you think about it – so many things in life worth having aren’t easy to achieve.

After considering all the pros and cons and hearing from several P90X graduates (and P90X evangelists!) I decided to give it a try.

I got the class materials a couple of weeks ago and delved into them. The class takes a whole life approach to losing weight, eating healthy, and exercising to become fit. They give you a full nutrition and exercise program when you sign up, not just a workout program.

Nutrition Is Important

One thing that becomes apparent when you watch the introduction video is that the exercise in the course is not  going to help you to be fit by itself. In fact they stress that the diet and nutrition portion is also an integral part of the plan.

Quite honestly I think the nutrition portion is the part that I’m probably going to have more trouble with.  No, not because I’ll find the exercise easy – because I won’t, but because this is usually where my fitness plans break down – on the eating side.  My love of donuts and sweets always seem to do me in.

So I’m looking at the nutrition plans and hoping to carve out some sort of routine so that I can do this thing the right way.  All I do know is that I’ll be going to the grocery store later this week to get some better foods than what we have now.  Lots more protein rich meats like chicken and  turkey, more veggies and fruits.

Last Night’s Workouts – Night Number 1

So yesterday was my first day doing the P90X program.  I followed the nutrition portion of the program pretty well, eating healthy foods all day. I had a salad for lunch, healthy snacks in between and then grilled chicken, broccoli and rice for dinner.   I plan on trying to do the workouts in the morning once I adjust to it, but this week I’ll probably be doing the workouts at night.

Last night I did the first workout, the chest and back workout, and then the ab ripper workout.   Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

I struggled my way through the chest and back workout first.  There are lots of pushups and pull-ups in this routine.  If you want you can modify the pull-ups a bit to use a chair if you’re not confident in your pull ups  – or use bands to simulate pull ups.  I used a chair part of the time as my pull ups have never been very strong.  Something to work on.  I think I was still able to get in a pretty good workout. The pushups near the end I had to modify a bit and do from my knees –   as I started getting pretty tired.  Just goes to show how out of shape I am!

I was able to complete the hour long routine though, despite having to keep my number of reps significantly lower than the folks on the video.    As they say in the video, however, doing less reps when you start out isn’t a problem, just “do your best and forget the rest“.

On several days of the week you’re supposed to also do the ab ripper workout after your initial workout.  So that’s what I started to do.  Let’s just say that I made it through about 3-4 of the exercises in the ab ripper workout before i was complete toast.  I didn’t complete it. I was so sore from the first workout that I was just spent.

I have a feeling it will get better over time as my body adjusts to working out again, but let’s just say it was rough that first night.  The question is – did I miss something in the manual?  Are you supposed to split the two workouts out – one in the morning, one at night?

Sticking To It

So tonight I’ll be moving on to workout two – Plyometrics.   I hear this one is also good but will leave you exhausted. I can’t wait – my tired sore body and all.

Get Ripped in 90 Days