Africa. The word itself just sounds beautiful running off the tongue. We are finishing our 6th day of Safari here, and I have never been more transported in so many ways - culturally, geographically, mentally. Indeed, it is a country with a past, a country in constant paradox with itself. At once breathtakingly beautiful yet terrifyingly ferocious, the animals on safari represent Africa the nation. It isn’t an easy country to live in, but the spirit of the people transcends, creating a harmony and culture in a space which, when experienced up close, truly inspires. It is hard not to be inspired while feeling the indomitable strength and spirit of my surroundings, and I feel fortunate to carry this experience with me into the New Year.
I promised I would write about my sweat adventures, and so I am here to say that indeed I have been able to stay true to my fitness regimen, and then some. As you know from my last post, I brought a bag of necessities to use, and I’ve been happy to use most of them, however both lodges i have stayed at have had small, yet sufficient gyms to get a challenging sweat on! Alas, because of the heat, and because of our location, if you enjoy running, unless you are escaping from a rhinoceros (heaven forbid!), an indoor treadmill is really the only option while on safari. And I have been logging a lot more distance than I do at home. I am really not sure why, other than I think because of all the sitting we do in the jeep (there are 2 safaris a day, which are 3 hours long each), my city legs are craving movement, and the best thing to do is just hop on that treadmill, put some good tunes on, and run! It’s always a satisfying way to begin a workout, and I have been trying to work a different body part each day, while working in my favorites each day: butt and abs. I list a couple sample workouts below which you can do without any equipment whatsoever - these are a combination of my favorite moves (not necessarily because I enjoy them per se but because they are effective), and exercises shared with me by instructors when asked for their most efficient moves on the go.
A) 20 Squats, 20 Jump Squats, Hold Squat for 15 seconds, 15 seconds pulsing. 15 seconds of high knees. Repeat that sequence. B) Come down to Plank. 20 Mountain Climbers, 20 Alternating Mountain Climbers. 20 alternating shoulder taps. Come down to elbow plank. Hold side plank Left for 30 seconds, then side plane Right for 30 seconds. 20 hip dips. Repeat B sequence. C) Lie on a towel with knees bent. Do 25 simple crunches. Then 25 oblique crunches on each side (not alternating). Finally sprinter sit-ups: lie flat with arms at side, legs stretched out. Explode up to meet right elbow to left knee. Do 10 on each side, alternating, Repeat C sequence. Repeat A,B,C, as time allows.
A) 20 jumping jacks. 20 seconds of high knees 20 Push Ups (go to your knees if need be), Repeat A sequence B) 15 Left Leg Reverse Lunges, straight back. 15 Left Leg Curtsy Lunges. 15 Right Leg Reverse Lunges, straight back. 15 Right Leg Curtsy Lunges. Jump Split lunges - 15 seconds. Repeat B Sequence. C) Go down to elbow plank hold for 30 seconds.Stay in elbow plank and dip knees to ground alternating, for 30 seconds. Stay in elbow plank and jump feet out and in for 15 seconds .End by doing 20 push ups. Repeat C sequence. Repeat A, B, C as time allows.
These are just sample exercises, and can be modified for longer or shorter periods of time. What's interesting is that on this vacation, I am with my sisters in law and mother in law, all of whom are at varying fitness levels, and all of whom work out regularly when at home. They each have a different approach to fitness while on vacation. Do what makes you happy. If you simply know that you won’t be satisfied unless you are breaking a ferocious sweat every day, then figure out a way to fit it in! If you are ok taking a break from your usual routine in the interest of relaxation and changing it up, all the power to you! Whatever your style or personality, please don’t make yourself crazy or feel guilty if you don’t get your sweat in while you are away. Also, I want to remind you, it is a struggle for me too. On days when you can't fathom working out, just try putting on your shoes & workout clothes and keep it simple. You will find that the momentum you gain may carry you forward to the next day and so on!