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August Updates!

It is the middle of August and I’m squarely in the middle of my time away. I don’t know when, if ever, I will be lucky enough to take so much time away again. It’s such a blessing and I’m so glad I decided to take 10 weeks away, as opposed to the 4 or 5 I initially planned for this year. If you’re ever in doubt about how much time to take away, always err on the side of more, more, MORE! You’ll never regret it.

So far I have seen Paris, sailed the islands of Croatia and caught buses across Bosnia, through Mostar & Sarajevo, straight to my very much loved Belgrade. I also went to the 53rd annual Trumpet Festival in Guča last week and had the absolute time of my life (again!). I attended last year for the first time, not really knowing what to expect, and it was just a delirious frenzy of singing, dancing, laughing and brass band madness. Truly a salve for the soul.

Fitness??? My trip has been pretty active. Lots of swimming, dancing, walking for hours per day at times, kayaking in Dubrovnik. I did sign up for a gym in Belgrade when I arrived, and I’m happy to report my lifts haven’t suffered much at all at this point. I just can’t really load the bar heavy enough for triples or less because I don’t have chalk. I can’t hold the bar for reps without chalk after 80kg, and it’s so humid and sweaty here right now that the bar slides down my back during squats.

It is what it is and it’s better than nothing, eh? At least I won’t have to start from scratch when I’m back in Sydney!

I have big plans for this site and for my formal return to personal training and three ebooks in the works… two of which are major projects and one mini ebook, heheh.

I’m actually really excited about returning to Sydney and getting started on it all! 1 month to go!

Here is a collage from my trip 🙂

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Clockwise from top left: part of our Guča 2013 family; sailing into Hvar, Croatia; mum & I at the Louvre in Paris; enjoying the sun and sea in Split, Croatia.

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Gym adventures in Split: the prequel!

I’m sitting in a really hot common room in a hostel in Split writing this!

I’m about to embark on my mission to find a gym and get some lifting in. I think it’ll make me feel good. I had a great nights sleep and I’m ready to go!

I just spent a week in Paris which was amazing! I walked for hours and hours and hours every single day. My diet strategy has just been to eat when I’m hungry and have whatever I like in a reasonable portion. Walking for so many hours each day burns an extraordinary amount of calories so it almost doesn’t matter what I eat as long as I don’t get too crazy with it!

So I had tarts and macarons and terrines and croissants and crepes… just not big portions and I probably only averaged 2 meals a day. We also had a steady supply of boiled eggs we carried around with us and those are really filling! I ate bananas, but not much other fruit because it was so outrageously expensive! Peaches and nectarines averaged about 5 – 7 euros a kilo, and I was just going to flip out if I spent that much on a bunch of tasteless nectarines, so I didn’t risk it.

As an example, I bought 3 peaches here in Croatia when I arrived yesterday and paid about 1 euro and they were absolutely spectacular and sweet!

It was also smart to deload while in Paris because I walked all over that city and I didn’t even see a HINT of a gym anywhere! However, Parisians seem very active. They all walk everywhere and ride bicycles, so they are hardly sloppy and sedentary.

Here are my tips for eating while on holiday:

1. Eat whatever you like, however have only ONE reasonable portion (i.e: not large and out-of-control portions).

2. If it isn’t an active holiday, meaning you aren’t walking for hours, swimming or hiking, and it’s longer than 5 days, then you definitely need to make time to work out and move your body. There is always something you can do. Almost all hotels and resorts have gyms, and you can use dumb bells to get a really solid freeweight workout in. You can go for a walk or a jog. You can do bodyweight exercises. Move your body. Your body loves to move! Being on holiday isn’t an excuse to neglect yourself.

3. Items like nuts and boiled eggs and fresh fruit can offer you tasty, filling and healthy snacks.

4. Of course you have to live life and have fun, but part of maintaining a balanced approach is also maintaining the healthy part of that balance. It doesn’t all just go out the window because you’re on holiday. So if you’ve been drinking and eating crap for the last 2 days, for the next day or two you should be ordering salads and lean protein and veges and drinking a much water as possible.

I’ll definitely be back to let you know how my gym adventures in Split went! I plan to lift today and then in about 2 days time. I left on my holiday with a 105kg deadlift and a 95kg squat, so as long as I can maintain within 90% of that, I’ll be happy (I return to Australia in mid September).

ETA: I guess lifting in Split is just not going to happen. Bummer.

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One day, we’re going to weightlift in Paris… or not?

I’m going to Paris for the first time this July!

I’m spending one week there and while my priority is definitely seeing and experiencing Paris, I did want to get in at least one workout so I could maintain my lifts. Training breaks in the past have slowed down my progress tremendously – essentially you do a lot of hard work for many months, building up your lifts and then you move countries like I did (1st training break, February – March 2012)  or travel for several months (2nd training break, July – September 2012) and… you have to start all over again.

I have conservatively worked out that I should be squatting 100kg and deadlifting about 110kg by the time I leave for Europe in early July. Hopefully 5kg more on each, but I will be satisfied with those numbers. I have not been bench pressing since Christmas due to a shoulder injury (my shoulder is better now, thanks for asking). Those numbers are not too bad, but without the training breaks, I’d likely have 25 – 50kg more on each lift by now. It’s not just the time off that you’re missing, its also the time you’re using to get back to your old PR/PB levels that you could have been using to push through old personal bests.  Frankly, I have worked really hard and consistently and it makes me want to cry and kick rocks if I consider having to “start again” and build back up.  Hence, I wanted to get a workout in while in Paris! It is imperative.

It turns out the gyms that do exist in Paris are ultra luxe, super expensive and kinda goofy, with old guys in jumpsuits walking on treadmills and smoking.

There is a Crossfit Louvre, but the site is all in French! I’d love to squat and deadlift and then do the WOD! I wonder if they’d go for that? 🙂

The worst case scenario is that I will plan a deload week with no strength training, and just wait to train when I get to Split, Croatia. According to a fellow Aussie on Tour, they have cool gyms there. A search of “gym split croatia” in Google concurs. I may also check out Le Meridien in Split!

I am still optimistic about a workout in Paris.  There must be some serious lifters in jolie Paris? Oui? Non? Aidez-moi s’il vous plaît!