Travel Workouts

A few months after starting Crossfit I had to travel internationally for work, where I didn’t have the luxury of attending regular crossfit clases. Additionally, my hotel was pretty limited on equipment and space, so I found myself having to get creative in coming up with travel workouts. Originally I thought I was going to be stuck doing treadmill workouts again, but two of my coaches helpfully sent me some links for travel WODs to save me the trouble of trying to come up with my own crossfit inspired workouts while away. Most of them incorporated body weight exercises and not much equipment, making it much easier for me to do a workout in my room if I chose. In any case, I thought I’d share a round-up of some of the workouts I did while away, in the chance you find yourself searching for workout ideas while on the road.

Workout One:

This workout I was able to do in my room, even with limited space. I warmed up by doing a few inchworm/spiderman stretches, followed by Frankenstein walks and two minutes of jumping rope. I started with double-unders, but out of deference for the people in the room below me, I switched to regular singles so I wasn’t jumping so hard. After I was nice and warm, I did a relatively short workout:

Tabata: Sit-Ups

Tabata; Hand Release Push-Ups

“Sally-Up”

I’m not going to lie, the Sally Up about killed me, but I gritted my teeth and finished! And for those of you who are wondering, a tabata is simply four minutes of work, broken up into intervals of 20 seconds of work followed up 10 seconds of rest. Do that 8 times, and you’re done! I downloaded a timer app to my phone that includes a tabata timer, so I didn’t have to guess when to work and when to rest.

Workout Two:

This time I headed to the gym for my workout, and warmed up with inchworm/spidermans, squats, and a short jog around the perimeter of the gym. Then I did 30 Manmakers, alternating between 10 and 15 pound dumbbells. The link gives you an idea of what the manmaker should look like, except our gym adds a right and left lunge with an overhead press at the end:

-push-up, right arm renegade row

-push-up, left arm renegade row

-squat clean thruster

-right and leg lunge, with dumbbells held overhead in press position

This workout smoked me, but I felt awesome at the end.

Workout Three:

This ended up being a shorter workout, but effective:

5 rounds of:

– 10 push-ups

-15 sit-ups

– 20 squats

I finished with 2 minutes of jump rope – 30 seconds on, 15 seconds rest alternating singles and double-unders.

Workout Four:

5 rounds for time:

-10 high knee raises

– 15-sit-ups

– 10 goblet squats (20lb dumbbell)

Finished in 9:27

Not for time:

2 rounds of 15 burpees

Workout Five:

Benchmark WOD: Angie

It may sound crazy, but I actually did this workout – voluntarily. I didn’t come up with it on my own, there is no way I would have looked at this workout and said, “Oh, gee, I think I’d LOVE to do 400 reps of stuff while I’m away for work and on my own!” Yeah, not going to happen. However, I was chatting with the Husband and he shared that it was the WOD at our gym one day. At first I was relieved that I missed it, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to see if I could do it. Unfortunately, my only option for pull-ups was an assisted weight machine and I am notoriously bad at remembering how the machine works, so I ultimately ended up setting the weight too heavy, which meant my pull-ups were easier than they could have/should have been.Note to self for next time: it will definitely take longer to complete this when I do it with banded pull-ups!

100 pull-ups (scaled to 50)

100 push-ups (knees)

100 sit-ups

100 squats

I broke up my reps in sets of 10 and I finished each exercise completely before moving on to the next. Not surprisingly, the sit-ups were easiest for me. Surprisingly, the squats didn’t suck as bad as I thought they would have. I finished it 20:28.

Workout Six:

Cindy (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats)

So the first time I ever did a version of Cindy was my first “official” Crossfit class. After going through a bunch of technique moves and stretches, we ended the workout with a 10 minute AMRAP of Cindy. It was, to sum up the workout in one word, HORRIBLE. I barely got through 3 rounds in 10 minutes, and they were awful, poorly executed rounds at that. I used bands for the pull-ups and still couldn’t complete 5 correctly. Our gym teaches tricep push-ups and I couldn’t even do them from my knees – I had to move to a box and I still struggled. The squats were the only thing that weren’t completely terrible, but I still struggled with my form. I left the class feeling frustrated, weak, and beaten down.

Fast forward to just under three months later. I decided to do the RX 20 min AMRAP of Cindy, using the assisted pull-up machine since I didn’t have bands. Having learned from the somewhat botched Angie workout, I initially set the pull-up machine for 70 pounds resistance, but switched to 60 after 3 rounds. I found this was a good weight to complete 5 pull-ups – it wasn’t easy, but I wasn’t absolutely struggling to finish 5. Also in a surprise twist, I did “real” push-ups! I’ve been slowly working my way up from doing push-ups on my knees to the full extended push-up, and I found I was able to do a set of 10 at a time.

I completed 11 full rounds, plus 1 additional pull-up!

Compared to the horrific 3 rounds I completed in 10 minutes three months ago, this is proof positive of some pretty awesome progress! I was smoked at the end of the workout, but I cannot stress enough how great I felt about it when I was finished.

When all was said and done, I only ended up working out about every third day. I could have done more; but on the other hand I could have done nothing, so I’m satisfied with what I did. The best part was that I felt confident about all the exercises I chose, I know I got a strong workout in each time (vice doing a lackluster treadmill run), and I felt good about the progress I made.

Looking for travel workout inspiration? Check out this downloadable PDF chock full of ideas! Need some more? Here you go!

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Tostones (Twice Fried Plantains)

Let’s go to South America!

bearfamilystrong.com | tostones

When it comes to international travel, my tastes run more towards Eastern Europe than anywhere else. I studied several languages in high school and college, to include Russian, and I spent the first two years of my overseas career living in he gorgeous utopic country of Slovenia. Needless to say, the Balkans are near and dear to my heart. I’ve done extensive travel throughout Europe and I’ve seen my share of the Middle East, but interestingly enough the one language I’ve never studied is Spanish, nor have I traveled to any Latin American countries. I’ve recently decided that I need to remedy this, for one reason alone: the food.

bearfamilystrong.com | tostones

Oh, the food. Cuban sandwiches. Plantanos. Tostones. Mofongo. With the exception of the cuban sandwich I’d never before heard of any of these exotic dishes until recently, when I was introduced to a friend of my husband who hails from Puerto Rico. Just listening to him talk about the food makes my mouth water! It also made me want to try some of these dishes he was talking about, particularly the ones that involved plantains.

I can’t remember the first time I ever tried plantains, but boy do I love them! I shared a recipe for sweet fried plantains very early on, as you can tell my the horrible photography in that post. Plantains can be sweet or savory, depending on the ripeness of the plantain and how they are prepared. And they are ridiculously cheap – the grocery store where I do the majority of my shopping sells them for 2/$1.00, and ALDI sells them for .35 each! Major win.

bearfamilystrong.com | tostones

Having already tried my hand at sweet fried plantains and savory fried plantains, I decided to try my hand at Tostones. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the word comes from the spanish verb tostar, which means “to toast”. Literally, they are plantain slices that are fried once, smashed thin, and then fried again.  Kevin and I both tried our hand at smashing the plantains – apparently there is a special tool called a tostonera, which is used to smash the plantains thin, but we just used the bottom side of a regular old plate and it worked just fine – and we found out that while my plantains tended to end up on the thicker side, Kevin mashed his a lot thinner, so they turned out crispier and more like chips. Interestingly enough, once they were fried up we found out each of us liked the other’s way better!

bearfamilystrong.com | tostones

These make a great snack just eaten like chips, but they taste even better when topped with pork carnitas, green salsa, and some avocado pieces. Yum.

TOSTONES (Twice Fried Plantains)

serves: 2

prep time: 10 min

cook time: 20 min

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

2-3 unripe (green) plantains, peeled and cut into one inch pieces

olive oil

salt

small bowl of tepid salt water

WHAT YOU’LL DO:

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a deep skillet. You don’t want to completely cover the plantains in oil, you just want a thin layer on the pan. Once the oil is hot, fry the plantain pieces for a few minutes, making sure each side is nicely browned. Set aside on paper towels to dry, but don’t turn off your pan of oil. Using the bottom of a plate or other flat, sturdy object, smash the plantain with decent force – you want a thin plantain slice. NOTE: I would recommend using a metal flipper to peel the plantain from the plate; otherwise it might fall apart. Dip the plantain into the bowl of water and set on paper towel to dry slightly. (This keeps the plantains crispy, and maintains their color during frying.) Then re-fry the plantains in your hot oil for about two minutes on each side. Blot the tostones on another paper towel, sprinkle liberally with salt, and serve immediately.

bearfamilystrong.com | tostones

Staycation Weekend – February 2014

Hello and Happy Tuesday! So because Kevin had to work last weekend we decided to celebrate Valentines Day and our six month anniversary a week later! Since we’re on a bit of a budget we decided to stay in the area instead of truly “going away” for the weekend. Originally I wanted to stay in a little boutique hotel in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, but then I found a special deal on a hotel in the Dulles area for – are you ready for this? — $56 per night. And this wasn’t just any hotel on sale – this was the hotel that Kevin and I usually stayed at on our layovers in DC when we were in between overseas for work – so it holds some sentimental value. For those who are interested, we stayed at the Hyatt Place Dulles-Herndon East. (For the record, there is also a Hyatt Place Dulles North and Dulles South, but no West. Interesting.) Anyway – this hotel is a complete gem for the price (Usually the cost is typically around $89 or $99 per night). Not only does it includes a hot breakfast, which is a huge bonus for me seeing how much I love food, but it also boasts 24 hour room service, a bar, an indoor pool – (huge in Virginia in February), and a fitness center. Not to mention each room has a separate sort of sitting area which includes a sofa bed, so it’s a total win. The hotel is about a 45 minute drive to downtown DC, so if you’re ever in the area and looking for a deal – I highly recommend it!

hyatt place dulles herndon east

We didn’t really have a plan for our weekend, so after some deliberation and online searching we ended up driving in to DC to check out Union Market DC. Union Market is an artisan market in Capitol City and has a bunch of adorable artisan stands. Parking in the area is free and we scored a spot right outside the building – woohoo! Once inside we did a lap to check out the shops and ended up at the Red Apron Butcher for lunch and beer.

red apron butcher union market dc_eatwriterunrepeat.com

It only just occurred to me that I didn’t take any pictures of the beer or the sandwiches we got, but suffice to say they were awesome. Some more pictures:

cordial fine wine and beers union market dc | eatwriterunrepeat.com

righteous cheese union market dc | eatwriterunrepeat.com

union market dc | eatwriterunrepeat.com

From Union Market we decided to check out Port City Brewery in Alexandria, VA. I’m not going to lie, from the outside it was a little underwhelming:

port city brewery virginia | eatwriterunrepeat.com

But once we got inside it was nice – it was sort of a mixed ambience between modern America and old style Bavaria…at least that’s what I felt anyway. It was pretty crowded when we arrived, so we decided not to take the actually brewery tour and opted instead just to drink. and because the bartender and my husband are both from the same area of California and both have family from the same area in Oklahoma (weird, right?) we scored free flights! Sweet! The flight was pretty spectacular – six different tastings for $9 — and they were all great beers. I’m not an IPA person, I’ve mentioned this before, but I was really impressed with their Monumental IPA, as well the American Pale Ale which I’m also not normally a fan of. Kevin and I decided that there wasn’t one beer we wouldn’t order if we saw it in a restaurant, and that’s saying something!

port city brew house flight | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Anyway – if you ever get a chance to get to Port City Brewery in Alexandria, you won’t regret it. At least, I think you won’t! 😉

port city brew house virginis 2 | eatwriterunrepeat.com

After the brewery we were hungry again, so we checked out restaurants in the area and ended up at Rocklands Barbecue and Grilling Company for some barbecue. It was awesome, and that’s all I have to say about that.

rocklands BBQ | eatwriterunrepeat.com

rocklands BBQ | eatwriterunrepeat.com

After the barbecue we pretty much called it a day.

We checked out of the hotel on Sunday morning and brunch with some friends from our Bible Study before returning home and preparing to head back to reality, but it was really nice to spend some time away from our house, but not really away from home. And the best part? The entire weekend cost us about $250! Not too bad for a mini-getaway weekend!

I’m already planning our next one.