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Vacation Fitness Motivation

Stephen Smith fist bumping the camera

I am a firm believer in using vacations as motivation for a fitness program. When you purchase the plane ticket and reserve your hotel room with a deposit, then there is no turning back unless you want to lose your money. “Burn the ships,” right?

I like to plan trips around some sort of physical activity. I do this because when you have a vacation goal that involves a fitness activity or something physical to accomplish, then your weekly workouts will have more meaning, and therefore, you will get better results! Go for that vacation bucket list activity, then get in the infrared sauna and train for it.

If I go to Cabo, I take at least one day and devote to paddle boarding from the beach to the iconic El Arco rock formation at the very tip end of the Baja Peninsula. When I travel to Colorado, or some other ski destination, of course I will snow ski every day. As I am writing this blog post, I am in Scottsdale, AZ the day after an incredible hike to the summit of Camelback via the Echo Canyon trail.

Stephen Smith standing in front of a map

I considered this hike a training and conditioning opportunity for the Kilimanjaro climb coming up in October. I had no idea, though, the level of difficulty of the Echo trail. The taxi driver took me to one less difficult trail first that was closed (apparently due to the extreme heat), and then he took me to Echo Canyon which was open but with only a few people actually hiking and not too many cars in the parking lot. When I got to the entrance of the park, the ranger came up to me as I exited my ride to give me advice. My driver handed me an extra water bottle (thankfully) and then the ranger proceeded to say to me, “Hey, you know you picked the worst time that you could possibly do this, right?” And then he went on to tell me about a person that had died on the mountain just last week. The ranger then wished me luck and gave me electrolyte powders to mix with the water bottle.

Without a doubt, I never would have been able to scale to the summit in the mid-August Phoenix heat without my 3D Training at HOTWORX. The infrared sauna workouts acclimate the body for extreme environments. Also, the cardio and endurance conditioning was a great prep for the climb. Turns out that the extra water and the extra electrolytes beyond the Gatorade gummies that I had packed was also part of the difference that allowed me to get to the top in mid-day, mid-August Phoenix heat. The terrain was mostly boulders that had to be scaled, but the heat was the biggest obstacle. The ranger told me that as I got higher to the summit the rocks would actually get over 150º F to the touch. I saw one guy up there who had full finger gloves on which would have been helpful when grabbing the rocks for balance and leverage.

Earlier that morning I trained legs with some serious sets of extensions and DB lunge walks, but something told me I shouldn’t train calves since I was planning to hike a mountain later that day. Thank God I saved my calves for the climb.

As I got to the end of the first “tourists” part of the climb (about a quarter of the way up), the make shift steps, the handrails and the safety fence ended and it was 95% boulders and rocks from then on. If found it useful to have small objectives of reaching a spot with some shade for a break. The shade was very limited so I would look up, see a bush with a little shade and climb until it got to that spot for my workout intervals on the way up. I can tell you that it was one of my best HIIT workouts ever with 2566 calories burned on the climb up and down!

Stephen Smith in a rocky terrain

Fortunately for me, earlier that day I went to a sporting goods store and found a great pair of Adidas hiking shoes that performed really well on those boulders. I also purchased a camelback backpack with a water bladder with a zip pocket for electrolyte gummies. The 3D Training prepped me physically and mentally and the hydration and electrolytes gave me the energy to accomplish my goal.

No matter what your vacation fitness activity goal might be, I can assure you that it will make your weekly pre-vacay workouts more powerful and you will feel amazing when you get to the finish line on your trip. 

Five minutes of bliss at the top makes it all worthwhile!👊🔥

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Stephen P. Smith, MA
CEO and Creator of HOTWORX, Author, Former National Collegiate Bodybuilding Champion and Arena Football Player, Certified Professional Trainer


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