Water: Don’t Neglect It

water splash in a glassWhen it comes to working out, there really aren’t a lot of things you need to take with you. You get some gym clothes, you grab a towel, and you’re ready to build some muscles, right?

Gyms like Boomer Fitness are great for that reason. We carry the essentials you need when you’re here, so you don’t have to worry about taking things with you. We’ve got the equipment for the workout, the showers for cleaning up afterward, and the water faucet for when you need to re-hydrate.

But what happens when you’re outdoors this summer? You might go for a hike up Dog Mountain, go jogging around the block, or even cycle down to the local grocery store. When you head out, you still might not take much with you, other than some breathable clothes, a cellphone, and the keys. But there’s something missing. Can you guess it? If you guessed water, you know where I’m going with this.

Water is ESSENTIAL, especially when you’re outdoors. Think about it this way: your body is already around 65% water. Would you really want to deny yourself something that makes up 65% of your body?

No matter what you’re doing, you’re likely going to be outdoors this summer. And if this heat continues, it’s going to get very, very hot while we’re outdoors.

This means you’re going to need a lot more water than you might in a regular workout. Why is that? Well, when your in a hotter environment, you’re going to be sweating a lot more. Your going to be expending more water, which means you’re going to need to replace it with even more.

When you exercise, your muscles are going through a number of chemical reactions. Water is essential in many of these reactions, and if they don’t have the necessary ingredients, these reactions slow down. Think of water as lubrication for your muscles. Without it, you’re going to start getting less efficient.

Here’s an example – As you work out, your heart is going to be working harder than normal to get blood to your muscles. Water is the main ingredient in plasma found in your blood, which is responsible for moving chemical components around your body. Drinking more water means your body is going to be much better at getting things where they need to go.

So do yourself a favor the next time you hike up Dog Mountain: Bring a canteen of water with you! You will feel better, your body will be more efficient, and best of all, you’re exercising outdoors! You can’t lose when you’re enjoying the great weather this summer.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Enjoying Your Vacation

iStock_000002284032XSmallLast Tuesday, I wrote a little about ways Boomer Fitness can help you stick to your fitness goals while on vacation. Even while you’re on a trip, you still have goals you want to reach, and spending a whole vacation ignoring your fitness standards is not going to be easy to make up at the gym when you come back.

When you’re on vacation, make sure you enjoy yourself! After all, it’s not every day you get to spend some time exploring the Oregon Coast. And keep in mind that while you’re travelling, you can still stick to your fitness goals by making small adjustments.

So here are a few Dos and Don’t you can remember the next time you go on a trip out of town:

DO enjoy yourself – You’re on vacation! Odds are, it’s been a long time since you were able to drop everything and enjoy yourself. So get out there and make sure you make the trip a memorable one. If you have stuck to your diet, spent a lot of time at the gym, and seen improvement, go ahead and enjoy that extra drink or dessert.

DON’T make yourself sick – Keep in mind that if you have been sticking to your diet and spending some meaningful time at the gym, you wont be doing yourself any favors if you splurge too much. Many foods you may have eaten before you started working out are going to immediately affect your body once you eat. Many of my clients will feel lethargic after enjoying some fast food for the first time after a few months of swearing off the stuff.

A happy medium I like to recommend is making plans to enjoy a nice dinner in the middle of your vacation and then the last day of your trip. That way, you can really look forward to and enjoy your meal, without going overboard.

DO take a break from the gym – As the owner of a gym, this one isn’t as painful as you might think to recommend. If you’re spending some time on vacation, don’t force yourself to go out of your way to find a gym. There are plenty of other ways to work in some exercise, and the trainers at Boomer Fitness can help you find alternatives. Besides, spending time at the gym is supposed to be an enjoyable experience.

DON’T take a break from your body – Just because you might not be headed to the gym doesn’t mean you should stop all fitness. You might be taking a break from the gym on a vacation, but your body doesn’t magically “pause” its fitness.

Instead of dropping everything for a solid week (or however long your vacation might be) talk to Boomer Fitness about how you can stay on the horse. We usually recommend a few workouts you can do as you wake up, and a few stretches you can do before you head off to bed. While it likely isn’t as intensive as a day in the gym, your body will thank you for not giving up on it for a whole week.

DO go exploring on your own power – When you’re visiting a new place on vacation, go explore it! You’re only in the area for a short period of time, so you might as well see as much as you can while you’re there. Even if you’re just spending some time away from the office, take a day and discover Portland, or take a day trip and walk up and down the Oregon coast.

DON’T sit inside – Don’t experience your vacation looking out a window, or by sitting in an easy chair all day. Go out and enjoy the outdoors! See the sights, and engage the world around you. If you’re travelling with friends, invite them to go explore with you.

Go for a hike either in the countryside or through the city. Take a bicycle tour and go see the tourist spots, or go on your own and find the hidden corners no one else finds. If you’re near some water, go jump in the water and swim a few laps. However you explore, make sure you’re actively doing it. After all, being able to do all of these activities is part of the reason we exercise. Enjoy the hard work you have been doing!

However you take your vacation, make sure you’re enjoying yourself. And when you come back ready to hit the gym again, Boomer Fitness will be here, ready and waiting to help you get back into the swing of things.

Taking Fitness Outdoors: Be Prepared!

Photo by Chris Elias
Photo by Chris Elias

This last Tuesday, I wrote a little about places to explore when you get an urge to get outdoors during one of our sunny days. It’s all well and good to talk about exploring in good weather, but the elements have to cooperate if we want to go outside.

If I’ve learned anything about the weather in the Pacific Northwest, its that the only thing certain is rain. Case in point, the beginning of this last Tuesday was beautiful! But by the end of the day, it was gray, wet, and not quite hiking or cycling weather.

But that’s one of the great things about life isn’t it? We can learn from our challenges. Even though we might plan for blue skies and warm weather, there could be anything in the forecast for tomorrow. You never know what life is going to throw your way.

So to make sure we’re ready for whatever weather might be headed our way, we have to prepare for the challenges at hand.

This is especially important when we head outdoors for our fitness. If something happens at the gym, you’re surrounded by fitness professionals who can help you out, and know when you’re pushing yourself too far. But if you run into an issue on a hike to see Multnomah falls? There may be others on the trail. but you’ve got to take care of yourself and know when you’re pushing yourself too far.

Here are a few tips you can remember before headed to the trailhead:

Plan ahead – I like to say “Expect the best, but prepare for the worst.” It might sound pessimistic, but think about it this way: When you’re a mile away from your car dressed for a warm day in the sun and it starts to drizzle, it’s going to get cold and wet awfully fast.

So make sure you are prepared for the trail before you set out. I highly recommend you take proper clothing for the occasion when you head out. If you’re going hiking, wear hiking boots, light, breathable clothing, and take some light rain gear in a backpack. Don’t forget to prepare for sun, either, so wear sunscreen and a hat.

Calories and Water – Always, always, always take water with you if you’re going to be spending some time outdoors! As you go hiking or biking, your body is going to be using a lot more fluids, which means you’re going to need more water than you might for a day in the office. The last thing you want to experience when you’re on a trail is dehydration.

Another thing many people tend to overlook while headed outdoors is trail mix. Like water, your body is going to be burning quite a few more calories than normal. Trail mix will provide your body with the energy it needs to keep going, so you don’t burn out halfway through the hike.

Know where you’re going – Even if you’re headed to a well defined path, it’s very important that you know exactly where you’re starting, where you’re headed, and how long the trail is. On a map, trails may look very easy to navigate, but sometimes maps don’t always include forks in the road, or unmarked trails. Know where you’re going, so you at least have a fair idea of what to expect on the trail.

Stretch – I cannot stress this enough for anyone who is planning on travelling outdoors. Unlike spending some time on a treadmill or an elliptical, outdoor trails are going to vary in exertion with every step. Some portions will be level, others will be fairly steep, and some might shift both uphill and downhill.

Make sure you’re doing your stretches for your legs, so your body is prepared for a little extra exertion than normal. The last place you want a cramp is on the trail.

Don’t overexert yourself – If this is one of the first times you’ve gone on a trek, remember to take it easy, and don’t feel compelled to go too far. Just because there’s something to see at the end of the path doesn’t mean you have to get there in record time. Pushing yourself at the gym is one thing, but remember that you still have to make it back to the trailhead once you get to your destination.

Grab a camera – Maybe not an essential, but you’re going outdoors to enjoy the view in addition to your fitness. So grab a camera and take some shots so you can share! I love to hear about where everyone is going on the weekends, and would love to see pictures of your latest experience!

When you do get a great shot, be sure to share it with Boomer Fitness on Facebook, and tell us about what you’re doing outdoors!