Training in the Pacific


My wife and I just returned from an amazing trip to Guam. In case you're wondering where exactly Guam is located (I didn't know where it was initially), it is located somewhere in between Candyland and Heaven. In other words, it's in the middle of freakin' paradise. The picture below is a photo I personally took while we were on one of the private beaches; pretty cool huh? The trip was incredible, to say the least, and all fears of experiencing a "warm Christmas" were completely defenestrated. We also got to spend a fair amount time of exploring the Guam backcountry, during which we came across these freakish spiders every ten yards (not kidding). As much as I hate spiders, I couldn't resist taking a video of one of them. Check it out a defense mechanism, it intentionally oscillates its web back and forth as if it's being blown by the wind.

Not to mention, we had snake (brown tree snakes) and hog traps lining the border of our backyard, as, apparently, they run around with reckless abandon in Guam.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. When it comes to working out on vacation, I find people often fall into one of two camps:

1. Exercising like a maniac. Heaven forbid a week pass by without running one's self into the ground. After all, if you take time off, you're lazy and a slacker, right?

2. Doing absolutely nothing, along with sitting, eating, and drinking as much as possible. You've earned it anyway, no?

As usual, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. While I feel it's EXTREMELY important for exercise-aholics to learn to relax for a change (they'll often find their body needs the break anyway), it's also important to not abuse your body on the other side of the spectrum through sedentary living and consuming alcohol until your eyes bleed. Given the fact that vacations often entail copious amounts of eating rich foods, sitting (especially during the travel portion), and a disrupted/abnormal sleep schedule, nixing exercise entirely may not be the wisest choice.

As such - and while I'd be remiss to claim that I'm a perfect example - I thought some of you may like to see how I made my best attempt to find a balance while in Guam. Enough exercise to keep my body (and mind) moving in the right direction, but so much that I failed to enjoy the vacation for what it was: A freakin' vacation!

Here's what I did:

Workout 1 (in a gym)

A1. Weighted Chins, 4x3 A2. Front Squat, 2x3

B. Barbell Stepback Lunge with a Front Squat Grip, 3x5/side

C1. Barbell Glute Bridge, 3x8x :2

C2. Single-Arm Dumbbell Farmers Walk, 2x60yds/side

Workout 2 (in a gym)

A. Speed Deadlifts, 6x2 @55%

B1. Feet-Elevated Pushup, 10x5

B2. Bent-Over Dumbbell Row, 10x5/side

B3. Single-leg Hip Thrust, 10x5/side (Performed circuit fashion with minimal rest)

Workout 3 (outside)

4 mile descent and climb down and up Sanders Slope. The entire road/path was on an incline. While not physically grueling by any means, it provided a nice change of pace with beautiful scenery, wild hogs on the path (no, I'm not messing with you), and a fair challenge as far as walks are concerned.


Workout 4 (outside)

My wife and I decided that, on Christmas Eve, we'd much rather complete a bodyweight session outside to enjoy the beautiful island weather, as opposed to remaining cooped up in a windowless gym. We found some pullup and dip bars outside and improvised as we went along:

A1. Pullup, 5x8 A2. PUPP, 5x :30 (immediately following each set of pullups) A3. No rest, go straight back to pullups

B1. Supinated-Grip Inverted Row, 3x6x :5 hold at top B2. Tiger Crawl with Pushup, 3x 30yds

C. Squat Series "Finisher:" Squat Jump x20 seconds Bodyweight Squat x20 seconds Squat ISO Hold in Bottom x20 seconds Repeat 3 times

The Rationale

Workouts 1 and 2 Given that I was on a Pacific island, I didn't want to spend too much time indoors. As such, only the first two workouts were performed inside a gym. I went full body on both those days, as I knew they'd be the only two days during the week I'd be able to use the iron. I also kept the volume fairly low, so that I could get in+out of the gym within 45 minutes, as well as give my body a break. The circuit on Day 2 was a way to get in a fair amount of joint-friendly work, while spreading out the volume over ten sets.

"Workout" 3 See above. We also stumbled across a pretty cool beach at the bottom of the slope, along with experiencing plenty of beautiful scenery along the way.


Workout 4 This provided an awesome opportunity to breathe some fresh air, spend some time exercising with my wife, and also give myself a small training effect while leaving me feeling "invigorated" rather than exhausted by the end of it. This workout really counted more toward energy systems training, given the rest periods and sets/reps we used. And it was completed within 20 minutes. Sounds like a winner to me!

There you have it! Our total STRUCTURED exercise time didn't exceed two hours or so, and we still spent plenty of time swimming and walking along the beaches. I returned home not feeling like complete garbage from all the holiday feasting, while at the same time I certainly was able to indulge myself in "vacation mode."

I should have an article coming out on how to exercise while traveling with minimal equipment, so keep your eyes peeled!