Hey guys! I am happy to say we are back in Calgary and debriefing from our incredible summer. If you’ve read my last few posts, you’ll know that over the last few months I’ve partnered with Gatorade Canada as a #SummerOfSweat Ambassador to keep on track with my fitness goals during this busy summer of traveling and adventuring. I’m grateful for them reaching out to me because I don’t typically set goals in the summer. Plus, I had electrolyte-laden drinks to help me out along the way!
(photo by the amazing Dan Shapiro)
Backing up a bit, first I stated my summer goals (which aptly came after a post where I was reflecting on my goals anyways!); then I shared about how my goals went while paddling Lake Superior in Ontario and the Tatshenshini River in the Yukon/Alaska. And now? Here’s how my one minute workout blitzes went and how my nutrition was while rafting the Grand Canyon! I’ll start with the food.
(photo by the hilariou Dan Shapiro)
You guys… This is not your average backcountry trip when it comes to the food! In fact, it’s all about luxury when you go through a commercial outfitter; of all the expeditions we offer (kayaking, sailing, and canoeing), this is most high-end in terms of food because we’re on a huge boat which means big coolers and the capacity to keep everything cold, frozen and fresh. Because of this, it’s harder for me to not overeat because the options are plenty and the food is great! But by the same token, many of the food options are fresher and healthier, so overindulging on Mexican night might be a bit different than trying to fill the hunger with extra cookies or sugary granola bars.
(the cutest photo of happy Mikey chewing away!)
Here’s how the flow food-wise goes: Most mornings we wake up around 5:30 am so we can be on the river by 7, 7:30 am.
(photo by the talented Dan Shapiro)
I loved the morning options: always a few cereals with milk, which went pretty untouched thanks to eggs made to order plus meat – bacon, ham, sausage patties – along side fruit, coffee and/or tea. One morning we even had blueberry pancakes (with those daily optional eggs of course), but no oatmeal all week – a far cry from our Tatshenshini River trip (which was oatmeal every morning). This made it more difficult to practice any intermittent fasting; which I did on our last two trips, and because of the early mornings, breakfast was well before I was really hungry (a full breakfast sandwich at 6:30 am was too much for me). So, the mornings I was hungry I ate, and the mornings I wasn’t hungry I just had my morning coffee. Simple as that!
Lunches were great – a daily sandwich bar that was the same every day but with different meats (think: breads, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, hummus, etc with different lunch meats and/or chicken or tuna mixes). There were also lots of snacks like cookies, trail mixes and specialties like licorice or M&M’s. Every day I had lettuce wraps with meat and veggies and finished off with my “dessert wrap” – peanut butter and jam – to hit my sweet spot. I also enjoyed nuts and some chocolates but the licorice wasn’t my favorite and the cookies weren’t anything I couldn’t get at home; I had maybe three Girl Scout cookies all week but I was happy with the nuts and lots of lettuce wraps!
(Waterfall stop after lunch at Lower Deer Falls)
After lunch is where I started feeling hungry. Once we made camp, there were appetizers that I tried not to devour (but often did!). Fresh cheese and crackers, pickled veggies like asparagus, peppers and okra were just so good! Dinners were delicious and I was typically hungry for them. What did we eat? Steak, asparagus, Mexican food, pork chops, salads and some kind of cake or brownies for dessert (most of which I declined unless I really wanted it). Like I said, not your typical backcountry meals!
Did I avoid more sugary snacks? Yep! But it was more because I truly didn’t want them; when I did I ate them. 😉 Did I eat to 80% fullness as per my Summer of Sweat goals? Most of the time, yes, but I couldn’t pass up seconds on Mexican night with extra meat sauce and salad three times over on our late (8:30 pm) last dinner on the river. Overall though, I enjoyed meals (I remember thinking, “When do I EVER have bagels with fresh eggs and sausage?! I’m going for it!” and just had a half a bagel). I tried not to overthink OR overindulge.
Now – onto the workout blitzes! I’ve expressed before that I have never really balanced movement and outdoor trips together well, partly because being outdoors all day and active in other ways is tiring in and of itself! But it’s also been a struggle for me to (want to) workout on our trips with young adult cancer survivors when they might be suffering from chemo/radiation pains or late-effects that limit their physical fitness or mobility. Something significant happened on this trip: I learned how to hold them both simultaneously.
It sounds simple. Before I would try to hide my mini workouts, doing them on the side so I wouldn’t affect others’ experience or make them feel bad because they can’t workout (especially if they were fit prior). That mainly resulted in me simply not doing anything, which is fine because I was still active. This time I had Summer of Sweat goals to stick to, and I realized on our Lake Superior trip that people liked being involved. I presented the blitzes in a fun way; kept them to 1 minute each, showed modifications first and then the advanced movements, and celebrated those who did the last 10 seconds or the entire minute. Here’s a visual of our movement as a group!
Every day after we broke camp and loaded the boat, we gathered around for a blitz of a different muscle group and I had anywhere from three to 12 people join in the workout daily! If we weren’t doing a fun hike (we did 1 to 3 hikes daily), we’d do a blitz at lunch and always 1 or 2 blitzes in the late afternoon at camp. I knew the engagement was high when people would ask me at breakfast, “So what’s today’s blitz?,” and, “Why did you start without me? I didn’t hear the blitz call!”️ How great is that?!
It was great having Gatorade along for the ride too. We had cold water and Gatorade in coolers on the boat, so after about 2 litres of plain water in the morning, I’d spice up my afternoons with Gatorade. We needed the extra electrolytes on the hot hikes and long days on the water. Why did I need more than water? Well sweat is more than just water, it’s made of electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Electrolytes replace sodium lost in sweat, and help keep fluids in your body and stimulate thirst, which replace the fluid you lost from sweating to keep your body temperature cool. Sugar in Gatorade provides energy to your muscles and fuel to your brain, which was key on those longer hikes. I also brought some of my own thanks to my partnership with Gatorade and again mainly chugged it back on the hot hikes in the canyon. My go-to on this trip?
Lemon Lime Thirst Quencher – pictured above – with 210mg Sodium and 55mg Potassium to replace my lost electrolytes from sweating in the heat. I also brought along some Low Calorie G2 in Grape flavor. I even shared some with my husband on the hikes – just like last time! You can learn more about Gatorade, G2, and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute at: http://www.gssiweb.org/en.
The blitzes contributed to the trip. They were fun and about attainable movement. We hit the big muscle groups with modifications for all levels and celebrated after each blitz was done. It became more about the group workout than me keeping my muscle (despite my Summer of Sweat goals). Indeed, I’m not as strong nor defined after the summer of being away from my gym routine. But you know what? I feel more balanced and comfortable now than ever before! I was able to give the gift of fitness and share the fun with new friends in a way that is in line with my personal life mission statement and that adds value to a trip.
(the grimace and grins as people’s shoulders start to feel the burn!)
My focus shifted on this trip in the best way possible! Part of it has come overtime as I’ve been focusing on body image, mindset, celebrating what my body can do rather than berating it for what it is not, and staying inspired about these things through the truth of God’s Word, reading blog posts/articles and listening to podcasts. Another part of it came on this trip as I was reminded why I love what I do and as I watched others become empowered through movement at all levels. I saw people whose bodies have changed so much over the years due to their treatments who were out embracing life and living it, loving their bodies through the changes and being #unapologeticallystrong in bikinis and board shorts.
This was the icing on top of an incredible summer, and I’m grateful to Gatorade for helping me set my Summer of Sweat goals and #KeepSweating through my adventures! Now it’s time to get back in the gym, get consistent in the kitchen, and start training myself and clients again. I’m ready for it. Ready for routine, consistency and fun in a different setting. More to share as I make that transition back to “real life,” and also on my thoughts moving into the fall as we settle in and as my perspective has shifted. I can’t wait to keep sharing the journey with you.
What is your go-to electrolyte drink? When I’m really sweating and in the heat, Gatorade is my go-to!
Any highlights of summer to share? Catch me up on YOUR lives and Summer of Sweat goals!
Stay tuned for my full recap of how I did numbers-wise (and why I’m not using them anymore after this!) and for my thoughts as I move into the fall with a new perspective from my summer…
Live well & be well, friends!