Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Teaching, Training & Travelling - A Self-Contained Life

I hate to admit it, but there are some times that the weak part of me longs for a sedentary life. Those times don't really last for much longer than a passing thought, so I get back to my travel schedule with little delay.

Right now, I'm planning out my travel schedule for 2009, and so far, it's looking pretty calm. Then again, I said the same thing about this time of year in 2007, and look how 2008 turned out! For most of this year, I was at LAX at least once a month, and sometimes a few times!

It's been quite a buzz for me since Fall '07, though. Bangkok, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Budapest, Indianapolis... plenty of places I'd never been to before, and I'm sure '09 will have some more of the same.

However, this year has taught me the unparallelled lesson of having everything that you want & need right by your side at all times. Part of that revolves around packing light, and the other part revolves around packing smart.

The packing smart bit deals with bringing along those things that will serve your quality of life while you are away from home.

DIET: For me, travelling means that I'll be eating irregular meals, and usually ones that are at the discretion of my hosts. Generally speaking, I LOVE the food that I get to eat while I'm travelling - and the pasties in Scotland are at the front of that list. However, there are times when the time change, hustling like mad from one place to another, and the change in food just makes me feel like my intestines decided to go on holiday too.

Metamucil just came out with these Fiber Singles that are awesome. If your travel diet is a little light on soluble fiber, this stuff is beautiful. A packet dissolves in a bottle of water just like a packet of Emergen-C and you're good to go. Give it a few hours, and you won't have to travel with that heavy, slow stomach feeling. It's a beautiful thing.

EXERCISE: I never realized how crucial it was to keep to an exercise regimen while travelling until this year. In years past, when I travelled, it was to train, so I always got to get the blood flowing & the muscles pumping a bit. This year, my travel has predominately been for teaching. And as almost any higher level instructor in movement sciences can tell you, teaching & training are usually quite different endeavors. My body certainly got that message hammered home in a big way this year. How? I came home from a bunch of trips feeling depleted, slow, and softer than when I'd left.

Target Focus Training's mastermind, Tim Larkin, mentioned that he travelled with a copy of the Naked Warrior. Most of you who read this blog are familiar with some or part of the Naked Warrior training protocols, having seen or been taught them through me or other RKC instructors. If you haven't already gotten the book or DVD, I strongly suggest that you get it.

When you travel, unless you're filthy rich, you generally don't always have training equipment with you. Certainly, travelling with your kettlebell isn't usually a reality, especially now that the airlines are adding fees for heavier or extra luggage. With the Naked Warrior training methods, you have an equipment-free, space-efficient means of training and getting a great workout in a minimal amount of time. With even just 10 minutes in the morning, you can get a sweat-filled workout that will leave you feeling pumped and primed for the rest of your day in no-time. Don't believe me? Try it.

The packing light bit was always a bit elusive to me. And there are still some points of packing light that I'm working on, but I have to credit Pavel Tsatsouline for really clueing me in with one tip that revolutionized how I travel now.

TRAVEL CLOTHING: Wanna be able to roll with just the pants you've got on? Pavel told me once to try a pair of Patagonia khaki pants. The material was ultra lightweight, stain resistant, flexible enough to kick head-height in, and true "wash & wear". I never really understood the whole "wash & wear" thing until he put it to me like this. "Doc, no matter how sweaty or dirty you get during the day, you can put these in the sink with a little bit of soap, rinse them out well, and hang them to dry at the end of your day. By the next morning, they'll be dry," he said.

True enough, I've tried it, and it's true. After teaching at a Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) instructor certification course, where we're in the dirt, covered with chalk, and dampened with sweat, I was amazed to verify that with just a bit of soap and a good rinse, the same pair of pants served me beautifully through the entire 3-day workshop. They're comfortable enough to move well in, and stylish enough to wear out to dinner at an upscale restaurant.

The downside of the Patagonias is that they're damn hard to come by. Other companies have made smiliar attempts at wash & wear pants, but the fit, tailoring, or workmanship just doesn't cut it for me. My assistant, Anton Summers, RKC, got a pair of wash & wear pants (not Patagonias) at a local outdoor store, and he split the crotch seam after less than 10 days. Not good.

Not having to pack 3 pairs of thick cotton pants already lightened my packing considerably, but having a week's worth of underwear taking up the same amount of space as a cell phone was an even more serious coup!


Figuring that I'd try to see how far I could take Pavel's wash & wear convenience, I decided to try these Ex Officio underwear. If you've ever tried to wear cotton underwear that's been washed and hang-dried, you might as well just put a few strips of sandpaper in your briefs. It's not a comfortable experience, and 7 days worth of underwear takes up space!

With a pair of these Ex Officios on you and a pair folded into a tiny pocket in your laptop case or backpack, you're good to go. Wear one pair during the day, wash it out at the end of the day, and you still have a clean pair to hit the town with at night. And best of all... THEY'RE COMFORTABLE! Brilliant, eh?

There are plenty of wash & wear shirts out there, so that's not even worth commenting on here, but my next coup will happen when I can find socks that are fluffy, comfortable on long hikes & while training, and wash & wear! When it happens, you'll read about it here.

Now get back to those Pistols & Pullups!!!

1 comment:

Fred said...

excellent article that i can relate to

its not all fun and games on the road!