While preparing for the British Columbia Championships several years ago, I found myself in the largest blackout in Canadian and American history. This meant that I would be without power which translates into no gym time, no fresh chicken, or even gas for a taxi to get anywhere.
It was just a few weeks from my figure show. I was in shock when I heard that I would be stuck in a hotel, stranded in Toronto, Ontario between flights as I traveled from Nassau, Bahamas to Victoria, BC Canada. My new “home” was actually in Mississauga and to create a workout I relied on the only power around which was my “will power”.
Here are the basic exercises I always like to use when it comes to staying fit anywhere, at anytime! Repeat this circuit at least two more times for a total of three sets (complete up to five sets for advanced athletes):
- Pushups for your chest and front deltoids. These are great for getting your heart rate up.
- Squats for your glutes, quads and hamstrings. These also raise your heart rate really fast.
- Dips from a chair with your feet on the floor. These work your triceps (back of arms).
- Crunches (reverse, side and regular). These are perfect for working your abs and core.
- Skipping or jogging in place for 2-3 minutes for getting the sweat flowing. Be sure to always have a jump rope in your suitcase. It’s something you can use when there is a lack of power to run on a treadmill.
- Lunges for your glutes, quads and hamstrings, and keeping your heart rate up.
If I had to pick one key exercise to use when you need a killer whole body workout it has to be jumping rope. It’s an unbelievable “bang for your buck” workout that is truly portable and can be performed with only minimal space. All you need is a $10 jump rope and you’re ready to start sweating big time! Jumping rope targets your arms, chest, shoulders, legs, calves, abs and core. Combine some burpees into your jump rope workout routine and I guarantee that you will burn a ridiculous amount of calories! I like doing 3 minutes of jump rope followed up with 10 burpees. Repeat this for 10 sets which results in a 40 minute fat burning cardio workout that will leave you sweating like crazy!
The other part of looking and feeling great is eating right. It might be very hard finding the right foods without power but do your best. Come contest time you will thank yourself for staying on track with your diet! If you can get to a grocery store you will find canned tuna and protein bars. In the deli area there might be foods that are safe to eat such as lean sandwiches and salads. Be sure to also drink lots of water (up to 1 gallon a day). Use this time to take a break from the television and start reading something interesting. You can be sure the newspapers are full of facts and speculations on why you are in the dark! You can also grab your favorite fitness magazine and polish up on your diet and exercise knowledge.
If you have a show coming up or want to train just for your health and well-being, use this workout anytime you are in a bind or have little time to spare. In just 15-20 minutes, you will do your heart, mind and spirit a huge favor!
The end result for me was placing 2nd in the figure short class. Later that year I competed at the Canadian Nationals in Brantford, Ontario and placed 9th out of 28 extremely talented athletes. This success came from dedication and sticking to my diet and exercise routine even when the lights were out!