Athletic Adventure!

Lord knows we've all been there. The alarm rings sharply at 6:30 a.m. and you begin the morning ritual of slapping the snooze alarm until you can't avoid it any longer. Your workout awaits. And you are dreading it. How many sit-ups today? Can you survive another 45 monotonous minutes on the treadmill? Can you face that perky, shrill aerobics instructor barking commands at you even before your coffee has kicked in? This workout lethargy, this pervading boredom can be lethal to a successful fitness program.

Thankfully, your fitness goals do not have to die. There is hope for rejuvenation, even a renewed surge of commitment. All it takes is a sense of adventure and a willingness to think outside that box called a gym. The global interest in health and fitness has spawned all kinds of "getaways" that cater to every kind of sport or athletic endeavor. You may find just the spark you are looking for in the following suggestions to help you remember why you make all this effort in the first place.

These Boots Were Made for Walking
Hiking tours are becoming increasingly popular, offering a wide variety of settings to all fitness levels. Everything can be found from high end, spa-type accommodations that are ground zero for day hikes to rustic, more hard core destination hikes that start at Point A and end at Point B with camping in between. There are several highly rated companies that coordinate these energetic enterprises. Spafari is a company based out of Old Snowmass, Colorado that coordinates small group fit-trips all over the world, from Arizona to Peru. On these mostly week long ventures you can participate in all levels of hiking and climbing while supplementing with yoga and meditation classes and enjoying local, healthy cuisine and learning about the region up close and personal. I can't think of a better, more hands on way to learn about different cultures and get in tune with your natural surroundings than hiking with an experienced guide who will challenge your body and expand your mind.

A Bicycle Built for View
If biking is your milieu then are you in for treat. There are hundreds of biking tours all over the world that will breath new life into your fitness routine. VBT Bicycle tours, rated the #1 bicycle tour company on earth by National Geographic Adventure, offers numerous exciting tours that are rated easy to moderate in terms of fitness difficulty. You average 15-35 miles per day wheeling through breath-taking landscapes in countries like France, Italy, and Spain. Trips include some meals, bilingual tour guides, and overnight accommodations that range from elegant to quaint. La Corsa Tours is a bit more hard core. It is for the experienced, actively training cyclist. La Corsa averages 50-60 miles per day through more challenging terrain and altitude. It would be a true thrill for the biking enthusiast to have the opportunity to follow part of the Tour de France course or to take on the challenge of racing through Tuscany with a pro cyclist as your guide in a training camp format. What better way to get your workout juices flowing again!

There's No Place Like "Ohm"
If your fitness program includes yoga (and in my opinion, everyone's should) you can find true revitalization by plunging yourself into a yoga retreat. In Southern Spain, just above an exquisite nature reserve, stands The Ashtanga Yoga Retreat. Residing in a converted mill, it has 8 rooms that provide simple, comfortable living. You can participate in daily classes in Ashtanga yoga practice and theory. Two vegetarian meals are provided each day to conform to the healing, wholesome environment this lovely retreat cultivates. The Kailasam Yoga Center is located in South India and is reachable only by foot through the coconut groves. That alone makes my blood pressure drop several points. Two sessions of Hatha yoga are offered daily along with healthful meals and Ayurvedic massage. Both of these retreats and a number of others offer total immersion and spiritual rejuvenation in a rich cultural setting in sync with the origins of the yoga style.

I Like to Watch
I find when I am lagging in inspiration I look to watching others in action to help motivate me. TV will do, but live and in person is better. I love to go to sporting events like local tennis tournaments or high school games in various sports. Watching all that athletic prowess and steeping myself in the sheer joy of activity that permeates these events is like a jolt of super-charged get-up-and-go. My naturally competitive spirit makes me want to get straight to the gym and start whipping myself into a shape comparable to those playing in such an accomplished fashion on the court or field. Don't limit yourself to sports or activities in which you already partake. Stretch your imagination. Who knows, you may discover the adventure of a whole new athletic endeavor.

The Grass is NOT Always Greener
While such adventures can definitely add sizzle to your sweating, you need only step outside your own door on our beautiful island to find a wealth of resources to remove the word routine from your workout. We boast miles and miles of bike trails, gorgeous beaches on which to walk and run, and multiple extensive park and rec facilities to add tons of variety to your training. Lack the knowledge and experience to get too adventuresome? The right personal trainer should do that for you. Your trainer should do a lot more than count reps and offer encouragement. When I walk in for an hour session with my trainer, A.J. Kelly, I never know what to expect. He knows I get bored easily so he gets real creative with my workouts. We might be doing footwork drills or plyometrics. He seems to know when I am getting bored and never fails to come up with creative alternatives to pique my interest. Be sure to encourage your trainer to change your program up frequently. It keeps you involved and challenged and is more effective in muscle and cardiovascular development.
At the end of the day, I find that adventure is more a state of mind than anything else. When boredom is sucking the energy out of you it is time to mix it up, change the view. Whether you are hiking the Himalayas or taking your dog for a brisk walk down an unexplored neighborhood path, if it gets your blood pumping and makes your heart smile then you have discovered the true spirit of athletic adventure.

Anneliza and Josh Itkor are co-owners of The Center for Health, Fitness, and Sports Performance located mid-island at South Island Square near Longhorn. Anneliza's passion for whole body health stems from a 24-year involvement in the fitness industry. Got a fitness question? Email Anneliza at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Or call 843.686.5500 to schedule a fitness consultation.

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