Sunday, May 31, 2015

So... About Exercising on a Cruise Ship

I thought I should put together a little catch-up post.  So many people have asked me about the cruise, and whether I managed to keep up with my fitness activities... you  may recall I was quite concerned about that before we left on our vacation near the end of April.

And all in all, it took some concerted effort.

We flew to San Francisco and spent 2 days on our feet, pounding the pavement, site-seeing.  My FitBit told me that we walked just over 19 km the second day.  Then, on the afternoon of the 3rd day, after doing a lot of walking in the early a.m. hours, we boarded the ship, and a couple of hours later, we cruised under the Golden Gate Bridge on our way to the island of  Oahu, in the state of Hawaii.

That was Wednesday. We spent 4 whole days at sea before landing in Honolulu on the following Monday morning.  And, we did lots of walking on the ship.  We walked up and down the many many flights of stairs and avoided the elevators when it was practical.  We walked on the Sun Deck and we walked around, exploring.  We swam some too.  A couple of different times my FitBit registered more than 163 floors climbed.

On our ship there is a Promenade Deck just about halfway up.. and at the broadest points fore and aft. It is a really nice outdoor walkway all around the outer perimeter of the ship. Posted signs told us that 2.5 times around equalled 1 mile in distance.  Early on the 2nd or 3rd day at sea we decided to go out on the Promenade Deck for a run... but the doors were roped off and we could see that the deck was wet... so we went up to the Sun Deck.... 8 floors up, and ran a couple of kilometers there.... still all outdoors and all around the ship, but with some zigsagging involved.  Later that same day we returned to the Promenade Deck at about 5 p.m. and ran 2 miles around. It was fun... kind of windy as we rounded the bow, but very pleasant.  We repeated that same  run a couple more times while on board.

When we were off the ship, in the various ports of call we visited, we walked... a lot. We never did any on-shore runs, but lots of walking.

And what about the ship's fitness centre, you might wonder.  Well... I did check it out a couple of times.  It is near the top of the ship on Deck 15. There is a spa with several treatment rooms and after you walk through that area, you come to the main part of the fitness centre. There is a corner with free weights, and another large area with several treadmills, elliptical machines, and some rowing machines...  I know there were stations with clean towels and hand sanitizers... and an area where the various fitness classes and health seminar schedules were posted.

Through an open door at the back of this room you would find the aerobics studio. This room had a good supply of stability balls, exercise mats, smaller dumbells, spinning cycles, and a barre along a mirrored wall.  Apparently this is also where the yoga classes were held, and the whole room was pretty much available all day for anyone who wanted to use the various equipment to do their own stretching, or bodyweight exercises.

If you know me at all, you know that I will always opt to exercise outdoors instead of inside.... particularly in a gym setting with other sweaty strangers.  Why not be out in the fresh air, running around the deck, instead of indoors, running on a treadmill right beside someone else?  And as for the free weight area, every time I checked it was populated by young turks who appeared to think it belonged to them. I chose not to get involved.

I had suspected before we boarded that I would not make use of the gym... I did go to a couple of seminars in the aerobics studio... but honestly, when I see all of those different people making use of equipment that I might, the germaphobe in me gets quite squeamish and I refrain.

After we returned to San Francisco on our way to Vancouver, we walked for about 6 hours throuh North Beach to Chinatown and back to the termina... and once we got to Vancouver we walked around downtown for about 3 hours before we boarded the helicopter that brought us home.

I was lucky in that I never once had any problems with leg cramps on this vacation. I made sure to stay well hydrated and drink my Natural Calm elixirs before bed every night.  Even though my feet ended up with calluses and blisters, with some blood blisters under my toenails, the muscles were fine.

And since I have been home?  Well, that is a story for another day.

At the very back of the ship there is an adult-only pool.  Nice!

How do you stay active when there are limitations?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

CLIF Organic Trail Mix Bars Now in Canada

One thing I don’t like about coming home from a vacation is unpacking my bags and putting things away.  I tend to do it over a few days to make it less painful.  Confession…actually I completely ignored my suitcase for 2 full days after this trip.

But one task I do really look forward to is going through the mail that has accumulated while I’m away.  We had the post office hold our mail this time around so it was not delivered until Tuesday at noon. 

In the bundle was a lovely little package from CLIF Bar & Company with an assortment of the new CLIF Organic Trail Mix Bars that were introduced in Canada on May 1st at select retailers.

CLIF trail mix bars

I was thrilled to see that they are gluten free, and under 200 calories each.  Just look at the lineup of flavors:
  • Coconut Almond Peanut
  • Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt
  • Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Raspberry
Weighing in at 40g each, they are just the right size for a nutritious and satisfying snack.  The first one I tried was the Coconunt Almond Peanut, after playing a sweaty round of singles tennis with The Captain on Tuesday afternoon.  It was very dense and quite chewy so I enjoyed it a nibble at a time while drinking some water and stretching after the match.  I had a nice little burst of energy to help me power through the half hour walk home from the tennis court.   We both agreed it was delicious!

These Organic Trail Mix Bars are filled with nutritious and delicious ingredients.  I am a huge lover of almonds and the organic almonds CLIF Bar & Company  use are grown without synthetic pesticides or highly toxic fertilizers and contribute to protein, energy and flavour, and add a welcome crunch to their bars.  Mmmmm.

For more information on Clif Bar & Company, please visit, check out their Facebook page at and follow them on Twitter at:

Even if you are not a fan of bars in general, you may just really like these as they are really just trail mix ingredients formed into a handy bar – portable and easy to stow in a pocket, a gym bag, or in your desk.  Much less messy on the fingers and easier to chow down than regular trail mix, too.

I know that these bars are being sampled at various events throughout North America right now. 

Have you had a chance to try them yet?

Do you put off unpacking after a vacation, too?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Home From Spring Vacation

I have just returned home from 19 days away… 2 days in the oddly charming city of San Francisco, and then 17 days on a luxurious cruise ship in a few different ports of call to Hawaii and then Mexico, San Francisco, and finally Vancouver before a short helicopter ride home.  Even though there were a few small incidents and annoyances, overall it was quite wonderful!
I had been very concerned about being bored on the ship during all those long days at sea… needlessly as it turns out. I was as active as I wanted to be most of the time.  I did a lot of walking and some running and some swimming on the ship itself, and walked whenever possible at our different ports of call.  I chose not to use the ship’s fitness equipment or yoga/aerobics studio…there were some incidents of illness onboard and honestly, I am not really a gym rat anyway.  I tried to stay outside as much as possible.

I did wear my FitBit and was always pleasantly surprised to see the number of steps I had taken each day and the number of flights of stairs I had climbed too… we rarely used the ship’s elevators in going up or down and some days I logged 163 flights! 

And of course everyone wants to know about the food… it was overwhelming at first.  But I learned that dessert always looks better than it really tastes!  And there was an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies and lean proteins available.  You just have to look past the decadent sauces and soups and salads to find them.

I have been easing back into life at home and slowly unpacking and getting reorganized.  Filling up the fridge with fresh produce yesterday and going for a nice long walk along the waterfront was a first priority… today I get back into my workout groove and back on my food plan.   It’s good to be home.