Staying Fit While Backpacking

I’m a bit of a fitness junkie.  I’ve always found great joy in being involved in sports, running, being addicted to the gym, and, most recently, pole fitness!  I have become absolutely enthralled with pole fitness in the last few years, it’s become my passion.  I’ve become used to at least 6 hours of pole each week, between teaching classes, taking classes, and my own training sessions at home and at the studio.

So … one of the nagging thoughts in my head is How am I going to stay in shape while traveling?  My health and fitness level is incredibly important to me, and I know that I won’t be keeping up with any kind of intense fitness regime while I’m gone.  However, I’ve worked very hard in the last few years to build up the upper body and core strength to be able to do the tricks I do, and I don’t want to lose all of that strength.

Twisted Grip variation at my family farm... flagpoles work just fine!

Twisted Grip variation at my family farm… flagpoles work just fine!

With that said, luckily at Clubmynx, the studio I work and train at, a lot of our pole conditioning is body-weight based, so I can use a lot of those exercises to keep in shape.  Here’s a list of exercises that would be great for a backpacking trip (or any other kind of traveling you may be doing!)

  1. Push-ups:  Keeping hands straight below the shoulders, wide, and narrow will target different upper-body muscle groups
  2. Planks:  Forward and side planks, hold for 1 minute
  3. Reverse curls:  We do this with the pole at the studio, but they can be easily modified with a bed post, table leg, or even another person.  The move: lay on your back, hands above your head holding onto the pole.  Starting with your legs straight out and hovering above the floor, use your core to slowly raise your legs up until they are above your head (or touching the pole, if you have one).  Here, again use your core to pull your toes up as high along the pole as you can, then slowly lower your legs back to just above the floor.  Repeat in sets of 2 or 3, 5-10 each set.
  4. Plié Squats:  Great for legs, do them high on your toes, drop one foot at a time, or flat-footed.  How long can you pulse down low for?
  5. Pull-Ups:  These will be trickier to do on the road, but if I can find somewhere with a bar to pull-up on, it would be spectacular!
  6. Acrobatics:  No, I am not part of Cirque du Soleil, but simple acrobatics can really help to improve both balance and strength. And hey, who doesn’t love busting out a cartwheel or handstand on the beach?  Along with these, deadlifting into a headstand or teddybear stand will help core strength.

And last but not least …

Street Poling!  Whether it’s a street sign, lamp post, playground equipment, or even a tree–pull out the tricks!  I’m always watching for “poles” when I’m walking around, and am more than willing to pull out a butterfly, handspring, or just a climb.  (Also, street-poling makes for the best pictures!)  I killed a good hour stuck beside the yacht club in Cartagena, Colombia doing twisted grip handspring variations on the fence while Braydon fixed his bike.

Yep, that's me handspringing off the side of a C-can

Yep, that’s me handspringing off the side of a C-can

So, what do you do on vacation/while traveling to stay in shape?

A big shout-out goes to the lovely folks over at /r/poledancing on Reddit for helping me compile this list.  Check out the thread and everyone’s awesome ideas here.  Also a huge shout out to all the fabulous instructors at Clubmynx, I learned everything I know from there!  Be sure to check out their blog to check out all the exciting recipes, music, and pictures that get posted constantly!

Check back in a bit for a follow-up post about staying flexible while traveling (literally, all kinds of stretches!).

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3 responses to “Staying Fit While Backpacking

  1. I know you will find all kinds of ways to stay in shape. I want to see pics of you utilizing all kinds of structures to do your pole fitness techniques.

  2. Pingback: Adventures into Physiotherapy: How I Got Here | offtoanywhere·

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