Today’s guest writer: Tiffany Sippel, from Tif-fiT Personal Training.
So before I delve into the details of road tripping and exercise, I think it’s important to give you some background on the 2 people attending this trip. We’re both Personal Trainers. Whatever that makes you think, I’m sure some of those stereotypes are true…yes, we talked about muscles and nutrition. Yes, we did pushups at rest stops. Yes, we only brought fitness magazines to read. We wouldn’t love our jobs so much if it wasn’t a part of our personal life too. I will admit that our profession fueled an extreme case of “must workout”, which was a plus for everyone in the car. However, even though I pushed to be active and workout whenever possible, I still gained weight. It’s not extremely important to me but it was definitely not anticipated.
Before you watch this video, you should know that when travelling on a road trip somehow you gain a potty mouth. It makes the drive better. Enjoy.
Every once-in-a-while a trainer needs to be put in check. This can be in many different aspects of personal training: weight gain, weight loss, muscle gain, muscle loss, cockiness, taking your health for granted, taking clients for granted, entitlement, supplements, etc. In this case I got slapped in the face with a case of “so this is what it’s like to have a desk job and sit for hours at a time”. Long, long ago in the times before I was a trainer, I had a desk job. I sat, and typed, ate birthday cake, drank tons of coffee with flavored creamer, took the elevator, went to happy hour, etc. Besides being able to wail 90’s songs at the top of my lungs, I experienced something close to that desk job feeling on this trip. It was hard. It gave me a new appreciation for those of you who sit and tax your brains for hours at a time. It also helped renew my vows with exercise and how so very important it is for those of you who have to sit the whole day.
We left SF, Las Vegas bound, in the evening knowing it was going to be one of the longest legs we were going to have. Las Vegas was not exactly the most direct route to New York but my Mom was getting married and I thought that may be a good enough excuse to go there. Working out there was kind of like this: pull the car up in the free valet, walk to the 5 cent slots, get a free drink, walk outside drink-in-hand to the next casino, sit and play cards, get a free drink, stand on the moving walkway to the next casino, get a free drink, get ready for the wedding, walk my Mom down the isle, toast with champagne, eat some cake. The only sweating that happened was because it was 100 degrees.
Next, off to Zion National Park in Utah. It was here that I realized how small we are as human beings and how much water my body can really handle without going to the bathroom. These rock formations were like dinosaurs. We hiked the moment we got there (drank a gallon of water), hiked for the rest of the day (drank more water), camped that evening (drank water) and hiked again the next morning (more water). It felt great to be so active in such a captivating natural environment. I literally almost cried but was too dehydrated.
It was at Arches National Park where I realized how amazing Utah really is. I suppose the dry personality of the state makes a good balance with its natural wonders. Ouch, I said it. After working our cameras to death we decided to work ourselves. We did a 5 min sprint on the stairs to one of the hollowed out structures. I almost passed out. I think it was harder than running the Lyon St stairs 15 times. “Did 3 days of no cardio, valet parking, no peeing, and lots of coffee do me that much harm?!” Turns out it was 102 degrees, altitude somewhere around 5,000 feet, and most likely not enough water consumption.
Next stop, Boulder, CO. But first we made a pit stop for the evening in Parachute, CO. A cute little town with a high school and dogs that bark at you as you cross their front yard because it never happens. This was the first full night of sleep I’ve had in 3 days. So deep I woke up not knowing the existence of my being on this planet. There’s nothing like a morning run around the town to get you aquatinted with it. I hate running. But when you’re running to look for water it’s a different story. Almost like running from a killer, you really don’t care that you’re running. You’re running with a purpose. We found a cute high school with a comfy track, a few tractor tires to flip and a faucet. As my friend said goodbye to the toothless lady in the laundry mat who couldn’t believe she met someone from NYC I grabbed some Raisin Bran and an English muffin from the continental breakfast and we were off to Boulder.
What a city! If you love SF but hate the monotonous weather, have no need for the ocean, and like winter sports, you’d love Boulder. Laid-back, great food and great people. We rented a community bike, the ones where you can pick up at one location and drop off at another, and rode along the Colorado River. Our bikes looked like the Blazing Saddle bikes except in place of the fanny pack there was a basket that could hold a SmartCar. It weighed about 50 lbs and all my sick Personal Trainer mind could think was “Awesome! Leeeggs!”. We had to stop our long ride because, guess what, we ran out of water. I was convinced that if I just drank the river water I’d be alright but snapped out of it. I took a dip in the river to cool off and laid on a rock like a lizard to dry. We hit up some good bars on Pearl Street and took off to the next spot, Kansas.
There have been only a handful of times when I felt like my life was a horror movie. This is one of them. Pulling into a state with fields of flat nothingness and homemade gas station signs in the dark is enough to freak out two city girls. The plan was to camp but…yea. We quickly found a hotel that had a normal sounding desk person and tried to not look in the mirror with the lights off as we fell asleep. Woke up for a run and TRX session the next morning before we took off to Kansas City. Water was not my purpose/distraction for running this time. It was simply the fact that I had to. I really didn’t want to. Thank God for workout buddies. The TRX was strapped to a basket ball hoop that the hotel had and I found some bricks for light weights to circuit train with. I grabbed some Raisin Bran and an egg and off to the best BBQ I’ve had in 31 years.
This ride to Kansas City holds the title of the longest and most painful ride of the trip. This was that “slap in the face moment” I spoke of previous. I got moody, hungry, sleepy, manic. Car-fever. I felt sorry for my friend. I was better once we arrived. Oaklahoma Joe’s is where it’s at for BBQ in Kansas City. Maybe it was so good because I hadn’t eaten since Raisin Bran and it was now 5pm. Or maybe because we had to wait in line for another hour while smelling the BBQ and watch the other people eat it while our stomachs started eating our liver. Either way, I think they were voted “top 10 places to eat before you die” by Food Network for a reason. We pretended to walk it off after we were done but really it was because we were so full we couldn’t sit. That evening was full of dive bars, jazz bars, beers, cocktails, and beautiful weather. Kansas City loved us. The next morning after Raisin Bran and a waffle we drove, hungover, to St. Louis, MO.
I called ahead and set up a heist at one of the local gyms so that we could workout for free. This is a secret that I can only tell you now because I no longer work at a gym: call ahead and set up an appointment. Somehow, letting them know that you’re coming is a big difference than just showing up. Now, this only works if you live in the city of the gym but can also work if you’re “going to be living there soon”. Still feeling fuzzy, I had to pull it together and act out a believable story so we could get our workout on and get a good shower. Lucky for me the sales guy had one foot out the door and could’ve cared less. I think me being at a “desk job” for 5 days made this workout incredible. I was on fire. I was pulling workout tricks, squatting plates and basically showing off. It was fun. We hung out in St. Louis for a bit and came across a plethora of interesting people. Next stop was Chicago.
Denny’s was exactly the way I left it: greasy, open late, and willing to make all kinds of substitutions. Got into Chicago, woke up to eat Raisin Bran and self-made waffles and caught the shuttle to the airport. My friend was to take the rest of the trip back home to NYC by herself. I had to be in NYC for my BFF’s surprise wedding shower that evening. The rest of the trip goes like this: airport, plane, sleep, drag, coffee, train, blur, surprise!, hugs, eat, drink, blur, wake up, taxi, airport, plank, tricep dips, pushups, plane, sleep, BART, home, sleep. Woke up the next morning in SF not knowing the existence of my being once again. It was good.
To say that the US is an amazing place is such an understatement. I can’t believe we live here. I never had the want to visit Utah or any of the other states I saw. I’ve never had an urge to drive across America (or at least ¾ of the way). Like many, so much of my travel desires lie with other countries. Why not hang out in your own backyard with a few brewskies and good company. If gaining weight means that I get to see America’s beauty, I’ll take 20. It’s worth every pound.
And as for working out while you’re out of town or on vacation, there is no way you couldn’t do what we did. It made things fun and helped make us feel less guilty for eating a whole rack of ribs. On top of that, you might find that you’ve got a new energy with your workout because it’s in a new spot. You don’t end up on the same old treadmill every Tuesday and Thursday like back home and you get to check out a new set of people and maybe even get new inspiration from them. Remember to bust out the Skimble Workout Trainer app, pack a FitDeck or a TRX, heist to a gym, and bring some running shoes on your next vacay. It’s more fun than you think.