Traveling Toned – How to Keep a [Pole]-Fit Physique when away from the studio
Before I set off on my trip to Spain, the UK, and then winding up working at The Pink Palace in Greece, I’d been religiously taking Pole Fitness classes for a year up to four times each week.
Maintaining the strength, agility, and especially the core muscles nessecary for this type of workout takes a lot of time and dedication. When I thought about how I’d be spending MONTHS without access to Brass Bombshells in downtown Burlington, Ontario, I shivered at the thought of my toned body turning to mashed potatoes during my travels.
Any Pole Chick will tell you that NOTHING substitutes for proper training on the pole. Superstar Pole Fitness chicks on Instagram train daily. This goes for any type of body building or sports training; you can’t half-arse your conditioning and expect to perform the same.
But, I asked my pole instructor, Kelly Anastasopoulos for advice on what I can do to maintain my Pole Fit Physique to the best of my ability! Kelly has been teaching pole fitness for 3 years and runs online/virtual fitness accountability bootcamps as a Team Beach Body Coach.
Thankfully, “Sargent Kelly” as we call her at the studio, had some pretty rocking tips for cardio, conditioning AND healthy eating which seems to have been working for me the past couple weeks!
Sitting on a plane, sitting in the car, sitting politely while my Mum and Aunties chit chat about “The Good Old Days” during my time in the United Kingdom didn’t grant me the opportunity to burn the calories I was walking around Barcelona. British weather does not always permit running outdoors, and really the sidewalks aren’t always “runner friendly”. How can I make use of a small amount of space with limited time, such as a hotel room or family friends house, to make up for all the time spent sitting on my bum?
What time of day is the best to do a quick HIIT home/hotel room workout?
Kelly: I feel that the best time of the day is a personal choice, and it depends on the individual. More specifically, it depends on when that person has the most energy, and when that person is most likely to actually accomplish the task. Usually the easiest way to avoid putting off your workout is to do it first thing in the morning. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) can be difficult for many people in the morning, so perhaps holding off until lunch time, or doing it early and perhaps starting with some gentle cardio and/or stretches first.
Lala: With a jam-packed itinerary planned by my Mum, I made a point of waking up early, drinking a black coffee, and then jumping into some planks and aerobics moves. If the weather was nice, I’d do a 15 min jog outside. Promptly after I rewarded myself with a big bowl of cereal! Low-sugar Cornflakes and All-Bran with maybe a bit of granola as a treat keeps me full and energised until lunch time!
What are a few moves to do to substitute vigorous cardio such as running, biking, cardio machines, etc. for an intense calorie burn?
Kelly: Running on the spot, high knees, jumping jacks, sumo squat jumping jacks, standing mountain climbers, plank mountain climbers, burpees, squats. Do sets of exercises for 30-60s a a time with 15-30s of rest in between. Avoid going into resting mode for any longer than that for at least half an hour; trust me, it’ll be vigorous.
Lala: So Kelly is a machine…. half an hour is certainly possible, but with time constraints while traveling I found doing these moves for a good 15 min in the morning would do. Throughout the day I made sure to get up, move around and walk as much as possible.
Since becoming a Pole Dancer, I’ve come to take pride in my toned arms and core and looking “lean”.
What are the primary areas, specific to a Pole Dancer, to focus on toning in order to maintain their physique, Kelly?
Kelly: Legs, back, core, shoulders and arms… short answer.. the entire body! My favourite body weight (and equipment-less) exercise to play with to strengthen my pole physique is plank.
Lala: Oh we know you love planks! (Kelly even makes us do a whole plank dance routine to the “Cha Cha Slide” in class!) What’s so great about this position?
Kelly: Hahaha I really do love planks! I find it favourable and effective because it engages the full body and improves my pole needed strengths. Plank on the hands, on our elbows, one leg up, other leg up, side plank, plank pikes, hips tucks and tilts in plank, plank in socks so you can slide around and work the core in different ways!!! And an abundance of push ups!! These conditioning moves keep the arms and shoulders toned.
Lala: What can you recommend specifically for the core? I’ll be needing to keep my beach body in tip-top shape!
Kelly: Planks lol.. running planks or plank mountain climbers are some of my favourites.If you’re sick of planks, throw in some bicycle kicks or bicycle crunches.
HEALTHY EATING TIPS
The dreaded biscuits, tapas, cider, puddings, everything that tastes delicious and is so accessible while travelling is the worst for my physique! Believe it or not, I have a very unforgiving metabolism, and I constantly watch my weight. Not to say I don’t enjoy some sugary margaritas or mimosas on occasion, but SHHH!
As dancers, what foods should we avoid while travelling or trying to maintain a lean physique with no or limited access to a studio?
-AVOID excess caffeine- it impairs flexibility
-AVOID starchy, high fat foods, sweets and processed
-AVOID deep fried, oily, cheese covered, creamy, dairy and grains
Lala: Kelly is basically saying to stay away from all the garbage you’ll come in contact with at rest stops and gas stations! And be cautious about what you’re ordering on restaurant menus.
I found in European countries the restaurants and cafes are not as flexible with offering substitutions as they are in North America. Still, try your best to choose grilled meat, ask for no cheese, dressing on the side, and try to substitute starch for salad. Use your best judgement, and remember, nothing tastes as good as who your body looks on Instagram!
Lala: Salads can be traps loaded with calories, fat and sugars. What is a staple on a fast food menu which is less likely to “cheat” on your diet?
Kelly: Burritos are probably one of my favourite “healthy” fast food choices, you can get a burrito bowl with no tortilla or they have gluten free and whole wheat. Shrimp is usually healthier than the halibut if it is deep fried (so dam good tho I admit!) Avoid the beef or chicken if its saucy, and opt out of the mayo, burrito sauce or sour creme. Most places will let you add guacamole instead. You can also pack burrito bowls with an abundance of (usually) fresh veggies!
Lala: Most Mexican restaurants offer “Taco Salad”, either inside a tortilla shell or with tortilla chips. If it comes in the shell, I eat the inside and maybe treat myself to a bite, but if it comes with chips on top, I’ll ask the waiter not to include them. I ask for no cheese, sour cream, or any of what Kelly mentioned. You’re probably thinking “Eww where’s the flavour?”. The veggies themselves or plain salsa provides great flavour on it’s own. And those limes you think are there as garnish add a nice citrus zest to your meal 😉
Bonus: What to drink? FYI, this advice is Lala’s, not Kelly’s.
VODKA-SODA-SPLASH OF SOMETHING FRUITY!!!
When you’re on vacation, most of the time you’re there to have fun and have a few drinks. Guzzling down on beers, margaritas, Pina Coladas and beverages loaded with sugar is what gives you as I call it a “sugar belly”. I can’t go to the beach without ordering at least one frozen blended sugary 1000 calorie drink, but after my daily treat, I like what I call “Vodka-Soda with a SPLASH of ______”. The “splash” here is very important, as you only want enough cranberry, lime, passion fruit juice, etc to make the drink taste nice, not jam it with sugar.
STAYING MOTIVATED TO KEEP FIT WHILE TRAVELLING
What are some sneaky ways to burn extra calories or tone-up when you have a busy schedule and can’t dedicate time to visit a gym or studio? (ie. Doing around the house/hotel/at work moves)
Kelly: Do everything like it’s a workout… a friend of mine told me recently that when you think of an activity as a workout, your body actually burns more calories than if it thinks you’re just i.e lifting a box or shovelling the driveway.
Lala: It’s true. I like to try and sneak in some calorie-burning moves even in the shower or brushing my teeth. I also try to engage my core when lifting and lugging my suitcase around.
Kelly, how can we stay motivated to work on our bodies during extended periods of time away from the studio?
Kelly: Develop deeper and more intrinsic health and fitness goals or reasons behind working out and staying fit. For example, goals of feeling healthier, clothes fitting better, loving your naked self, better relationship with self and body image, more self love and self respect. Remember that staying healthy is a form of self love and self respect, and daily fitness is a part of a healthy lifestyle.
Thanks so much Kelly!
Your advice has been working for me since I left for Europe the first week in June. Of course, it’s hard when family members bring out Victoria Sponge cakes and I spent most of my time in a car, but I do my best to eat healthy and add in exercise at every opportunity.
Kelly: You’re welcome Lala! I hope this was helpful and valuable to you and your readers!always happy to get more specific with people and exercises that will be effective for the their goals. I run online /virtual fitness accountability bootcamps for people at every fitness level and I open 5-10 spots per month for new boot campers! If you’re interested in learning more about my online fitness program, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org !
Love from Lala.
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