I want rock-hard abs. Tomorrow. And I want them to glisten in the sunlight whenever I sweat! Unfortunately, fate is cruel and abs don’t come easily. It’s a constant process, with failures and wins, and most people will never be able to do their laundry on their washboard abs purely because of genetics. “Off weeks” don’t really exist when it comes to your nutrition and fitness regiment so I have to be on top of my workout regiment at all times. But regardless of your fitness background, there are simple ways to keep fit while traveling that don’t involve running… because I hate running, it kills my gains, and it’s anti-freedom (obviously).
So then what?
My go-to traveling workout always involves my rucksack. My favorite backpack is, and will forever be, my GoRuck rucksack: “Francisco.” Francisco has unintentionally gone swimming, fallen off of cliffs, been chewed on by wild animals (and my cats), and is frequently covered in sweat/dirt/food/coconut water stains. What can I say? I’m a handful. When I’m traveling and there’s no CrossFit box nearby, I load up Francisco with a bunch of weight and then perform classic CrossFit movements in the wild. I stole this idea from the GoRuck Challenges, where you load up your rucksack with 50 pounds of bricks and then you add another 25 pounds worth of food, water, and self-respect. While I was hiking outside of Qingdao, I decided to do a mini-WOD on a cliff because I love flirting with danger and there weren’t any strangers around. I thought it would be an easy workout to share for those who love to stray off the beaten path or can’t make it to a gym.
My squat is terrible. I have gazelle limbs and the flexibility of a pro-football player so squatting has been a personal challenge that I’ve been working on for the last year. Everyone has something they’re terrible at and that’s okay. In the picture, you’ll notice that I’m putting my weight on my toes and this is WRONG. Please excuse my form and I hope we can still be friends. We have a CrossFit saying “Ass To Grass” and that’s exactly what you want to do. When you’re squatting your chest should be up and your heels should be glued to the floor. Your shoulders should be back and nowhere near your ears. Theoretically, with your weighted GoRuck rucksack on your back, you’re heels should be MORE LIKELY to be glued to the ground… but life is filled with disappointments and then you die.
A common misconception about push-ups is that your whole body is supposed to touch the ground. However, proper push-up form includes a flat plank-like body with your arms as close to your torso as possible. Only your chest should touch the floor and not your knees or thighs. Don’t forget to keep your butt down! This is not a Chris Brown music video. When in doubt, just remember “Chest To Deck.” Your hands should be as close to your chest as possible as well. They should not be far away from your chest with your elbows pointing away from your body (like chicken wings). If you’re not strong enough to perform a push-up properly, don’t cheat with your knees. Instead, use an elevated surface (like a push-up bench or a big rock) to create a slanted line with your body like this:
Lunges do a booty good! They can be done anywhere, at anytime, and they limit the amount of dirt that you could potentially get on your clothing. To do a lunge properly, step forward with one foot and then drop the knee of your other leg to the floor gently. Make sure your chest and shoulders are back and stay away from pushing your hands on your knee to gain momentum. The movement is suppose to be hard! For me, I keep my hands tucked into the shoulder straps to prevent myself from cheating. Once you’ve done one lunge, push up through the heel of the forward-most foot and put your feet back together. Now, repeat the same movement with the opposite leg. When dealing weighted lunges, I prefer to walk around (instead of stepping back) I have weak ankles. You can also hear me breath in deeply when I lunge down, hold my breath for two seconds, and then I exhale sharply with a crude swear word muttered in-between while I push up on my heel. It’s just a matter of preference, but remember, you should never be using your hands!
Now that I’ve described each movement with painstakingly specific details, it’s YOUR TURN to do a special
Wander Onwards Travel WOD that I’ve programmed.
1. Load up 20 pounds or 4 Medium size rocks into your GoRuck rucksack or backpack.
2. Perform the Wander Onwards WOD with your weighted rucksack on the whole time.
30 Squats 30 Push-ups 30 Lunges
20 Squats 20 Push-ups 20 Lunges
10 Squats 10 Push-ups 10 Lunges
Note: There’s a 20-burpee penalty every time you take your rucksack off!
*** Have you completed the Wander Onwards Travel WOD? Tag me on Instagram @wanderonwards with a photo of you doing your own damn thing and I’ll give you a shout out! Like my Facebook page @wanderonwards to stay on top of what’s going on in China and what resources you have available. Follow my smart-ass comments on Twitter @wanderonwards and stay tuned for more articles!
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About Vanessa Elizabeth
Vanessa Elizabeth is a cultural chameleon currently based in London. She enjoys sports (such as CrossFit and dating), cooking, and demolishing her savings account. When she's not busy blogging about her feelings, she works full-time and practices Chinese with her English/German friends.
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