As many of you know, our job takes us on many adventures around the U.S., and most recently, around the world. Four of the Powell Six Pack went on these adventures while Matix and Marley stayed home because they are in school. (Boy do we wish we could’ve taken them!!) We ended up being gone for two weeks straight, the longest we have ever been away from Matix and Marley. While seeing some of the most beautiful places in the world was AMAZING, we couldn’t wait to be home and together again as a family.
Our nanny, who stayed with Matix and Marley, thought it might be fun for them to create an awesome surprise for us to come home to. Because Valentine’s Day is coming up, they decided to give us one serious heart attack.
We walked into our bedroom, bathroom and closet to find this:
With some of the sweetest messages:
From our sweet, amazing, superstar kids:
As if coming home to these two wasn’t awesome enough, their surprise made it even better. It is so true what they say, “There’s no place like home.”
What’s a girl (or a boy) to do when she finds herself in a foreign country with very minimal fitness equipment, minimal time with a work schedule, and two little kiddos in tow?
A fast, fun, high intensity circuit, of course ☺. For me, it’s always important to maximize the limited time I do have to workout, so these are always a wonderful go-to.
This workout came straight from Crossfit’s home page a few days back and was perfect, considering my travel circumstances. I started with a 5 minute treadmill warm up, then did the following as quickly as I was able:
500 meter row (the workout called for 50 pushups, but I wanted something to counter balance the pressing motion from my burpees instead)
50 jumping jacks
50 swing ups
50 second handstand hold
To finish? A nice and easy stretching session while my muscles are still warm.
Although this wasn’t the hardest workout I have ever done, it was nice to know that with so little equipment and time, I was still able to get the workout in that my body was needing.
Travel can be tough, but doesn’t need to be an excuse for fitness failure! Something, even this quick circuit, is better than nothing ☺.
50 burpees (these were brutal!)
50 jumping jacks (my "rest")
50 swing ups (not easy post baby - my core isn't as stong as it used to be)
“Are you here on holiday?” Everybody here asks…with their dreamy New Zealand accent, I must add.
This isn’t the first country (or state for that matter) that we’ve visited where this question seems to be asked repetitively. If not by the locals, then by friends, family, and our loyal Facebook, Instagram and Twitter friends. Nope. As a matter of fact, so much of our lives is spent on the road in beautiful, breathtaking places that Chris and I had only dreamed of visiting just a few short years ago.
While it might seem like the answer to that burning question should be an easy “yes” or a “no”, it’s slightly more complicated than that.
Yes, Chris and I get to travel the world. And we get to do it with our family in tow. But I must admit, not one single, itty bitty (or huge) trip we’ve taken since we have met has been for the sole purpose of vacation or pleasure. I kid you not!
All of them, every single one, to date has been for the purpose of work. Most of these trips are to visit our peeps or shoot the show, but occasionally our trips are to take business meetings, or visit some of our favorite morning or talk shows. “That’s a LOT of work trips,” you say! Yes, yes it is.
BUT…and this is a huge “but”, this doesn’t mean that we don’t make every trip a holiday ☺. Because we do!! We have learned that since time is precious…and it’s hard for us to take time for ourselves, or ever really travel just for fun, we can make fun wherever we go.
I never in a million years would have thought that I would have the opportunity to see the world like I have been able to. I also never imagined my 4th child would see 6 states and 3 countries just after her 2 month birthday. And that’s just little Ruby’s experiences! If Cash, Matix, and Marley ever write a book…I’ll tell ya, they would have some adventures to share!
How do we do this? We work hard (REALLY hard), nearly all day everyday with a huge smile on our faces. Why smile when we work? Two reasons:
One: We hardly consider this work. We get to inspire and BE inspired by people everywhere, and we get to make best friends with those people transforming their lives. The saying is true…
“Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Two: Because we know in the midst of these extremely long days we put in (on the phone coaching from afar, on the computer writing or tweaking programs, shooting the show, developing tools to help millions…not just those on the show), that when our work day wraps, a new adventure in a foreign location awaits the Powell Pack ☺.
The perfect example – Today we were lucky enough to get to spend half of our work day on one of the most beautiful, black sand beaches of New Zealand. Knowing this was the location of the shoot, we brought the family along to play between shoots. Cash had the time of his life (going on a scavenger hunt today) while Ruby smiled at everyone and everything ☺. And for us? What’s better than being able to sneak kisses and hugs from some of our bundles of joy during our work day? Dream come true.
So, whenever you wonder if “we are here on holiday,” you now have your answer.
It is no secret that our family’s busy life has us jet setting more than the average family. While most of the time, these travels are easy and somewhat predictable, thanks to an awesome nanny and two older kids that are superstar helpers, we occasionally encounter periods of time and travel that aren’t as easy and predictable as we would like.
Example – traveling to Hawaii with a 2 week old. This was a hot topic of debate for many and understandably so. It was torturous for Chris and myself, as her parents, to figure out how we could make Ruby’s first trip as safe as humanly possible, and still accomplish the things that we needed to accomplish. I’m happy to report, the trip was a success on SO many levels ☺.
Let’s start with the 6 ½ hour plane ride from Phoenix to Hawaii. This, my friends, was my biggest worry. The thought of exposing Baby Ruby’s new immune system to an airport, let alone an airplane with re-circulated air for 6+ hours kept me up at night for an entire week leading up to the flight. I read as many google searched articles and forums that I could find on the topic – looking up moms and dads that had flown with their babies at such a young age…hoping and praying their babies were safe. I searched and read nearly every doctor-written and recommended site to see how early was too early for an infant to fly. While I saw the recommendation was 4-6 weeks (to allow time for their immune systems to strengthen), they did say flying earlier could be done with proper precautions.
So…precautions were taken. Chris found the BEST carseat cover that we used the ENTIRE way to and from Hawaii – it was a lifesaver. While I’m not sure how much it actually protected Ruby from the potentially bad air, it sure made Mom and Dad feel better. She only came out of her little cocoon to eat and be changed twice on the flight. Every other minute was spent sleeping (thank you, Ruby!!).
Also, we found that the location of her seat could help her stay out of germs way. Immediately behind first class (yes, we fly coach) and off to the far side felt the safest. We did splurge and buy Ruby her own seat though. While the cost seemed high to me, the investment in a healthier space for her was worth it to us.
When in Hawaii, the fresh, ocean air was amazing. I found myself happy to be there, nearly pollution-free, for Ruby’s 3rd week of life, even over our home state of AZ. She got a nice amount of clean air, indirect sunlight (which is great for reducing risk of jaundice in newborns), and a happy and stress-free mom and dad. She ate well, and grew bigger over the course of that week. While I even like to think I saw her smile a few times, I know better than to think it was real. But, Ruby did seem to thoroughly enjoy that third of her life on the Hawaiian islands, I must say ☺.
Cashy Boy…dream come true. I don’t know how a child that was SO hard to travel with (and we have traveled with him a TON over his 2.5 years of life) has become such a breeze!!! I’m not going to question it too much, I’m only going to be grateful ☺.
Hawaii was beautiful and amazing (and SO wonderful to see three of our Extreme Weight Loss peeps conquer their 6 Month Milestone Challenges), but I am happy to be home with Matix and Marley again.
The Powell Pack is complete once again ☺.
Next up in our world of travel? I can’t tell you, but I will give you a hint:
Rumpelstiltskin + G + 8 + path over water. Guess below:
We’ve been so lucky here in Los Angeles, California to have great weather as well as having our hotel close to so many must haves!
Our desirables when traveling for work are simple – a great gym either in the hotel or within a few minutes of the hotel as well as close proximity to a Trader Joes or other similar type grocery store so we can buy our own food and avoid having to eat out. These two tools help Chris and I to say on track with our personal goals.
The other night, we took the opportunity to work out at the 24 Hour Fitness by our hotel and I am so glad we did! While holding the plank position and alternating with swingups, out of the corner of my eye I observed the most unusual workout! I was fixated on a gentleman performing motions that were graceful like yoga, but included a high level of strength training as well. It was a balance that I’d never seen before! I had to know more!
So this is where stepping outside your comfort zone comes in! It’s a bit nerve racking to walk up to someone in a gym and start chatting. You either feel odd for interrupting their workout or afraid they may think you’re interested in them! But, it was worth it to take a leap of faith. In just a few minutes, I learned the exciting and intriguing moves he was doing were from a program at physicalsubculture.com. I couldn’t wait to learn more and find some new moves to switch up my workouts.
When you step up and step out of your comfort zone, you never know what you’ll find! For me, I discovered some exciting exercise moves. What might you find? Learn more about their philosophy and exercises in their book Lift With Your Head
It’s time to say goodbye to AZ. Only for a week, thank goodness :). Chris and I (and the amazing Bonnie) are headed to LA to shoot an upcoming magazine feature that you can catch in June! Sorry…I can’t spill the beans on which mag yet, but we’ll let you know as time time gets closer!
After the magazine shoot, we get to spend 3 days with some of our season 1 and 2 peeps shooting another EMWLE workout DVD. Yay!
Enjoying an outdoor yoga workout using a towel as my mat. Photo Credit: Marley
So now you’re interested in trying Yoga. Learning a new sport or trying a new form of exercise like yoga can be a bit daunting! Two big challenges are finding the time to workout or a class to attend and having the right equipment to maximize a yoga workout. Here are a few tips and tricks to overcome both of these obstacles.
Working Out Anywhere, Anytime . . .
It’s great to take a class or two to get started in yoga especially to help learn a few poses and breathing techniques. If you’re able to fit these into your routine, fantastic! Many classes though are offered on limited schedules and a late night at work can totally throw off any best intentions.
With schedules like Chris and I keep, there is not enough room in a suitcase to bring equipment with us when we travel so we often get creative and look around us for things to use in our hotel rooms or any location we find ourselves in.
Don’t let a gym’s schedule, a missed class or being away from home sabotage your routine. With a few simple tools, you can get a yoga workout in anywhere, anytime.
Mats, Blocks, Straps and more . . .
In an ideal world, we’d all be able to run down to the local sporting goods store, drop a few hundred dollars and have the top of the line yoga equipment to try this new sport. In reality, most people are in survival mode and even splurging on a gym membership or yoga class can be a big sacrifice.
Using a simple towel as an exercise mat and a shoebox as a yoga block to squeeze in a yoga workout at home. Photo Credit: Marley
Believe it or not, Chris knows what it’s like to feel the “financial pinch” (Chris lived out of his car at one point, and I…well, I won’t even get into it in this blog). We always try to be prudent with our finances and we do invest in quality equipment as we can. But even more importantly, we’ve gotten really resourceful in finding things around us to use as workout equipment so we can maximize any workout time we can get in our crazy schedules.
While a gym or yoga class typically provide the equipment to use during a class, we discovered these yoga essentials that can actually be created from household items, allowing you to make up a missed class after a late night at work, workout from home at anytime, or workout when traveling.
1. Yoga Mat – We have a couple of options here. You can use a folded up blanket or a beach towel, or if you’re on a hard slick surface – like tile or hard wood flooring – you can pick up a rubber mat intended to go under your rugs to keep them from slipping. It offers a little bit of padding for your back and bottom as well as a non-slick surface.
2. Support Blocks – Blocks can help you get into poses and maintain appropriate posture when you can’t quite reach the floor. If you’re just starting out you can use a chair or the back of your sofa as a support. As your flexibility increases, try using good sturdy books (like that unused dusty hotel room phonebook that the internet has made obsolete) or shoe boxes. You can even pick up a few old paperbacks and duct tape them together for the perfect size.
Working out with Chris’ T-Shirt! Photo Credit: Marley
3. Yoga Strap – The use of a yoga straps help lend artificial length to your arms or legs to bring you into a full pose. For example, you would wrap the strap around the feet if you can’t touch your toes in standing forward bend or hold the strap in both hands behind the back for certain shoulder stretches. Once again, you don’t need anything special to enjoy the benefits of a yoga strap. Use a jump rope, the belt from an old bath robe or coat, panty hose, or any sturdy fabric cut into strips. I use Chris’ t-shirts :).
4. Meditation Pillow – Funky pillows with peace signs and flowers might be your style, but for this frugal mama, I use a good ol’ sleeping pillow for bottom-resting and meditation. To incorporate your own style, buy a fun pillowcase!
5. Yoga DVD – While there are some incredible exercise DVD’s out there, you don’t have to buy one of these to get proper in-home yoga training. Get online and check out the loads of instructional videos on YouTube. Not only are these videos free, but this also allows you to find an instructor that fits you best. This is also a great solution if you find yourself stuck in a hotel room!
By getting creative and looking for inexpensive solutions to use in working out, you can eliminate excuses and also be ready to overcome any challenges to your schedule so that you can stay on track. Yoga is a great form of exercise that can be done virtually anywhere with a little ingenuity and desire!
So we just got back from an amazing adventure on a cruise ship. I’ve NEVER been on a cruise, and to be honest I had no idea what to expect when it comes to food! Although our family was well-equipped with our own healthy choices, I was fairly confident that we would have no problem finding (or creating) healthy options on board.
Here are a few tips I learned that not only work on a cruise but on any vacation or just eating out:
1. Order your meal with a to-go box, and box half of it right away so you’re not tempted to eat the whole thing.
2. Share the love. Split your meal with someone. Most portions are too big for just one person.
3. Be sure and order all sauces and dressings on the side. Dip your fork in the sauce or dressing then put your food on your fork. You’ll get the flavor without the extra calories.
4. When it comes to a buffet on any ship, or in a restaurant, you can fill your plate with salads, grilled vegetables, and fresh fruit.
5. Keep your order simple with foods like broiled or baked shrimp, chicken and fish (never fried or breaded).
6. Avoid the calorie-laden dressings, pizzas, cream based salads, and desert bar.
7. Bring your own refillable water bottle to guard against dehydration.
With all that said, I also know that it is ok to enjoy! It isn’t every day that I get to sail the open seas like this, and doggone it, I wanted to experience this cruise. Luckily, I knew I COULD enjoy…but I also knew there are a couple rules I would follow to make sure my nutrition/health didn’t suffer!
Here are a few tips if you’re going to cheat:
1. Keep your serving size small. After a few bites your taste buds get used to the flavor and nothing is quite like that first bite.
2. Make a good choice. There are options and some are better than others. Still try to pick the lesser of the two evils if possible.
3. Just like with a meal, share the love. Split it with someone.
4. Work it off. If you feel like you’ve overdone it there is always a good hard workout waiting for you to burn off the damage.
5. Keep your water intake up. It will be easier to control your portions if you’re well hydrated. It also helps with the cravings.
Above all ENJOY! I sure did and I can’t wait to do it again!