Generally speaking there is no better place to live between the months of July and October than the Pacific Northwest. I’ll even go as far as to say, no better place than Portland. For those glorious three months we have sun, bright blue skies, and an average temperature in the 80’s. The Willamette River and Columbia River boarder two sides of the city so there is no shortage of people on the water, in the water or near the water. There is a festival nearly every weekend of some combination like Wine & Beer Festival, Beer & BBQ Festival, Wine and Cheese Festival, Food and Wine….you get my point. If you live in Oregon, you understand there are 3 months to be outside and take advantage of every day. I am even writing this week’s post from outside on my deck.
This past week was a little different, however. Temperatures rose to record breaking temperatures well into the 100’s and people started freaking out! The one thing Oregonians handle worse than snow is heat! To be fair, Portland doesn’t have or need air conditioning in every home or business, so high temperatures can be dangerous for those without a place to cool off.
To add smoke to fire, the city was covered by a blanket of smoke migrating down from the fires in Vancouver, B.C. For a few days this past week, Portlanders were suffering from extreme heat and even worse air quality.
The reason for my weather rant is because I once again found myself coincidentally in the Bay Area for work during some of Portland’s worst weather. I have not once taken for granted that I get to escape the winter rain and work from sunnier climates, but I do consider it a stroke of luck that the little bit of travel I’ve done this summer let me escape a pretty miserable week at home.
I was in South Bay for 4 days. Tuesday for partner meetings and Wednesday-Friday for our annual company picnic and QBR’s (Quarterly Business Reviews). My go-to hotel in Newark, The Aloft, was booked so Tuesday night I stayed in the Doubletree by Hilton Newark – Fremont. This hotel is designed for the business traveler. It has everything from work stations in the lobby, happy hour with free wine and food tastings, a pool, hot tub and private courtyard.
I’m not the average business traveler though, so when the gym was small and half the equipment was broken my overall rating for the hotel plummeted. However, if there was redemption to be had, they did it. As some of you might remember, I recently started to eat, or try to eat, a vegan diet. The transition from Vegetarian to Vegan was pretty effortless at home, but business travel was extremely difficult, and my stay at the Doubletree was only my first night.
I went down to the bar for a glass of wine and hopefully some dinner, but there was literally nothing on the menu that was vegan friendly. Even the salads were lame! But, the bartender was so sweet. She told me the sushi chef makes a really good veggie roll, and she would ask him to make one if I was interested. Yes, please! Look how pretty this roll turned out! And, delicious too.
Wednesday morning I was up early to work out. I can usually make do with any gym in any hotel, but this morning was different. Two of the four cardio machines were broken and the remainder of the already limited space was occupied by other dedicated fitness travelers. So, I borrowed a set of 5 lb. weights and went back to my room. It may not have been the most ideal workout setting, but I still accomplished to sweat and get a workout in before my long day ahead. This just goes to show you can be active anywhere. You just need the determination and a little creativity. I’m here to help with the creativity.
I’m calling this week’s workout The Builder because I want to show how to build upon basic exercises to create compound exercises and/or circuits. Once you have the basics down it’s easy to mix and match exercises to make circuits. A circuit is simply a series of exercises you do back to back with little to no rest. I used 5 lb. dumbbells for the demo videos, really because that’s what I was able to borrow from the fitness center, but to be honest these were a little light for me. Choose a weight that challenges you. You should start to feel fatigue by the 8th rep of each exercise.
Each circuit begins with a variation of a bicep curl followed by a shoulder exercise and then incorporated into a compound leg dominated exercise. Don’t worry if this starts to sound confusing, they are all basic movements and I have video demos to help. See below.
Thanks for stopping by!