SuperSport presenter Crystal Arnold will be among those headed to the Rio Olympics next month. She says work and travel shouldn’t get in the way of your fitness routine.
Her busy lifestyle and travelling the world don’t allow much time for communal sport.
Instead she indulges in running, indoor rowing and weight training to keep herself in shape.
To escape from her busy schedule you can find her at the driving range as golf is slowly making it’s way to the top of her “fun ways to stay healthy” list.
Arnold says she is motivated by the sportsmen around her.
“If the cricketers are not playing they are probably training and that’s contagious. One of the benefits of touring with the Proteas cricket team is that you not only tap into their active lifestyle, but if you’re up early enough, you can share some hotel gym treadmill space with players like Morne Morkel or Kagiso Rabada.
“Believe me, if they are running next to you, there’s no way you’re giving up midway.”
It’s this motto that saw her progress from a small-time DJ in Kimberley to much-loved broadcaster on national television. Arnold says balance can be tough when you are working 16-hour days, but never use your circumstance as an excuse. Here’s how she does it:
It starts with packing
If you are planning to keep your active lifestyle while on the road, the most important items in your suitcase are your gym clothes and a few good pairs of running shoes (yes, more than one). I pack my gym clothes at the bottom of my suitcase so that once I’ve unpacked they are my final items and a reminder to settle into a new city with a quick run or a session in the hotel gym.
Make active choices
I always take the stairs, especially in airports. And when arriving in a new city, I make time to walk or run it flat. It’s the best way to get to know my surroundings and also get some scenic cardio in. I tried this during the Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand by ticking off every city with a run. I felt like a local.
I keep a lunch box with me whenever I travel, one of those thermal insulated packs, and on busy days when I know I won’t be able to readily access a meal, I have snacks and food that can sustain me through a hectic working day. Think biltong, almonds and oats.
I have not been able to say that recently, mainly because my trips have ranged from 30 days to 72 days. And heading into the Rio Olympics I’m packing for 25 days. While I don’t believe in overpacking I do believe in being prepared.
When I travel to countries like Bangladesh and India for the World Cups or even China during the Beijing Olympics, water from a tap is not an option.
By adding mineral drops to my bottled water, I stay hydrated even when I can’t get my regular eight glasses.
Don’t test your self control
Know yourself. If I stock crisps or chocolates in my fridge and cupboards, I will wolf them down. It will be an epic fail!
That’s why my hotel fridge is stocked with only the good stuff so there’s no danger of a lapse.
You are who you eat with
I am lucky in that my partner, my best friend and the work colleague I travel with, love working out and love eating healthily.
When you surround yourself with people who have a similar outlook, I find that you never have to apologise and compromise. It helps you stay focused.
Be at peace with the hotel gym
It’s cramped, limited and some parts of the day is worse than others, but having a gym in a hotel is a luxury – something you discover while travelling through remote parts of India!
So no matter how small the gym is, as long as it’s stocked with weights, you can work out a routine even your trainer would be proud of.
Any time is exercise time
Exercise should not be confined to the gym or the road. Think of your hotel room as an option and you could be doing push-ups, weighted squats with your suitcase, step-ups and mountain climber in a circuit.
When I don’t have time to head down to the gym, the minute my alarm goes off, I start my playlist and fit in 20-30 minutes of in-hotel training.
It gets my muscles energised and wakes me up.
When in Rome…
Or in this case in Amsterdam. The best part of my European adventure last year was renting a bike and seeing the city as a local would.
Encouraged by the fearlessness of my best friends, we braved the traffic, even some rain, and saw sights we would have missed if we were in a taxi, all the while keeping our heart rates up.
It does help that the city has about 4 000km of designated cycle paths.
Be a tourist
I spent a week last year in Christchurch in New Zealand, and it was also home to a number of Les Mills Gym studios – I virtually made it my second home.
So explore your surroundings and find a local gym in the area close to your hotel. Most gyms and fitness studios offer a complimentary first time visit.
That way you’ll have access to equipment and classes where you can meet like-minded locals who could become motivating gym buddies and life-long friends.
Sleep beats exercise
When you’re tired, listen to your body. Yes you need both sleep and exercise, but your body suffers when you are exhausted.
Aim for seven hours and you’ll be able to push harder when you train.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
And by small stuff I mean chocolate! When you indulge – and you will – don’t beat yourself up.
Use it as motivation for the next time you’re in the gym to push yourself a little harder.