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Fit4ADV Fitness Challenge: Building a Tribe

It’s been almost a month on the fitness challenge. Am I getting anywhere?

Ever since we left Medellin, internet access has been scarce, the air got thinner, and my energy levels have oddly gone up.

Every single morning, I get up before 7am, do Lisa’s Wake Up Routine, then have my coffee (black) with a banana or two and a coconut bar for breakfast. Afterwards, Paul and I quickly pack up camp and hit the trails, riding off road all day long. I’ve stocked up on cans of tuna salad which is now my staple lunch, and snack on hazelnuts and green apples. Around 5-6pm, we usually stop at some small Andean village, have a quick dinner, and go to sleep. Rinse and repeat; we’ve fallen into a certain rhythm, where life revolves around the mountain tracks and cold glacier air and waiving to people wearing the most wonderful ponchos, hats and mustaches.

But the best thing on this challenge has been the support of Xenia and Deborah. With Lisa as our fitness guru and sensei, we cheer each other on, keep each other’s spirits up and exchange tips and moral support. If Deborah isn’t online when I’m having my morning coffee, my day just isn’t complete, and whenever I begin feeling like I’m riding some gnarly tracks, I remember Xenia and her Australian outback adventures.

fitness challenge
When you don’t have gym weights, a GS is always handy

The truth is, I never had fitness buddies whenever I attempted to eat healthy or work out on my own. I’d always go at it the wrong way – too much and too quick, only to get exasperated and quit, or just making a half-assed effort, sabotaging my fitness goals before I even began!

This time feels different, and here’s what’s happening:

Day 1, San Vicente de Chucuri, Santander, Colombia

We’d stayed in Medellin for too long! I loved riding all these little mountain tracks, but towards the evening, I felt exhausted. Owch. I was hoping I could be extra smug and righteous today and do Lisa’s Wake Up Routine in the evening as well as in the morning, but frankly, I just couldn’t. My head went straight for the pillow before I could finish thinking about it.

Day 2, Cepita, Colombia

Another awesome day in the mountains. Started the morning with the workout, had black coffee (I think I’m getting used to it!) and a coconut bar. Oh, and those weird little green fruit that taste a little like lychees. They’re called mamoncillo, and you can buy a whole branch of it for about fifty cents. The inside of a mamoncillo is like a cross between a lychee and lime. Yum!

That was probably the most exciting meal of the day, though: in these little villages, most lunch and dinner options are fried chicken with fries, empanadas, or burgers. I’m sticking to my canned tuna salads. I’ve got four of them left.

Day 3, San Andres, Colombia

I’m hurting. We’ve been riding off road for three days straight, and I can feel it. What the hell?! I thought working out and riding hard would instantly transform me into some sort of a crossfit goddess. Instead, I’m just tired.

Maybe because my workout routine is only ten minutes long.

I miss something hot and grilled. Tuna is smelly and I’m sick of it. Ordered grilled red snapper today, which turned out to be a very bony fried trout.

At least I’m no longer bloated because I cut out all dairy, including eggs. I’m all about fish, leafy greens and green apples now. And those funny mamoncillo fruit.

Day 4, Malaga, Colombia

Black coffee isn’t so bad, really. I can’t wait to get some cinnamon essential oil, though, as I’m told it makes coffee and water taste so much better. I don’t really crave sugary stuff, but I do crave flavors.

fitness challenge
Even bikes need a sugar boost sometimes

Another smelly tuna day. At least the riding is incredible – the Andes really open up here, and we’re exploring these small trails connecting tiny little mountain villages. Colombia has changed so much!

Deborah says she’s increased her workouts. That’s cheating!! She’s so badass, and I can’t help but feel I’m lagging behind.

Does it count if I add a few more squats and jumping jacks?..

Feel v.silly doing my exercise routine in the bathroom. When I think of working out, images of these glorious, svelte, and muscular Amazons spring to my mind – running and boxing and doing that thing with ropes that crossfit people do – instead, I’m just plopping and flopping around on cold tiles trying not to destroy the shower door.

Go away, imaginary Amazons. I need a healthy dose of Celeste Barber now, please.

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 Day 5, Guican, Colombia

Okay, I have to confess: I’ve been cheating.

Getting up before 7am to work out? Black coffee and smelly tuna? Level energy and great mood throughout the day?

That’s just not me. Before, if I had to get up before 9am, I would be miserable all day long: I was a classical owl who needed to sleep in, or else, I’d turn into a grumpy, irritable zombie. Tiredness had become such a frequent feeling that I’d started looking at it as my ‘normal’. I’ve struggled with underactive thyroid since my teenage years, and getting up early has always been a huge issue for me.

All of a sudden, it’s gone. It’s day four of getting up early to exercise, and I’m fine! In fact, not just fine. I’m great. I have so much energy and focus, and I actually look forward to getting up early now because the world is just so awesome.

I’ve been taking doTerra’s LLV and Mito2Max supplements for three weeks now. While LLV is mostly about general nutritional supplementation, Mito2Max is designed specifically for energy and stamina… and it works!! I never had much hope for it because I’d tried myriad different supplements before with zero results, and I figured Mito2Max would just be more of the same.

Instead, it’s a complete game changer. I feel like I got my life back!

fitness challenge

Day 6, Soata, Colombia

Colombia is so incredibly beautiful. We rode this narrow, lonely mountain track towards the Ritacuba glacier at 14,000 feet above sea level today. The trail wound up and around jagged mountain peaks, wisps of cloud clinging to alpine meadows, perfect silence and solitude… If you’re doing the El Cocuy loop, make sure you ride the Ritacuba glacier road – it’s probably one of the most spectacular places in the Colombian Andes.

Feel exhausted but exhilarated.

Day 7, Zipaquira, Colombia

Cold, rainy and miserable day. Thanks to my magic Mito2Max mix, I felt fine, but ran out of my tuna salad supplies. Had a funny-smelling soup of chickpeas and other less identifiable floating objects.

Added another ten squats and ten jumping jacks to the Wake Up routine. Feel very virtuous and praiseworthy, but also anxious because while I got rid of the bloating and the morning sluggishness, I don’t think I’m much stronger or trimmer yet. I still get out of breath when climbing steps.

And yesssss, I do know that health and fitness is a lifelong commitment, not something you endure for a couple of months and enjoy the results forever afterwards.

Still, I feel that my efforts should be somehow rewarded?

So if Lisa was here…

  • What’s a healthy but yummy or adequately pleasant reward to encourage self to keep going, when you shouldn’t eat sugar and can’t afford shopping?

Lisa: For me, it’s a banana! I just love them and if I’m craving something sweet, this will work for me. However, I know that Simon always needs something ‘more’ so for him a spoonful of honey on its own or over some fruit or if he’s feeling like a real treat he’ll have one small cube of chocolate (over 50% cacao).  Another yummy treat is a couple of slices of “honey coated grilled pineapple.” This is also great cold.

Slices of apple dipped in honey also work great.

 – What are five best healthy snacks that are available in most countries, are 100% natural, and keep for a few days?

Lisa: Nuts!  Nope I’m not being rude…. any nut will keep nice and fresh for a few days. However, make sure you don’t carry them for too long as they can become soft and go off, especially in high heat. Almonds are my favorite but not more than a handful (approx. 22 almonds). Simon loves cashews.

Seeds – for me, pumpkin seeds in their shell or if you like something spicy to snack on, you can lightly brown these in a frying pan (no oil) with paprika then bag them for the road. Carry a whole Avocado, and when ready cut in half and drizzle with lime juice.

A sweet red bell pepper. Sliced alongside an avocado is a really healthy snack.

Hummus is easily available in many countries and can be used to dip anything in!

 Finally, a couple of hard boiled eggs these are so easy to carry but try to wrap them well.

  • How to add flavor (but not calories) to simple meals and foods like tuna, wild rice, leafy greens?

Soy sauce is an easy and tasty addition to either cook with or to add when serving.

Once again, crushed nuts add flavor;  finely cut chilies is another option.

Thinly sliced spring onions or garlic, or both, also add real flavor to bland foods!

Want more gorgeous recipes on the road? Check out Lisa’s cookbook, Dirty Dining

Want to know more about essential oils and supplements? Drop me a line or shop here!

What are your fitness goals on the road? Let us know in the comments below!





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1 comment

Pat Jacques 2018 August 17 at 12:14 PM

I love your courage and authenticity. U may not be part of your “black dress” challenge, but I’m part of your tribe. I’m Cheering you on and I’m also inspired by you to make better choices for myself. Yay! Win-win!


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