A new trend in the fitness industry is Destination Workouts. What are they you ask? It’s about a fitness and travel enthusiast traveling to various locations all across and working out in a natural environment. It gives a raw feel when you work out amidst nature and with no gym equipment support.
The workout focuses on strength training as well as cardio, while using your body weight and what nature has to offer. Sometimes, a few people also include basic equipment if nothing is available in the surroundings. The impact is not only on your physical body but also your mental well-being as nature makes you happy!
All this started when people who love to work out and also travel had to compromise on the workout routine for when they were away. To make the most of the travel, along came the destination workout where nobody had to compromise on anything and could workout with what was available. They later realised that this proved to be more challenging and effective. People started adopting the trend because it is much more fun than working out in four walls of the gym. Fitness enthusiasts sometimes also travel solely for the purpose of a destination workout.
Sitting at the crown of India is a mesmerizingly beautiful place – LADAKH. A land like no other, it is surrounded by majestic mountains covered in snow. Serene Monasteries, landscapes, picturesque locations, colorful flags, deeply resonating sound of the prayers and the vibrant culture – Ladakh is truly a heaven on earth. Leh, a district of Ladakh attracts a lot of tourists as it has lively and vibrant markets that represent the local culture.
The pure air, fresh surroundings and clean landscapes make this place perfect for a destination workout. With many challenges that you may face, this place, besides being beautiful, truly tests your physical limits and pushes you to do your best with every variation/ rep. In all, you come back feeling full satisfied and content with every workout session at Leh-Ladakh.
- High Altitude Destination Challenges
What makes a destination workout fun and effective is the challenge it throws at you. Like any other workout destination, Ladakh too tests your limits. The first thing to remember here is that it is at a high-altitude. Following are a few challenges you face in any high-altitude destination –
- Low Oxygen Levels resulting in thin air which leads to difficulty in breathing.
- Pressure on Heart as it pumps harder and faster to circulate oxygen to your vital organs. The blood thickens and this leads to slightly higher pressure on heart.
- Extreme Temperatures as Ladakh is only place where you can get a heat stroke and frost bite at the same time.
- Water Retention in the cerebral area of the brain and lungs is possible if the body isn’t acclimatized
- Non Availability of healthy food can be a problem
- Isolated Areas where there is no one around to help
How to Approach
- Acclimatization: The most important and sensible approach towards working out in high altitude areas is proper Acclimatization. It is a process where you slow expose your body to lower altitude, taking it higher and higher. A sudden shift from land to highest altitude can cause various complications and prove to be fatal. To reach the highest peak in Leh, I had the following approach – Delhi-Manali-Jispa-Leh-Turtuk-Pangong- Tso-Lamayuru-Tso,-Moriri-Leh-Jispa-Manali-Delhi
This gave me enough time to transition my body from lower altitude to higher and back to the land.
- Start Slow: While the breathtaking mountain views may inspire you to immediately hit the running trail, give your body time to acclimate.
- Mental Preparation: Train your mind to brave the weather. There are going to be extreme weather swings for which you will have to stay strong and carry on, if your wish to achieve your goals. They say half the goal is achieved if your mind is determined. And I couldn’t agree any more.
- Physical Preparation: This has two aspects to it – Physical exercise and fitness goals
Working out prior to the trip and keeping up your stamina,fitness level and determination is crucial to your successful destination workout.
The physical training must include your routine to begin at least 3-4 months prior to the trip, intense cardio and strength training mainly focusing on Interval training and circuit training.
Another important aspect is the right nutrition intake to maintain a healthy balance in your body and avoid any type of illness. Avoid junk for 3-4 months and have a diet consisting of raw fruit and vegetable, green vegetables and adequate protein.
- Essentials to Pack:
- Trail Mix (dry fruits)
- Water bottles
- Protein supplement
- First Aid Kit
- Warm clothes
- Non-slip shoes (water resistant, mild grip, light weight)
My Journey and workouts
I started off slow, covering one place at a time in order to get acclimatised and also, pushing my limits at every place to know how far I could stretch myself.
However, during my entire journey I targeted full-body workout, with each session focusing one target area. The following is a breakdown of my workout routine –
Arms workout: This involved variations and the number of sets and reps can be customized to best suit your body.
Arm circles – Straight arms, rotating clock wise and anti clock wise.
Pushups – on flat ground, inclined pushups on a rock and declining pushups with feet on a rock.
Over Head Triceps
Abs – This is comparatively easier to do as you do not need many rocks as weights. A clean flat surface is sufficient for you to work those abs.
Legs- The leg workout also becomes fun and effective on an uneven terrain.
Step Up (Using Tire)
I hope this inspires you to hit outdoors and challenge yourself at diffrent altitudes. If there are any question or if you need help in planning for it, drop your queries in the comments below and I will be happy to help you out.