Live Long, Travel Strong: Costa Rica Edition

Whether you're retired, nearing retirement, or decades away, recreational travel should be on your mind. Exploring the world has been a time-honored tradition since...forever. While some people might prefer to see the world from a bus or deck chair, there are plenty of adventurous things to do while you travel.

Being fit opens more recreational travel opportunities. Here are some examples from a recent trip to Costa Rica.

Zip-lining is fun, but it's also easy. You don't need to be great (or even good) shape to do it. But it does involve climbing stairs. Being fit makes that part easier.

Ziplining travel in Costa Rica


There are lots of  waterfalls in Costa Rica. One of the most popular is in La Fortuna. I didn't count, but the internet says there are 400+ steps which sounds about right. Again, you don't have to be in great shape to climb them (there are a number of benches for resting on the way up), but it sure makes it easier. And faster, so you can get to the next fun activity more quickly.

La Fortuna Waterfalls in Costa Rica

La Fortuna Waterfalls

Stairs up from La Fortuna Waterfalls travel

A few of the steps on the climb out. Piece of cake.

While La Fortuna is perhaps Costa Rica's best-known waterfall, there are plenty of others worth visiting. This obscure one was an unplanned stop on the way to Monteverde. It was a rugged drive down, and then ... more steps. (Are you sensing a theme?) Unlike La Fortuna, these weren't well-maintained which offered another challenge. Again, being in shape makes the going easier and faster. You shouldn't have to suffer for your fun while on vacation. Unless you like that sort of thing.

Gary walking up from a Costa Rica travel waterfall

Heading back up...

Gary under a Costa Rica waterfall

...from this.

Another interesting activity was the Sky Adventures River Drift. It's kind of like white-water tubing. Having been whitewater rafting on the Zambezi,  I wasn't expecting much but it was fun. Not hard, but fun. Again, you don't need to be in great shape to do this, but again there were steps to climb (and more ziplining) and places where people got stuck. One spot in particular seemed to be getting everyone (including me) so I stopped there, got out, and helped folks as they came by. When yanking tubes off rocks while standing in running water, being stronger helps. No personal pics or video, but here's a clip that gives you an idea what it's like.

Another thing Costa Rica is known for is beaches, and that means waves, and for we non-surfers that means boogie boards! Being fit means:

  • Getting out faster for more rides.
  • Getting out farther for longer rides.
  • Keeping it up longer for more rides.
boogie-boarding travel in Costa Rica

Boogie boarding on the Pacific.

This is one of those activities (like wapping) that sometimes makes me think there will come a day when I won't be able to do it. That may be true. But it won't be any time soon.

Getting and staying strong and fit can help make your travels more enjoyable. If you prefer to do cruises, bus tours, and other gentler forms of travel, that's fine...whatever makes you happy. But fit people can do that too, and many more adventurous activities.

Travel strong!

Be seeing you.


Precision Nutrition Studies

nutrition lab study

As you may know, I have mixed feelings about Precision Nutrition (PN). On the one hand, I'm certified with them (PN1). On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of the way they run their online coaching (which differs from what they tell you in their certification manual). And while they sometimes post useful and informative articles, they sometimes write misleading ones. This post is about the latest example I've seen, and will hopefully help you with evaluating results of studies. Continue reading

Secret to Fitness Success

(This article originally appeared in the October 9, 2012 issue of The StrongFast Planet newsletter.)

old training treadmillLots of people go to the gym. Lots of people have exercise equipment at home. Lots of people buy fitness videos, books, clothes, and junk. Lots of people don't get any fitter.

Why do some people have success with a fitness or nutrition program while others don't? While there are several possible factors, there is one "secret" that every success story shares:

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Recovery, Rest, Repair, and Rebuilding

recovery walk on the beachThere's an adage that strength gains aren't made in the gym; they're made during the recovery from workouts when muscles repair and rebuild (making you "better, stronger, faster..."). This has led (not "lead" ... words have meaning!) to the concept of the "off" day or "rest" day.

We can do better. "Recovery" day is a start. Or how about "muscle repair" day? That can change the way we approach our training schedule.

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Spot Reduction Is Still A Myth

Spot reduction refers to the concept of reducing fat in specific area of the body through exercise. Spot reduction claims have been around a very long time...and have remained popular despite the lack of results. It seems like it should work, right? But then, it seems like the earth is flat. ("Look! There's the edge!") So why is there still so much confusion about this?

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Know What You Eat

man chooses dairy products in the storeA healthy diet has a wide range of benefits including body composition (fat percentage), longevity (live longer), reduced likelihood of many diseases (such as diabetes), feeling better (improved mood and more energy), and more. Having a healthy diet means eating mostly healthy foods, but knowing how healthy foods are is not always so easy.

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Barbell Selection: A Guide

two-bars-upright-with-logoStrength training is essential to developing and maintaining the ability to perform both daily functional activities (like lifting a bag of groceries or a child) and recreational activities you enjoy. One of the best ways to build strength is by lifting some form of weight, and the barbell has become the standardized weight implement used in competitions: the Olympics and powerlifting.

If you are considering adding a barbell to your home fitness collection, there are two main options: the standard bar and the Olympic bar. Overall, the main distinction between the two comes down to size: the standard bar is smaller in various ways.

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