Traveling? Modify Your Workouts!

Anyone who has traveled literally ever knows how challenging it can be to try to find time to exercise on a trip. Especially if that trip is one for work and your days are almost entirely consumed with work-related activities.

Between days full of meetings and education sessions, and evenings that have multiple events requiring your presence or attention, finding time to get even a 20 minute workout in can feel impossible.

That’s the situation I’m faced with this week. I’m on the road for the annual conference that the association I work for puts on. Fortunately, the hotel we’re taking over has a fitness facility and I’ve committed to working out at least three times during the five days I’m working there. Ideally, I’ll be able to make it happen all five days, but you know as well as I do that sometimes, you’re just too wiped by the end of the day.

Now, what might seem like a challenge is figuring out whether or not I’l be able to continue with my current workout routine. Currently, I’m doing a lot of barbell work – front and back squats, cleans, push jerks, thrusters, bench press, deadlifts… Without a barbell, these things seemingly become more difficult.

But that’s just how it seems. What’s cool is that al of these moves can be scaled or adjusted to be performed with Dumbbells or kettle bells. And some can even be done with body weight alone (I’m looking at you squats).

So, this week, depending on the equipment available to me, I’ve been doing my normal workouts or body weight workouts, based on the following:

Monday – bi tri/cardio
Row – 50 cal warm up – The likelihood that the hotel has a rower is slim, so I’ll probably just jog for five minutes or so
Standing curl – 4×8 (20)
Hammer curl – 4×8 (17.5)
Ez bar curl – 4×8 (35) – All of these cable-related lifts will be dependent on equipment. No cables? Tricep push-ups and kickbacks instead!
Tricep pushdown – 4×10 (55)
Rope pull down – 4×10 (38.5)

4 rounds
10 KBS (20)
10 burpees

Tuesday – legs
Back squat – 4×8 (185)
Box jump/air squat superset – 3 rounds, 10/15
Sled push – 1,2,3,2,1

Pull-up/box jump/push-up superset.
6/10/6

Wednesday – back
3:00 AMRAP (3 rounds)
Deadlift/push-up super set 185/135 – Deadlifts can be done with Dumbbells or kettle bells easily enough. I won’t be able to get up to my normal working weight, so I’ll probably up my AMRAP time to 5:00.

Barbell row 4×8 (135) – Dumbbells, lower weight, higher reps.

Cable row/lat pull down superset
4×10 (121) – If there’s no cable machine, I’ll add to my pull-up reps in the next movement.

Pull-up/box jump/push-up superset.
6/10/6

Thursday – chest
Straight bench – 4×8 (135-7,6,6,5) – Will sub with Dumbbells if necessary. Or push-ups if no Dumbbells are available.
Seated Fly – 4×8 (30×4)

15 min EMOM
18/12 cal row – If no rower, I’ll run!
18/12 air squat
18/12 dips

Pull-up/box jump/push-up superset.
6/10/6

Friday – shoulders
Thrusters – 4×8 (85) – Modify this with Dumbbells if necessary
Push press – 4×8 (75) – Modify this with Dumbbells if necessary

6 min EMOM
Wall ball thrusters max
Jump squats max

Pull-up/box jump/push-up superset.
6/10/6

Saturday – rest
Saturday is a travel day, so working out is a maybe. If I have time to do a short workout in the morning, I will, but I’m not going to scramble to make it happen.

Having a workout plan and schedule for the week should make my goal of working out while at Conference easier to achieve, but as well all know, things happen. In the event I can’t stick to my schedule, I’ll improvise, and that will be good enough. Because as long as I get to move my body and zone out for a little bit, I’ll be in a good spot.

Changing it up: Vic’s cross-training chronicles

You may have noticed that I’m not running as much.

Yes, I’m still running, but given the demands of my work life and home life lately – and a somewhat bothersome knee – I’ve been cross training A LOT more.

That means more swimming, hiking, paddling and yes, it even means yoga.

A little HikYoga action with my pal Amy!

A little HikYoga action with my pal Amy!

I have to say guys, I’m loving exploring. Perhaps I was in a bit of a running rut and didn’t even know it. In the last week alone, I went paddleboarding in the bay with a friend, hiked a nearby nature preserve, swam 2,200 yards in the YMCA pool, practiced yoga in the woods then hiked a stunning gorge.

Enjoying the view in this small but mighty town park by my house.

Enjoying the view in this small but mighty town park by my house.

I’m not training for anything. I’m just living life. I’m exploring Rochester, which I have to say, is damn gorgeous.

I fell in love with SUP yoga and went repeatedly this summer.

I fell in love with SUP yoga and went repeatedly this summer.

Sure, I’ve been trying new activities for work – sailboarding, footgolf, SUP yoga. I even tried Taekwondo AND broke a board! You can read more of my articles here.

Hiking through the gorge in Stony Brook State Park near Dansville NY.

Hiking through the gorge in Stony Brook State Park near Dansville NY.

I just went on a HikYoga outing last week, and plan to go target shooting this coming weekend. Stay tuned kids! This could get interesting.

I’ve been enjoying the change of pace, and not being a slave to a marathon training schedule. I even branched out to try my hand at a monthlong yoga challenge, where through a local health club I am posting a daily yoga pose every day in September on my Instagram feed. It’s been interesting and definitely outside my comfort zone, but I am so glad I gave it a shot.

The 30-day #midtownyogachallenge. Day 22: Plank in a waterfall in Grimes Glen.

The 30-day #midtownyogachallenge. Day 22: Plank in a waterfall in Grimes Glen.

Sure, I’m still running. I tackled 4.5 miles last night and witnessed a stunning sunset with my trusty running partner Gary. I’ve been running 4-5 miles at least 3 times a week and even ran a 10-mile race with Oiselle teammate Beth. It was a stunning course through rural Orleans County (including a mile through a fruit farm), albeit I could have done without the 10 am start time on a hot, humid summer day No matter. We’ll be back for sure!

Best race pic ever. We are laughing our butts off since neither of us were well-trained for this race. But we finished.

Best race pic ever. We are laughing our butts off since neither of us were well-trained for this race. But we finished.

Stay tuned for more adventures as we head into the next season. Welcome fall! What activities should I try in the cooler weather?

Are you in an exercise rut? What do you do to change it up? How do you cross train? What activity should I try next? Tell me in the comments!

Freezin’ for a reason

It was like someone repeatedly stabbed my feet with knives.

Earlier this month I participated in Rochester’s annual Polar Plunge.  I was covering it for work, and figured I might as well take a dip in the icy, 34-degree waters of Lake Ontario. Thousands take part in the event, which raises funds for Special Olympics programs in the Rochester area.

Dec 14 to Feb 15 768Yes, those are snow ice banks. And that’s ice floating in the water.

After working for a few hours (interviewing organizers and other plungers) I strapped a go pro camera to my head and headed toward the gathering spot. Led by several Special Olympics athletes, masses of people dressed in costumes and bathing suits all headed toward the water.

Dec 14 to Feb 15 834We’re about to go for a swim Pic by Hank Kula

I shivered in a bathing suit as I walked arm in arm with my friend Hannah. Neither of us had plunged before and were a little nervous. But we shuffled forward and in we went. As you can see- there’s a camera on my head. To see footage of my plunge – check out my article and D&C video here.

I shed my jacket and dumped my towel, wearing only sneakers and a bathing suit into the water. I hesitated at the edge before running in.  A slew of students ran past me and dove into the frigid water.

Dec 14 to Feb 15 838I’m in here! Do you see me?

It was cold. Damn cold. But I dropped to my knees and dipped myself amid the ice chunks. Yes, ice chunks. I wanted to dunk my head, but didn’t. (Still kicking myself there). I wanted to shoot more footage, but my body was screaming at me to head for shore — and most importantly — WARMTH.

Out I went, cutting my legs on ice chunks – not that I felt it or anything. I ran up the shore – wincing each step in my now soaked sneakers.

Dec 14 to Feb 15 777Shivering and smiling post-plunge. Pic by Hank Kula

Once back in the tent – I couldn’t get out of my wet clothes fast enough. I couldn’t feel my feet as I changed into fresh socks. I chucked my iced-over sneakers and icicle socks into the garbage and layered up. Friends Gary and Charlotte came to watch me plunge and ensure I wasn’t frozen. THANK YOU! I may not have made it so easily to my car if not for them!

In all, I raised $400 for Special Olympics programs and more than $300,000 was raised through the entire event. Amazing! Thank you to everyone who supported my crazy efforts and donated. You all made a difference on a young athlete’s life!

It took more than an hour for my feet to stop hurting and much of the day to really thaw out. (And then I bundled back up and went curling that night)

I’ve been asked several times if I would plunge again. Surprisingly, yes. It’s insane. It’s freezing. I might get sick.

But I need to dunk my head and really jump headfirst into Lake Ontario. Who wants to join me?

Have you ever gone for a wintry swim? How cold was it? Would you do it again?

Vic’s outdoor work life

Every now and then I see myself on TV while running on a treadmill at the gym.

I always laugh, then look around to make sure no one made the connection.

No, I’m not a TV personality or part of a show. I’m that reporter in the background on the breaking news live shot. I’m scribbling in my notepad, snapping pics on my iPhone, or nodding my head as I hear the the subject saying exactly what I want to hear.

Since 2006, I covered breaking news, courts and crime at the Democrat and Chronicle. My job was tough. I was the reporter who contacted people at some of the lowest, most tragic points in their lives.

Fatal plane crash, toddler drowning, fiery blaze that killed a whole family, firefighter shot to death. I’ll never say “I’ve seen it all.” I know I haven’t. Something worse always seems to come along.

My daily work life changed in December, I got a new assignment at the paper.

I now cover active recreation as the outdoor/adventure reporter at the Democrat and Chronicle. People are actually excited to talk to me about their passions and hobbies. AND I’m having an amazing time exploring everything my community has to offer.

I’ve been ice fishing, I rode a fat bike and this weekend, I’m jumping into a 35-degree lake in upstate New York with a GoPro camera.

Yeah, I’m not sure what I was thinking when I pitched that one.

I’m realizing just how much there is to do in the Rochester region. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, boating, fishing and oh yes, I plan to try my hand at target shooting. I feel like I’m taking a page out of Jess’s book to tell y’all that I’m super excited!

So let me share a few fun stories with you:

icefish1I went ice fishing on Braddock Bay near Lake Ontario. Wearing three layers of pants and four tops, including my ski gear, I attached some yax trax to my boots and walked onto the frozen lake looking for chatty folks with fabulous stories. I sure found them! I jigged a fishing line, sat in a fishing hut and had a blast in my first ice fishing experience.

Here’s that story: Get hooked on ice fishing

WW1I ran a half marathon in the middle of January, in subzero wind chills. I knew what I was getting into with this one and still it was hard. This race wasn’t one for speed or time. It was all mental. Alllll mental. And I’ll be the first to admit, this one nearly beat me.

Here’s that story: Winter Warrior half marathon lives up to name

fatbike1Last weekend, I learned all about fat bikes – those are oversized bikes that allow cyclist to ride on snow and other unstable terrain. I hopped on one in a town park and zipped around a parking lot covered in snow and ice that would’ve toppled me on any other cycle. Fabulous.

And I made a VIDEO: Fat biking gains traction

I’ll add the story link here once it’s posted online. It runs in print Sunday.

And I promise to let you know how that Polar Plunge goes. And a hearty thank you to everyone who donated in my honor. The event raises funds for Special Olympics programs in the Rochester region. And thanks to you all, I surpassed my $300 goal!

In short, I’m having a blast. But I need more ideas! What would you like to see me cover? No idea is too small (but I do need to keep focused in Western NY.) Please share your suggestions here!

If you wish to follow my coverage and fun on social media, here are my accounts on Twitter, Instagram and FB.

People can be downright nasty

Most of you know what I do for a living.

My boss often says: You don’t want Victoria writing about you. It means you – or your loved ones – are having a really bad day.

I cover crime, courts and breaking news for Gannett and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Monday was rough – two fatal crashes (on the same road, no less), a news conference on the state providing funding for bulletproof vests for police officers, and what appeared to be a drowning in the river.

Tuesday was even nuttier with more on the river search and the sentencing of a 22-year-old man who brutally beat his girlfriend to death with objects around her college dorm room, including a coffee mug and a clothing iron. He wept throughout the court appearance and ultimately was sentenced to the max – 25 years to life in prison.

You don’t want to hear the gritty details. Trust me.

While I love what I do, some days can be damn hard.

victoriaWorking the scene a few years back. Photo by Carlos Ortiz

Sometimes the news hits home. Sometimes it becomes personal. Sometimes you hug the source bawling on your shoulder. Sometimes you realize you are a person first and a reporter second.

I often see my work posted on websites and shared via social media. That I love. But what’s grown increasingly disheartening is how people commenting on the work can be downright nasty.

On a piece about the arrest of a single working mom who left her 4-year-old child in the car while she was working, I see people ridiculing her, calling her names and questioning her ability to care for herself, let alone her son.

Regarding an article about a fatal crash involving a wrong-way driver, people badmouth the motorist, the intersection then turn on one another.

And Tuesday’s sentencing? Let’s just say comments like “rot in jail,” “where’s the firing squad” and suggestions for someone to stab him with a sharpened toothbrush in prison are among the kinder ones.

While I love so much about social media, such as its ability to connect people of common interest, it seems to have also made it increasingly acceptable – not to mention easy – to publicize and amplify any gripe with a business. Many people post a vicious complaint, even berate a company online, to ensure a response rather than take the time to speak with an employee, go to a store or make a phone call.

I’m wondering – where’s our compassion? When did it become acceptable to ridicule others in a public forum? When did it become acceptable to throw a public tantrum to get our way? Is this degrading discourse a bigger sign of what’s to come? Is this the fault of online communities and social media?

I certainly hope not. Whenever I want to respond to nasty comments, to reply and ultimately feed into the negativity, I type my response and promptly delete it.

What do you think of people’s insta-reactions on news articles, some blogs and other newsworthy items online? Do you filter yourself when posting?

Side note: I have a work-related Facebook page. If you wish to see more of what I cover or join the conversation, I’m “Victoria Freile” on Facebook.

Remembering West Webster heroes

One year ago, I covered an unimaginable tragedy.

A 62-year-old Webster, NY man fatally shot his sister, set fire to her car – which then spread to their shared home. When firefighters responded to battle the blaze early on Christmas Eve morning, the same man opened fire. He shot four responding firefighters, killing two of them and seriously wounding the other pair before he shot himself.

One year ago today, Rochester-area residents woke to find the lakeside neighborhood ablaze. The fire, left to burn unchecked for more than four hours, ultimately consumed seven homes on Lake Road and damaged two more. Fire engines were left in place on the road, where they stopped moments before the shots rang out.

The lakeside community was never going to be the same.

I was among the first reporters on the scene, covering the tragedy for my paper the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and USA Today. In today’s paper, I recounted what it was like to cover the ambush on Christmas Eve and it’s fallout over the next few days.

Click here to read the column:

I’ll be honest, I cried as I wrote this column. I cried as I proofed it. I cried as I re-read it this morning. I cried as I thought about what the events meant to the community.

20131223-133816.jpg

West Webster Fire Department last Christmas Day

Last week, I watched as a backhoe leveled the remaining debris of the gunman’s home. Tears I had not realized I was holding back welled in my eyes. I stood with a colleague and friend across the road, perhaps not far from where the gunman stood one year ago today.

20131223-133338.jpg

The memorial on Lake Road earlier this month.

Today and every day, we think of you Mike and Tomasz. You are true heroes.

Please say a prayer below to the families of Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka. Where were you last Christmas Eve? Do you remember what you were doing when you heard of the ambush?