SHIPSHAPE - FITNESS ONBOARD by Rossella Pruneti
OK, most likely you missed the boat. Fit Cruise 2002 has already come ashore and returned her passengers.
You didn't join us on the ship with guests such as Monica Brant, Mia and Ritch Finnegan, Clark Bertram, Petra Kolber, Dr. Susan Kleiner and others. This 7-day Caribbean cruise aboard the beautiful Carnival Victory, that took place on January 6-13, 2002, carried fitness buffs from Miami to Jamaica and the Grand Cayman Islands. There were over 35 seminars and cardio classes held such as "Inside World of Competitive Fitness", "For Men Only - Strength Training and Beyond", "The Best Abs in the World", "Power Eating", "Cardio Kickboxing" and Q&A sessions.
However, don't despair. Each and every cruise is a vessel towards a new life. After any cruise, you can come home in better shape than when you left - if only you want to!
A cruise can be both fun and easy, fitness or non-fitness oriented, healthy or un-healthy…. - it's your choice!
Being pampered, getting away from it all, enjoying a variety of sports activities, basking in the sun, firming your body in a Jacuzzi, having eight meals a day, or more simply, just relaxing is all included in a cruise package! In addition, on a cruise, you visit a variety of places and you only have to unpack your bag once. In all actuality, the price of a cruise can be a bargain when compared to a week of traveling to different vacation spots all the while being pampered and fed delicious meals.
Case in point: My husband and I are sort of gym-addicts. When we decided it was high time we went on an unbelievable vacation, we chose a cruise. We had to pick a special vacation to suit our special needs. On a ship you don't have to give up your diet or your workouts. Good heavens, if we, fitness-oriented travelers, ever get to Mars, we WILL expect to find gyms and spas!
CRUISING FOR KEEPING FIT OR KEEPING FIT FOR CRUISING?
There are cruise addicts who diet before embarking. No kidding! Their strategy is to engage in all of their favorite traditional cruise-ship activities - i.e. eating breakfast, snacking, lunch, drinking cocktails lacking of nutritional value, snacking some more, chewing down dinner, eating more snacks and devouring food at the midnight buffet- In brief, they diet before leaving in order to pig out while onboard! Isn't that crazy?
Once upon a time a cruise was an environment more conducive to inactivity and weight gain.
From the '90s on, there have been travelers more and more interested in fitness-oriented vacations. Cruise lines have been setting state-of-the-art fitness equipment onboard and they are beginning to include fitness instructors and sports directors to their staff. Some cruise lines have their own registered exercise programs! (For example, see Princess' Cruisercise® program.)
Onboard facilities such as spas, pools and open deck areas, Jacuzzis, lounges, casinos, shipboard activities, spacious accommodations, and legendary service make a ship a great place to relax and keep fit.
Many active travelers today actually consider the ship itself to be the destination of their vacation.
All in all, the beauty of a cruise is the choice to be as active or laid-back as you fancy.
While lazy cruisers have deluxe accommodations, deck chairs, and salon davenports, active cruisers can:
Take their first fitness class (Who knows? If it's all paid for, you may decide to try it!)
Continue their rigorous workouts even at sea - if they can't or don't want to interrupt their regimen.
Try modern equipment their local gym doesn't offer.
Enjoy their favorite sports while at sea.
Just remember, a cruise isn't the Olympic games! Don't over train - after a day on the go, sleep al least 8 hours in your room to allow your body to rest and recover. After all, you are on vacation, aren't you?
For both the lazy and active person, the latest trend in cruise ship activities is the spa: pampering treatments include such services as facials and soothing massages.
The average cruiser gains about five pounds on a one-week cruise. How come? Take a look at the following table…
Consumption of Food and Beverages
during a typical 7-day cruise of 1500 passengers
Beef 4,500 lbs. 2,039 kg.
Veal 800 lbs. 362 kg.
Pork 800 lbs. 362 kg.
Poultry 3,300 lbs. 1,495 kg.
Caviar 20 lbs. 9 kg.
Fish 2,700 lbs. 1,223 kg.
Lobster 700 lbs. 317 kg.
Milk 500 gals. 1,893 lt.
Ice Cream 147 gals. 1,514 kg.
Fresh Vegetables 15,000 lbs. 6,795 kg.
Fresh Fruit 14,000 lbs. 6,342 kg.
Rice (crew) 4,500 lbs. 2,039 kg.
Rice (passengers) 700 lbs. 317 kg.
Beer 6,200 bottles
Wine 1,800 bottles
However, if you make the choice, buffets have healthy alternatives. In addition, you can always ask your maître d' for a low-fat menu - or any other special menu, for that matter.
SHORE EXCURSIONS MAY BE DEMANDING!
Aside from the enormous array of onboard fitness activities, the cruise itself may be an energetic vacation:
Go to the beach or play water sports at the different ports;
Walk around and sight see for hours at a time;
Participate in the wide variety of deck games and tournaments;
Try taking the stairs instead of the elevators;
Burn off extra calories each night by dancing;
Tour ports on foot when possible instead of taking a bus or cab;
Take a moonlight stroll on the deck;
… And, last but not least, flirtation!
ONBOARD GYM EXPERIENCE
Fitness afloat is an experience of its own - go to the gym and/or be pampered at the spa, and you will surely understand what I mean.
Your cruise director can organize any kind of activity you can imagine - from ridiculous to silly and goofy. Pool, shuffleboard, and ping-pong games aren't the onboard fitness activities I am talking about. We want more energetic activities like basketball, racquetball, tennis, golf, weight training, cardio, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Nowadays, there are fields, courts, and gyms on most ships. You may even have a view of the ocean during your workout!
You'll see that onboard facilities vary according to the cruise line and the ship - a traditional ship offers swimming pools and gyms while on super liners, wild and wonderful floating health centers and spas weigh anchor!
ETIQUETTE YOU MUST FOLLOW FOR ONBOARD FITNESS
Passengers interested in fitness can also follow some common sense guidelines.
Thou Shall Not Jog Before Dawn
Most ships post hours when running is allowed. There's a reason for this: passenger cabins are often located under the jogging deck and some folks are trying to sleep or nap.
Thou Shall Exercise With Dignity
If you use a gym or health club at home, the same rules and courtesies apply on a cruise ship - limiting your time on cardio equipment if somebody is waiting for it, working in, wiping benches, and decent sports attire.
Thou Shall Train With Ultimate Control and Safety
Onboard free-weights training isn't easy. I know because I used to train onboard. Free weight exercises are very hard! Pitching and rolling doesn't allow for much stability. Be careful!
ETIQUETTE YOU MUST FOLLOW FOR A HEALTHY ONBOARD DIET
Fitness enthusiasts know what to choose at the buffets, and they show willpower - provided a few cheat days, of course.
Anyway, gluttons should try to abide by the following tips and still enjoy all that a cruise has to offer:
Thou Shall Ask for Lean-and-Light Menu Options
As I said, you may ask for a low-fat menu. It is only up to you! To accommodate any special diet or food requests, make arrangements in advance with your maître d'.
Thou Shall NOT Be Addicted to Midnight Snack Junk Food
Don't indulge in a midnight snack every night - it's just as fun to go and look.
Thou Shall NOT Get Drunk With the Captain's Cocktails!
Captain's cocktails are social occasions. Enjoy the people you meet and drink lighter beverages such as wine, wine coolers, and juices.
IF EVERYTHING FAILS…
…Thou Shall NOT Return Home Using the Age-Old Excuse That "The Salt Air Shrank My Clothes!"
About the Author...
Rossella Prunetti a figure competitor and also
a very experienced writer. Hailing from Italy Rossella is very
involved with the Italian Bodybuilding and Figure scene. Her website