CRUISE Part 2: Burning Calories

***CATCH ME ON “THE DOCTORS” TODAY! Check your local listings for times and channels, and read more about it here!***

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about how I managed to stay on track, foodwise, during my week on a giant floating buffet – AKA a cruise ship. Eating well is a huge component to losing weight and keeping it off, but we all know what the other huge component is… Cocaine. Exercise.

Since I was determined to not let this cruise derail all my hard work, I knew that, in addition to the food strategy I talked about yesterday, I would also need an exercise strategy. My strategy, which I decided upon weeks before heading to Puerto Rico and boarding Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas, was simple. In fact, I only needed six words to fully articulate it:

I will work out every day.

Cruise ships all have gyms, and I knew I would end up being quite familiar with the one on Adventure of the Seas. And that’s exactly what happened. The gym onboard, called the ShipShape Fitness Center (clever!) was spacious and bright, with a huge curving wall of windows looking out over the bow of the ship. The main gym floor was divided up between a cardio area, with about a dozen treadmills, a dozen ellipticals, and exactly eight bikes (funny the details I explicitly remember)…

…and a weight training area that had free weights and a bunch of machines:

There was also a classroom where you could take spinning, yoga, or attend health-related seminars (I did none of those things), and a big hot tub in the center of everything. If you’re a fan of Venetian-style pink faux-marble columns, that you’d love the ShipShape Fitness Center. They’re everywhere. You have to walk down a freakin’ colonnade of ten of them just to get to the scale (which I never stepped on)!

Long story short (or is it too late for that?): I stayed true to my goal, and worked out every single day. We boarded the ship around 6pm on the first day, and that night, after dinner, I worked out (45 minutes on the elliptical), and my three cousins all joined me. I spent an hour in the gym during each of the next six days, dividing my time equally between weights and cardio. One morning I got to the gym at 6am because our day was going to be packed and I wanted to get it done early.

On the last day, when we were docked in Puerto Rico again, I had to be off the ship at 8am, and the gym was closed. But that didn’t stop me, hell no! The ship also had a track on one of the decks, with each lap equaling 1/5 of a mile, so at 6am, I went running. Five laps in, the skies opened up, and it started raining. Heavily. But that didn’t stop me, hell no! I made it to a covered area, and waited out the rain by doing jumping jacks, lunges, and squats. It was a quick downpour – less than 10 minutes – and soon, I was back on the track. I ran 11 more laps before calling it a day.

One other decision I made, rather spontaneously on the first day, was that I would always take the stairs. The Adventure of the Seas is basically a floating 14-story building. Deck plans, like this one, were all over the place:

I didn’t take this picture, I found it here.

We got on and off the ship at the ports on Deck 1, we ate dinner on Deck 4, our room was on Deck 6, the pools (and the gym) were on Deck 11, the rock climbing wall was on Deck 14, and so on. Rarely can you get from any Point A on a cruise ship to any Point B with changing floors, and I used this to my advantage. I never saw the inside of an elevator – I always took the stairs. It was dozens of flights every day, and my quads were sore by the end of the week, but it felt great. I wish it had occurred to me to count the flights, because surely it would have made for an impressive addition to my Skyscraper Collection!  My aunt, uncle, and cousins joined me on the stairs nearly all the time, and my Aunt Mary remarked, towards the end of the week, that she had never been so healthy on a cruise before – and that’s saying something, because she’s been on a bunch of cruises!

And then there was the icing. That’s what I called all activity above and beyond my planned workouts and stair climbing. And there was a lot of icing! We did a lot of walking in a couple of the ports, especially Curacao and St. Thomas, and there was some additional physical activity every single day. Some were things that I tried for the very first time, but I’ll talk about those in tomorrow’s post – get ready, it’s gonna be a great one!

The icing I’ll talk about today is snorkeling. I snorkeled for the first time a year ago, in Mexico (click here to read about it and see a hot Hot HOT photo of me in a wetsuit). I like snorkeling – I’m good at it, because I grew up swimming, and I enjoy seeing what’s going on underwater.

We went snorkeling twice during our week in the Caribbean. The first time was in Magens Bay, a beautiful, secluded beach on St. Thomas. Check this place out:

We waded alongside a rocky coast until we were well over a hundred yards from the beach, and put on masks and snorkels that my Uncle Philip brought all the way from Illinois. Philip, who is the most gadget-savvy person I know, also has a underwater camera, so he took some great shots. Here I am with two conches (which I didn’t find, Philip did):

And that, Ladies and Gentleman, is the first time I’ve EVER posted a shirtless picture of myself on this blog. History is being made!

The second time we went snorkeling was in Aruba. We booked an afternoon on a trimaran (a three-hulled sailboat), and after cruising up the coast, we stopped in some little bay to snorkel. The crew of the trimaran passed out equipment, including fins, and we putzed around for about 45 minutes. Here I am with a big sponge:

That’s TWO shirtless pics! What is going on?

One of my cousins, either Isabel or Camille, spotted a puffer fish:

I wouldn’t say that snorkeling is a strenuous activity, but you do move a lot, especially if you try to chase fish, I like do. Yeah, I chase fish. I said it.

There were four other activities I tried on this cruise that I’ve never done before, and tomorrow, I’m sharing the pictures. I’ll even have a video (!!!) of me… ice skating! So stay tuned for: CRUISE Part 3: I’ve Never Done This Before!

Keep it up, David!


3 Responses to CRUISE Part 2: Burning Calories

  1. brandy says:

    Thanks so much for posting about your eating and exercise on the cruise. I’m going on my first cruise in a couple of months, and your information is very helpful. Glad you had a good time!

  2. Caron says:

    This is great! I just love it when people are thrown into situations where they could be completely derailed by bad choices (eating all day and night) and decide to buck the trend. Fabulous job, David.

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