I write a blog based around travel, health and working on board a yacht as a High Carb Vegan. See my interview with Crista about staying high carb vegan while working on board a Cruise Ship.
We all know how much of a challenge it can be eating healthy and finding time for fitness on board a yacht. Now imagine the challenges and multiply them by 10. Cruise ship crew have it even harder then Yachties with even greater amount of rules and a smaller amount of space and time. Still, where there is a will, there is a way. Crista is here to inspire us on how it's done! And may I say, she looks pretty fabulous while doing it!
Guest Post by Crista Leopardi of Fatcoco.com:
Hi y’all! I’m Crista from Fatcoco.com. I’m delighted that Angela has allowed me to write a guest post for her blog. It’s one I frequent for inspiration and advice!
I’m a professional dancer and aerialist lucky enough to work on a cruise ship. I love my job – its exciting, active and interesting. But it comes with its own set of challenges. Anyone who’s taken a vacation on a cruise ship knows they are not designed with a healthy life in mind. Their very objective is to be indulgent. Which is all well and good when you’re on a holiday but it can really affect you if it’s your daily routine for months on end. Our contracts on the ship last between 6 and 8 months – a considerable chunk of time.
I have always been somewhat of a health and fitness enthusiast. I’ve been vegetarian most of my adult life and more recently vegan. I’ve been incorporating the 801010 ideologies for the past few months (though I’m not 100%). Add that to the fact that I have a very active career that requires bi-weekly weigh-ins and the ability to confidently bare your midriff and you can see why finding ways to be healthy and fit while living in paradise is a must for me.
So if you find yourself working on a cruise ship – or even traveling on one- here are my tips. Keep in mind I’m by no means a doctor or medical professional. These are just things that seem to work for ME!
Top 5 Ways to stay Healthy and Fit (and 801010, if you so choose) while working on a cruise ship!
- You can exercise everywhere. I always bring a theraband and a jump rope on every contract, wrist and ankle weights if I have room in my bags. I don’t often use them as we do have access to a gym on board HOWEVER, being crew, there are times we are not allowed in there and with work sometimes we only have a small window with which to squeeze in a workout. This has worked for me for years. I have index cards with short interval circuits written out on them. When I have a 30-minute window for a workout I bring one out and do the circuit. It’ll be like: 1. Jump rope for 1 minute 2. 25 v-ups 3. 10 burpees 4. 25 bicycle crunches 5. 20 squats and repeat 3 times. This is always a good option. If you don’t have time for a 30-minute workout (or space) do sets of 10 push ups and 20 crunches (or v-ups or abs exercise of your choice) throughout the day until you reach 100 of each. Doing that every day got me through rehearsals when I didn’t have time or space to workout. NEVER JUDGE YOUR WORKOUT. Anything you do is good. Sometimes I can run, sometimes I can do a p90X workout, sometimes I just do push ups and abs, sometimes a yoga DVD. Often I just take a 1hr walk on the treadmill and I’ve been known to do 20 squats in the bathroom every time I go if I haven’t had time to workout at all. But whatever I do is a win.
- Having a big bag with you at the mess is your new best friend. Every time I go to eat at the buffet I take extra bananas and apples and put them in my bag. SHHHH don’t tell anyone. We’re not allowed to bring fruit and vegetables on board (or dairy if you’re into that) so I really enjoy taking extra from the buffet on board to keep in my mini fridge. This is the #1 thing that keeps me from starving! I’ll also keep a zip lock in my purse and if they have dried fruit out for breakfast I fill a bowl up and then transfer it into my zip lock to keep in my room.
- On that note, here are my staples to buy whenever we get to a port with a grocery store: dried fruit (I probably eat waaay too many dates and dried mango but I love them), plain oatmeal, sunflower seeds, soy milk, cereal…okay and dark chocolate. These all keep really well and can be eaten in my cabin with very little prep. This may sound gross but not only do I like to just eat dry oatmeal splashed with soy milk, I’ll also just put hot water from the tap on the oatmeal and let it sit for a while until its actual oatmeal textured. It may be different on other ships but when you live on a cruise ship you can’t have blenders or hot pots in your room. You can always bring your oatmeal to the mess to get actual boiling water. But I’m too lazy most of the time. Having these staples helps me fill out my diet a bit since I avoid most of the things the buffet has to offer. I stick to fresh fruit, the salad bar (lettuce, carrot, corn, beans, mushrooms…etc.) but not the prepared salads because they are full of oil and often meat. I eat the rice or potatoes sometimes or bread and occasionally the cooked vegetables but not in large quantities because they are usually drenched with sauces, oil and salt.
- Bring your water bottle everywhere. Dehydration leads to a multitude of ills and it’s really easy to get dehydrated when you’re in recycled air all day long. Or wind. Drink your water so you can drink your wine later on!
- Let yourself enjoy your unique lifestyle. There’s no need to be rigid. There are times you can’t workout and there are times when it is more important to have hummus and a glass of wine in Mykonos then it is to get the tomato salad and sparkling water. Workout when you can, eat healthy when you can, stick to your ethics (for me that’s vegan) but for the love of sunshine and flowers, enjoy your life. Nine times out of ten for breakfast and lunch I have fruit, dried fruit and raw salad, so, when I get to have dinner out in Venice I have Chianti, bruschetta and a beautiful local salad. On board I drink herbal tea and occasional soy lattes, so, when I’m in Toulon I get avocado salad and a baguette with an espresso. I try to make good choices but enjoyable ones too and I don’t feel bad at all. I want to try pasta in Italy, Turkish coffee in Turkey, Baguettes in France, and Hummus in Greece.
*Bonus Tip – Google is your best friend. I tend to look up vegan or raw options in each of the places I’m visiting. There is a lot of information these days and it’s not hard to find names of vegan friendly places, words for “vegan” and “no oil” or “soymilk” in many different languages. Prepare yourself for you travels and when all else fails, fresh fruit is EVERYWHERE.
I hope you find one or two of these tips helpful. I know that I struggled a bit when I first started working on ships and even now I get frustrated sometimes. Everything seems to be cooked with oil or butter or battered and fried but there is a way to live healthfully! Most of all find a way to make your lifestyle work for you and not the other way around. Working on a cruise ship is an exciting opportunity and I want you to enjoy it to the fullest!
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