I hear “guided tour” and picture myself sitting on a coach bus with pale-legged travelers, all of them in sun hats and tube socks, giddily anticipating the famous monuments, free pamphlets, and headsets spouting little-known facts about side streets and architecture. The opposite end of the spectrum isn’t my cup of tea, either — those backpacking, hostel-loving, canvas-shirt types who plan nothing and live for the thrill of tagging along with whatever local they happen to sit next to at the bar. Based on TV shows and travel books, you’d think these are the only types who travel. Well let me share some fabulous news: CrossFitters can travel, too!
Fitness retreats like WODventures and WODcation are becoming a whole new way for people to explore the world. If you love to get your WOD on and want to experience your sport in an amazing new part of the world, here are five reasons to WOD abroad!
1. Bucket-List Moments
Europe, Cabo, New Zealand, Korea — the list of destinations is seemingly endless. Not only will you get in on some killer WODs, but a lot of the gyms also take advantage of their unique surroundings and incorporate specialty activities like surfing, trail runs, arctic fjords and snorkeling. Not to mention, these retreat destinations are often located near gyms where Games athletes live and train. How cool to get your swole on in the middle of some superstar athletes. Between the amazing locations and variety of activities, you’re guaranteed to check some major items off your dream list.
2. Nutrition Is On Lock!
Perhaps you’ve decided to sign up for a CrossFitting Norwegian Cruise, but fear not! Your parting souvenir will not be 10 extra pounds clinging to your once-pristine six-pack. Trips are largely organized with the help of box owners who know that fresh and balanced macro meals are a necessary component to all fit travelers. Across the board you’ll see line items like “two Paleo meals a day included” or “meals at local CrossFit hangouts.” Though customs and languages change across borders, grams remain the same. A carb is still a carb, protein is still protein, etc. It’s fun to experience new cultural cuisines, as many of them as possible, but you’re still busting your ass in relentless CrossFit fashion. If there’s one thing to pack more of than socks, it’s protein. Quest Bars are available in 88 countries, so if you’ve gone through all that you packed, by now you should be able to find some during travel. Can you imagine bringing Quest Bars somewhere extreme, like on a hot African safari?! It’ll be like they’re pre-microwaved!
3. Push Yourself Even Harder
We all love our gyms because we get super comfortable with our box-mates … maybe a little too comfortable. It’s easy to get used to finishing before or after certain people, inadvertently claiming “our spot” on the whiteboard. Working out with fresh, fit faces can put a fire under your ass and really jolt some life back into your training regimen. I remember thinking that I had a pretty solid snatch weight until I took my show on the road and got obliterated by other athletes. It was so frustrating in the moment to get crushed, but I returned home and got to work. Over the next four months, I added a ridiculous 30 pounds to my snatch — which never would have happened without a healthy dose of perspective.
4. Strangers Become Friends
We all remember the first time we walked into our box. It was probably a little nerve-racking and a bit of a thrill. We settle in, find our crew and fall in love. Here’s a fact: CrossFitters are awesome, no matter what part of the world they are in. We all speak the language of sweat, and that’s an unbreakable bond. Whether you travel with your bae, friends or solo, you will absolutely join up with like-minded folks who make the trip even more awesome.
5. No Planning = No Stress
One of the reasons why we love CrossFit is that we have coaches who prescribe workouts and encourage us to push ourselves to new levels of fitness. Just like most of us enjoy having a coach tell us how much to lift (so we can turn off our brains and go), we’d probably enjoy eliminating all the logistical preparations of a trip, as well. Let’s admit it, in our own way, we do ride that itinerary vibe. With a retreat, pretty much the only question you need to ask yourself is where in the world do I want to go? That, and maybe how many lulu bras is too many lulu bras to pack? Travel accommodations, meals, words and excursions are all laid out like a menu ready for you to assemble your ideal trip. And guess what? You can start right now.