What??? We joined a golf club! One year ago…A stunning pot hole…

The sign upon entering the Makai Golf Club in Princeville, Kauai.  Its odd to think that we’re members although we don’t play golf.

We don’t play golf, neither of us able to do so with our bad right shoulders and, lack of skill. In a way, not playing golf is a good thing in our way of life. Imagine the additional expenses we’d incur in our travels when playing a round of golf is so expensive especially here in Princeville at over $350 per person with rented clubs and a cart.

But, we do love to do two things; for me, working out at a fitness center and for both of us, spending our token one hour in the sun soaking up vitamin D (vital for seniors) and catching a bit of tan preferably by a pool.

The fitness center although small had all the equipment I’d need for working out.

With no pool or easy access to a beach in the immediate area, we were looking for a double whammy. Where could we find a pool and a fitness center in Princeville, where there definitely wouldn’t be a community center? 

We’re surprised that with all the seniors in this area that there isn’t a health club when in the past, I’d seen many seniors at various fitness centers in our travels and in our old lives back in Minnesota. 

During my time working out not another person joined me.

After an extensive search, I was unable to find a single stand alone fitness center in the entire area. The only options available included pricey sessions by the hour with a fitness trainer. 

Plus, the thing about working out, it requires a close proximity in order to commit to doing it. Its hard enough to do it, let alone having the necessity of driving far in traffic.

With a flat screen TV, hand weights, exercise bands, a locker room and AC, it was perfect for me.

Plus, after stopping by the St. Regis Hotel (pricey at $550+ a night) which we heard had a pool and fitness program, we were sorely discouraged to discover  the cost at $250 per person/per day to workout and use the pool. Both the St. Regis and the Princeville Westin have an affiliation with the Makai Golf Club.

Back to the drawing board (pc) I went to work trying to find an option. Web searches kept bringing me back to the Makai Golf Club. Online, they advertised a $100 per person, per month program for both using their small fitness center and their huge lap pool.

Tom was rounded out his tan lying on his stomach on the chaise lounge by the pool at the golf club.

Calling to verify this information, I was told the website information was wrong. It would cost $125 per person per month to use both the fitness center and pool. We didn’t care for the fact that they wouldn’t honor the online price but when our options were so limited, we decided to accept this reality.

Tom doesn’t work out, nor does he care to start now no matter how much encouragement I might throw his way. However, there was no program offering a pool only membership.

Tom never naps in this position and provides a good bit of conversation to keep me entertained.

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to check out the golf club, a mere 1.8 miles from our condo, a five minute drive down the busy Ka Haku Road, the road that leads to everywhere in Princeville.

Hesitating to spend $250 a month for both of us, we entered the golf club with a bit of trepidation, thinking most likely, only I’d sign up, desperately needing to work out after a hiatus of many months, only walking during the absence which isn’t quite enough for me. 

The pool is only 4 feet deep but a perfect lap pool.

No more than five minutes after we arrived and discussed the program with the staff at the pro shop, a kindly manager offered that we follow him in a golf cart  the to the nearby fitness center and pool. Tom drove the cart with me sitting next to him as we followed Eric to see the facilities. 

The golf course borders the pool and fitness area.

I couldn’t help but giggle all the way to the pool area when “overly grumpy” Tom made negative comments to me about the golf cart traffic while he was driving the cart. This made me laugh over and over.

After we saw the facilities I was certain we’d both join the club.  It’s a fun playful atmosphere with friendly animated staff members. Once we entered the small fitness building, located in the pool area, we were both “sold.”

View from the chaise lounges at the pool.

In addition, our membership includes a social membership enabling us to attend parties and activities should we chose to partake. Back at the pro shop, we paid our first month’s dues, even reserving our spot for the Super Bowl party upcoming a week from Sunday. What a great opportunity to meet people! The only cost for the party is food and beverages purchased in the Makai Grill during the game if we so chose.

After we were introduced to more staff at the pro shop, we were excited to have made this decision. With our swimsuits with us and me already dressed in workout clothing, we grabbed the key and headed back to the pool area when, for the first time in many months I worked out, doing my usual HIIT (high intensity interval training).

We have our two new Costco chairs which we’ll keep in the car. If it so happens that the chairs are all occupied at the pool, we were told, we could bring in our own chairs.

There’s no doubt it will be many weeks before I return to my prior level of fitness. But, when it comes to working out, there’s not time like the present. I can’t wait to see those little muscles return to their former shape and size and find myself at a much higher level of health and fitness. How I’ve missed this after having worked out most of my adult life.

Add a beautiful blue sky and palm trees to the mix and the scenery is astounding.

After my workout, I struggled to get my swimsuit on. It was hot and humid and I had trouble drying off in the steamy ladies locker room that is attached to the fitness room. Trying to pull up the swimsuit was quite the challenge in my sticky state. Going forward, I’ll workout in my swimsuit and workout pants and rinse off in the shower with my swimsuit on.

It always seems to be hazy by the mountains here in Kauai, most likely as a result of the vegetation cover.

Tom waited for me in the shade reading a book on his phone. Once I was finished, we grabbed two comfy lounge chairs to languish for our hour in the warmth of the sun, enjoying the exquisite view, occasionally dipping in the pool to cool off.

We’d have been content with a pool with no views.  But this, is beyond all of our expectations.

Joining the Makai Golf Club a perfect addition to our lengthy stay in Kauai. Most likely we’ll head together to the Makai Golf Club each sunny day, while I’ll go on my own to workout on cloudy days. With HIIT, its not necessary to workout everyday but visiting the pool itself will not be unlike other locations where we’ve had a pool drawing us in for a dip on sunny days. We’re thrilled.

Greenery to take one’s breath away.

Now, we feel the long four month stint in Kauai will be easier than we’d expected. Besides, its not hard to hang around Paradise for an extended period.

Hump day. Enjoy!

                                          Photo from one year ago today, January 21, 2014:

Bourke’s Luck Pot Holes was an amazing sight to see on the Panorama Route in South Africa. For more photos of this exciting visit, please click here.

Winding down at the local health club…Photos of a walk…

The walk under the trees from  Laru Beya to Roberts Grove Resort.

Within a day of getting situated at LaruBeya, we made our way along the beach to the property next door to us, Roberts Grove Resort, a kitschy, high energy, busy vacation spot entrenched in endless activities and jammed with guests.

One of the three pools along the walk to the health club at Robert’s Grove.

Over our two-plus months here, we’ve frequently meandered next door for dining in their three restaurants, but most of all, for me to use their air-conditioned health club. The fee for non-hotel guests is US $35 a month. At this time, LaruBeya doesn’t have a workout facility.

We duck under the bushes along the walk.

Small, the size of a standard hotel room, the health club is less of a “club” and more a fitness room with a stationary bike, elliptical, treadmill, a universal gym, and free weights. Definitely compact but exactly what I’ve needed to maintain my high-intensity interval training (HIIT) protocol, which I do faithfully twice a week for only 10 minutes each time. 

I use the stationary bike or the elliptical machine at the highest level of intensity, at intervals of 30 seconds for a total of 10 minutes every other time I work out.

This is not an easy 10 minutes. It’s 10 minutes of excruciating work. Ten minutes of groaning, grunting, sweating work. But, then, in 10 minutes, it’s over. Add to that, an effort to walk 10,000 steps per day (not always easy to do in this lazy lifestyle) and my fitness level is improving day by day.

The main pool at Robert’s Grove.

Living in Minnesota, I discovered HIIT last spring while reading the book, The Smarter Science of Slim by Jonathan Bailor I worked out five to six days a week for no less than one hour per day. Not surprisingly, I got into a monotonous routine achieving little results while barely maintaining my level of fitness.

This picture was taken this morning by one of the women I met in the workout room. 

Most of my life, I’ve worked out in a concerted effort to avert the many illnesses that ran rampant in my family history; heart disease, diabetes, joint and spine disorders, and in many cases, obesity. 

The wood sidewalk on the way to Robert’s Grove front desk where I pick up the key to the health club each time I work out.

Not entirely dodging the bullet, I’ve always felt that my exercise efforts paid off, coupled with tight controls on what I ate.  It was never fun and it was never easy. But I plodded along.

The walk along the main restaurant to the fitness room.

As I’ve mentioned many times in this blog, 20 months ago, both Tom and I drastically changed our diet to a renewed level of health and well being, that we’ve committed to maintaining for whatever time we are blessed to have left on this earth. He lost 45 pounds, was able to stop taking seven prescription pills per day, and continues to maintain his weight. (He’d better! His clothes won’t fit if he gains it back.  We’ve already replaced everything once with his weight loss).

The path continues…

It’s not always easy, especially avoiding all sugar, starch, and grains, but it’s rewarding figuring out meals that are both healthful and satisfying for both Tom and me. Tom is less strict than I, enjoying foods that would precipitate illness in me and as I’ve mentioned causing him no ill effects. 

Finally, the tiny workout room at Robert’s Grove, where I’ve worked out the past over two months.

During this morning’s workout, I met three other exercise enthusiasts, two women, and one man, all looking fit and healthy.  I had only encountered two men working out in all my prior sessions over the past two months.  With only one more workout before we leave Belize in six days, I’ll look forward to my workout facilities, aboard our upcoming six cruises over the next two months.

This is the tight interior of the workout room.  I use all of these machines at high levels (HIIT) for 10 minutes.

Working out around the world will continue, no matter where we may be.  If no facility is available, I’ll perform HIIT exercises inside or outdoors at our vacation home wherever that may be. 

Tom, much to my surprise continues to walk with me each day, claiming he’s doing it “for me.” 

For us, flexibility, being active, a healthy diet, some supplements, low stress, restful sleep, a harmonious life, mental challenges, including learning, searching, and discovering, surrounding ourselves with upbeat people, seems to have a profound effect on our health. Throw in a large dose of laughter on a continuing basis and we have our “prescription” for living a full and healthy life. 

Of course, there’s no guarantee for longevity or avoidance of illness.  But for us, it is a guarantee for happiness and well being, one day at a time.

Oh no! Yellow Fever side effects hit…

Yesterday, I felt great, optimistic that the potential side effects of the Yellow Fever Vaccine had bypassed me.  One in six, especially in patients over 60, experience some side effects: general malaise, lethargy, aching joints, low grade fever and flu-like symptoms.

When I awakened this morning at 5:45, my legs felt heavy when my feet hit the floor, so  heavy that I wavered momentarily before standing. I dismissed this uncommon feeling, attributing it to a poor night’s sleep or from arising too quickly.
Making the bed seemed an insurmountable task; the normally light and fluffy covers feeling like lead in my hands.  Preparing my usual mug of coffee, the normally inviting smell sickened me. I turned off the coffee machine instead guzzling a huge glass of ice water.

Of course, running through my mind was every possible Yellow Fever Vaccine side effect I’d discovered perusing through the CDC’s website. Yes, I was experiencing side effects, my worst fear.

There’s no doubt that I am a worrier when it comes to medical procedures. After a several unpleasant reactions over the years, I am  skeptical about any invasive treatments.  One could easily surmise that I am overly cautious.
The biggest problem is my continual desire to be educated about health and wellness in an effort to maintain the highest possible level of fitness. Each week, I read a multitude of scientific studies from reliable resources which include Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic and major universities.  
In the past several weeks, I have be reading and re-reading The Smarter Science of Slim by Jonathan Bailor, based on 1000’s of scientific studies surrounding a healthful diet and the HIIT exercise protocol which I have since incorporated into my routine. 

Many may find these topics tedious and boring.  For me, as my friends and family will attest, its more fodder for my guarded manner of approaching traditional medical by occasional musings on Facebook.
Information is power. Medical information is vital to maintaining one’s long term health objectives.  
But…its a double edged sword that wields a sense of apprehension and mistrust by the continuing contradictions handed us via the media, over and over again.
Are vaccinations safe? Did we really need a Yellow Fever Vaccine to go on a week long safari in Kenya (no Yellow Fever is documented in South Africa) while living in a guarded ocean side resort community? Probably not, but “they said” and “we” believed them, myself included.

Today, I took Ibuprofen every four hours, which greatly reduced the achy fluish symptoms. The onset of the worst of the side effects may occur on the 5th day after vaccination. Tomorrow is day #4. Hopefully my feet firmly hit the floor tomorrow and Sunday morning!  I’ll keep you posted!