My wife Elise and I recently spent 10 days on the Crystal Serenity cruise ship, traveling through the Mediterranean Sea. Much to my surprise, the cruise of a lifetime quickly became a source of critical feedback to me regarding my diet, my exercise program and my essential Training program: GED (The daily process I write about here of learning to be Grateful for what’s happening around me, Excited to get the job done, and Devoted to balance what we accomplish in light of our performance goals).

Diet

With all of the food you can eat already paid for, the portions quickly become a challenge. This is not the time or place for the doctrine of “clean your plate.” Unless of course you have supernatural discipline to select the exact portion you want to eat.

For the first few days I was basically out of control. I ate three complete meals with snacks in place of my usual modified–fast with strict portion control. I soon gained weight and my pants grew tight. This forced me to install an emergency diet plan.

The basis of the diet was to eat only the prescribed amount for each meal.

Breakfast above: Two 5-minute eggs, one brain muffin and a glass of blended carrot and ginger juice.

Lunch: One portion of protein (steak, fish or chicken), one serving of salad and fruit.

Dinner: One seafood appetizer, one protein (steak, fish or chicken) main course and a salad. Fresh fruit became my go-to desert and snack.

Fluids: Two single shots of espresso, once in the a.m and again in the p.m. and a massive amount of bottled water.

Reflection: This diet worked! My weight stabilized, my pants fit and eating this way proved very satisfying.

Exercise

The freedom to train as much as I wanted proved to be my downfall. I was up at 5 a.m. doing 20 minutes of aerobic, 20 minutes of core and 20 minutes of push–pull or leg interval training and doing sessions later in the day walking on the circular laps that surround the boat.

Reality

If you’re in great shape, you’ll be fine, maybe even get in better shape and refine your workouts.

If you’re in OK shape, you can get in better shape, stay the same or vacate completely. In my case, I hadn’t been able to train for the past few weeks due to some health issues. True to my tendency, I rushed my comeback and suffered some setbacks that delayed my ability to train hard.

Reflection: The good news is that the medical staff has been excellent and I’ve learned a bunch about training before and during a trip. I need to do a better job of listening to my body when training on top of fatigue and the need to adjust to new time zones.

GED

In this most positive and relaxed environment, it seems ludicrous to mention the need to reflect on being grateful, excited and devoted. However, it’s very possible that if you are not extremely aware you may “settle down” completely and ignore the habits that allow you to maintain your present moment awareness, mindfulness and ability to focus.

Gratitude: If you lose the awareness of the expectations that you have for yourself during this time (to exercise daily, to achieve some personal fitness goals, to write in your journal or communicate regularly with the people that mean the most you) you might be setting yourself up for some serious disappointment.

Excitement: If you fail to operate at acceptance in terms of the effort it takes to get the job done (to get up to see the sunrise, to meditate, to exercise daily, to complete your breathing practice and reflect on the spiritual aspects of your daily practice) again you may feel like you let yourself down.

Devotion: If you neglect to establish a healthy balance of work/play and rest/relaxation (to make good decisions regarding how you use your energy, time or interactions with others) again you may experience some regret and wish you had been more available to others.

Reflection: If you are able to manage your diet, fitness and GED Training during this time you will give yourself a chance to experience a deeper sense of fulfillment, joy and learning from your experience.

Debrief

To evaluate your experience and performance on a trip I recommend that you debrief each day in a journal that works best for you. The process is very straightforward. You might want to ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Am I enjoying this experience to the best of my ability?
  2. Is there an area or specific behavior that I want to improve on?
  3. Am I sharing myself with the person/people that mean the most to me?

If the answer to any of these questions is negative or needs improvement take action immediately! Better yet if you are traveling with a special friend or loved one do the exercise with this person and or persons. Be creative. Make up three questions that allow you and your partner to focus on the positive, negative and important lessons learnedfrom your experience!

For a more in-depth look at the ability to debrief, check out my web site.

Final Reflection

During my trip I developed bronchitis, a tightening of my chest and lungs, which severely hampered my daily breathing practice. It did not keep me from enjoying my trip but it definitely showed me the importance of intentional breathing.

In short, a life without intentional breathing lacks the energy to reflect, to make adjustments to negative situations and to maintain the positive mind-set needed to make everything in your life better .

With so much really good food available, it requires dedication and commitment to maintain discipline.

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