Why I don’t teach fitness classes while cruising in the Caribbean
“Why don’t you teach fitness classes to help build up your cruising kitty?” This is a question I have been asked on a number of different occasions. Since I come from a fitness background, it would only make sense for others to assume that I would want to continue to teach some kind of exercise class while we travel. I have some reasons why I don’t though, and because people have asked, I thought I would share them on this post.
Visit any of the Caribbean islands where cruisers spend a lot of time and you will likely find some form of exercise class that has been organized by one of the other cruisers. Whether it be yoga, noodling, or even Tai Chi, these social events have been structured to help cruisers stay in shape while traveling. Grenada, Martinique, and Trinidad are just a few of the islands in the Eastern Caribbean where these types of classes are prevalent. While I do not participate in these gatherings, choosing instead to do my own thing, I do appreciate the efforts of those who lead them.
Since you workout so much, why not share them and get your exercise while leading a class?
The following are my reasons why I choose not to lead group classes during our stops on each of the islands:
This is probably the biggest one. The reason we set out cruising was to be able to visit different places and to move when we want to move. Committing to teach a class even 1 or 2 times per week would require us to stay in one spot for a potentially longer period of time than we really want. Even in places like Grenada where we would typically spend a whole season (June-November), we don’t often like to stay in one anchorage. Additionally, sometimes we like to just get away from everyone to anchor in a secluded spot all by ourselves. It’s not that we are anti-social but we do enjoy having time to ourselves occasionally.
2. It’s not legal to work in the islands.
What many people seem to not understand is that working in the Caribbean is illegal unless you are a citizen, or you acquire a work permit. So how do non-citizens who do teach get around this? They don’t. To my knowledge, those that organize these classes do so voluntarily and do not get paid. If they are getting paid, they have either acquired a work visa, or they are doing it “under the table.” More than likely, they are just happy doing it for free, but may receive some compensation by way of tips from their participants.
On the subject of tips, cruisers are cheap, ourselves included! If one were to rely on tips to feed their cruising kitty, they would likely be disappointed. Cruisers are frugal individuals; it is unlikely you will find many that are willing to provide a tip significant enough to help fund your cruising lifestyle.
3. I would rather be doing something else.
Our motive for selling our Martial Arts gym, where we taught both martial arts classes and fitness classes, was to buy a boat and go cruising. We needed a change; we wanted and still want to explore more of the world. You may be asking, “You are going to workout anyway so why not do it with others?” Teaching a fitness class to cruisers and doing a workout on my own are entirely different things. If I were to lead a class, I would still feel the need to do my own workouts before and/or after. There are so many other things that I would rather fill my days with.
4. Most cruisers enjoy a lighter form of workout.
Although there are perhaps a few cruisers that enjoy high-intensity workouts, it has been my observation that most are not interested in the kind of exercise that I prefer to do. Yoga and noodling classes seem to be popular amongst cruisers. Before anyone gets bent out of shape thinking that I am dissing these forms of exercise, I am not. If I could last through a yoga class without feeling like I’m a queued ball in a pinball machine, ready to be propelled into the playing field, I would probably participate in them. As it stands now, I play around with yoga poses and do my own form of yoga routine as part of my cool down after my workouts.
The above reasons are my reasons alone. I have a few friends that do teach / have taught exercise classes while cruising, and they seem to enjoy it. Kudos to them for giving their time. I am not saying I will never teach a fitness class while traveling but for now, I choose to focus on what it is we set out to do in the first place!
All that said, the reason why I started a fitness blog was to help others who are interested in staying in shape while traveling, to share some of the workouts that I do, and to give tips for people who are away from their gym. I have also made myself available on several occasions to visit other boats to give fellow cruisers some one-on-one pointers. Often this involves showing them how to use a newly-acquired suspension trainer on their boat, and those who have taken advantage of this seemed to be been very receptive of my advice. If this is something that you may be interested in, and you find yourself in our area, please make a comment on this post. I always enjoy meeting other fitness-minded people!