January 25th 2010

We are excited about working with Fit for Trips which means our walkers can choose to improve their current fitness levels in ways designed to enhance their enjoyment of their specific walking vacation itinerary. We thought it would be interesting to find out a bit more about Fit for Trips and it's Founder and Personal Trainer, Marcus Shapiro (pictured, left)! We're particularly intrigued by Marcus' most memorable vacation happening... The Wayfarers: What is Fit for Trips? Marcus: We are a fitness company, but I would put Fit for Trips under the umbrella of adventure or active travel. We create what we call 'pre-departure' fitness programs. These fitness programs are designed to prepare travelers for any activity in their itinerary. Our fitness programs are to be initiated anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks prior to departure. Our full support lasts all the way up until the day of departure. Fit for Trips give travelers a much greater chance to enjoy their trip to the fullest, and we ultimately want all travelers to bring home great memories and stories. We create programs that train adventurers for single day excursions, moderate intensity multi-day trips, and epic challenges. The Wayfarers: At The Wayfarers' we have always maintained that if someone is reasonably fit, they will enjoy a walking vacation. If this is so , then why would someone need to start working out to prepare for their walk? Marcus: You booked The Wayfarer walking vacation of a lifetime because you know the guides and itineraries are second to none. So upon arrival you have nothing but potential. But as soon as foot hits the ground, that potential is fully realized only if you are energetic, alert and engaged as you journey one step at a time. These long days of learning and exploring always lead to something you wouldn't dare miss. However, your path is sometimes met with a bit of a challenge (i.e., ascending ancient stairs, strolling over uneven cobblestone pathways, walking grassy knolls and expansive fields, descending exhilarating switchbacks, tiptoeing over river rocks). Although, encouraging guides and a little bit of perseverance will get you where you need to go, you don't really want to be distracted by sore muscles in your feet, legs and back. The Wayfarers: What is your favorite vacation activity? Marcus: My favorite vacation activity used to be mountain biking. Now that I have children we find places to walk or hike wherever we travel to. These days we visit the children's grandparents. On our most recent trip to see my mom in South Florida, we visited Jonathan Dickinson State Park and enjoyed the unique foliage; we saw a family of wild hogs; and the kids loved Hobe Mountain Observation Tower atop an 86 foot high ancient sand dune. When we travel to Portage, Indiana to see the in-laws we visit Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. It's a bit uncanny that they both have sand dunes. Almost every weekend we hike in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area near our house. Set me afoot a narrow trail, with many twists and turns, accompanied by my family and I'm a happy guy. The Wayfarers: In your travels, which country have you most enjoyed visiting and why? Marcus: Kenya and Tanzania wins out over Galapagos slightly. It was probably the size of the animals that were the real difference. In both places I saw life emerge from the womb and death of young by predator. The mix of emotions were more than I had ever experienced and strangely it seemed like a gift to experience the grapple between joy and anguish. In the end for me there emerged a real sense of peace knowing that that the force of nature would live on and on for others to witness - hopefully - for many decades more. On a much lighter note the accommodations catapulted Africa to the top, especially Camp Kirawira in the Western Serengeti. The tented camps were exquisite, comfortable and when they cut the power off at night you could not see your hand in front of your face. You could, however, hear animals crying in the night. The Wayfarers: What is the most memorable thing that happened to you on vacation? Marcus: It's hard to isolate just one memorable vacation experience. However, one that sticks in my mind happened while conversing with our Tanzanian safari guide, Philip, while traveling from one accommodation to another. Of course I initiated the discussion about exercise. I had to explain to Philip what exercise was. He did not understand why we exercised but his answer assured me that he understood enough. Philip explained that the villagers get their exercise by herding cattle, and jumping up and down during ritual dances. I reciprocated with our own version of exercise back home: I explained that some people get in shape by walking on treadmills or riding stationary bikes. "Walking but not going anywhere?" is what Philip asked. He repeatedly made this whistling sound and covered his face in disbelief. Explaining the treadmill was a very challenging cognitive exercise. This memory remains one of my travel favorites. OFFER: Until April 9, book a walking vacation with The Wayfarers receive 50% off a Fit for Trips program customised for your trip itinerary. Marcus Shapiro, founder of Fit for Trips, brings 20 years experience in personal fitness training to benefit adventure travelers interested in improving their fitness in specific ways geared to enhance their vacation experience. Marcus earned a BS in Atheletic Training from the University of Alabama where he worked as an athletic trainer for their Division 1 teams, and continued his training by qualifying as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). (The CSCS designation, prevalent in collegiate, professional and Olympic conditioning coaching, ensures that my clients receive the most progressive and up-to-date training techniques.) As a personal trainer, Marcus continually hones his knowlege and skills by putting promising new exercise and fitness program into practice - testing new techniques, working with his clients and using what works best in his custom Fit for Trips programs. In addition to running Fit for Trips, Marcus continues to work with clients at the Atlanta Falcons Physical Therapy Centers in Marietta, Georgia, as a trusted personal trainer.

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