Welcome to part 2 of the amazing Israel fitness adventures, I enjoyed just one short week ago!
If you haven’t read part 1, trust me it’s worth a minute to read about mountain biking in the desert, yoga on a mountain and so much more! Our 8 days was packed with so many amazing fitness moments that I finally realized I wouldn’t do it justice to smush them all in to one post.
Without further ado, the remaining fitness moments of our trip!
Sailing with Blind Sailors
Having arrived in Tel Aviv the night before, we were excited to find out what we’d be doing on the Mediterranean. What happened went beyond all expectations when we arrived at “Etgarim”, an Israeli non-profit organization that works to rehabilitate physically, mentally challenged and disadvantaged, children,teenagers and adults, through extreme sports activities.
In particular, we were there to learn about their sailing program and experience for ourselves being blind…and crewing a sail boat! Some members of our group like Dai, pictured here, put their blind folds on from the building and took in the entire experience of being lead to the boat and out on the water without sight.Taking a look at the unruly sea and finding out it was rougher water than they would normally go out in, my motion sick brain, opted along with another Viber to enjoy sailing around the harbor.
As it turned out that allowed us to actually practice steering the boat without sight while the other provided directions. It was amazing to find out much you had to rely on others for information and then to make it even harder, our guide asked me to provide Rachel directions without words!! So now I couldn’t speak to her and she couldn’t see….I opted to tap the arm she needed to move for us to turn.The entire experience left us all feeling humbled as we met some of the crew who have been through incredible health incidents and are now world class sailors who compete against sighted sailors!
Sailing for them is what running is for many others. It’s a tool to bring people out of their insecurities, to give them a goal, a purpose and a tribe.Would you trust someone to blindfold you and teach you to sail? Click To Tweet
Next we headed to a place that I could have spent hours!!! The Wingate Institute is home to the Israeli Olympic swim team and many other top notch athletes. Not only do they train here year round, but they actually live on the campus. What makes this even more amazing is that they take in a number of students who have been in trouble in the past and find structure and inspiration from schooling alongside these dedicated kids.In one of the testing labs, I was able to a do a jump test which utilizes some crazy cameras to capture your movements and then show you any weaknesses. In my case, we were able to see my knees falling in just slightly when I would jump down. I’ll actually be talking more about stride soon, but this is the kind of information that can be used to ward off injury!
Next up we were able to work with some students to learn a little Judo! Having never practiced before I was thrilled to get in on this! I love the mental and physical aspects of this sport and have long thought I should try it.After showing us a number of moves, we played some games to get us used to the movements needed. In fact, a few of them I’m going to record for an upcoming partner workout because they rocked the core!
Once we’d done some holds and the kids let us toss them around (because they could demolish us), they provided some demo rounds, which we all watched in utter amazement. But that wasn’t the end of the day!! Next it was time for Krav Maga with some Israeli soldiers. I loved that the instructor helped us to understand that the goal wasn’t to hurt someone, it was to defend yourself if someone should attack you. It’s designed to be a super SIMPLE practice, so that without thinking you can quickly react to protect yourself if needed.
We practiced blocking an attacker and a couple of moves like the palm to the nose which would surprise them and hopefully give you a few minutes to get away. I feel like these kinds of classes are so valuable!
Fitness Model Workout
On our last day, we weren’t just going to lounge around before heading to the airport. No, no!!
Instead, we headed over to Liky’s Studio for an intense HIIT workout with super models. Yup, you read that right…nothing that will make you want to kick your own butt faster than women who are paid to be beautiful (especially after a week of sampling so much good food!). Admittedly I was feeling pretty rough and it wasn’t my finest workout, but I loved all of the moves and will be using some of them in my own cross training now.
What was important for us to see here is the overall trend of fitness is Israel. Especially in Tel Aviv which is a younger city, there are a lot of boutique gyms like this, along with yoga, pilates and everything else you see in the US. We also saw a lot of juice stands and as I mentioned in the food post, tons of fresh and local eating.
We didn’t have a ton of free time, but as you might imagine with a group of fitness nerds we tended to spend that free time sweating. In Tel Aviv, most of us headed out for a run along the water. It was amazing to find the paved promenade running for miles and miles along the rocks and then along the beaches. When we weren’t running though, we still spent hours wandering about on foot!
Sometimes intentionally….and sometimes merely heading the wrong direction. Luckily it was such a good group, we didn’t care because the time was still enjoyable. In these moments, we were just experiencing Israel beyond the fitness scene and that too was extremely interesting.
So here are some quick tid bits from those walks.
Machne Yehuda Market District – A HUGE market with hundreds of stalls where people have been going for decades to buy their spices, fruits, vegetables and so much more. It’s even divided a bit in to little sections based on the type of cuisine people cook. Israel is such a melting pot that there are some who cook predominantly Moroccan or Chinese, etc. The Old City – One of the keystone places in Jerusalem is the Old City. I’ve shown some photos in all past posts, but here’s another because really can there be too many? The Old City is a 1 Km area contained by a wall and is home to the Western Wall (aka Wailing Wall and in Hebrew Kotel). This is the last remaining wall of what was the Jewish Temple, and is today the holiest site in the world for Jews. Jaffa – Unfortunately our free time only allowed us to make it here just after sunset, so I don’t have any super wonderful photos of the beautiful tiny streets and buildings. But this ancient port city along the water in Tel Aviv was super cool and a must see, so I didn’t want to skip it all together. “Jaffa is thought to have been the port from which Jonah left in the story of the Whale! The port continued to be important through history, and served as the main entry point to the land of Israel through until the late 19th century when Jews from around the world began to return to Israel.“Of course there was more, so much more, but I’ll leave you with this.
Israel surprised me and I couldn’t be happier that I said yes to this trip. I would actually love to go back and see more with David in the future.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS TRIP:
Part 1: Mountain top yoga, desert mountain biking and Dead Sea
Top 9 Israeli Foods (what to expect, what you’ll love!)
Jerusalem Half Marathon Report
What I learned about Israel and overcoming travel fears
What place have you visited that really surprised you?
Best adventure you’ve tried while traveling?
Other ways to connect with Amanda
Many photos thanks to the talented Shani Sadicario.