The long awaited blog post, AT LAST!

Back in the winter months of 2016, my brother Jonathan and his wife Audrey as well as my wife Mandy and myself, made our way over to beautiful Iceland. This was without a doubt, one of the most amazing trips of my life. If you haven’t been, or even if you have and haven’t seen some of the below attractions, I highly recommend you make the trip!

As a crew of personal trainers, we just HAD to make our trek through Iceland a little more adventurous. How? By throwing in some fun workouts all along the way!

So, follow along our journey below and if you end up making the trip yourself or even if you’ve been and had a great experience, I’d love to hear about it!

Day # 1

Workout of the Day = Weight Training at the KoloFit Personal Training Studio before taking off to Hartsfield International

Depart Atlanta (77 degrees F) for Baltimore at 1:40p EST 

Arrive at Baltimore at 3:30pm EST

Flight to Reykjavik departs at 6:10pm EST 

Day # 2

Workout of the Day = Tour Downtown Reykjavik by foot

Pretty much pulled an all-nighter 😴

Arrive in Keflavik – just outside of Reykjavik (24 degrees F) at 5am Local Time (exit plane on runway as we get pelted by the heavy winds and cold temps – board bus)

Rent Jeep Cherokee and take the drive over to Reykjavik

Tour Reykjavik by foot – Keep blood flowing to keep from falling asleep standing up!

unknown.jpg
unknown_1.jpg
unknown_2.jpg
unknown_3.jpg

Lunch at Snaps (delicious) (trying not to fall asleep on table – another round of coffee please!)

Tour Hallgrimskirkja Church (up to the top for amazing city views and photos)

unknown_4.jpg
unknown_5.jpg

Check into Air B and B off Laugavegar St., located in the heart of Reykjavik and knock out hard.  I’m not sure that I’ve ever been so exhausted in my life!

Day #3

Workout of the Day = Snorkel + Swim

Wake up at 2am ready to go! (7am EST)

8am – Breakfast at Bergsson Mathus. Brunch platter was delicious! 

Off to snorkel in the ice cold waters of Silfra in Pingvellir National Park. I believe they said the water temp was 34 degrees. Air temp below freezing with wind chill well below.

unknown.jpg

(Getting suited up before our dive, freezing our butts off – the level of the chills themselves was a workout in itself!)

Took a drive up the Golden Circle to see the Geysir explosions in Blaskogabyggo

unknown_1.jpg
unknown_2.jpg

We quickly learned that EVERYTHING in the countryside closes by 6:30pm other than one place in Bláskógabyggo called Skjol, which I highly recommend. You might consider jumping off the clean eats for the evening considering the only 2 items on menu are pizza and beer (and a few cocktails) and I must admit, they were wonderfully DELICIOUS. Although salad was not on the menu, they whipped us up one from scratch to compliment our pizza and local beer.  We also enjoyed time with the owner himself, Jön, who provided excellent service. Talk about a food coma rolling out of this joint.

unknown_3.jpg

Took it back to our Air B and B for some Zzz’s.  

Day #4

Workout of the Day = Tabata Workout + Waterfall Hike

Our Air B and B

unknown.jpg

Woke up to a beautiful morning and made the trip up to Gulfass. On our way, we came upon some Icelandic Horses. We parked, walked up, and they came to say hello. Amazing animals!

unknown_1.jpg
unknown_2.jpg

Arrived at Gullfoss – SO cold and so windy!

unknown.jpg
unknown_1.jpg

Back on the road in route to the Secret Lagoon, a natural hot spring in a town called Flúoir.  In route, we came across a large herd of sheep hanging out in a field along the side of the road. We tried to pet them like we did the horses but they weren’t buying it.

The sheep hauling rear as we came to say hello:

unknown_2.jpg

Arrived at the Secret Lagoon. Although we didn’t jump in, the water temp felt perfect.

unknown_3.jpg

Arrived at Seljalansfass 

unknown.jpg

Seljalansfass Tabata Workout (20 seconds of effort followed by 10 seconds of rest x 8 times through. Alternating the Push-Up with the Tuck Jump. 4 sets per exercise):

We then took about a 500 meter hike over to Gljufrabui. Surprisingly, many folks don’t know about this hidden gem. Without a doubt, one of our favorites. It’s tucked back between these rocks:

unknown_1.jpg

Take a peek inside (plan to get a little wet from the 6 inch hike through the water as well as from the mist coming off the falls. I have to say, it’s incredibly worth every bit of wetness!):

unknown_2.jpg
unknown_3.jpg


Off we go to Skógafoss to try to beat the sunset.

Arrive at Skógafoss to this view:

unknown.jpg

But…in order to see the top view, well, this is where Workout # 2 of the day comes in:

unknown_1.jpg

It’s about a 6 and 1/2 minute brisk hike up to the top to enjoy this:

unknown_2.jpg

Made the drive down to Vik for the evening. 

Day # 5

Workout of the Day = Tabatas + Hike

After breakfast, we walked over and spent a short time on the Black Sand Beach just across from our hotel. 

unknown.jpg

Shortly after, we drove down the road to The Black Sand Beach Restaurant to see the Basalt Rocks on Black Sand Beach. Truly amazing.

unknown_1.jpg
unknown_2.jpg
unknown.jpg
unknown_1.jpg
unknown_2.jpg
unknown_3.jpg
unknown.jpg

Black Sand Beach Workout: Tabata, 20 seconds of effort followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 Total sets. Alternate the Incline Push-up with the Alternating Step-ups. 4 sets each.

Drove over for a hike to Seljavallalaug, Iceland’s oldest geothermal pool. Plan for about a 15 minute hike. 

unknown.jpg
unknown_1.jpg
unknown_1.jpg

Drove back towards Vik to see Dyrholaey as the snow began to really fall.

unknown.jpg
unknown_1.jpg
unknown_2.jpg

Back to spend another evening in Vik while enjoying another nice dinner at Restaurant Sudur Vik. 

Day # 6

Workout of the Day = Multiple Hikes

First stop: Fjaorárgljúfur (10-15 min brisk hike to the top)

unknown.jpg
unknown_1.jpg
unknown.jpg

Back on the road towards Skaftafellsstofa to see Svartifoss. It’s seems like just about everywhere you look on this stretch, you see a waterfall

unknown_1.jpg


Arrived at Skaftafellsstofa. The workout begins:

1.8 km uphill hike to the beautiful waterfall, Svartifoss. 

Along the way to Svartifoss, we stumbled upon this fall:

unknown.jpg

We continued the uphill climb:

unknown_1.jpg

until at last we saw Svartifoss:

unknown.jpg

AMAZING:

unknown_1.jpg

Back on the road again, in route for Jökulsárlón

unknown.jpg

Arrived at Jokulsarlon. Mind blown. By far, one of the, if not the, most beautiful place on earth that I’ve ever seen.  Our photos don’t do Jokulsarlon any justice. If this is the only attraction you see in Iceland, I believe you would say it was worth the trip. Stunning. The snow on the ground really made this extra spectacular.

unknown_1.jpg
unknown_2.jpg
unknown_3.jpg
unknown_4.jpg
unknown_5.jpg
unknown_6.jpg

And on and on…

Off to spend the evening at the Hali Country Hotel. We enjoyed dinner at the restaurant at the Inn which was tasty.

Day # 7

Workout of the Day = Tabatas

Early rise and breakfast before heading over to catch sunrise at Jökulsárlón.  A look at our stay at the Hali Country Hotel. Service was wonderful and the food was good.  Ask for the Little Yellow House on the water:

unknown.jpg

Off to the Lagoon. The weather was overcast although I don’t think you can take a bad photo at Jökulsárlón 

unknown_1.jpg

Across the street from Jökulsárlón, you’ll find Diamond Beach. 

unknown_2.jpg

A great spot for a quick workout. For this one, make sure you have some thick, water proof, insulated gloves. Then, grab a big ice chunk and let’s get after it.

Workout: Tabatas with the deadlift, bicep curl, and shoulder press.

Off to do some Ice Caving. We met at Jökulsárlón, took a short bus ride about 5 minutes down the road and then jumped on this beast:

unknown.jpg

We took another 10 minute or so drive through some tough terrain to the entrance of the ice cave. A short hike puts you right here:

unknown_1.jpg
unknown_2.jpg

The glacier water is delicious!

unknown_3.jpg

How about the color of that ice!

unknown.jpg
unknown_1.jpg

Back to the hotel to change for dinner in which we made the trek up to a village called Höfn. Highly recommend a restaurant there called Z-Bistro.  

As we made our way out of the restaurant and back to Hali Country, our minds were blown when we saw these light up the sky:

(The below images captured with an iPhone 7)

unknown_2.jpg
unknown_3.jpg

Day # 8

Workout of the Day = Hikes

Breakfast at Hali Country Hotel. They do complimentary breakfast as well which was nice. 

Off to make one more stop by Jökulsárlón on our way back up the coast:

unknown.jpg

And of course one more stop by Diamond Beach:

unknown_1.jpg

Jumped back in the Jeep to take the trek up the coast when we stumbled upon this hidden gem right next to Foss Hotel:

unknown.jpg

Approaching the waterfall itself is a short hike. The terrain is steep and tricky along the river and around the falls so be careful!

unknown_1.jpg
unknown.jpg
unknown_1.jpg

Mandy and Audrey

unknown.jpg

Jonathan 

unknown_1.jpg

Back to the Jeep to make our way to our Workout of the Day at Vatnajokulspjodgardur National Park. The hike is about 3 miles round trip to and from the glacier. Along the way, you’ll see various waterfalls on your left:

unknown.jpg

Certain spots will make you feel like you’re walking on the moon:

unknown_1.jpg

Arrived at Skaftafellsjökull 

unknown.jpg
unknown_1.jpg

Back on the road heading towards Reykjavik for the evening.

Day # 9

Workout of the Day = Rest, Rejuvenate, Fly

Off to The Blue Lagoon! After a busy week of activity, today is all about recovery and relaxation.

IMG_5102.JPG
IMG_5088.JPG
IMG_5090.JPG

After a few relaxing hours in the Lagoon, off we go back to Atlanta. Truly, a trip of a lifetime and one that I highly recommend to all!

Lastly, a HUGE thank you to my brother Jonathan and his wonderful wife Audrey for planning this amazing vacation of a lifetime.  Mandy and I had the time of our lives with you guys. Without Jon and Audrey’s planning of our journey, this trip would not have been possible.  Love you guys!  Until our next adventure…




Are you looking for a low carb breakfast idea for St. Patrick’s Day?

These Shamrock Fried Eggs are delicious, healthy and a lot of fun for St. Patty’s or any day of the year! 

Ingredients

  • 2 large organic green bell peppers
  • 8 pastured eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grassfed butter
  • Sea salt, garlic powder and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. – Slice the bell peppers into rings that are about 3/4″ thick, for a total of 4 rings per bell pepper
  2. – Melt half of the butter in a frying pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat
  3. – Place 4 of the bell pepper rings in the cast iron pan and turn once, after a minute
  4. – Crack an egg inside each bell pepper ring
  5. – Season the egg with sea salt, garlic and pepper
  6. – Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the white is set and the yolk reaches your desired doneness. It should take about 3-5 minutes
  7. – Remove the shamrock fried egg from the pan and serve while hot. I like to top mine with Cholula Green Pepper Sauce
  8. – Repeat with the remaining tablespoon of butter, 4 bell pepper rings and eggs
  9. – Now the whole family can enjoy a fun St. Patrick’s Day low carb breakfast together that’s fun and healthy!

Recipe adapted from: Happy Mothering, Chrystal Johnson

Boxing, running, dead lifts—diabetes doesn’t hold this Atlanta personal trainer back

Atlanta Personal Trainer and Type 1 Diabetic Jonathan Kolowich

Jonathan Kolowich, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12, wants other diabetics to feel as empowered and powerful as he does

Jonathan Kolowich is the kind of fitness trainer whose Instagram videos make you say, “Wait, whaaaaaat?” We’re talking about moves like Turkish get-ups with a heavy barbell, or push-ups on one arm and one leg, or plyometric push-ups that jump from benches to the floor and back, or getting punched in the gut while doing abdominal exercises. And he makes it all look kind of easy. It’s not—and not just because these kinds of physical feats take practice, strength, and stamina. Every day Kolowich has to think about, monitor, and manage his blood sugar because he has diabetes. But he never lets the disease stop him from being healthy and strong. And he wants other diabetics to feel just as empowered and powerful.

Kolowich has type 1 diabetes, the kind that typically develops in children and adolescents and occurs when the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetics have to watch their glucose levels and take insulin to keep their blood sugar from going too high or too low. Type 2 diabetes tends to affect adults (though it can also affect children), and occurs when there’s perhaps enough insulin but the body can’t process it. Obesity ups the risk.

“Diabetes doesn’t have to be limiting,” Kolowich says. “You can still do everything that other people do. You just have to be conscious about it.”

Kolowich spreads this message with tips and workouts at diabetesstrength.com and recently raised more than $7,500 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund at Brawl for a Cause, an amateur boxing event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. He’d never been in a bout before, but every year he takes on at least one new physical challenge. Some years it’s a running race, other years a new kind of workout. For the brawl he trained with Adam Gil, a former boxer and fellow trainer at Brad Kolowich Jr. Personal Training (owned by Jonathan’s brother), as well as at a boxing gym.

To be sure, Kolowich isn’t blasé about these physical challenges; he knows he must be vigilant about what he eats and how he trains. That’s been true since he was 12 years old. That year he lost 20 pounds over a two-week period. When his mother took him to the doctor, the diabetes diagnosis came quickly.

“My blood sugar was 1,000, and it was supposed to be 100,” he says. “They knew right then and there that it was diabetes. It was definitely the biggest life-changing moment of my life.”

He had to prick his finger six to 10 times a day and give himself shots of insulin to stay even-keeled while he played baseball, basketball, and tennis. “Exercise can knock down your blood sugar,” he says. “That was tough. I always had to have sugar on hand in case of emergency. When it would go low, it was really scary. I once fainted on the baseball field. And when I was 16, driving home from practice, I passed out. Thankfully no one was hurt.”

When he went on to play baseball in college, on scholarship at Georgia State University, Kolowich would carry a candy bar in his back pocket, keep juice in the dugout, and check his blood sugar frequently on game day.

Now, as a personal trainer, he doesn’t use candy to keep himself stable. He tries to eat clean about 90 percent of the time, and if his blood sugar drops he’ll take glucose tabs or eat a banana or pineapple. For a while Kolowich used an insulin pump and monitor to keep his numbers in check, and that allowed him to live a very normal life. But the equipment wouldn’t work for boxing—he would too often get punched in the stomach, the site of the port and tubing for his pump. So for several months he was back to pricking his fingers and giving himself injections, and carefully managing his numbers.

“If my blood sugar is off, my reaction times can be slower, and in boxing, reaction is everything, so I had to be really careful,” he says. “I was being super aware.”

He trained hard, doing squats, hang cleans, push presses, rows, and at least 45 minutes a day of boxing with Gil or shadowboxing. For his diet, Kolowich ate a lot of meat, vegetables, and low-glycemic fruits like berries. To drink, he stuck with water and iced coffee. His numbers stayed mostly stable, and on the day of the fight, he checked them every 30 minutes to make sure they remained so. Gil, who served as one of the corner men during the fight, held on to a juicebox for Kolowich, just in case.

His blood sugar remained stable, and he went on to win the fight. “I crashed about an hour after the fight,” Kolowich says. “In boxing, even six minutes feels like an hour. I was definitely smoked and tired. But it was so worth it. It was fun to be part of that event. It wasn’t just about getting in the ring and killing each other. It was getting in the ring for a cause that’s close to my heart.”

Article adapted from:  Atlanta Magazine, Christine Van Dusen

Keto Biscuits

 

Servings:  About 6 Biscuits

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour

1/3 cup grass fed butter, softened

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

 

Directions:

  1. Mix wet ingredients in mixing bowl, then add dry ingredients.
  2. Scoop a couple tablespoonfuls and drop on pan.
  3. Form biscuit shape and bake for 15 minutes, or until browning on top.

Enjoy!

Booty and Ab Burner

Join us for our all new Booty and Ab Burner Group Fitness Class for a great workout, open to all levels of training.

To sign up, email class@bradkolowichjr.com.

Date:  Saturday, January 13

Time:  8:05am – 8:55am

Price:  $30

Place:  Brad Kolowich Jr Personal Training Studio

 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Best,

Caroline Kolowich