My husband and I set off this week to hit the road for a month and a half. We’re traveling all across the United States and Canada – 6,000 miles total – and I’m going to take you with me on my North American road trip.
I’m excited to get on the road, but at the same time, I’m nervous about moving away from the healthy routine I’ve built at home. Away from my kitchen and my exercise schedule. I’m worried about gaining weight and losing muscle on this trip without my usual workouts in place. And because we won’t be able to resist hitting a few awesome vegan restaurants along the way!
So, I’ve created a game plan for myself on this road trip which you can apply to your own travels. It is two-faceted, including food and fitness.
Travel and Clean Eating
Set up a Portable Kitchen
Bringing a few key items makes it so easy to prepare meals just as you would at home. Eating raw fruits and veggies makes travel food prep simple. Here are the most important tools I brought with me:
Vitamix, yes really!
My husband needs 4,000+ calories and loves to drink them. I think if we left the vitamix at home he’d lose 10 pounds that he doesn’t have to lose! With the vitamix we can continue to make our green smoothies even on the road. I could have gotten by without this, but traveling in a vehicle we had the extra space so we splurged.
It folds flat for easy storage but pops up into a large bowl so I can continue to have my monster dinner salads.
Essential! And so easy to pack.
Thin plastic cutting board
I normally hate plastic cutting boards, but this is easy to pack/travel with so becomes a no-brainer. Essential for using with the knife.
Bamboo so naturally antibacterial and easy to clean - 2 sets with knife, fork, spoon, and chop sticks.
Stainless steel stacking containers for packing meals to go or picnicking.
Eating on the Road Game Plan
Eat “at home” as much as possible.
We are trying to travel on the cheap as well as stay healthy. No restaurant can make meals as healthy and satisfying for me as I can in my travel kitchen. Eating out will be a special occasion splurge and only used on vegan/vegetarian restaurants that we really must check out. Of course, when visiting family there will be times we can’t control this.
Grocery shop every two days.
We’ll be stocking up at farmer’s markets and grocery stores. But, since we are trying to travel light, we will try to plan meals ahead and make more frequent trips to the store. This will help with food waste. We also never know when our next destination will have a fridge.
I’ve built my fitness around group classes – strength training, Bikram yoga, high intensity cardio, and I have specific classes throughout the week I’ve been attending for years plus a gym right around the corner from my house back home.
In the past, I’ve done fine with week-long trips where I utilized HIIT workouts, hotel gyms, or just walked or bike rode around the city. Check out the travel workout ideas I wrote about previously. But, in these circumstances, I don’t hit it as hard as I would back home. That, coupled with being less in control of my food, could lead to the dreaded weight gain. So, here is my fitness plan.
Take advantage of gym satellite locations while in U.S.
We have a 24 Hour Fitness gym membership, but this chain doesn’t extend into Canada. My plan is to take advantage and go to group classes when we’re in cities that have a 24 Hour Fitness. At the very least, this will be Phoenix and Fort Collins. Yesterday, in Phoenix, I already attended a BodyPump class. Great workout!
Have active days
Build activity into exploring cities or doing things with family. Instead of visiting on the couch, get out and do. Walk around town, go for a hike together, visit a water park, anything that involves moving!
Small space, body weight workout
Here is the travel workout routine I plan to use for a combo of high intensity cardio and strength that just uses my body weight and no equipment. It will be simple to do whether I’m at a hotel room, staying with family, or even camping.
Go for a Run
Especially when we meet up with my sister, I will add running as an occasional way to check out my surroundings and cross train. It’s so easy to do anywhere!
Bikram on my own
By now I don’t need an instructor to guide me through the poses. I plan to do a half-version (one set of each pose) regularly to keep up my flexibility and balance. I won’t need a heated room – just a not-cold one – or maybe even a shaded outdoor patio, preferably without mosquitos!
Planning Group Exercise Classes for an Extended Stay
The Toronto leg of our journey will be an extended stay – about three weeks – and will have a little different game plan. Here are a few of my ideas for inexpensively setting up a fitness plan while I’m there.
Gym trial membership
I will find a gym near my home-base (one that has group classes) and contact them to see if I can get a week free to try it out.
Find a Groupon deal
Often this website has month-long discounted memberships to yoga, boot camp, gyms, and personal training. You search for deals by location.
Find a Rec Center
Local rec centers often have fitness classes or bootcamps and can be much more affordable than gyms. Normally, you can pay a drop-in rate.
Purchase a block of ten classes
If all else fails, I’ll just pay for a package at a bootcamp or yoga studio. To me, this is a worthwhile expense, and I’d rather spend some money on feeling good and looking awesome than on a hotel room or dinner out.
Even though the challenge on this trip will be to stay healthy and maintain my weight and muscle mass, it’s perfectly doable!
In future posts, you can expect tips on healthy whole-foods vegan camping (hopefully high raw!), eating clean when you are a guest in other people’s homes, fitting in fitness on the road, and more. If you want me to cover something specific, let me know in the comments! Hearing from you seriously makes my day!
Some of the places on our travel itinerary are: in the States – Phoenix, Santa Fe, Fort Collins (CO), eastern Montana (camping somewhere!); up in Canada – Yorkton (SK), Winnipeg, and a few weeks in Toronto. If you’re familiar with any of these places, I’d love to hear your suggestions – food, vegan meetups, anything I should check out if I have time! Just leave it in the comments.
I’m so excited to share with you! I figure travel is a great trial by fire for healthy habits, and I’m ready for the challenge!
(Update 09.13.13: If you want to follow along and learn how I actually stayed healthy on my road trip, go here.)
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