As part of a travel club for the last 7 years, and as an aspiring professional fitness competitor, I have been forced to learn how to balance staying fit while jetsetting around the world. Has it been easy? Not at all- in fact, for a little while I lost the excitement I used to get for vacationing. I would be hiding out in my hotel room while everyone else gathered and socialized because I couldn't eat what they were eating or drink what they were drinking. This was usually during my prep months leading up to a show. Let me take you back to 2014 when I first got into competing.
I was always into being active. I played soccer, softball, and gymnastics in high school, and competed in triathlons in college. At the age of 27, I gave birth to twins and shortly after I hired a coach to guide me to get in the best shape that I could aesthetically be. I picked out my first show with the WBFF-World Beauty Fitness and Fashion Federation and stepped on stage for the first time at the WBFF Fitness Atlantic in April of 2014. I competed in 4 shows before earning my pro status in June of 2018. I competed twice as a pro in the biggest Pro show of the year, The WBFF Worlds in Las Vegas in 2018 and Bahamas in 2019. After this last show, I had a big sigh of relief. I wanted to get the "fun" back in my life! Now, 4 months later, I have determined what it takes to stay fit and still have fun while traveling full-time.
Can I say we travel full-time? Well, not long after I finished my prep and competed at Worlds this last August, my husband and I set out to purchase a motorhome as we planned to put all our belongings in storage for at least one year and travel the USA and Canada Full-time in the RV. Our journey had officially begun on Labor Day weekend. In between being on the road, we have taken Dreamtrips to places like Cabo San Lucas and New Orleans so far. We are always on the move. We started in Tampa, Florida where we have lived for the last 3 years, and drove up the east coast into Virginia. Then we went northwest into West Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana to see friends and family. This last month, November, we drove south into Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Now we are into December and currently in San Antonio, Texas.
When we lived in Florida, Travis and I both were in the habit of getting up and working out first thing in the morning. He would go at 6am and I would go around 9am. We had a local anytime fitness right in St. Petersburg, Florida or we would walk down to our complex fitness center that have almost everything we needed. We could do fasted cardio if we wanted, we could have the kids playing right outside while we watched from the stair stepper. It was ideal. It has been a huge adjustment to move into a motorhome full-time. I will write all about that another time, but one of the hardest things about it is that lack of routine. One day we may be on the road the entire day, stopping only to fill up the tank or do a quick zoom call for a business partner. Other days we devote to touring a new city, or meeting up with friends that live in the area. Fitness involves exercise and diet. When you can conquer both that suits your needs, you can be considered "fit". So here is what we've done to adapt.
Make your workout a priority: We have gotten good at finding anytime fitness locations right off the highway on our driving days and if it looks like there's a Walmart nearby, we are in luck and usually take a chance that we can park in the lot while we workout across the street. We usually give ourselves two days to drive to our next destination so that we can take our time and get our workout in and have a cushion for when things don't go according to plan. Once we do settle in a particular campground for more than a couple days, we usually gps a nearby anytime fitness. It may not be the same time everyday, but we can always make time to find an anytime. Anytime Fitness has been the ideal membership for our lifestyle. It's a 24/7/365 gym nationwide with over 4,200 locations. Some are nicer than others but they all have several cardio machines, free weights, cables, racks, specific muscle machines, a functional area, a studio room, and several shower/restrooms. The kids come with us every time and sit on the chairs in the lounge area usually near the front entrance. We've only been denied a couple times for having the kids with us because there's been problems in the past with allowing children in barely supervised, but for the most part they are very accommodating and friendly when staff is in the building.
Convenience is key: The other problem to solve was sticking to our diet. When we lived in Florida, I'd cook our food for the week, even though that was very time-consuming. We didn't dine out much and would have wine only on occasion. Now we found ourselves in this RV, with little space for cooking or cookware. We don't even have an oven, although we do have a full size fridge. We wanted to save space and be efficient with our time so we could spend it exploring as a family. We both agreed it was worth it for us to spend the money to buy already prepped and packaged meals that all four of us could eat. It stacks well in the fridge and makes no mess, and is such an easy, healthy grab and go option! We went with Icon Meals. These meals are customizable with the cleanest options. You can choose your Protein from chicken, turkey, steak, beef, bison, cod, salmon, vegan patty, or shrimp. Your veggie options are broccoli, asparagus, or green beans and your carb sources are saffron rice, quinoa, white potato steak fries, roasted sweet potato wedges, sweet potato mash, or gluten free pasta. You can also choose the size of your portions and the macros will be displayed on the package. My favorite custom meal is the vegan patty, with saffron rice and broccoli. Travis' favorite is shrimp, sweet potato wedges, and asparagus or ground beef, sweet potato mash, and asparagus. There's also chef-inspired meals rotated weekly. The kids love the Farmhouse burgers and the different flavors of protein pancakes that come out, such as s'mores, chocolate chips, and pumpkin. Another great option for us is the meat by the pound. We usually get chicken or shrimp and add it to salads, or make tacos for the kids with tortillas we get from store. The only food we buy now at the grocery store is fresh produce such as spinach, fruits like bananas, avocados, and berries, and almond milk.
Not snacking and tracking: We find that if we have it in the RV, we will snack on it, especially if it's in sight, so we try to keep the snack food to a minimum. Having a set plan with the same exact meals to eat each day and slowly lower carbs and fats as we go is how we have been able to alter our body composition to achieve lean body mass for photoshoots or for the stage over a 12-16 week period. The meal plans we have used were created by our current fitness coaches, Caroline De Campos and TJ Hoban and have very specific macronutrient and micronutrient profiles for each meal depending on our weight, height, and age. We have not followed those specific plans since August, however, we do use Myfitnesspal to track our food in order to make sure we hit our protein, carb, and fat goals for the day. My current goals are 120gCarbs/90gProtein/40gFat. I am not currently training for a show or preparing for a photoshoot so I can be a little more relaxed, however, I have been able to hit my goals 90% of the time. The other 10% of time is usually when we are with friends and socializing. That's where the balance comes in.
Think of fitness as part of your lifestyle: Once you make fitness your priority, it becomes a habit. You gotta start somewhere. This is my first blog post. I initially got overwhelmed with the ideas of what direction I wanted to take this, and almost threw my computer to the side but I just started writing and as I've been writing this, more ideas have come to mind, and now I have a plan of action. I just had to start. Maybe starting isn't your problem, but it's finishing or persevering. What drives Travis and I to keep going to the gym, and saying no to the the Christmas cookies? ...it's habit at this point. What drove us in the beginning was achieving a goal we had set for ourselves. It was earning that pro card, or having professional photos to look back on that shows our discipline, or to prove we still can do whatever we put our mind to. Those goals in the past created the habit, now the habit creates our lifestyle.
So can you travel and say fit? Yes. It's called habit.