Currently Wandering » Outdoor Family, Adventure Travel, Simple Living - Family of 5 Traveling the United States in an Airstream.

My Lame Attempt At Staying Physically Fit While Traveling Full Time

My Lame Attempt at Staying Physically Fit While Traveling Full Time

I LOVE the gym. The smell, the machines, the weights, the Zumba & Spin classes. I love dropping my kids off at daycare and then picking them back up an hour and a half later. It is my ME time. The time I get all to myself while also doing something that my body craves.

Unfortunately, having a gym pass while traveling full time is unrealistic. Even if there were a nation-wide membership, the chances of me consistently getting out the door with all the kids to a gym I’ve never been to is probably even more unrealistic. I HAVE done it once though. December of 2012 in Denver. I visited a local 24hr Fitness and got free admission and just paid for daycare. I only went once in the whole week we were there though. See what I mean? Consistency.

Originally, Sam and I had these awesome expectations that we’d trade off riding our road bikes. Long drive? No problem. One of us could jump on our bike for 30 miles and the other would drive the Airstream and wait at the other end (then we’d be smelly and we really just don’t drive THAT far and usually need to get there so Sam can work). Or that we’d go on rides around State Parks (not really long enough roads), or in random cities (harder to find good routes than it sounds). It has been complicated enough to manage that we rarely pull the bikes off the back of the truck.

After I realized that bike rides were not going to be common, I decided I should take up running. Since I can’t even really run a mile, it’d be easier to find a route, plus most state parks have great trails. Turns out, I really just hate running. I’ve tried. Really I have. I don’t enjoy it, so getting myself out especially in cold weather is just not happening.

So I plod along. We go on walks with the kids or around on the trails. I probably wouldn’t go so far as to deem them “hikes” or even a “workout” but at least we are MOVING. I’ll get out running maaaaybe once a week, lift a few weights and deem myself awesome for even trying. Its not enough though. Although I’ve only gained a few (okay, maybe five) pounds in the last couple of months, I can tell I’m out of shape. I feel unhealthy and I don’t like it. I’ve started to feel my body craving a good workout. The kind where you think you’re going to die while you are doing it and you are sore for a week afterwards.

I don’t have a great answer. I’m still looking. I know my current path is unsustainable, and its definitely something I want to fix, and maybe there’s not one perfect answer. I just don’t want the fear of being overweight or out of shape to stop us from traveling.

I have a new workout system that hopefully I’ll be starting in the next week and I’ll keep you posted how it works out. Hopefully it’ll get me out of my funk and get me a little more toned in the process.

What’s YOUR favorite way to stay healthy and active? Is it portable?


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  • Boyink - I’ve never liked gyms. The thought of paying money to lift heavy stuff and get sweaty running on a machine that goes nowhere….we did it one winter and I swore I’d never do that again.

    I’ve also never liked running…but last summer started the Couch to 5K program using an app on my phone. It took me like 16 weeks to do the 9 week program but I did run a 5K last fall. I went from hating running to not liking it…;)

    But once having done that it’s been tough to know where to go from there. The problem now is that I don’t want to spend an hour running to go longer distances. I’ve not been as consistent at it…but the weather this winter hasn’t been conducive to it either. I don’t have good cold-weather running gear and really don’t want to buy it.

    My wife worked with a trainer to develop a travel-friendly workout. It’s stuff that can be done on a exercise mat and using the elastic bands. I’d like to get to a point where I alternate that with running again, just limiting my run time and trying to get faster.ReplyCancel

    • Jess - I ran into the cold weather gear problem as well. We did bring winter cycling clothes though, so I’ve used those a few times while running. Didn’t help my enthusiasm though. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Chad - Hey…I’m new here to your blog. My family and I traveled for 18 months full time and how that we’re back in our house we are set to travel three times a year for 6-8 weeks at a time. Fitness was difficult for me as well. Like you, we have little ones as well and that makes it really difficult, plus all of the other obstacles you mentioned here.

    I personally tried to hike as much as possible, and I took my Insanity DVDs with me which I did here and there (mostly the lighter workouts). A couple of times, my wife and I got up super early and did Insanity outside. Felt like a total dork, though.

    Anyway, this is a really difficult aspect of traveling full time. When you find the answer, please let me know 🙂

    • Jess - Chad- Thanks for stopping by!! I checked our you blog as well and it is fabulous! I just bought the T25 workout DVD’s and I WILL be doing them outside and yes, feeling like a total dork. Good thing its the off season and a lot of campgrounds are empty anyway. I’m sure I’ll be all bundled up too!!ReplyCancel

  • frantasticvoyage - Great post! Staying fit is so important. It’s a big part of our airstream life. When we first started on our travels we ran every day. We loved it. But, we quickly realized we didn’t have 1-2 hours every day for a leisurely run because we had to work, drive, etc. So now we do a variety of exercises: body weight exercise circuits, sprints and we also travel with kettle bells, jump ropes and yoga mats. The Tabata Timer app is a helpful tool. We use the extra space in our campsite (the picnic table is a great piece of equipment). We’ve even worked out in a Walmart parking lot! Best of luck with your new program. Keep us posted. I hope it’s a success for you!ReplyCancel

    • Jess - Thanks! I do like Tabata training and it sounds like you guys have each other for motivation. I’d love for Sam to work out with me, but he’s content with his long walks and jump roping. We figure between work and driving he doesn’t have time for much more.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - Hey! Found your site through malimish and have been really enjoy in looking around! I would lie to be on the road with my family! I am a hiking addict! If something bothers me I start craving woods. We have been training our boys since they were born to be hikers(my oldest 1st hike was at 6weeks) and now they can often out hike me at 6 an 7! Hope you are able to get a system you like going. I would definitely recommend hiking. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Jess - Thanks for your comment!! Okay, HOW do you train your kids to hike? Marlene and I joke about how much our kids whine while they hike (her 4 year old, my 3 year old). Any suggestions for that? My husband and I LOVE backpacking and would probably die of happiness if we could incorporate more of that into our life with our families.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah Woolsey - Check out the book “You Are Your Own Gym” by Mark Lauren. He uses work outs that use mainly your own body or things that are readily available to you. You can do the exercises on their own or he has created workouts for you with varying degrees of difficulty, 30 minutes 4 days a week. I love that you can do the workouts basically anywhere and you don’t need lots of equipment or a gym. Ryan and I started and could tell a big difference in how we felt after a couple weeks. We haven’t been super consistent lately but we are trying to get back into it.ReplyCancel

  • Leigh - Hey Jess,

    I’m still using the Yoga Studio app, though I’ve found that I have to do it before Brian wakes up in the morning, I would think you might have to do the same with the big crew on board.

    • Jess - Dragging myself out of bed in the morning has been a bit of a struggle. lol! With it lighter later, the kids seem to go to bed later, and later, and later which pushes our bedtime back as well. Sigh. Hoping to fix these habits and get back to doing anything!ReplyCancel

  • Dave Burns - I’m a big fan of trail running and cycling, but sometimes these simply are not great options. During our travels I’ve found the Virtual Trainer Apps to be awesome ( On the road, I’m using the resistance bands, TRX straps, and my own body weights as the only equipment needed (and I carry a bike) and it’s been a dream set-up with minimal equipment footprint … I highly recommend.

    I just need to configure a place to mount a TRX anchor to the Airstream …ReplyCancel

  • It Feels Good to Break a Sweat: My Newest Workout Routine - […] our unpredictable schedule has been one of the biggest challenges for me of our full time travel. I posted back in January about my failure of an attempt at working out, and although things aren’t much better, I […]ReplyCancel

  • Attempting Some Sort of a Schedule » Currently Wandering - […] Both for physical and mental reasons. I’ve posted a few times about exercising on the road (here and here), but the short is I have fallen in love with Beach Body workouts and Shakeology. I just […]ReplyCancel

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