Spring break is here and for many families that means a short (and much needed) vacation! Last fall we drove 1500 miles across the country to visit my in-laws and took our time getting there. If you’ve ever done a long road trip with 2 young kids, you know that it is hard going a couple hours without having to stop for some reason: potty breaks, dirty diapers, hunger and most of all boredom!
Road trips can also rec havoc on your ability to eat healthy and stay active; yet my husband and I were determined to not let our fitness suffer on this trip. We had both signed up for the GORUCK challenge which entails 18-20 miles of carrying a 30lb pack (or ruck) while making stops to do military style drills and exercises (tons of pushups, situps, etc) and carrying more heavy objects (like other participants or huge logs). The event was only a couple weeks after we were set to return from the trip so this was key training time!
So we set out to get creative. To find every way possible to maintain our fitness and health and come out of this trip stronger and fitter as a family!
Here are some of the main takeaways from our little adventure:
#1: Have a plan:
I don’t mean “I am going on vacation but I plan on working out everyday” type plan. I mean a plan that is written down (or added into your smartphone calendar) of exactly when you are going to workout everyday, for how long and exactly what you will be doing.
Before you leave, find out if where you are staying has a fitness center. Does it have cardio equipment? Weight equipment? What kind? This will help you plan the types of workouts you will do ahead of time to set yourself up for success.
No fitness center? That’s okay! There are plenty of ways you can get a great workout in your hotel room, no equipment needed. Check out some fun ideas HERE.
#2. Bring the jogging stroller
Bringing your jogging stroller with you on vacation is easier than you think. Just imagine all the amazing places you will be able to run with your kids.
If you are driving, most strollers flatten down and will fit nicely in your trunk. Flying? No problem!
Having a stroller can actually help you to get through security lines more quickly and it gives you more places to put bags as you navigate through the airport. Read this guide on how to fly with a stroller.
#3. Get outside of your comfort zone!
Sometimes when you need to fit in a workout a safe place to run or gym equipment is no where to be found. These are the times when you need to get creative with what you have.
#4. Make the most of the “rest” stops:
Road trips are a pain in the butt, literally. Now add 2 whining kids to a cross country road trip and you are in for a ride (a long, long ride).
We decided to turn these “rest stops” into fitness stops. Anytime the kids were getting antsy or needed a potty break, we searched for the nearest rest area or park/playground to stop at.
You can design a full body workout with just a picnic table and a grassy field.
Here is a workout we came up with on our last road trip, this was split between 3 rest stops and the kids had a blast running around with us!
#5: Commit to an event:
Use Run Stroller Run or Running in the USA to search and sign up for a local fun run. It is a blast to run or walk in an event somewhere new.
Can’t find an event or not ready to race? Check out our active challenges. Learn more/sign up HERE!
#6: Don’t live on fast food
We all dread the road trip diet. Temptations like soda and sweets at the gas station and no other options but fast food for meals (how many McDonalds salads can you eat in a day?).
We decided to take charge of our nutrition and before leaving we packed our cooler with:
– Squeezable yogurts
– Mini guacamole and hummus packs
– Tortilla chips and whole wheat/rice crackers
– Lots of pre-cut fruit
– Mixed nuts and almonds
– Lots of pre-cut veggies
– KIND Bars
– Bread and lunch meat for sandwiches
– Tons of bottled water
When we started getting low on supplies we would find the nearest grocery store and stock up! These snacks were nutritious and easy for the kids to eat while driving too.
The best part of traveling to new places? Seeing new scenery and exploring the unique terrain. Do a little research and find local or state parks on route or in the place you are staying. This can be as simple as a google search (trails/parks near “_____”) or using the maps app on your smart phone to seek parks close to your location. You never know what kind of gems you might discover!
My grandma lives in a little town in southern Illinois and until this past trip, I never knew she lived just miles from a beautiful state park. We found the park on the map and ended up doing a 9 mile run on a hilly road through dense forests.
– Lauren Jones
RWK founder and mom to 2 amazing travel buddies