A couple of weeks ago, I spent a whirlwind whiplash weekend in Pennsylvania with friends watching our daughters play lacrosse.
I could have completely tossed my diet and exercise habits out the window. But driving over 10 hours both ways in the course of a few days left my body screaming for exercise and good food. (Craving those things is a good sign.)
We stayed in a hotel with a gym. I brought my workout clothes and got up at my usual crack-of-dawn hour. The weather was amazing! When I went outside, the air was a crisp, cool change from the warm humid mornings in Atlanta. Then, we just happened to be staying in a complex with some health care buildings. As I was walking to warm up and get moving, I noticed a trail with some fitness stations along the way. So, that became my plan. A little jog and some step ups, incline situps and leg lifts, hanging leg raises, all while jogging station to station. Sweat happened.
Then, I went into the gym and did a quick 21-15-9 of burpees, dumbbell clean and jerks, and sit-ups. It wasn’t the extreme race or marathon workout that many were doing back home, but it was enough to feel like I had worked my heart and muscles. It felt good.
Of the 3 days away, that was the only true workout I did. We did some walking at the tournament fields and Hershey Park, but otherwise the two days were rest days. I worked out all the other days around the trip so it was enough.
The other challenge on the road is eating.
I packed snacks…a few bags of turkey and beef jerky, protein water, chunks of grilled chicken, protein chips, and some random protein bars. I ate some but not all. I also drank lots of water and sparkling water.
For the most part, I just tried to focus on protein and keep other things to a minimum. Examples:
For quick breakfast on the road I had a Chick-fil-a breakfast bowl with chicken and no hashbrowns. I ate a 2 good yogurt for snack. The chicken chunks came in handy on a long stretch of road with few options beside gas station food.
Eating out in Harrisburg, PA, at a local tapas spot – Kale and beet salad, Brussel sprouts with bacon, a small slice of pizza, charcuterie board with meat, cheese, pickles, flatbread, mustard. Probably over on fat and salt but I could have done worse and it was delicious. Not enough protein but options were limited.
For hotel breakfast (twice): Eggs, spinach, cheese, salsa, light and fit yogurt, coffee with milk. For me, when I’m basically eyeballing things, not really planning eating, and going with my gut, I try to start the day with as much protein as possible and just keep going from there.
It’s not necessarily easy…the options I skipped were many: waffles, Froot Loops and other cereals, bagels, bread, crumb cake, juices, granola, muffins, peanut butter, etc. None of these seemed worth it and the eggs looked decent. (I would definitely eat crumb cake, for example, if it was from a bakery. I look forward to bakery crumb cake at the Jersey Shore later this summer!)
It’s not always a simple win. The amusement parks we went to the last two weekends were especially challenging for both cost and food quality reasons. At Hershey Park, after long searching, I settled for a few chicken tenders (more bread than chicken) and a few fries. Thankfully this was late in the day after decent eating before we got to the park.
An afternoon at Kings Dominion was more challenging. I could almost stomach the idea of eating Panda Express, but the $15.00 price tag was a deal breaker (and for just one entree!) I held out until we left, late afternoon, and quickly scarfed down my turkey jerky, protein water, some fresh cherry tomatoes, and Quest protein chips when I got to the car. Sounds crazy to many, but it works for me. I felt satisfied and not weighed down. I was grateful I had packed a few things to have on hand.
And when it was worth it, I did treat myself across the two weekends. I had top-notch street tacos (although I did skip all but one bite of tortilla since they were not special), I had a great meal with meats, cheeses, an amazingly fluffy buttered roll, and cucumber salad at a German restaurant called Fest, and I had a scoop of homemade strawberry swirl ice cream topped with toasted fluff (the specialty of the house) at Charm School Social Club. Totally worth it. And four days later, I’m not mad at myself or the scale. So I’m learning it is possible to keep it sane on the road, get some sweat in, feel good, and indulge when I really want to. Let’s see how I do on my next journey…