20 Minute Hill Sprints

My summer to date has been filled with good times, the company of great friends, and killer food and drink.  I am looking forward to more of the same as we enter into the last month of the Season of Fun. For our family, along with all of the recreation, comes some type of summer travel.  Which got me thinking about a simple plan to strike a balance between blowing it out a little bit yet staying healthy when traveling.

For the record, the word traveling in my book includes both vacations and trips.  What’s the difference?  A vacation is whatever relaxing or exciting or carefree scenario immediately comes to mind. Savor it….savor it… savor it….

Looks like vacation.

Looks like vacation.

I’m gonna guess that vision had nothing to do with toddlers and late plane schedules, auto flush toilets and preschoolers who demand to know if they are there yet, or managing the dynamics of your blended families of origin. You see, these endearing parts of life are what can turn travel formerly known as vacation into a trip.

Definitely a trip. On a plane. With no extra seat and she peed on me.

Definitely a trip. On a plane. With a lap baby who peed on me.

Back to traveling and my simple summer fun plan… Historically, despite the size of my suitcase, I have always made room for workout clothes and shoes. Even if this has meant sacrificing something warm like a sweater or a killer pair of heels.   This isn’t terrible because my goal is to use them to stay sane and a little balanced during travels. But I don’t think I’ve EVER used them for their intended purpose.  I’ve never had a plan to combat the first late night and several glasses of wine.  It’s vacation (or a trip or traveling) you say.  Yes, I agree.  If I didn’t start to feel as grumpy as I get bloated mid travel I don’t think it would matter much.  But since I’m no longer in my 20s (what?!?!?) diet malfunctions and lack of movement now directly affect my mood, my good time, and makes it so much harder to rebound from the vacation pounds.

Of course a lot of this weight gain is just water retention from too much salt, carbs and booze.  I also know that several days of massive amounts of water and green veggies, no sugar or wine, lots of lean protein along with a week of quality sleep makes most of this go away.  (We call this Going Criminal in our house.)  Despite this wicked knowledge, I almost always come home mad at myself because I didn’t do everything on vacation that I should do to make myself feel more balanced. And then I consider wearing some Spanx.

So a few things I’ve learned:  A goal without a plan is just a wish, the  vacation expectations I set for myself are completely unrealistic, and Spanx are ugly and uncomfortable.  Check out this plan of 2 simple steps that helps me and maybe helps you slip back into real life a little easier and happier.

Nutrition Hardlines

For me, eating and drinking is a part of what makes life enjoyable especially when I travel.  I consume more sugar, carbs, and cheese than usual and I drink much more wine.  And this is a choice I am very comfortable with. However remaining gluten free is something I must now do all of the time based on how it makes me feel.  Over the course of the last couple of years I have found that gluten puts me on a  roller coaster -craving more carbs and sugar and never feeling full.  I get really bloated overall, but especially my stomach;  I then start to feel grumpy and sluggish. It’s hard to make reasonable decisions about anything let alone a solid food choice when you feel bad.

My reasonable travel diet goes something like this:  I make sure that I’m drinking adequate water daily – that’s half your body weight in ounces.   I also try to get quality protein to keep my stomach happy with each meal, especially in the mornings. That’s why I always travel with my favorite vegan protein powder. I can always mix a scoop with almond milk and have it on the go, in my hotel room, or in a car or plane. My lunches and dinners contain some lean protein and lots of greens.  Then I enjoy all of the other food and drinks I consume during, between or after meals with the exception of gluten.

Move Something

I’m talking exercise and you don’t need to do everything. Just do something.  You aren’t going to kill it in your sister in law’s basement or max squat the hotel gym and that’s perfectly acceptable.  It doesn’t have to be all or none.  What makes you feel good?  Is it an endorphin buzz, a good stretch, or just the time to yourself to focus your thoughts?   Check out iTunes and download a free yoga class that you can do when you travel or get outside or use the treadmill and bust out 20 minutes of what I lovingly refer to as Hot Mess Hill Sprints. Take a walk, jump rope, push and pull your body weight. Try something.  Finding my something always makes my mood noticeably better (just ask my husband) and I feel more relaxed about my wine, cheese and bacon consumption.  Bonus:  I feel better a bikini.  One of my shallowest pursuits admittedly.

In case you aren’t sure where to start check out of couple of my favorite somethings I like to use when I travel.  I love me some Julie Rader and all of the other wonderful yogis over at  Green Yogi in Manhattan Beach.  You can subscribe to their podcasts and download for free at here.  If you happen to find yourself a hot mess and in need of some mind clearing endorphins I recommend getting outside and finding a hill or some stairs to sprint.  An elliptical, bike or treadmill would work too just be sure to make it challenging!  Don’t forget to stretch before and after.

  • One Fit Mother’s 20 Minute

  • Hot Mess Hill Sprints

Warm up

–       5 minute walk/jog

Round 1

–       30 second sprint

–       2 minute walk/jog

Round 2

–       30 second sprint

–       2 minute walk or jog

Round 3

–       30 second sprint

–       2 minute walk or jog

Round 4

–       30 second sprint

–       2 minute walk or jog

Cool Down

–       5 minute walk

Somewhere in between a vacation and a trip.

Somewhere in between a vacation and a trip.

So as we enjoy the final weeks of summer traveling and holidays, consider taking a moment to make a plan for maximum enjoyment.  Figure out which food rules you are willing to bend and find something that makes your body feel good.  Above all else, remember how you exercise or what you eat for even 7-10 days does not make or break your beautiful body.


About Heather Valentine

Heather Valentine is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist who believes in building your best body from the inside out.

Leave a Reply