How to Stay Fit on a Diet of Craft Beer and Travel

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And amidst a pandemic!

It’s a reality. If you travel and like craft beer and drink it often, you have to find a way to stay fit. Lucky for most craft beer lovers, we are also adventure lovers, so maybe it’s not so much of a chore as we thought.

Until this whole pandemic thing entered our lives.

Bigger Jeans

Now that, combined with a world that seems to encourage obesity over athleticism, with all the pre-packaged easy to toss in a microwave food products, drive-thrus with cheap and quick food offerings, and expensive good-for-you foods, it’s no wonder that according to the CDC almost 40% of American adults are considered obese.

And then add in the 8,000 U.S. craft breweries that we must drink from, shit, we’re screwed. (And we can only hope that number doesn’t decrease too much.)

I love craft beer, and love pizza, and hamburgers, and French fries, and all the food that generally pairs with the beer, so in the spirit of Julia Roberts:

I have no interest in being obese, but I’m going to eat the pizza, drink the beer, and enjoy every second of it. If I need to, I’ll go buy myself some bigger jeans.

From the movie Eat, Pray, Love

I suppose I will also do a little bit of exercising. After all, while I love good food and good beer, I like feeling strong, healthy, and sexy, almost just as much.

Staying Fit While Traveling

Living on the road makes exercise difficult sometimes, other times, it’s the easiest thing in the world. And then you throw a pandemic into the mix, well now it’s next to impossible.

Or is that just an excuse? What makes it one way or the other is definitely the location and ease of access to things you love to do to make you move, but more important than that is your mindset.

It is entirely up to you to decide if you are going to only drink the good beer and eat the good food, and then go home (wherever that may be) and sit on your ass. Not that I’m against that. Sitting on my ass snuggled up next to Kenny watching a good movie after a day of eating and drinking great beer and food, there’s nothing better.

But everyday! Nope! Limiting yourself to only one or two activities in this world, makes just about as much sense as drinking a PBR in a fancy snifter glass. It doesn’t.

Taking Risks

So, while I am not a personal trainer, I did consider becoming one eons ago, and both Ken and I went so far as to buying books to take the certification, and we even studied the books.

I guess that makes us personal trainer wannabes? Fine by me, because if we were trainers, I suppose we’d have to go through a whole lot of legal mumbo jumbo in telling you that you shouldn’t exercise without a physician’s approval, and we are not responsible for injuries.

We are not responsible for injuries. If you choose to drink a big ass beer and then hop on a mountain bike and go speeding down Slick Rock, I suppose that’s your prerogative. I would recommend a different order in that scenario, but you get to choose your demise.

April and craft beer near Moab Utah staying fit with craft beer

Just don’t fall face first into a rock from flying off a bridge, unless you have a helmet on. Your exercising days are limited for a bit when that happens.

If you really need some craft beer and mountain biking 101, click here. Hopefully, you learn the correct order of which is first, beer or biking.

To the point? Acknowledge that any kind of exercise has risks, some more than others obviously, but driving down the highway at 70 mph in a big ass rig (your home) or flying across an ocean in a big machine that has wings, well, that has risks, too. You just have to choose what makes you grin and giggle and brings you joy and what scares the shit out of you. Pick something in between that, and life becomes an adventure.

Ideas to Stay Fit with Exercise

At any rate, here are some ideas to help you get your move on and still enjoy the travels, the food, and the BEER!

  • walk, run, hike
  • mountain biking or road biking
  • watch workout videos (and do the workout) It doesn’t count if you have a beer in hand, sitting on the couch watching videos.
  • yoga or something like it (I partake in the something like it version)
April practicing fitness in Maine doing yoga staying fit while traveling
  • bodyweight workout
  • go to the gym
  • HIIT (high intensity interval training), cross fit
  • Zumba, belly dancing, or any dancing
  • Muay Thai, or kickboxing, or martial arts of any type
  • kayak or paddleboard
  • tennis, basketball, baseball, football, hockey
  • disc golf or golf (walk, no cart)
  • snowboarding, skiing, cross country skiing, ice skating
  • swimming, water aerobics
  • sign up for a race
  • play…with your pets, your kids, by yourself, on a jungle gym, chase your own ass if that makes you giggle
  • a combination of any of the above
  • MOVE!

Make an Appointment with Yourself

Ok, but how do I fit this in with all of the eating, drinking, and traveling amidst a pandemic?

You have to decide to make time for exercise. Don’t rely on your partner or anyone else to do this for you. It needs to be a priority, like a date on your calendar that cannot be changed. And going outside during a pandemic? Turn off the news, grab a mask if you must, but get your ass out into Mother Nature. She can cure almost anything – maybe not a pandemic – dammit!

For full-time travelers, every day could look very different, or everyday could be the same for awhile and then change drastically. You may have access to a gym, you may not. You may have access to trails, you may not. You may be stuck inside your small ass RV, and it’s raining all day. You may be parked in a driveway in a big city, or on a beach where nobody’s around.

You just don’t always know. For some, that makes setting up time to exercise extremely difficult, for others, it makes it wildly exciting and much easier to get into exercise mode.

Safety Meeting (not that kind)

Safety is another thing to think about when exercising while traveling. Besides the obvious worries today about the pandemic, running or biking in a strange city or on backcountry roads when it’s hunting season, yeah, something to think about, there, too. But really it’s not much different if you are on trails that you’ve known all your life or setting foot on one for the first time ever, or just not sure about the ever-changing rules in today’s world, use your common sense and trust your gut.

Kenny and April almost to Clear Lake biking near Silverton Colorado

The thing with exercising in unknown places or situations is that you come across unknown adventures. Great ones and boring ones, but ones that you would never experience if you weren’t traveling, of course. But also if you never got off the couch in your comfortable coach. We all know that the things we want aren’t easy to accomplish. I mean, come on! We live on the road, and that sure as hell ain’t easy, but it sure as hell is rewarding.

But How Do I Stay Consistent?

From my almost two years on the road and over 30 years of focused exercise, I’ve learned a few things. Now, these are tips that help me stay focused on exercise, unlike our government (had to throw that in there), I understand that people are not one size fits all, so you have to be aware of what works for you.

Workout in the Morning

Days get away from you fast, especially if it’s a travel day, and then you’re sitting on your ass driving all day and ironically by the time you get to your destination, you have no energy to move even though you’ve been sitting all day. For me, running or body work has to happen in the morning. It’s not something I absolutely love, so if I get it done in the morning, it’s not weighing on me all day.

Tackle a Workout You Love

Bike rides for us are different, we don’t have to plan for them in the morning. We usually head out on the trail late afternoon after working all day. I like this for biking because I look forward to biking. That plus the fact that biking and beer pair very well together. We often end up at a brewery after a bike ride. We earned our beers through our turns and definitely don’t need to be drinking a beer for breakfast. Although, that has happened.

Forgive and Celebrate Yourself

If you skip a day or two or maybe even a week (don’t do that), forgive yourself, and then just start again. Exercising isn’t something that you only do for a few months, and then you never have to do it again. Exercising is something you’ll do for the rest of your life, so when you accomplish a workout, celebrate yourself (not with a beer – at least not always) and when you miss a workout, don’t cuss yourself out, embrace it. Which leads me to my next tip.

It’s OK to Take a Break

When I get into a mood, I can become almost addictive in my personality. If I have set a nutritional/exercise plan in place, at times I let that take over everything else in life. Including not enjoying a special beer with special people for a special event. That’s not what exercising is about. It’s ok to derail your plan for a day to enjoy a special moment. What’s not ok is to tell yourself that every moment is a special moment and therefore it deserves a special beer and special food. You’ve then ruined your special, because your special has now become the everyday. Moderation, please.

Move When You Can

Sometimes you’ll have a perfect workout scheduled and the time allotted for it, and then life gets in the way. Now you only have 15 minutes. Fine, move for 15 minutes: throw on a workout video, play some music and dance, do some yoga, just move. It’s better than nothing, and you won’t beat yourself up over missing your workout.

Make a Schedule or Don’t Make a Schedule

In other words, know yourself. If you work better off of a schedule, then create a schedule for your workout for a month, and then you don’t have to think about it, just do what you’re told. If that much organization scares the crap out of you, and you work just fine on a whim, then be you, do that!

Have Fun and Create Joy

Just like in life, not everything we have to do to accomplish the things we want to do is fun and brings us joy, but a good majority of that shit better bring you joy. It is the same with exercising, not everything we do will bring us joy, but the results should. For example, mountain biking and snowboarding don’t feel like exercise to me. They bring me a great amount of joy, not a chore. Lifiting weights, a bit of a different story. I like it ok, but I have to make myself do that. I like the results from lifting, the strength and power I feel and knowing that it contributes to getting me better at doing what I love – biking and boarding. So, it’s a necessary evil, but it gets me to my joy.

Body Love

Depending on your goals for exercising, you may also want to look at your consumption amounts of all that great beer and food. Too many calories and not enough movement equal bigger jeans.

You also have to decide to find the place that makes you happy. Don’t compare yourself to others. Your body is a wondrous piece of work, and if you move it and have fun doing so while also loving the good food and beer, and you are healthy and happy, then your body is perfect: curves, imperfections, and all.

No SMART Goals Needed

What’s your goal with exercise? Write it down. It doesn’t have to be numbers related. It doesn’t have to be one of those beautifully, well thought out SMART goals. It just need to resonate with you, fit you, and make sense for you. And it needs to be full of action.

Need examples? These are my goals.

  • I will ride up that damn mountain on my bike, and fly down on my snowboard.
  • I will pick up a large piece of something and shock the shit out of the guys that thought I couldn’t do it because I’m a girl.
  • I will fit in my clothes, without buying bigger jeans.
  • I will feel comfortable in my bikini walking on the beach or playing in the water.
  • I will enjoy all the good food and all the good beer, and the more I exercise, the more I get to do that.

What Can I Eat and Drink?

All of it! Just in moderation. It seems as though the second we deny ourselves something, we want it more. I think we regress back to our teenage years when our parents say no, so we have to go against them and piss them off. After all, if its denied, it’s gotta be crazy awesome!

craft burger and craft beer at Counter Culture Brewery + Grille

So don’t deny, just moderate. Kenny and I usually enjoy a beer or wine (mostly me with the wine) at dinner and almost always after a day of playing on the mountain whether that be on our boards or bikes, but there are times we don’t really need that beer or want for that matter.

And while we love our beer, we are also fully aware that that damn beer can pack a mighty powerful punch, both with ABV and calories! Aren’t there diet beers out there?

No, I’m not drinking Michelob Ultra! So, I guess I have to figure out other ways to watch my waistline if I don’t want to give up my beloved craft beer and French fries.

Tips from the Peanut Gallery

  • If it’s not a fancy meal or isn’t involving anything of great celebratory success, then drink water. Doctor up your water a bit – get some seltzer water and add a lime or lemon to it.
  • If you like seltzers, jump on the seltzer wagon – plenty of craft breweries are now making hard seltzers, and a few of them are actually good.
  • Drink the lighter craft beers. Pilsners and lagers have been surprising us lately, light but flavorful.
  • Drink less. Have one beer instead of two. Save your party style drinking for special occasions. Actually, beer tastes better then cuz you’ve been looking forward to it all week.
  • Less French fry consumption. Contrary to what my taste buds say, French fries are not essential to my physical fitness. However, they are essential to my joy, so I will still eat them…just in moderation. (This applies to all food that really doesn’t supply much nutritional needs, but they are still highly essential to happy taste bud needs.)
  • Eat a friggin salad. And don’t drown it in dressing. Again, moderation. I love me a big sloppy give you a heart attack cheese burger, but I also love me a sweet potato and beet sandwich with Greek salad. You get the picture.

I’m not a fan or a big believer in fad diets or really diets of any kind. I am, however, a believer in moderation and a lifestyle of good food, good movement, and good beer.

Helpful Tools

There are so many resources out there about fitness, nutrition, workouts, diets, etc., it’s overwhelming, and it’s easier to not start at all.

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

Mark Twain

But if you don’t your six-pack is going to be non-existent, and that’s not good on any level. Here are some sites, podcasts, tools, that we use to motivate us, inspire us, and get our asses away from the barstools (at least for the time it takes to go biking).

One of my favorite SELF workout videos

Beauty of Strength with Candace – fellow traveler offering coaching, strength training, nutrition talk, and more.

Renetta Moore – fellow traveler and a dear friend offering personal life coaching and mindset and motivation. Fitness isn’t always about physical fitness.

FlexFixx – Fitness requires flexibility, and our good friends and fellow travelers, Jill and August Wheeler, know that, so they offer stretching bands, stress balls and more.

Integrated Natural Health with Theresa Tobin Macy – fellow traveler, my favorite yogi, and body wellness professional offering yoga, massage, and meditative words of wonder. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of her site and sign up for her newsletter, so you get notifications about her virtual wellness classes. You don’t want to miss these.

Living a Stout Life – us, travelers, beer lovers, and personal trainer wannabe’s (not really, we just like to inspire people to live their Stout Life). If you’re ever curious as to exactly what we do to attempt to stay fit, contact us. While we aren’t saying we would create a fitness plan for you, we can encourage you, motivate you, and get you started.

Proof that we exercise

Why Should I Listen to You?

Ok, you want some credentials. I get it. Kenny is a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I (April) am a 1st degree. We’ve both trained in Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. Kenny has completed a century (100 miles) bike ride. I have completed two marathons, one half marathon, several 10K’s and 5K’s, and one triathlon. We’ve both taught Tae Kwon Do, and we both have working knowledge of weight lifting techniques, muscle movement, and cardio benefits.

We are not personal trainers, nutritionists, or fitness professionals of any type, we simply want to let you know that you can enjoy A LOT of good craft beer and good food, while working on the road, and traveling to amazing places (or staying still during a pandemic), and still find the time to exercise and make it fun. We are proof of that.

That’s a craft beer travel and adventure life. That’s a stout life, baby!
Now get your ass off the couch and move!
Then have a beer!

Reality Check: Yep, our photos of us working out are in some pretty spectacular places. And most of the time, we seek out these spectacular places, so most of the time, that is where we actually do exercise. However, there are definitely those times where we are working out with a group of gnats, surrounded by the lovely sound of a generator, with a yoga mat placed on top of rocks and pine cones, and a computer set gingerly upon a camp chair. There are definitely those times, too.

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Renee Strobl
1 year ago

That was super interesting! I loved your info about exercising on the road. With everything closed but liquor stores, I’ve been collecting craft beers from around the country when I got back on the road after leaving Guntersville. All gyms have been closed, so the only six-pack I have now is in the cooler. I will use some of these resources to get my waistline back in order now that I’m moochdocking alone for awhile with some portable workout gear. It was also nice to read your insight on happiness that you included. What a great read! Hope y’all are well.

April Pishna
1 year ago
Reply to  Renee Strobl

I completely understand the six-pack dilemma. Thanks for all the love. I have no professional therapy or trainer experiences, just life, and I like to share what I know. We are currently camped right next to several mountain biking trails, so mountain biking we will go. It really helps that we love this type of exercise! Good luck with your journey, both in travels and fitness!