Sticking to a Fitness Routine on the Road
Sticking to a Fitness Routine on the Road
From nationwide gyms to staying active in a small space
By: Kenny & Sabrina Phillips
We all know that physical activity can help our overall well-being and reduce our risk of several common diseases including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. As a full-time RVer, staying in shape on the road can have its challenges.
This is particularly true if you are not into the outdoor activities that people most often associate with camping or RVing. Plus, with a refrigerator and pantry just a few steps away, the small cozy space of an RV can make it a challenge to be as active as you would like.
That is why we’re talking about how we stay active on the road and the various options for doing this - including the particular gym memberships we use.
Our Different Approaches to Fitness
Kenny and I are very different in the ways we choose to stay active. He enjoys outdoor activities such as biking, going for walks or a jog, and he loves to play outdoor sports like basketball. These options are pretty readily available in most areas you are in.
On the other hand, I need more structure … and climate control. If I do not have a particular class, a coach, or a routine, I find it very difficult to get motivated, to push the limits of my capabilities, and to stick with a routine.
Over the past three years, there are various ways I have managed to stay active, motivate myself, and stick with a routine while on the road.
Nationwide Gym Memberships We Enjoy
We were members of Planet Fitness, have several friends on the road that are current members, and are in fact currently considering rejoining. You can’t beat the pricing structure, the widespread availability of locations, as well as the fact that when you step into a Planet Fitness anywhere in the county, they are pretty similar. You know they will have a variety of clean updated equipment, fitness training available, clean bathrooms, showers, and expanded hours with some studios open 24 hours a day. Also, to make things even easier, there is a 30-minute express circuit, where you can show up any time and let their green and red lights guide you through a cardio, step, and strength circuit that is completed in 30 minutes.
One of the reasons we, and many other RVers, choose to join Planet Fitness is the convenience. With more than 1,800 locations in the U.S., there is usually one in most cities you will be driving through. Not only can you stop in for a quick workout, but having access to a nice hot shower with unlimited water on your travel days is a wonderful perk. Not to mention the once-a-month Pizza Mondays and Bagel Tuesdays, who could say no to that?
Caption: Gym time helps you stay in shape for your other favorite activities as well!
Currently, I attend a gym called Orange Theory Fitness at least three times a week. It is a structured gym with classes hourly throughout most of the day. It is important to note that you do not have access to the equipment outside of the class times. The hour-long class is run by a certified fitness coach and is focused on high-heintensity interval training (HIIT). You are divided into 2-3 groups and I have been in classes with as little as four people attending to more than 30 participants in a single hour.
In the classroom, there are three distinct areas: a treadmill section, the water rower section, and a section for the weight floor. Depending on class size, each area will have a certain number of people working out in them at the time. You will receive a station number before class that you will stick with throughout the classes. With the guidance of the coach following a workout template, you rotate for a pre-determined amount of time through the different sections of class.
You’ll also wear a heart rate monitor throughout class. To get the maximum calorie burn, Orange Theory focuses on five heart rate training zones. On a display in class, you can see your heart rate and training zone as you workout. These zones are customized based on your age and maximum heart rate. After 20 classes, this can be tailored to your personal heart rate.
By the end of each class, you have likely burned 500-1000 calories in that hour alone and you can go on with your day. The goal at the end of class is to have 12 minutes in the orange and red zones in order to have a higher overall calorie burn for up to 36 hours after you leave that workout.
The workouts are intense, the coaches and music are energetic and highly motivating. I have managed to stick with this for over a year as we have traveled across the country. With more than 1,000 locations across the country, classes available seven days a week, and three different membership levels, they have made it easy to just show up and get a good workout.
The community has been highly motivating, friendly, and pushes you to be the best version of yourself. I have enjoyed attending so much that Kenny will tell you, as co-pilot on our travel days, I strategically pick our night stops the day before so that I can at least be within the vicinity of a location. I have been to over 30 locations across the county and it is not uncommon for me to disconnect our tow car early in the morning when we are staying at a rest stop, gas station, or campground we have stopped at and head to the gym before we are on our way for the travel day.
Other nationwide gyms
While there are many more nationwide gym options available. I can only speak to the two that we have used and have personal experience with, but they have been pretty simple to use across locations.
Our friends and fellow WinnebagoLife contributors James and Stef Adinaro run the website thefitrv.com. Stef, who is a personal trainer and wellness coach, wrote an awesome article on her picks for the best gyms for RV travelers. On their site, you can also find fit tips, recipes, and printable workouts for exercises you can do anywhere.
Options for When a Gym is Not Available
So, what can you do if a gym you frequent is not readily available? I will sometimes get a guest pass to a local gym if we are in an area for at least a week. We have even been to RV parks that have small gyms and I have worked out in there.
If you do not like going to the gym at all, another option is to work out outside the RV at your campsite. We can use our awning for a bit of privacy. With the compact size of our RV, and since we stay at a lot of KOAs, we usually have extra space at our campsites to make this more feasible. We have a workout mat, dumbbells, and resistance bands - which are easily stored in our Vista LX. The TRX suspension system is also a great tool as you can use it anywhere. Check out this helpful article on How to Set Up a Mobile RV Gym for more tips.
I have also streamed workouts from online services like Beachbody on-demand or LessMills and performed these workouts outside the RV. If all else fails and no internet service is available, then printable workout guides can help! You can print these and keep several of them in the RV as a backup method or as your main method of working out. No travel, particular workout clothes, or internet is needed - and they are readily available at any time.
While you may worry that people will be watching you and judging you, (I know this worried me when I first started), you will be surprised how many people will actually applaud you and you can be that little bit of motivation for someone else to also be more active.
The Goal is to Be Better Today Than Yesterday
So, maybe workout classes in a gym or outside the RV aren’t for you … that is ok! Not everything feels right for everyone and the goal is just to move more and be more active. So, when you see Kenny, flag him down and I am sure he would be happy to go for a scenic bike ride or challenge you to a game of 21.
Take care everyone and safe travels!