5 Exercises to Maintain Fitness While Traveling

Side View Photo of Woman Doing Lunges Against Black BackgroundIf you travel frequently and your workout schedule gets thrown off, let me share with you 5 moves you can focus on to help you stay fit while traveling. Of course, there are great apps that you can use, and the famous 7 minute workout, but if you like another option to keep it simple, here’s the 5 main moves.

To increase resistance, if there is no gym, pack some resistance bands or use your body weight. Do these movements slowly to really engage the maximum muscle fibers.

  1. Sun Salutations: 90 seconds for each sequence. You can download a sequence online.
  2. 2 x PUSH: Push up, Push forward (90 seconds each, learn the proper position of your hands and wrists first. A personal trainer can show you how.)
  3. 2 x PULL: Pull down, Pull in (90 seconds each, learn the proper position of your hands and wrists first. A personal trainer can show you how.)
  4. LEGS: Squats and/or Lunges (90 seconds each, learn the proper form first. A personal trainer can show you how.)
  5. Photo of Woman Doing YogaCORE: crunches and/or plank pose (90 seconds each)

To really keep your body in a good place, avoid sitting as much as possible. If you have to sit for long periods of time, plan to get up at least every hour to help circulate your blood and stimulate your muscles. If possible, stand instead of sitting, and make sure you walk as much as possible. Every time you move your body, you signal to your body that you have to heal and recover. This is much better than the alternative, signalling that it is ok to decay. Keep moving as much as possible.

5 Food & Drink Tips for Performance & Wellness Despite Frequent Business Travel

eva-darron-oCdVtGFeDC0-unsplashDo you have to travel across multiple time zones for work? If so, you have multiple factors to consider. We will start with food and drink tips.

On your travel day and/or on the day you have to “perform,” maintain steady energy and power up your mind:

  1. Hold the sugar, wheat and alcohol. In addition to increasing your waistline, this causes your energy levels to fluctuate and also messes with your circadian rhythm.
  2. Stay hydrated. A water bottle can be refilled at many airports and at your destination. Drink lots of clear liquids, especially water or other unsweetened beverages like unsweetened tea, coffee (cream ok) or flavored sparkling water. Make sure you are drinking extra fluids when you are very physically active, in hot weather, or if you are high altitude, such as on a plane. You are mostly water, so keep the fluids flowing.
  3. It’s better NOT to eat if you are not hungry. If you skip a meal because there aren’t good food options for you, that’s ok- we call that “Intermittent Fasting”. *Note: If you take medications for blood sugars or diabetes, talk to your doctor about timing your medications and foods as you travel across time zone.
  4. The other option would be to pack travel friendly high performance fuels for those times when choices are limited. Have options that will satisfy your needs: salty, crunchy, creamy, etc.
  5. As a last resort, consider meal replacements with monk fruit or stevia (ie. Vega Essentials) as a sweetener or NO sweetener (ie. Bob’s Red Mill Protein & Fiber Nutritional Booster). Stay away from sucralose or fruit juice if possible as they will cause you to be more hungry very soon after. Look at the nutrition label and confirm NET carbs 5 grams or less. (Total carbohydrates in grams – Dietary Fiber in grams = NET carbs)

Have any other tips for eating or drinking while traveling, AND maintaining your steady energy and powering your mind?


Healthier Together Series: Cycle 6C. Relaxation & Sleep – Focus your mind, Relax your body

camilo-jimenez-mUCnQpBZzXA-unsplashWant to learn how to immediately relax your body and focus your mind when your fight or flight response has been triggered – Naturally- without drugs or medications?

Let me introduce you to the Quieting Reflex, developed by Charles F. Strobel.

  1. Breathe in deeply so that your belly rises first when you breathe in (breathing from your diaphragm) and say to yourself, “Alert, amused mind.”
  2.  Breathe out through your mouth, saying to yourself, “Calm body, ” as you release the tension in your jaw.
  3. Let the tension flow out through your arms and smile inwardly to yourself.

If you practice this now, your mind can learn to respond automatically and become alert, while your body will relax. Then, you will be able to use this when you really need it – when you are overwhelmed, stressed or anxious and you need your mind to be sharp and focused.

Stroebel, Charles F., MD. QT – The Quieting Reflex. NY: Berkley Books, 1967, pp 110-112

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

List of Travel-Friendly High Performance Fuels – Low carb friendly, most are keto friendly too.

selective focus photo of desk globe

If you are traveling for work and you need to eat to fuel your body and mind, but won’t have always have time or access for healthy whole food choices and fresh vegetables, here are some options to consider packing for your travels.

***Remember that your essential fuels include water, proteins (amino acids) and fats. “Essential” means you have to eat or drink it because your body cannot make it. ***

This list was originally created for flight attendants who travel frequently, may not have access to many healthy food options and who need to be able to perform at their peak for long periods of time. Since this was originally created, there have been some modifications and many requests for copies of this list from business travelers, college students and medical professionals.


  • Deli roll ups – freeze (thaw for first half or shorter trips)
  • Deli roll ups or cheese quesadillas made w/ Mission Carb Balance or FlatOut tortillas
  • Hard boiled eggs (invest <$20 in an egg steamer that will make easy peel hard boiled eggs) (requires refrigeration)
  • Deviled eggs (requires refrigeration)
  • Cottage cheese (on way to airport) (requires refrigeration)
  • Yogurt:
    • Oikos triple zero yogurt
    • Two Good yogurt
    • Chobani or Fage full fat Plain Greek Yogurt (optional add any: nuts, nut butter, cocoa nibs, hemp seeds, chias seeds, ¼ berries)
  • Shelf-stable cheese sticks
  • Babybel cheese, (requires refrigeration)
  • Cheese crisps
    • Whisps
    • Moon Cheese (Starbucks)
    • Make your own: microwave small amounts of cheese on parchment paper.  Or place the cheese mounds on parchment paper into the oven at 320F (160c) and bake for 5 minutes.
  • Starkist tuna & salmon packets
  • Bumble Bee Seasoned Tuna (with spoon)
  • Canned sardines
  • Bars
    • Quest bars (Avoid the ones with sucralose listed as an ingredient)
    • Epic meat bars
    • Just the Cheese bars (crunchy)
  • Vega One or Orgain protein powder (make or buy individual packets), add to bottled water
  • Trader Joe’s beef, turkey, or salmon jerky
  • Sabra Hummus packs


  • Dang or Bare toasted coconut flakes
  • Avocados
    • Whole
    • Wholly Guacamole mini’s
  • Adapt bars (small & filling, various flavors, keto friendly)
  • Nuts
    • Macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts
    • Blue Diamond flavored almonds
  • Nut and seed butters (almond, peanut butter)
    • Jif To Go Natural peanut butter
    • Rx nut butter (honey cinnamon PB, vanilla almond butter, plain PB-5 or 6 net carbs so limit to 1)
    • Justin’s almond or peanut butter (classic)
    • Yumbutter squeeze packs (sunflower, almond, peanut)
    • Soom tahini squeeze packs
  • Nut packs
    • Sahale snacks all natural nut blends
    • Imperial nuts energy blend
    • Patagonia Provisions savory seeds
    • Nut Harvest nut & fruit mix
    • Emerald salt & pepper cashew 100 calorie packs
  • Homemade trail mix
    • Combine your favorite: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • Olives
    • Pearls Olives To Go!
    • Oloves (olives)
    • Mario Camacho brineless Snack olives
    • Trader Joe’s Handful of Olives packets
    • Olive Pickle Pak


  • Veg with salad dressing or dips that are NOT sweet.
    • Carrots
    • Cucumbers
    • Jicama
    • Radishes
    • Celery
  • Dill pickles
  • Trail mix extras:
    • Montmorency dried tart cherries, dark chocolate chips, or unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Chips and crackers and crunchy
    • Pork rinds
    • Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snacks (plain or wasabi)
    • Rhythm superfoods kale chips
    • Flackers
    • Splitz original crunchy split pea crisp snacks
    • Seapoint farms dry roasted edamame
    • Biena roasted chick pea snacks
    • Saffron Road crunchy chickpeas
  • Smoked salmon wrap– put smoked salmon in iceberg lettuce, add avocado, a few capers and cream cheese
  • Lark Ellen Farm Grain Free Granola Bites – Vanilla Cinnamon
  • Norwegian Baked Knekkebrod crisp bread

Other options

  • Qi’a Superfood Organic Hot Oatmeal in creamy coconut
  • Crepes: Crepini Egg White Thins
  • Emmy’s 2 oz. lemon ginger macaroons – spicy and sweet
  • Lindt 70% dark chocolate
  • Unreal dark chocolate PB cups
  • GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals
  • Cocoa Nibs
  • Instant chocolate mousse– blend 1 avocado + 1 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened) + sweetener to taste
  • Trader Joe’s Organic coconut sesame clusters snack
  • Whole Foods 365 Candied Walnuts
  • Hu Get back to Human Chocolate covered hunks (chocolate covered cashews)


  • Teas such as Tazo, Yogi, etc.
  • Instant Green Tea Powder (mix with water)
  • La Croix (Flavored sparkling water)
  • Bubly (Flavored sparkling water)
  • Starbucks VIA instant coffee
  • Half and half pods
  • Fruit in water bottle to infuse water
  • SeedLip (non alcoholic, “liquor”)


  • Salt and pepper packets
  • Hot sauce packets
  • Mayonnaise packets
  • Mustard packets
  • Everything bagel seasoning
  • Tajin

Drink List for travelers – keto & low carb friendly.

Water is fine. But when you want a little something else, here’s a starting list of drinks that are weight neutral and will work well on the road.

First: Find an easy travel (water) bottle: collapsible vs. roll up vs. solid stainless steel for hot or cold drinks. Then, have a few options to change up your drink options.

TAZO Awake English Breakfast 20CTTAZO Zen 20CT

Turmeric Ginger 50 countMatcha Super Green 50 count

matcha travel packs

 Organic U•Matcha® Single Sips®


Airplane Photo by Eva Darron on Unsplash

The Secret to Successfully Starting Something New: Develop Your Self Compassion

simon-matzinger-UqCnDyc_3vA-unsplashDo you find that your good intentions to walk every day, plan & prepare healthy foods, incorporate new healthy habits into your life, start out well, but fizzle out too soon, before they become ingrained into your routine? You know what you need to do or what you want to do, you realize you can probably fit it into your day (instead of playing that mindless game on your smartphone) but do you find yourself eventually “blowing it off” or giving up & quitting? Does it feel like a failure? Well, I hear you. Been there, done that. But let’s take a step back before you feel bad about “yet another failed attempt.”

Life is about trial and error and success. Let’s recognize it’s about intentions, learning, forgiving and then adapting. Practice self-compassion. When you develop your capacity for self-compassion, you will have the courage to try something new, to work at it, reflect on the feedback and ultimately to adapt and grow. You develop your capacity for success in the area of your new focus – whether it is a new project, new hobby, new healthy lifestyle habit, new company, new goal. Here are the 4 steps to using reflection to develop your self compassion.

1. Intentions. Reflect on your intentions and appreciate your good intentions. It’s really a good thing…you want to be healthier. You want to incorporate new healthy habits. These are good things. Celebrate that you have good intentions for yourself! You may do a little research, figure out what you will improve, make plans, organize your schedule & your life to make it happen & you start out eager to get going with it.

BUT, life happens. That means there is change. Many changes. Whether it is the season, your routine, your body, the people around you, your surroundings. Here is how this looks…

It’s a new school year for the kids, summer is over. Everyone’s getting back on a “routine.” I am going to wake up earlier 30 minutes, 5 days a week so that I can introduce some gentle exercises before I hop in the shower & get the kids off to school & then head off to work. GREAT!

The first 2 weeks go great. I’m waking up earlier like I planned & I’m working out. Great. I’m into week 3 & my schedule changes…I have a school open house, team sports have picked up & clubs have started…they keep my kids & me busy & adjusting to a new schedule. It takes effort to keep it all straight.

To top it off, the kids can’t seem to get much done before I get home from work, and I’m running late. I am trying to get my kids to do their homework & at least get them into bed at a reasonable hour, but it somehow ends up close to 11 or 12 at night before they are in bed. I have some work that needs to be attended to & those regular monthly bills & the school forms that the kids have brought home that require signing & sending in more money…I’m just trying to catch up & it’s already midnight.

As I crawl into bed, WIPED out, I set my alarm for the “planned time” that will allow me to exercise for 30 minutes in the morning. I have the best intentions, but alas, when the alarm blares, my semi-conscious mind starts making irrational suggestions that sound good – “I will have a better day if I hit snooze 5 times & skip the workout. I will do my “make up” day on one of the days I was NOT planning to work out…” And there it goes.

Do I feel better after 30 minutes with the alarm going off every 6 minutes, pretending I am sleeping? NO. I know this…and yet that knowledge is missing so early in the morning after a 4 hour night of sleep. OR, someone gets sick OR there is a day I have to go into work earlier OR my week’s schedule is somehow altered & my entire “newly created healthy schedule” is thrown off.

Sometimes, my day has just been so hectic, I have to find a mindless activity that allows me to stop getting new input into my brain…I need “time off.” Getting back into the previously planned healthy “early morning” schedule no longer seems to be appealing. The momentum is gone. Now, it feels like another failure.

BUT, here’s the good news! It’s ok. You get to revise & improve your goals and plans. You have shown yourself that you have good intentions to get healthier & have  just provided yourself with a new experience to learn from & you can always get a fresh start.

2. Learning. Reflect on what works (that you can control) & what could be improved (that you can control). This is where to put your focus. These are valuable learning opportunities. Learn various contingency plans. Reconsider what happened & create the back up plan for similar future events. Each time you create a new “health kick plan” you are learning new ways to be healthy – maybe a new workout plan, maybe some new foods, maybe some new ways to be healthy like meditating. In fact, you are constantly learning. You are fine tuning your resiliency to things that act to push you away from your healthy intention. You are strengthening your drive to be healthy.

Life is constantly changing & we are constantly learning how to respond to what is happening in our lives. The act of responding takes extra activation energy and can cause some chaos with our plans to be healthy.  In other words, the energy that you need to respond to changes in your environment might at times in your life, make it hard to ALSO be creating new habits or may require extra time in our day to process, so taking time away from our planned healthy activity. However, we CAN respond to those changes & we can at any time, reintroduce more or different healthy habits into our life. This is learning.

In the above example, it would be helpful to have a back up exercise routine for the afternoon on days that the morning workout didn’t happen. For example, walking outside after dinner or doing the 7 minute workout. If you find you can’t get yourself to do that, it means your mind is on overload & you will need to give yourself 10 minutes of just being with yourself processing your day. This is the “default plan.” This can be as meditation, journalling, talking to someone or just playing a mindless solitaire game. Some people find it helps to organize & plan the areas of our life that we have more control over. Clearing off your desk top, organizing all the things you are carrying in you head, etc. This COUNTS as a healthy activity also. It can recharge you so that you are ready to get going again tomorrow.

3. Forgiveness. Remind yourself, “I am doing the best that I can, right now.” Because life is constantly changing & we are human, we can forgive ourselves when we are not being “perfect.” So you miss your workout today or you ate that food you didn’t want to eat…if it is now in the past, you can forgive & move on. Later, identify what caused the problem & think of ways to prevent or respond to a similar challenge in the future. That is the learning. Allow yourself to be human and accept yourself. Often, this again, means that you need to sit with yourself & process your day, your recent events, your experiences. But you can let go of your disappointment and instead, show yourself self- compassion. Nobody is perfect. Our goal is to learn and keep moving forward.

4. Adapting. Self compassion allows us to appreciate that change requires adaptation and adaptation takes time and may require some trial and error. Unless we practice self compassion, we can become rigid, stuck in negative self-talk when we make a mistake, become unable to tolerate change. This  lack of self compassion limits our ability to fully adapt. With self compassion, fear of failure diminishes. This allows us to try something new, take on a challenge. Then, this whole process results in allowing our natural adaptive process to develop and get better with time. This is personal growth. This is how we get better with age, incorporate new healthy habits into our lives. We continue to strive towards improving our health, trying new things, fine-tuning and reworking previous things we liked until eventually, something sticks and becomes routine.

Here’s an example:

Intention: You want to consistently include exercise as part of your healthy lifestyle. You may try 10 different workout routines over several years, but the new workout routine falls off around week 3-4. Write out your intention as a specific statement and as if it is already true. “Exercise 5 days per week is consistently part of my healthy lifestyle.”

Learning: Figure out what exactly is happening so you can identify the problem. What isn’t true about your intention statement right now and why?

You start strong, working out 5 days per week for 2 weeks, then work gets busy  or you travel or you drink coffee before bedtime one evening and end up unable to sleep that night or you have some change to your desired routine and you stay up late and miss out on your sleep. By the 3rd week, you may exercise 1-2 times and then being disappointed for not sticking to the plan, you stop working out. What isn’t true: you aren’t working out 5 days per week consistently.

  • What is meant by “consistently”? What happens if you exercise 5 days weekly every 2 out of 3 weeks? What if some weeks you don’t exercise 5 days? Could you be ok with that? Would missing a day “ruin” your healthy lifestyle? During your busiest times, would it be better to know you will exercise when you can and you will be ok if you miss a day?
  • What you do mean by “exercise”? What counts as exercise? If you perform 15 lunges, 15 squats, 10 push ups, 50 crunches and a minute of plank pose, would those 5 minutes count? Can you squeeze that in when you first wake up or before bedtime on days you missed your planned workout?
  • Do you recognize any patterns when you deviate from your plan? For example, you start falling off your plan around 3-4 weeks into any workout plan, or if your sleep schedule gets disrupted and you feel sleep deprived? Can you plan for those times? Maybe you need a new workout routine every 2 weeks so you stay interested or you can find a “back up” workout plan for when you need more time for catching up on sleep. This might be alternative body weight exercise that can be completed in a shorter time period without going to the gym or taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator?

The good stuff: you also notice you really like doing crunches and you feel like it really helps your body.

Forgiveness: Remind yourself that you are only human and practice self compassion.

Each time, something happens that derails your good intentions to exercise 5 days weekly and you are disappointed in yourself. You may even tell yourself, “I always fail, I just can’t stick to anything.” This is not helpful. In fact, if you wanted to start up again, you might hear yourself saying, “I will start next month when I can really focus. Right now, I can’t exercise 5 days weekly.” This is negative self-talk. This makes it harder to commit to exercise because there is the fear of (maybe even a belief of) failure…again.

When you take practice self compassion, you take this opportunity to forgive yourself and remind yourself you are only human. Life happens. You are getting wiser. You can continually learn from your experiences and be better prepared next time. Tell yourself, “I am doing the best that I can, right now. This is the best I can do right now.” Repeat it until you phase out the negative self-talk.

Adapting: Each time you reintroduce exercise into your life, you add crunches and walking into your routine. You decide that you will even do crunches at some down times even when you didn’t fit in your workout for the day. You like crunches, you feel good after doing it, & it becomes easier to continue to do it. This is adaptation & those healthy efforts that stick, are valuable & add up over a lifetime.

Over time,  you may find yourself choosing additional workouts that include crunches because you enjoy them.  You may have more flexible options for working out so it is easier to complete 5 exercise sessions per week. You may recognize that skipping a day or two or even a week, may happen from time to time but the key is to do the best you can, right now. You can always jump back in. You are free of the fear of failure and negative self talk.

Without the fear of failure, you will continue to add new workout activities you like. This will give you variety and also allow you to cross train. You will develop a larger pool of options to move you forward towards better health. It may be crunches and walking on the treadmill and working out to a favorite workout video. It could be kickboxing. It could be a new app for body weight exercises.

So jump in & enjoy each time you make an effort to start a new healthy habit, no matter how long it lasts.  With self compassion, you are free to explore, try something new or try again. Each experience can be an opportunity to learn and fine tune your process until you succeed in achieving your goal. Practice self compassion regularly. Be the best you, right now.

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

Healthier Together Series: Cycle 6B. Physical Activity – 3 Steps to Developing a Daily Exercise Habit

You know you should exercise. You want to exercise. You have a gym membership. You have cute workout clothes. But…You haven’t slept well, so you need to get that extra half hour of sleep in the morning, so your workout doesn’t happen in the morning…You plan to work out later that day but then traffic was bad/work was brutal and you are exhausted/you still have work to do at home/you are tired/your kids need your help with homework/you have a million errands you want to do/you are hungry and have to cook dinner/you just blow it off…You will catch up tomorrow…

Does this sound familiar? Here are 3 steps to improving the odds that daily exercise will become a routine.

  1. Link one part of your exercise prep to something you do every day. For example, you always brush your teeth every day (I hope so). You always wear a sports bra to exercise or you always wear a certain pair of shoes when you exercise. Then link the two activities. Put on your sports bra or shoes when you brush your teeth. Do that every day. You don’t have to work out if you don’t want to, but just link the 2 activities together.
  2. Have a variety of methods of achieving your goal of daily exercise. Have them different enough that they fit different scenarios. For example, if you are tired or have not time, you need an effective workout you can do at home – try body weight high intensity interval training (HIIT) where you don’t even need any equipment and you can complete the workout in under 5 minutes. If it is a lovely day out and you want to spend time with a friend or loved one, have a walking route that allows you to enjoy each other’s company while walking. Take a bike ride. Dance to music. You can use an app like 8Fit or Sworkit. If you want to take a class, you can go to an exercise class or follow an exercise YouTube or DVD or app. You can always go to the gym if you have time and want to get a complete workout with weights or cardio equipment or take a class or with the help of a personal trainer.
  3. Log what you do and keep track of your progress. My bullet journal is where I write out the plan for my workout 2 weeks in advance. Then, as I complete my workouts, I jot down notes about my day and always end with a positive note to myself, “Feeling great! Went up on the number of crunches! Yeah!” I use my apple watch to monitor my overall activity and aim to close my activity rings every day. Then, I see how many days in a row I can complete all of my rings and I check it out on my phone. This is tremendously motivating since I love the 3 colors of the rings. image1

Basically, you want to lower barriers and make it easy to get started on any single day. Have various options on how you can achieve your goal to work out daily. Track it and celebrate each day’s success. Aim to do something physical every day and it will become a habit much faster. Then watch. Other areas of your life improve too. Sleep gets better, mood improves, eating improves, confidence improves, work improves…you get it. With the inevitable ripple effect of daily workouts, you may find that the rest of your life starts to fall into place and you become more and more successful in more and more areas of your life. Try it.