This past weekend the Saltwater Fit crew hit the road and took a little trip to neighboring Nicaragua. From Tamarindo, Costa Rica to our final destination of Managua, Nicaragua we calculated that the door-to-door travel time would be roughly between 7-8 hours. While it’s only about 180 miles, there’s a little town called Penas Blancas where you have to cross the border from Costa Rica into Nicaragua.

For those of you unfamiliar with Central American border crossings, let’s just say efficiency is not the name of the game. On a good day you’ll get through the border in less than 1.5 hours. With any kind of crowd it can be a 4-hour exercise in line waiting and fee paying. Let’s not forget we’re in the tropics – 90-degree heat with swampy humidity makes for a less than ideal waiting environment.

I swear it will test the patience of even the calmest monk out there.

Knowing what we would be encountering, we realized if we didn’t do a little food prepping for the road trip our only food options would be gas stations or small little roadside markets. If you have ever been to one of the aforementioned then you know that finding healthy options to take with you on the road can be challenging, which brings us to…

Tip #1 – Take some time to prepare food to take with you in the car. Think fat burning foods, not fat storing food.

It is never fun to rely solely on will power when your stomach is growling and the only thing to scarf is a bag of chips or cookies. With a taxed and tired brain from traveling and also being outside of your daily routine it becomes increasingly hard to avoid indulging. By pre-packing some healthy options to bring in the car with you it will make it much easier for you to avoid the junk food at the gas station. Junk food plus sitting in the car equals fat storage, which is what we want to avoid . Instead, we want nutrient dense foods that will promote fat burning.

A few power packed options to take with you in the car:

– A bag of veggies (broccoli, carrots, cucumber, red pepper)

– Hard Boiled eggs

– A mixture of raw nuts or seeds (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds)

– String cheese

– Turkey or Chicken slices

Taking a few minutes to put together a goody bag like this to have on hand will be invaluable to you on the road. You’ll have plenty of vitamins & minerals and fiber from the veggies, protein to keep you full and your muscles happy from the eggs or meat, and some well deserved fat to keep your mind and body functioning well from the cheese and nuts. Your body will be fueled to keep you energized and feeling good for the entirety of your trip. These are just a few options, but let your creativity shine and you can come up with all sorts of tasty variations.

Our fat burning food prepped and ready for the road.

Our fat burning food prepped and ready for the road.

The problem with the gas station fare is your options are almost entirely limited to NUTRIENT LACKING – FAT PROMOTING – CALORIE DENSE foods that ultimately turn into SUGAR (glucose) in your body. And you know what sugar spikes…yep you guessed it – insulin. And whenever insulin is hanging around, especially when sedentary, the body stores sugar in your fat cells. If that is not bad enough, these foods will kick your body into a cycle that will have you hungry in a few hours, once the insulin spike falls, again subjecting you to more gas station/roadside fare. And the undesirable fat promoting cycle starts all over again.

Traveling for work or pleasure definitely takes you out of your fitness routine and can make it seem more difficult to integrate exercise. But it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Just think about enjoyable, simple ways to splice it into your day.

Tip #2 – Integrate fat burning exercise in creative ways.

– Can you walk to the restaurant you are eating dinner at instead of drive?

– Is there a park nearby that you can go and do your own version of a fat burning – high intensity  workout?

– Are there a few hills around that you can run 5 sprints up?

– Is there some historic or natural landmark that you can take a hike to?

– Does your hotel have a small gym or pool to swim laps in?

– Can you and your family do a fun activity that is active?

– If you are staying in a hotel or city building can you take the stairs instead of the elevator?

I am sure you can see where I am going with this. Get creative. Think outside of the box. Taking stock of what you will be doing during the time you are traveling and thinking through a few simple ways to get yourself out of your routine and moving in different ways can give yourself an extra metabolism boost pretty easily.

Like we always say over here at Saltwater Fit – Being healthy doesn’t have to be that difficult. It’s about simple, easy ways to integrate it in your life doing the things you love.

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In Nicaragua, we found many ways to integrate exercise into our travels. One obvious way we did it was by hitting the surf over in Popoyo at the beach. To add an extra metabolism boost, we walked to the surf spot, which turned out to be 45 minutes each way in the blazing sun. Not necessarily recommended, but you get the point.

And while we were in the city of Managua we found a little neighborhood park with a small kids jungle gym and created our own HIIT workout. Yea it was us doing pull ups on the bars with the little kids staring at us – which was pretty comical to say the least. We also integrated Julie’s brother and his wife into a short 10-minute high intensity circuit on the grass that we all did together which turned out to be a fun way to spend time together.

So I think the point is simple here.

And we love simple here at Saltwater Fit.

If you just take a little time to plan before your trip you can avoid the pitfalls of unhealthy eating and still find time and have fun getting your sweat on.

It really can be that simple.

Now go make a plan and let us know how you prepare for your travel in the comments below!

Nick

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