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MB #023: Stay Fit While Traveling, Family Road Trips, & Getting Outdoors

discipleship exercise faith family Jun 26, 2023

Read Time: ~6 Minutes

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Hey friends,

Welcome to The Mission Briefing, a weekly newsletter where I provide actionable insights, food for thought, curated recommendations from personal experience, from the web, and more.

Today's issue has some fantastic insights about how to overcome some of our greatest challenges as men, how to eat, workout, and live out healthy habits while traveling and in changing environments. Our family is on a 2-month road trip at the moment, so I'm going to share some of the strategies my wife and I employ. Most people can find some ways to make progress in a carefully curated environment, at home, with all their own stuff, without temptation, with gym access, etc. but it's when you're out and about with constantly changing environments that you have to regularly reconsider your approach in order to remain healthy.

Today at a glance:

  • How you'll benefit from road trips
  • Architecting environments by James Clear
  • Health & fitness tips for long road trips
  • Outdoor Kids In An Inside World
  • Cobly Kultgen's top 9 habits.

🧠 Food For Thought:

Most parents avoid road trips because they're just plain hard! The downside of this is two things: Your kids miss out on incredible adventures that hardwire their brains in a healthier way early in life. They also miss out on watching their parents choose to do hard things, reject selfishness, and exercise self-control as they're inevitably driven crazy from time to time by someone asking for the one-thousandth time "Are we there yet?". I can assure you, the memories are 150% worth it.


✍️ Quote Of The Week:

“You don’t have to be the victim of your environment. You can also be the architect of it.” - James Clear

Especially on road trips and while traveling, environments change and get disrupted. That said, we often have far more control over these than we choose to admit. We often throw up our hands and say "Oh well" defaulting back to fully unhealthy behavior, rather than choosing to execute 60% of our normal systems. Get creative and architect your environment wherever you go.


💪 Health And Fitness Tips:

The Cirullo family is on a 5,000-mile road trip, trekking from Dallas to the West Coast, around, and back. That's a lot of road time with 4 boys, a lot of hotels, and a lot of variation to our normal routines and systems. Let's review a short list (certainly not exhaustive) of our family's tips for staying as fit and healthy as you can on a road trip with limited access to healthy options.

Food

  1. Healthy snacks - We always plan ahead and load up at Costco and other places with snacks like Chomps Beef Sticks, Trail Mix, Organic Fruit Sticks, Granola Bars, Organic BPA-free, and others. Justine also baked several loaves of our own fresh sourdough sandwich bread to bring so we could make nut butter and honey sandwiches.
  2. Hotel food - One of the best things to do if you're leveraging the free breakfast at your hotel is to avoid all grains because the bread, bagels, muffins, and biscuits they serve are cheap, highly processed, and shelf-stable (packed with preservatives and chemicals). Additionally, focus your attention on choosing the meats. The eggs are usually powdered and processed eggs, and although the meat is highly processed as well, it's likely your best option. The other alternative is to do what I often do and utilize this as a time to fast from eating altogether.
  3. Grocery store stops - Our family prefers to stop at Natural Grocers, Whole Foods, or any other available grocery store to grab deli meats, cheeses, healthy crackers, and other things to have more of a charcuterie-board-type dinner instead of eating at random restaurants or fast food chains. We always carry an insulated bag with ice packs and we put everything in the fridge and re-freeze the ice packs when we stop at hotels.
  4. Greens Powder - Both Justine and I start our morning with a greens powder drink to ensure we're getting at least some foundational nutrients to start our day. This continues on the road as well. I prefer AG1 for a variety of reasons personal to my needs, and Justine uses the greens from Earthly.

Water

  1. LifeStraw Bottles - Clean drinking water is critical to our health and tap water is one of the worst ways to hydrate your body. It's filled with pharmaceutical drugs, chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and all sorts of other things. It also then travels through decades-old piping and infrastructure contaminating the water further. The LifeStraw bottles are a great way to fill up water at any truck stop, hotel, or otherwise and be able to filter many of the contaminants out of your water.
  2. Spring Water - When you stop at the grocery store for your snacks and charcuterie-board ingredients, grab a gallon or two of spring water (not distilled - that's stripped of all the natural minerals and can negatively affect hydration). We use this for the above-mentioned green drinks in the AM and further hydration when in the hotel.

Exercise

  1. Progress Over Perfection - One thing you'll need to accept when traveling, especially when traveling with young children, is the need to be flexible and adaptable. Some exercise is always better than none. Reject the need to follow your plan perfectly, or even at all, and just move your body. Especially if you are on the road sitting all day. Yesterday morning, this looked like me waking up before the rest of the family, and using my exercise bands (about a $20-40 investment) inside the hotel bathroom while everyone slept. If I tried to sneak out to the hotel gym I'd end up waking up the whole crew. Was it ideal? Absolutely not. Did it get some blood moving and help me improve by 1% that day? Yes. In the military, we call this "Improvise, Adapt, Overcome."

📚 Book Recommendation:

Outdoor Kids In An Inside World: NYT Bestselling Author, world-class hunter, and YouTube sensation (Meat Eater) Steve Rinella knocks it out of the park yet again with this book. If you're a dad who wants to get your kids outdoors more, away from technology, and help them find adventures where they learn and grow exponentially, then this book is for you. He helps dads figure out how they can get started with the basics of gardening, camping, fishing, and hunting, by sharing his own failures and his triumphs. This isn't a book only for men who love the outdoors, it's a guidebook for men who feel the pull to take their family out more but don't know where or how to start. With lots of windshield time, one of our favorite road trip activities is listening to audiobooks. In this particular case, our boys love the YouTube show Meat Eater and immediately recognized his voice. For that reason, they were engaged from start to finish, asking to "listen to more of Meat Eater" every time we got back in the car.


📱 Social Media Favorites:

If you've been around here for a semi-long period of time, you've probably heard me talk about minimalism (or the spiritual discipline of simplicity), time-saving hacks, capsule wardrobes (and recipe books), and more. I enjoyed Colby Kultgen's post recently highlighting some of my favorite tips in this area. You'll likely find this to be a clear, helpful reminder of many of the strategies I've suggested.