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The Ultimate Guide to Living on the Road PT III: 13 Tips for Fitness, Health & Nutrition


Whether you are planning a shorter-term road trip on a shoestring budget or out on the road for an extended period of time, there are ways to make your experience all the better. After having lived on the road for two years next month, this is what I’ve come up with. Enjoy Part III of this installment (and don’t miss out on the 30 tips so far in Part I and II!).

Heads up: some links lead back to product pages where you can purchase or research more about a product I recommend. Of those, a portion provide compensation if you like what you see and decide to purchase. I recommend those products only if I find them beneficial and use them myself.  

Stay Fit
Staying in shape can be one of the most difficult things to maintain when you are on the road for long stretches of time. Even if the focus of your fieldtrip is adventure, you can run into periods where it’s difficult to find it—especially if you run into inclement weather or if you call your car “home.”

Screenshot from Under Armour's "What's Beautiful" Challenge (see tip #3)

Below are additions to the fitness tips found in Part I of the Ultimate Guide. Check ‘em out after you read these.

1. An Apple a day:  iTunes to the rescue. On the days when playing outdoors is out of the question (or even just to supplement your adventures), grab a fitness podcast or video and play it right from your computer or iPod.  It’s like having a personal trainer but without the heavy pricetag.

2. There’s an app for that: to keep on the tech tip, try a fitness app. Fits right on your phone (you’re lugging it around anyway, right?) making this option ultra-convenient. Gympact even keeps you accountable by making you set a goal and back it up with a dollar amount. For every day you miss, you give a portion of your money to someone who stuck to their goal and exercised. If you work out, you get paid. Interesting concept, eh?

Do a search for “fitness” on your phone to find one that makes sense for you. My pick: “Daily Yoga.” The free version has 11 different video sessions with great music and a 12-day yoga plan that will send you a reminder when it’s time to workout. Upgrade to Pro for a fee if you want more.

3. Get challenged: I recently found a few friends on Twitter were doing a month-long  #SquatChallenge. It was something I could easily participate from my car (or anywhere). The great thing about this is there’s a schedule and you’re accountable to friends, so it keeps you motivated and moving. Want to participate? Join @clymberchick, @wigirl4ever, @stonewear (who all rock at outdoor fitness) and me (@ginabegin: the newbie) for motivation.

There are plenty of great challenges out there. There are even specific ones for women, such as Under Armour’s “What’s Beautiful” challenge. Set a goal and keep a video/photo log of your progress on their site. You can even join a team with other women to keep each other pushing forward. And yes, there’s a payoff: a yoga and surf-filled trip to Costa Rica for three women who pushed the hardest.

4. Look around you: Yes, that’s the name of a hilarious UK video series online. But it’s also a great way to get creative with your fitness. In the city? Look for a playground. Monkey bars (you might have to bend your knees since you’re likely not 4’5” anymore) work the upper body and hand strength, swings work the core, use the bottom rungs of the slide stairs to do calf raises and elevated lunges. Or climb up them and slide down. It’s more fun.

City bonus: lots of urban parks have trails with fitness circuits—stations with equipment and instructions—interspersed along the way. Take a trail run and stop at each station for a full body workout.

5. Use your weight: I recently asked a question on Google+ if anyone had tips about exercising while on the road. I got a great reply from my friend Bret W., who linked back to 50 bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere. Can’t get more perfect than that! Check out the post for more ideas.

Health & Nutrition
Living in a car often equates to living on a budget. If you’re among the crowd without health insurance, you’ll know it’s pretty important to keep your immune system boosted and avoid expensive doctor’s fees. While fitness (above) is one big component of keeping healthy, there’s a host of other steps you can take on the road to keep all systems go.

Try these to boost your health & nutrition on the road

6. Probiotics: These little guys work hard to keep you balanced internally. Help them out by including yogurt in your diet. During the upcoming summer months, you may need to invest in a little cooler for this, or if you can’t afford the space but can afford the extra cost, grab an individual serving a few times a week. Dairy not your thing? Probiotics also come in scoopable (add to water) or pill form.

7. Craisins: Not only do these little gems taste amazing and are one of the best things to chomp on when you’re driving late at night, but they also contain antioxidants and keep bacteria at bay.  

8. Stomach this: Over the miles, I’ve come to rely on a few raw foods that don’t need refrigeration and help keep me well. Because I so often eat meals of nuts, peanut butter and protein powder shakes; these add robust flavors of freshness: 
  • Grapefruit has been a favorite for me if I’ve eaten a meal that doesn’t necessarily sit well. I’m not sure if it’s the Florida girl in me, but intuition says that the acidic nature of this fruit helps to cut through any excess fat in meals. I try to eat one a day for the vitamin C it offers as well.
  • Ginger can help with many stomach problems, including nausea. If you can’t handle it raw, try it candied (often available in bulk from the grocery store). It also is rumored to help with inflammation.
  • Tomatoes are another great source of vitamin C. Grab a box of cherry tomatoes for ease of traveling. They make great snacks, have the bonus of being good for the skin and are one type of fresh food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. 

9. Get your greens: This is a little more difficult on the road. In the winter, I can pick up a bottle of green juice from the store because the car stays cool enough to keep it fresh. In the summer, my alternative are the sheets of seaweed used for rolling sushi. These contain fiber, protein, minerals and up to 20% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin A, needed to synthesize vitamin D (see tip 10 & 13). No need to prepare; they’re pretty good as is.

10. Yabba-dabba-do: Remember the Flinstones vitamins you got as a kid? Your mom was onto something. In our day, food is so altered that it’s difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals our body needs and it’s even trickier on the road. In addition, getting the right balance of vitamins is a science: vitamin D needs vitamin A & K to be absorbed, calcium needs vitamin D, etc. A good multivitamin will have the correct balances so your body can absorb it.

By the way, this is not the time to skimp with savings. Cheap multi-vitamins are often synthetic and may even use fillers which are toxic. This is especially prominent in fish oil supplements which can contain PCBs, mercury or even be spoiled. Inexpensive versions aren’t worth the potential harm they can cause; invest in quality and you’ll reap some incredible rewards.

My pick: ViSalus’ multivitamin pack: they separate daily doses of vitamins and fish oil supplements into a convenient pack and hold some of the highest standards in the world of nutritional supplements. You can order the Vi-pak online.


Ditch the sunblock on sunny days (see tip 13)
11. Air it out: Just like you open up the windows in the house to keep fresh air moving through (you do, don’t you?) it’s a good idea to freshen up your mobile house by cracking the windows as much as possible—even in the winter. If you’re gonna be in your car longer than a couple of weeks, it’s important to empty the car out to vacuum and wipe it down to rid it of dust and dirt.  While you’re cleaning the interior, open up any blankets or sleeping bags, towels, etc. and hang them on the car doors to air out. Your space will feel amazing after this.

12. So Fresh & So Clean: You and I are about to get personal here. Are you turning your underwear inside out to wear it an extra day? C’mon kids; you don’t think bacteria have it figured out? Change you unmentionables on the regular; underclothes collect everything from skin cells to sweat as they are right next to your body. Bacteria love that.

Along the same lines, personal hygiene is a must. Use wipes or showers as often as you can to get harmful bacteria rinsed away. Brush & floss to keep plague and cavities at bay. Clean under the finger & toenails and keep ‘em clipped. You know, all the stuff your mom told you to do. In this environment, it’s even more important.

13. Sunny delight: This might be a bit controversial, but ditch the sunblock. In recent years studies have found a growing deficiency of vitamin D—an agent found to help prevent many diseases and crucial for calcium absorption—in the U.S.. This deficiency can be attributed to several factors, one being the use of sunblock whenever we are outdoors. And while sunblock is great for extended periods of time, a 10-20 minute (depending on skin color) step into the sun sans sunblock is the easiest way for our bodies to produce vitamin D.


  1. I have so much I want to say after reading this. I might need to write a whole blog post in response. But if I had to sum it up...

    [citation needed]

    1. Ok, which parts? I double checked em all this morning. Or you could do your own research, BRETT.


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