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It’s a new year and a perfect time to add some healthy changes to our lifestyle. Our conversation with Christine Willers of Irene Iron Fitness can help you set achievable goals and stick to them!

Show Notes

Thinking about making healthy meals in our RV kitchens or working out in the small space of our RV can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be!

Join online fitness and nutrition coach, Christine Willers, to learn how easy staying healthy in your RV can be. She covera exercise, eating, and creating healthy habits for a complete approach.

Christine and Aaron live full-time in their Class B, Airstream Interstate Sprinter Van. They celebrated two full years on the road in January, 2021. Originally from Minneapolis, MN, they sold their home in 2014 which ultimately led to further downsizing and the desire for a different way of living. They really just wanted to spend time together and travel while they are in their physical prime and able to do so. So, after working 15 & 18 years (respectively) in corporate careers, they quit their jobs and started their own online business, Irene Iron Fitness.

Irene Iron Fitness provides online fitness programs and nutrition coaching to clients across the country.

If you’d like to see some healthy recipes or learn more about Christine’s fitness coaching you can check out her website: IreneIronFitness.com

Christine has also written an article for us on how to stay strong while traveling in an RV and using minimal gear. You can find it here: https://escapees.com/staying-strong-on-the-road-with-minimal-gear/ 

And, here are some other articles about staying fit while RVing:


[00:00:13.500] – Kerensa

Welcome to escapee’s webinars, I’m Kerensa Durr the director of marketing for Escapees. And today we have a webinar to kick off the New Year, “Staying Healthy While RVing.” We have Chris Willers from Irene Iron Fitness joining us to talk about all things staying healthy.

[00:00:31.680] – Kerensa

That includes food. That includes exercise. She’s going to cover a lot of things that we all need to know. And it is possible to do it in your little RV. So let me bring on Chris and we will get started.

[00:00:52.250] – Chris

Hi, everybody. I’m good, thanks so much for having me today.

[00:01:00.230] – Kerensa

We’re excited to have you. She has spoken at Bash before and it was great so and written some articles for us, too. So we’re excited to have you on to give us a new start to a new year. Hopefully a great new year.

[00:01:16.340] – Chris

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Kick it off strong and keep that momentum going.

[00:01:23.030] – Kerensa

That’s right. All right. Well, is there anything you’d like to say or beforehand or should I pop in your presentation?

[00:01:31.040] – Chris

You can just pop right into it. Yeah.

[00:01:34.580] – Kerensa

Ok, that’s great. And you guys, if you do have any questions, we’re going to have a little Q&A area at the end. So go ahead and type them in the chat and we’ll be sure to see them and write some of them down so that we can get back to them at the end. Thank you.

[00:01:52.030] – Chris

Thank you. OK, on to the good stuff, so we’re all here to learn a little bit more about staying healthy while RVing and maybe you are an RVer, maybe you are thinking about RVing in the future and maybe you just live in traditional sticks and bricks and want to pick up some healthy habits to carry on your own. So whatever it is, I’m happy that you’re here. And welcome.

[00:02:36.080] – Chris

First, I do want to just introduce myself a little bit more. I live full time on the road with my husband, Aaron, and we are full time RVers since January twenty nineteen. We do live in a twenty two foot class

  1. So it’s an Airstream Interstate, it’s on a Sprinter van and it’s pretty small. It comes in at about 80 square feet. So with all of the different nuances of RVing, every rig is different. But we certainly have an experience in a smaller sized rig, which most people can relate to.
[00:03:09.800] – Chris

No matter what size you’re in, it’s different than a household. And Aaron and I, the reason that we came into RVing, it’s kind of a long unfolded story. It wasn’t it wasn’t an impulsive decision for us. We both came from corporate careers prior to RVing, and we were “living the American dream.” We had a big house. We had a big job with a big paycheck and lots of things. And eventually the stress that came along with that just started to wear us down.

[00:03:42.410] – Chris

And we decided that we wanted to live our life really more to a more physical extent while we’re in our physical prime. So we wanted to go out and travel and see things and really just be with each other while we were still able to. So we did spend a good amount of time selling our house. We were completely out of debt and we were paving the way to live this RV lifestyle. And one of the things that


we did for an outlet just for fun and relaxing together was physical fitness.

[00:04:18.440] – Chris

We loved to work out together. We love to go on, walks together, park the car and not drive it for the weekend. So when it came time to be deciding how we’re going to make a living on the road and what business we wanted to launch together, it was a really easy decision for us to get into the fitness industry because that’s what our passion was and that’s how we really enjoyed spending our time. So it was a no brainer for us to combine what we loved doing and help others on the road, which is exactly what we’ve been doing. It’s just great to really help other people put their best foot forward and to have that intrinsic reward. It’s just been really awesome for us.

[00:05:02.360] – Chris

Some credentials for myself, I am I’m the one of the duo that works with the clients directly. I have the certifications and the training. I do have a certificate through NASM for certified personal training and also as a recently NASM senior fitness specialist. So with the RV community, a lot of us are seniors.

[00:05:28.730] – Chris

And so I definitely wanted to make sure that I could help out this population and group of RVers that’s so prevalent. Also with NAS, they continue to require continued education, which is great, I love always learning and expanding things. So that’s really brought on my nutrition coaching. I got precision nutrition coaching certification. Two years ago. And precision nutrition is one of the top renowned in the country and really the world.

[00:06:03.430] – Chris

Now, I am not a registered dietitian. There’s a big difference. I did not go to school for eight years for dietetics, but I do have nutrition coaching and I’m continuing my coaching through Pn2, which is an elevated course. And it really just helps you practice behaviors. And it is a behavior-based coaching, which by the end of the presentation, you’ll get a good feel for that. Now, on the other side of our business, Aaron, does all of our YouTube videos, all of our website management and creation and all the tech that goes in behind the scenes, so we make a good pair in that aspect.

[00:06:41.480] – Chris

So with RVing, there is definitely a slew of challenges that go into trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Number one is constant relocation. No matter what type of a vehicle you’re in, whether it’s a self conversion or like a big fancy bus it doesn’t really make a difference because you’re constantly uprooting yourself, whether it’s every day, every couple of days, every couple of weeks or every couple of months, it makes it really, really hard for people to set their schedule and stay consistent.

[00:07:17.640] – Chris

So that’s a really big challenge. Inconsistent schedule, which I just mentioned, I mean, you’re constantly from day to day, it’s a surprise. You don’t know where you’re sleeping that night. You don’t know what’s going to happen. So it can be really tough to manage and juggle everything.

[00:07:34.790] – Chris

Weather, bugs and terrain, those are things that you run into on your campsites while boondocking. It’s everywhere, and it’s not as glamorous as what you think it’s going to be when you’re in the planning stages.

[00:07:50.350] – Chris

Vacation and camping mode 24/7. This is something that a lot of my clients express, you know, when they’re buying food, they end up purchasing what appears to be camping food just because it’s that mentality of having fun and traveling and it carries over to purchasing habits.

[00:08:08.890] – Chris

Three o’clock, happy hours, it’s a real thing. They happen every day for everybody. And we love them. It’s part of RVing. Potlucks, this has been on a little bit of a hiatus for many people with covid, but they will be back, I guarantee it.


[00:08:26.340] – Chris

Increased sitting time. This is a big one. You’re no longer walking from your car to your job to your house and getting in. You’re just sitting and you’re often sitting within reach of the refrigerator, which makes it even more exceptionally challenging.

[00:08:44.270] – Chris

Local breweries and restaurants. Don’t need to talk much about that. They’re fun, we all want to see them.

[00:08:51.320] – Chris

Four o’clock, happy hours. They happened at three and they happened at four, they happen all the time.

[00:08:59.110] – Chris

Finding fresh groceries on the road and this is this is really tough for people that struggle with adapting to inconsistencies.

[00:09:10.230] – Chris

Travel days. They eat up your entire day. Even if you have intentions to do a workout when you land at your new place, most likely you’re going to be burnt out and things will fizzle.

[00:09:23.410] – Chris

Limited water and power. This comes down to a lot of your cooking efforts and kitchen efforts where maybe if you had unlimited resources, it might be easier.

[00:09:36.790] – Chris

Tiny kitchens. Again, you’re used to big kitchens to spread out and cook in, and now you’re trying to juggle things and not burn yourself.

[00:09:48.570] – Chris

Escapees and Xscapers convergences. This is a fun one. Believe it or not, I hate to say it, this was one thing that comes up with clients of mine that is a setback to them in their goals. And it’s not a bad thing. It’s because food and drinks is a social thing. And when we get together, we celebrate each other and this is just one of the small challenges that comes up for us.

[00:10:12.790] – Chris

And did I mention happy hours? Yes, happy hours, they’re here to attack us. So with all these challenges for RVers, it’s easy to really pick apart why you can’t make your goals happen or what the challenges are. And yes, these are all very real, true challenges. But we’re just going to talk about more just inspiring motivation, things that you can focus on.

[00:10:41.530] – Chris

And a really big step to taking that first initiative is to find your “why.” This is going to be different for different people and it’s going to take a little bit of self probing, self questioning. So when you ask yourself, why are you embarking on this journey, you might come back and say something like, “Well, I really want to lose 30 pounds.” OK, well, why? “Well, you know, I really want to be there for my grandkids.” Well, why? “Well, I want to be a good example for them, and at this time I can’t even bend over and pick up a pencil.” So, you know, you just gotta keep asking yourself that question, “Why.” Get to the bottom of what’s what’s really going to make you stick to this, give yourself some encouragement so that you can, you know, just figure out what’s going to motivate you.

[00:11:41.670] – Chris

And then from there, you have to do the hard thing. And when I say this, I mean a couple of different things. First of all, you’re going to have to deal with some hard feelings that you have. A lot of a lot of eating habits and and physical habits are stemmed off of psychological issues that maybe you’re battling. So sometimes this is an obvious thing for people like maybe you’ve gone through a divorce


recently, maybe you’ve had a death of a loved one or a dear friend. These are things that can make it really, really hard for us to focus on our health. And you can lose track of yourself.

[00:12:11.920] – Chris

The second part of doing the hard thing is once you’ve identified why this is important to you, you have to just be willing to make some sacrifices because there comes a point when staying the same is more painful than changing. And change is really uncomfortable for everybody. Just being a human, that’s our trait where we don’t like change. So you have to really just do the hard things, suck it up. You’re going to have to do some things that you don’t want to and get over it. There’s no way to cookie sprinkle that sorry. And then, the biggest thing I’m going to talk about here is making one small change at a time. And this is really important for the reasons of sticking to it and adhering.

[00:13:00.630] – Chris

When I see, when I hear a lot of people embarking on a new effort to get healthy and then they quit, most of the time it’s because you make a decision to change something and then you pick these parameters that are just way too hard. You try to pull a complete 180, you try to go balls to the wall and you end up maybe doing it OK for a couple of weeks and then you crash. So if you try to make one small change at a time and stay consistent, you’re going to be a lot more successful. And that’s something that I’m going to be preaching throughout this slideshow.

[00:13:46.270] – Chris

So next, we’re going to talk about the pillars of success. These are the items that I’m going to cover briefly today. There’s a lot to go over. So we’re just going to skim the surface on a lot of different areas.

[00:13:57.620] – Chris

And these are in no particular order, number one water intake. Number two, sleep. Number three, stress management. Number four, exercise and daily movement. And number five, nutrition and eating behaviors.

[00:14:20.110] – Chris

So getting into water intake. Water intake is one of the first goals that I work with, with my clients to just start doing. I think people know about it, but it really gets brushed under the rug a bit. Water is a natural detox. It really does support your liver, kidneys and bowel function. Helps you focus and boosts your mood. Powers athletic performance and clears out lactic acid so your muscles can do more. And what most people are interested in is that it definitely supports weight loss. It is scientifically evident that water helps you lose weight. A lot of times when people think they’re hungry, they’re really just thirsty. And when you bring all of these benefits of water into your body that’s listed here, it’s really going to do magical things for you. So if you do anything starting today, it’s I encourage you to just drink a little bit more water.

[00:15:28.580] – Chris

Now, the old standard for water consumption is eight cups a day, and that’s sixty four ounces roughly. Now in today’s standard, this is adequate. This is like baseline. And we all want to be better than adequate. So maybe this is a big steep goal for you. Maybe currently you’re drinking one 16 ounce water bottle a day, and sixty four ounces sounds crazy. If that’s the case, sixty four ounces is a great target to shoot for to start. If you’re already above that, that’s awesome. Current studies now are recommending ninety one ounces ranging to one twenty five ounces, and the range is really because everybody is different. You know, gender plays a role. Your composition, plays a role. And your activity plays a role. So if you’re a really big person that’s super athletic and in the heat all the time, you definitely want to be targeting a full gallon a day. And like I said before, if you’re nowhere near that, don’t just try to go out of the shooting line and drinking a gallon of water. It’s going to be terrible.

You’re going to be peeing all day. It’s going to be uncomfortable and you might give up. So go up in steps. I’d recommend 10 ounces a day until you get to where you want to be. And that might take some time. That might take a few months.

[00:16:55.470] – Chris


Next up, we have sleep. Sleep is another thing that people know about, but really don’t focus on it. Over time, lack of sleep, which is anything less than six hours on average, can change how your body processes blood sugar and how your body regulates hormones that control hunger and appetite. So the sweet spot that you want to shoot for on average is seven to nine hours per night. And really, if you hit eight hours per night, eight to nine hours per night, you’re really going to see success in managing your weight as opposed to being under slept.

[00:17:41.740] – Chris

So what you want to do is create a sleep routine, and this is this is going to be very helpful. In your RV, some things that you can do is make it black. A lot of the newer RVs are coming with blackout curtains so that you can get a true black out effect. If you don’t have blackout curtains, maybe upgrade what you have and swap it out with some blackout curtains. It’s a easy DIY that you can do for a hundred bucks or so.

[00:18:14.620] – Chris

Another good idea is getting the sleeping masks. And that’s what I personally do. I am addicted to sleeping masks. I have multiple on board. And it’s really, really helpful for when you’re at an RV park or like a Walmart or a Cracker Barrel where security lights are just blasting into your windows.

[00:18:37.420] – Chris

Keeping a cooler temperature is going to make it more comfortable to sleep. So 67 degrees is really comfortable to sleep in.

[00:18:47.170] – Chris

Make sure that you’re not wearing tight clothing. If you can wear loose clothing or even better sleep naked, you’re going to sleep more comfortably.

[00:18:56.860] – Chris

Limit your alcohol and caffeine. Get some good exercise in. And remember that last slide when I told you to drink a gallon water a day, make sure you cut that off and taper that in the afternoon because the last thing you want to be doing is getting up four times a night to pee. So try to time all that the best you can.

[00:19:16.000] – Chris

Another thing you can do is turn off electronics, anything that emits blue lights like your cell phone or a laptop, if you can turn that off one hour to two hours before you go to bed and instead do some meditating or some reading that’s going to help you out.

[00:19:35.130] – Chris

But the bottom line is sleeping well can help your body regulate metabolism, regulate food cravings, and it will help you make better decisions about what and when to eat.

[00:19:49.570] – Chris

Next up, we have stress management. Now in life, there are good stress and there’s bad stress. And there’s a mix. You need a little bit of stress in your life so that you are stimulated, because if you have too little of stress in your life, you’re going to become a little lethargic, a little bored. You might be unfocused, directionless, purposeless. And also on the flip side, too much stress, it can be it can cause you to be anxious, obsessive, depressed again, panicked, stuck. And I think we’ve all experienced a little bit of both of those at some point in our life, and you can relate to what both ends of the spectrum are. So the goal is to find the sweet spot in the middle where you have just enough going on to keep you engaged and stimulated, but not so much that you’re overwhelmed.

[00:20:47.500] – Chris

So on the low end, if you’re trying to find some inspiration, you know, you want to set effective goals, start with one action per day. Track your progress. Spend time with a mentor or a coach. So when you’re goal setting, it’s really important to have goals in your life at all times. And the key to goal setting is you don’t just pick one big outcome and then just hope to land on it, because chances are


you won’t. What you need to do is break that big goal up into monthly goals and then into weekly goals and then finally into daily goals. And when you focus on your daily activities and you continue to hit your daily activities consistently, that’s when you’re really going to blow yourself away because you’re going to start to make progress. And if you focus on those behaviors rather than the outcome, you’re going to just feel so much more inspired and motivated to keep going.

[00:21:51.540] – Chris

Now, if you do find yourself on the other end of the spectrum where you’re just feeling bad stress, too much stress, overwhelmed, then you need to focus on some rest and recovery items. So practicing parasympathetic activities, your parasympathetic system is your nervous system that’s responsible for resting and digesting. So some examples of parasympathetic activities might be walking outside, getting some sunshine, enjoying nature, getting a massage, having sex, laughing, snuggling, meditation. They’re low energy events that just make you more relaxed.

[00:22:37.090] – Chris

So I mentioned meditation, that is a big one that people have great success with. Getting outside, getting fresh air. A balanced exercise routine. And practice self compassion. Self compassion is a huge thing that I really, really love to focus on with people because it’s so easy to pick on yourself and to pick out your flaws and to identify all the things that you’re doing wrong or where you’re falling short. And, you know, that really doesn’t do anything for you. I highly encourage you to flip that mindset around and start picking out the things that you’re doing good. And if you can say one thing that you’re doing now that you weren’t doing last week, that’s a huge pat on your back. Like, for example, those of you that are listening to this and you’re on here, that’s something that is worth rewarding yourself for because you’re taking time to learn a little bit more about how you can implement things into your life.

[00:23:40.730] – Chris

Working on your mindset and worrying about controlling the things you can control and don’t let the things that you can’t control bother you. I know that this put a lot of us to the test in twenty twenty as it was a tough year for a lot of us. And it comes to a point where you just got to realize, like, can I control this and is it worth me stressing out? No. So sometimes you just have to pick and choose your battles.

[00:24:10.940] – Chris

On to fitness. So here we have a beautiful photo of me working out while boondocking at the Badlands. And when you think about RVing, this is something that you think about, you think about being in these remote, beautiful places off grid. And then reality sets in and you’re here. What this picture doesn’t show you is it’s 90 degrees outside with a crazy humidity. There’s cow poop everywhere around me. There’s black flies everywhere around me on my legs biting me. There’s mice nearby in the van, potentially. I don’t know. Snakes, we saw some of those. And with all this heat, I don’t even have enough water to shower as I would desire to. So these are the realities of being out boondocking. And it’s tough, there’s no way around it, so you might think, well, maybe it’s going to be more controlled in an RV park. But in reality, here’s the nice RV park that no joke septic waste system exploded in our yard and not all RV parks are like this. Obviously, this is an extreme example, but it is an example of how even in a controlled environment, things aren’t going to be as controlled as what you would like them to be. So you just really have to learn how to be flexible and you have to learn how to stay consistent, even though you’re given these situations that aren’t ideal.

[00:25:53.300] – Chris

And again, with the fitness. I encourage you to make incremental changes. So, you know, we talk about all these things that are going on, drinking water. Making incremental changes, what should your fitness program look like? This might be a big, big question for a lot of you here. And my answer is, it depends. It depends on your goals, it depends on your current condition, it depends on your history, depends on a lot. So I’m not the type of a coach to just throw out a cookie cutter thing towards anybody. I do think every fitness program should be a little bit personalized. So generally speaking, your main goals should be get your heart rate up, build muscle, increase your calorie burn. And in order to focus on these goals, you’ll want to have a mix of cardio, strength training, and


balance and flexibility. So I know that’s super vague. But, if you focus on those things, generally speaking, cardio, strength training, balance, and flexibility, you will have a well-rounded fitness program.

[00:27:09.760] – Chris

Now, the days of week that might that might change per person. Maybe as you get started, you know, you start one day a week or maybe you start walking ten minutes a day every single day. Pick something small, pick something that you can 90 percent commit to every day and do it. If you bite off something that’s way too big, like you want to do seven days a week just hammering your body, it might sound like something you want to do, but can you actually do that consistently, safely?

Probably not. Not getting started anyway. So I really encourage you to just start small and pick things off one at a time.

[00:27:55.970] – Chris

Daily movement is a huge part of that, where we talk about just burning calories and getting some cardio in. And here I am at Bryce Canyon, one of the most arguably one of the most national parks in the country. This is another expectation as we get into RVing is, “Oh, I’m going to be hiking and I’m going to be doing all these beautiful places.” Well. In reality, you’re going to be stuck in the rain a lot of the time at a park somewhere that’s not beautiful, somewhere that’s not super motivating to go outside. And this is when things get real. When you’re sitting in your RV and it’s raining or hot or miserable and you’re just not wanting to go out there. So this is when you really got to pull inside of yourself and get that umbrella out, you’re not going to melt. Get your raincoat out. Get up early. Layer up, bundle up. And if you’re in somewhere with inclement weather where it’s cold in the morning or cold at night or hot, you got to adjust and be a little bit flexible so that you can still revolve your schedule around hitting your goals. Now, obviously, some people have jobs that they need to clock in to at certain times, it’s not always feasible, but you do the best you can with what you have.

[00:29:16.800] – Chris

And honestly, you’re going to know if you’re doing the best that you can versus if you’re putting out excuses all the time. You’re not serving anybody. You’re certainly not serving yourself. And you’re the only person that’s going to know that if you’re putting in the best effort that you can. So take those extra steps at the beginning when I talked about doing what’s hard, this is one of those things you got to do what’s hard.

[00:29:42.930] – Chris

When Aaron and I were in Minnesota. Before we got into the RV, the weather in Minnesota gets very cold and in the winter we got up and we bundled up and we walked every single Saturday for four miles. And we took a lot of pride in that. We did not miss one weekend. And if you can get into the habit and just do it, it’s a lot easier than what you think. So just start it out and maintain it. And it’s a lot easier than falling off and jumping back in. Don’t wait for the perfect weather because it’s never going to happen.

[00:30:19.810] – Chris

Next up, I’m going to talk about resistance training, which is my little baby. I love resistance training, and I really do love to work with beginners, people that have never done any type of resistance training in their life. And I really want to break any type of intimidation or stigmas behind resistance training, because particularly women think that resistance training is going to make them bulky or, you know, like bigger. And that’s just not the case at all. And the truth is that resistance training burns more fat than cardio does. When you train resistance training, you’re increasing your lean muscle mass and your resting metabolic rate increases. So what this means is after your workout, your metabolism is on fire. And even while you’re sleeping, you’re going to be burning more calories versus if you just would have gone on a run alone.

[00:31:25.040] – Chris

Resistance training will improve your cardio function, such as blood pressure, triglyceride levels and HDL benefits. It does reduce your cancer risk. It lowers your injury risks. Things like trips and falls for older people. Improved mental health, the depression and anxiety. Improved flexibility and mobility.


Stronger bones, preventing osteoporosis, things like that. So with all of these benefits of resistance training, science is now leading and showing evidence that it is more effective for weight loss. So I do meet a lot of people who feel they can’t start a resistance training program until they’ve lost 20 pounds or 30 pounds or 40 pounds or whatever that number is in their head. People are a little bit shy about it. They feel like they need to do cardio first and then do resistance training. And that is just so completely backwards. So if you’re one of the people that that believes that they’re not capable of resistance training or that you believe you need to lose weight before you resistant strain, I can’t stress enough how much I just urge you to change that mindset and give it a shot, because if you’ve been busting your butt for years and years and years trying to do cardio and you’re not getting the results that you want, that’s a really good sign that something’s got to change because what you’re doing isn’t working. So this is really if if I could be successful in one thing today, it’s to encourage you guys to pick up some weights or resistance bands or whatever it is that you have and incorporate some resistance training into your life.

[00:33:11.860] – Chris

Which brings up a good point, “How do you find the right equipment for you and your rig”? So you can see here’s Aaron in my van in front and center. This is our little setup that we use. We just use Sieger Sand-Free Mat to create a little pad for us and then we use a yoga mat. We don’t always use the yoga mat, but if we’re going down on the ground, I’ll throw it out. And we do use resistance bands. We have gone through all sorts of equipment the past couple of years to to really like test out what works best for RVers and what works best in inconsistent locations and small spaces. And for us, this is what we settled on. We absolutely love them. Now, in this photo, you can see there are some big rigs behind us. There’s a beautiful bus and a beautiful fifth wheel. If you’re in one of those situations, you have a little bit more of an advantage where you can store more on board and you can actually do workouts inside. And while we were at our friend’s house on this trip, I was particularly jealous of the ability for them to do that. But each rig has their advantages and you just need to accept yours for what it is and use it the best way that you can.

[00:34:33.920] – Chris

So here are some examples of some of the fitness equipment that we’ve dabbled with in the past two years. On the far left, we have Liebert fitness equalizer bars. These are really, really great for using your body weight. They’re really great for balancing and stability and supporting you. So if you are overweight and you have trouble doing squats, it’s a lot of work on the knees, in the joints. Maybe you’re older and you need to focus on balance work. These Leibert bars are a really great tool to help you safely train for stability and balance. But not only that, they you can do some really awesome calisthenics on these things and super athletic moves, so they really are multifunctional.

[00:35:23.720] – Chris

In the center photo, on the left of the photo, we have adjustable dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells are the bread and butter. They’re king, they’re going to help you do anything that you want to do. They are really, really great at progressive overload and they are simple, they’re classic, they’re successful, they just work. If you have the money and the space for dumbells, I would say get some dumbbells.

[00:35:52.470] – Chris

To the right of that still in the center photo, you see some resistance bands with handles. Now, these out of everything that you see on my screen right now, these are my least favorite piece of equipment that’s shown. And the reason is I just have a hard time getting a good tension on them. I find that tension is very limited and the movements aren’t as diverse. The one advantage that I will give them is because there’s a handle on them, they’re a little bit easier to do pushing and pulling movements with them.

[00:36:30.030] – Chris

But I would steer you if you’re going to do resistance bands, I would steer you to the ones that you see on the far right, the orange bands. Those are a loop style band. And why I really like those, because you can adjust the tension just by changing your handle, so even if you’re just using one band, you change your grip and the resistance is going to change a ton. You can increase it, decrease it, right on the go. These bands on the right, these are what we currently use. It’s our top choice for us being in a


van in a Class B because the entire kit comes in at I think it’s like six inches by 12 inches and under four pounds. It’s really amazing. So if you have any specific questions on anything, I know we’re going to get to Q&A on here, but feel free to email me. I do have some discount codes for a lot of the equipment you see, if you’re interested in learning more, what’s right for you, definitely reach out to me. I’m so happy to help people just get the right piece of equipment so that they can feel confident in what they’re doing. So it’s IreneIronFitness@gmail.com.

[00:37:47.600] – Chris

Next up in fitness is create an accountability layer. I don’t know if you guys can recognize Denny and Veronica here on the slide show, but Denny and Veronica are the first people that Aaron and I met on the road. We were two months into RVing and we ran into Denny and Veronica in Florida and it was great. The best thing about the RV community is the community and the people, the people that you meet and you just find your family on the road. Denny and Veronica introduced us to Xscapers, and they’re the best. Getting a little mushy here, but the point is find people that encourage you and lift you up and you can do whatever it takes to motivate yourself. So in this case, a couple of years ago, we actually planned the work out dates with each other. And we met up at the park every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at eight a.m. before the Florida heat kicked our butt. And we had fun. You can see we had fun in this picture.

[00:38:51.320] – Chris

Now, I know with Covid it’s a little different. Some people are meeting up, some people aren’t. Whatever your belief is, that’s your prerogative. If you’re not into meeting up with people, use text messaging, use just a buddy system that’s virtual. You can hire an online coach such as myself, you can get a free app, you can do apps and have friends. Like there’s tons of free apps out there, you don’t need to spend a dime in order to have some accountability layers. You can send sweaty selfie pictures to your buddies, like just come up with some fun ways that, you know, will encourage you to show up that day. Facebook groups, that’s another one.

[00:39:41.370] – Chris

All right, now onto nutrition. Nutrition is the most talked about and the most confusing aspect of health. And it’s really sad there’s so many diets out there and so many fad diets, so many quick fixes, magic pills, that’s what everybody gravitates towards. And I can’t stress enough how much I encourage you to not gravitate towards that. You really just got to you got to get used to the idea that you’re not in this for a quick fix. You are in this for the rest of your life. It’s a lifestyle. You want to feel good and you want it to be something that you enjoy doing. So there are certain diet approaches that help people achieve their goals. So I’m not saying don’t experiment. I’m not saying don’t try out different approaches because there definitely is pros and cons to things. You might find something that really works for you. But generally speaking, if you’re on something that’s super restrictive and really, really tough to manage, you’re going to fall off. And even if you are successful and you lose weight, the pounds will come back on and you’re going to be in worse shape than when you started. So I can’t stress that enough.

[00:40:57.710] – Chris

What I do encourage, especially as you’re just getting started, is spend some time practicing how you’re eating before you change what you’re eating, and this is another thing that I practice with all of my clients. I spent a good six weeks on how you’re eating. So talk about paying attention to eating slowly, eating mindfully. Are you eating because you’re hungry or are you eating because you’re bored? Are you anxious? Are you angry? Are you lonely? Being lonely is a big thing on the road. You’re bored, you’re lonely. You’ve been sitting inside, it’s raining out and it’s hot and you’re just going to eat. And that’s the reality of it. So you’ve got to do that hard thing. You’ve got to have that talk to yourself and really figure out what is going on in that head of yours.

[00:41:45.170] – Chris

And even if you do, you don’t have to eat the perfect foods. If you can if you can come to terms about your fullness cues and your hunger cues and you can stop eating before you’re gorged, that’s going to be a really, really big first step, so that you can make positive changes in your eating habits without even changing what you’re eating at all. And that’s a big first step to master. And it’s tough and it


takes practice, but it’s so rewarding and it really does help your relationship with food. So in summary, find what works for you. And kind of like the fitness slides, like I can’t come on to here and give you a generic eating plan because everybody is so unique. Everybody is so different. But what I can say for those that really just want some sort of guideline, I would give this as a generic recommendation where you really want to focus your plate on plants. I can’t stress enough how much plants are important. So I’m talking about your fibrous vegetables, your fruits and other starchy vegetables, too. You really want this to be the majority of what you’re eating. And lean protein. Lean protein is so important. I stress protein all the time. I do have a blog with recipes where I focus primarily on protein sources because that’s where people get bored and they struggle. It’s really easy to pair your favorite carbs and your favorite fats into your protein. So go check out my blog. If you need some ideas, pair it up with your favorite veggies, your favorite starches and your fats and really just focus on building the perfect plate like this. Now, this is tough to obtain, especially if you’re just starting out from a really processed diet. This is where you really do want to take those incremental steps. Don’t try to do a complete overhaul of your plate. I recommend first adding in a lean source of protein at every single meal. Don’t worry about what the rest of your plate looks like, but start with a protein source. Once you have that down, ok, next, add in your veggies. Once you have that down, let’s look at your portion sizes and go from there. So slowly build it so that it’s manageable. You’re enjoying it. You’re seeing changes and you’re making slow changes with time. And that is my big closing on nutrition. I know nutrition is the biggest and most complicated. However, it really doesn’t need to be. You just got to focus on eating the right amounts of minimally processed foods and don’t try to overcomplicate it with a label or a diet or a fad.


[00:44:37.200] – Chris

So progress, not perfection, that’s a big, big quote, I say it all the time because I truly believe in it. Right here on the photo, you see a delicious looking burger. Looks homemade to me. And that’s the number one thing I can recommend to, is start cooking at home. You don’t have to be cooking broccoli and chicken. You don’t have to be eating boring, like, gag-me food. You can start cooking things that you like, even cooking burgers and fries at home is going to be a big step from going out and getting it at a restaurant. So this is a perfect example of an incremental change where rather than having a burger at the bar with, you know, a margarita, maybe you have a homemade burger and fries at home with some other drink. And maybe instead of having five alcoholic drinks, you have three, you know, like scaling it back, scaling it back based on what your current numbers are, because not everybody is going out to restaurants. Not everybody is going out and drinking all the time. But that’s why it’s so individual that when you’re looking at where you’re starting at, you need to look at what your current numbers are and what’s your baseline for improvement.

[00:45:58.120] – Chris

Meal prepping is a huge thing that I can’t promote enough if you have even just having some lean protein in your fridge when you’re hungry and you’re tired and it’s time to put a meal together, you can at least grab some protein, grab some vegetables and whip up a stir fry in a matter of ten minutes. So you cook your food when you’re in the mood, you get your food prepped up, you have stuff in your fridge that’s ready to go. And then when you’re hungry, you just put it all together.

[00:46:30.280] – Chris

And find balance. That is important to find balance, so when you’re when you’re embarking on your journey with fitness specifically, you got to put in some treat days, have some experience meals, whether it’s by yourself or with your partner, some friends. I like to recommend one day a week, one meal a week. Really just something to look forward to because if you’re really just bustin’ butt all week long, you’re working hard, you’re working out, you’re eating really, really good, it is nice to have that reward at the end of the week where it’s just a mental relief and it keeps you on track. Sometimes if you don’t have that mental reward at the end of the week, you might not make it a whole week. So it really is a tool to help pull you further.

[00:47:18.790] – Chris

And we’re going to open it up for questions now, that’s all I have on the slides. Our time’s going quickly.


[00:47:26.070] – Kerensa

Welcome back and thank you for the presentation. It was wonderful. So how many of you guys are going to make some incremental changes now and start working towards a little bit healthier lifestyle? But remember she said incremental changes, we don’t have to go overnight and ruin ourselves.

[00:47:44.580] – Chris

That’s right.

[00:47:45.690] – Kerensa

That’s right.

[00:47:48.380] – Kerensa

Sorry, guys. I see that, can’t hear me. Yeah, I was trying to stay quiet during the presentation and forgot to turn myself back on. We did have a question from Sara Kennedy. She was wondering about the water consumption, if any non-alcoholic liquid counts or does it have to be water?

[00:48:06.660] – Chris

You can count it, you can count non-alcoholic, like coffee and tea. I do encourage you to drink calorie free beverages. So if you are drinking pop, I wouldn’t count that. If you’re drinking like a Frappuccino or something, I wouldn’t count that. I would really look at it as like seltzer water’s great. Green tea is great. Black coffee. Things like that you can count towards that water.

[00:48:34.950] – Kerensa

Good to know. Yeah, I I drink a lot of tea, but I actually have been trying to cut back and drink more water so that I’m not always having caffeine.

[00:48:46.450] – Chris


[00:48:47.090] – Kerensa

Yeah. Oh, good. And anybody else have any questions? Like I think everybody was pretty riveted during your presentation and you gave a lot of information. So I think it did cover a lot of bases, I believe.

[00:49:04.350] – Chris

It did, yeah.

[00:49:05.060] – Kerensa

It was all great information. And I, I’d love to see you guys come back into the groups too and let us know what you’re doing and and what you’ve changed and what you’d like.

[00:49:20.760] – Kerensa

More water is everybody started working out and all that stuff where we can all help each other because you talked about groups and hey, we’re all on the road together. We understand it. We know that’s just the lifestyle. So if people want to be want to get in touch with you, I know you had some stuff up there. How can we do that? How can they get ahold of you?

[00:49:45.850] – Chris

The best way, I think is email IreneIronFitness@gmail.com. Hey, that’s the best. But we are on all social platforms, so we are Irene Iron Fitness at Instagram, Facebook or on YouTube. If you want to see some of the recipes, we have all of those on YouTube and our blog and our blog is www.ireneironfitness.com. So basically it’s Irene Iron Fitness at everything.

[00:50:18.090] – Kerensa

At everything. Yes. Makes it easy to follow along, right?


[00:50:22.830] – Chris

For sure.

[00:50:24.810] – Kerensa

Looks like we do have a one other question here from Kelly. And how far from the time to go to bed should you stop drinking water? Getting up in the middle of the night is driving her crazy.

[00:50:39.240] – Chris

That’s the question. I personally try to cut off heavy drinking at like 2:00 in the afternoon. Now, of course, I still like to have some water with dinner, so I’m not going completely dry. But I’m talking I’m not guzzling water after like one to three p.m. That’s where I really start to monitor it and then just know that any time you’re drinking at night, it’s really it has the potential to sneak up on you. So play around with it. If you’re just having drinks with your dinner right now currently and you’re having that problem, start scaling it back incrementally, see if that helps. You don’t have to give it all up and go dry after lunch. So just try scaling it back and see what works for you. Certain days are going to be different than other days, too, depending on how much you might be sweating, how hot it is, how much salt you’ve had, things like that. So every day is going to be a little bit different.

[00:51:40.350] – Kerensa

All right. And there was another question from David Bennett, and he asks about any substitute for starches.

[00:51:51.240] – Chris

Well, in this case, I would like to have a more personal discussion with David on why he feels he needs to substitute starches. Maybe if he’s asking on how do you scale it back, like maybe you’re eating a lot of starches and you want to eat less starches, then I would definitely add in your fibrous vegetables, broccoli, zucchini, squash, things like that. Obviously, cauliflower was like the most popular vegetable in the past three years. Is it as satisfying as rice? No. But I would really, really like to ask David why.

Because that’s going to help the conversation direct a little bit better. But I would just go for starchy fibrous vegetables. Get your greens in.

[00:52:41.640] – Kerensa

Get your greens. Help fill you up that way.

[00:52:44.730] – Chris


[00:52:46.680] – Kerensa

Sounds good. Oh, and Kelly was curious where the Irene came from for Irene Iron Fitness.

[00:52:55.650] – Chris

Yeah. So my middle name is Irene. My name is Christine Irene. And my grandmother’s name is Irene. And my great grandmother also has the name Irene. So it’s a family. It’s a family name. I wanted to pay homage to the strong women in my life.

[00:53:12.600] – Kerensa

Very nice. That’s a great honour for them, I think.

[00:53:17.430] – Chris


[00:53:19.300] – Kerensa

That’s wonderful. Well, it looks like it’s pretty quiet now and. And like I said, I think everybody is pretty riveted during your presentation. You did cover a lot of bases and I’m excited to… Got some of those down, but some of it I got to get back into things like that. I’m excited to put some of this into practice and see what happens.


[00:53:42.030] – Chris

And that’s the thing that’s got to keep practicing because it’s not going to be easy all the time. And you just got to be compassionate towards yourself and keep on track.

[00:53:51.390] – Kerensa

Fantastic. Well, one more question popped in here, they want to know your feeling because you talked about social hours happy hours a lot. So what’s your favorite healthy social hour snack?

[00:54:06.190] – Chris

That’s an easy one. It’s definitely a three to one ribs.

[00:54:10.770] – Kerensa

Three to one ribs?

[00:54:13.020] – Chris

Yes. Oh, healthy, though. Well, what’s my favorite healthy social hour snack? Hummus is always good hummus, vegetables. For alcohol, I really am a big fan of red wine, specifically for happy hours, because you can sip it slowly. If you’re at a happy hour and you’re drinking, something on ice.

Anything on ice or anything that’s cool, you’re going to automatically feel pressured to drink it faster. So I love wine because you can nurse it all night long.

[00:54:51.110] – Kerensa

That’s that’s a good tip.

[00:54:54.120] – Chris

Red wine specifically because white wine can have that same effect on a hot summer day where you just want to drink it kind of fast.

[00:55:02.220] – Kerensa

Good to know. Interesting. I like that tip is something you think about all the time, but yeah, you can nurse it. Makes it a little easier. That’s fantastic. Well, thank you so much. We appreciate you being here and helping us out with our RV lives and we’ll help you change it.

[00:55:24.390] – Kerensa

So we look forward to being together again and seeing you at some convergences and other events in the future. And hopefully this year. Cross our fingers everyone. So we’ll see you down the road and we’ll see all of you down the road and tune in next month for another webinar. And remember, we also have the virtual campfires every month also.

[00:55:52.860] – Kerensa

So fantastic. And we’ll see you all later.

[00:55:57.510] – Chris

Bye! Thank you.