Travel & Train Hard Series 4: Core to Go

Keep your summer body looking and feeling its best wherever you go! It is possible to have fun while staying conscious of your fitness goals by incorporating an effective program that allows you to travel and train along the way.


This blog series is special to me because it includes my two favorite things that I am most passionate about in life, traveling and obviously fitness. I have a lot of experience and knowledge to share with those of you who share these loves too. Learning how others make it happen can spark a flame to do the same. It is my hope and goal to share my experiences so that you get inspired to keep your health on track while enjoying the beautiful world we live in.


During this blog, I will discuss the importance of choosing foods and drinks wisely when away. It’s not about staying on a specific diet. That’s no fun! However, it’s more about taking in a balance of good verses bad foods/ drinks and incorporating daily activity to balance out your system.



Staying active while traveling is half of the equation and eating the right food is the other! In fact, what you eat or drink is what effects how you feel, look, and even process information. This is common knowledge; however, it’s often overlooked especially when on vacation.


Diet and exercise goes hand in hand. Therefore, just because you workout one day doesn’t mean you can eat unlimited amounts of cake, gelato and pizza everyday!

If you’re adding frosty beverages (alcohol) to the mix, forget about it!  It will eventually catch up with you.


For example, did you ever eat a big serving of french fries or a delicious chocolaty desert stacked with ice cream and it went down so smoothly! No issues or guilt at all! You may have felt fine the next few days … but then something happens about a week later. You wake feeling tired, bloated, thick, and maybe even heavier. There may even be evidence of some ‘extra fluff’ stuck around your waistline or hips. Well, this is when what you ate stays stored in your body (somehow) and shows up to haunt you a week later! Not cool right?? So how do you prevent this from occurring while still enjoying the experience?


Here are 9 essential tips on staying healthy and enjoying the moment when your away from home:


Choose Foods Wisely

Food is essential to life and plays a large part in an experience. Enjoy the local cuisine but don’t let it derail your day. Supplement your naughty eats with some healthier treats to balance it out. This can take some discipline, but take the time to stay focused on getting proper nutrition as often as possible. Be on the lookout for healthy travel snacks.  It’s not always possible, but ensure that eating good foods is your rule, not a luxury.


Some great options may include:

  • Unsalted nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts)
  • Fresh or dried, unsugared fruit (can be found at a local vender or market)
  • Raw vegetables (yes, this can be a great option! Filling too)
  • Green juices (often places have local stands you can grab a fresh juice)
  • Celery and nut butter (there are convenient individual packets you can take with you!)
  • Coconut water (depending on your location, a whole fresh coconut may be available!)


Pack Healthy Snacks

It’s great to try local foods when you travel, however, sometimes it’s not easy to find a healthy snack when you need one! Plan ahead by packing some favorite snacks such as a trail mix, bars, or even a few scoops of protein powder to shake up and drink. It’s nice to have healthy options at your disposal when you need a little fuel!


Stay Hydrated

Hydration is key to feeling optimal. Beside replenishing your body at the cellular level, it also helps cleanse your insides from toxins, insures clear thoughts, provides energy, rids inflammation, and fuels your skin.


Find the ‘good’/ ‘bad’ balance

Traveling for pleasure often means giving yourself some leeway to enjoy things you don’t get to do, see, or eat every day.  So, allow yourself the pleasure to enjoy some fun, but consider your options to keep your body in balance. For instance, to avoid foods that you know are really bad for you, look for grilled options over fried, or plain desserts over desserts covered in sugars and icings.


Drink Responsibly

Having a refreshing cocktail at sunset can be so special. Whether you enjoy wine, champagne, beer, or a mixed sunset surprise, you can still embrace the moment and enjoy a taste of what you like. But a nice trick to keep those empty calories in moderation is follow each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. You’ll find that water will keep you more nourished through the night and your body will thank you the next morning!


Clean Cocktails

Besides drinking responsibly, if you are one that favors a frozen daiquiri, a minty mojito, or a margarita on the rocks, these types of drinks are loaded with hidden calories due to the amounts of simple syrup and added sugar. Be aware of this when ordering seconds or when there’s a happy hour 2 for 1 special! A great alternative is to order a cocktail without, yes… without… the sugar! Honestly, it’s refreshing and can save you from a massive headache! My favorite go to drink is: start with a favorite tequila, add fresh lime, shake hard, and top with club soda!


Go Vegan

This may be challenging for some, others may already be vegan. Trying to change nutrition habits can be difficult when you’re surrounded by foods you typically eat at home. If you are on a tropical island where the main source of food is grown from the ground, this may be your ticket to try a vegan lifestyle for a while. It’s healthy, delicious, and it’s becoming easier to find vegan foods. Chances are, you will love the taste of real food prepared naturally and you may find yourself choosing more vegan alternatives when you return home.


Vitamins & Supplements

Traveling can be exhausting and steer you off your usual routines. If your diet lacks nutrients from certain foods, look into taking a safe supplement while traveling. This will ensure you keep your energy levels up, your body running like a machine, and your immune system firing on all levels. (ex: multivitamin, vitamin C packs, fiber, electrolytes)



Live a little and let loose! Enjoying yourself and your surroundings is part of taking care of your spirit. Traveling will change your life in many ways. Part of the process is experiencing the wonders of the world and letting go. So be sure to reward yourself with things that make you happy after a hard day’s adventuring.



Whether you’re lounging at the pool, laying on the beach, or hanging at a park, this core workout can be performed anywhere equipment free. The movements listed are similar to Total Gym exercises you may already know.



  • The exercises can be performed in circuit style, one exercise after the other with little to no rest in between or at your leisure!
  • Always begin your workout with a few mobility exercises to warm-up the spine and conclude with a few stretches to promote recovery.
  • Aim for 20 reps for one set, or 10 reps if you do multiple sets.
  • Exhale on the exertion and keep the core connection at all times.


Your workout could be as short as 5 minutes (one set) or longer (+sets) if you have more time. It’s really up to you but the goal is to be prepared and do something each day you’re away.


7 Core Exercises you can do anywhere


  • Place hands behind head, bend both knees, and place feet on the surface. Lift the torso up and half way down keeping the lower back on the surface.
  • Progress by lifting the legs to 90 degrees or extend them from more challenge.

Straight Leg Lifts

  • Lie supine on a towel, beach chair, on the sand, or ground. Extend the legs straight up and perpendicular to the ground.  Keep the legs straight as they lower towards the ground.  Once the lower back begins to lose contact with the floor, lift the legs back to the starting position.

Criss Cros

  • Lie supine. Prop up the torso onto the forearms with the weight resting on the lower spine (as above). Extend the legs straight at a diagonal from the hips. Begin to criss cross the legs as they move up and down.
  • Progress to lying supine with arms pressing into ground for support. Perform the same exercise keeping the back flat on the surface.

V-in’s +obliques

  • Lie supine. Prop up the torso onto the forearms with the weight resting on the lower spine. Keep chest lifted and shoulders away from ears.  In a small range of motion, pump the knees towards the chest keeping the feet and knees together.  Use the arms to slightly move your torso towards the knees.
  • Obliques- Remain in the same position as above but direct the knees angled towards each shoulder to work the waistline.
  • Exhale the breath to contract and draw in the abs.

V Roll Up

  • From a seated position with knees bent, lift feet off surface to balance on sits bones. Roll spine back while simultaneously extending the legs and arms in opposite directions.  Exhale breath and roll back to starting position.
  • Progress this exercise by keeping the legs straight as you roll back up.

Forearm Plank +swivels

  • Lie prone. Place the forearms parallel underneath the shoulders. Lift your body’s weight onto your forearms as you tuck the toes and lift the hips into plank.
  • Hold for a few seconds, or minutes keeping good form and core contracted.
  • Swivels-remain in the forearm plank. Dip the hips in an arc from side to side.

Back Extensions (+variations)

  • Lie prone. Squeeze the thighs together and keep the spine extended long.  Simultaneously lift the torso and legs into extension.  Hands can rest at forehead or extend arms out to sides.
  • Progress to alternating swimming.


Check out the video to see how these core exercises are performed.


Stay tuned for Travel & Train, Series 5 to learn a series of arm exercises that develop strength and definition using a portable resistance band.


Happy Travels.


Social Media: @groovysweat

Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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