Late in August, our family loaded up the truck and moved our daughter Chelsea to Halifax. The plan was to take our time and enjoy the nearly 1,200-mile drive to Canada’s beautiful East Coast. It was time to send our youngest to university, and that meant a U-Haul being towed behind the big, white truck. Between the walls of boxes and bags, and the innumerable decisions that needed to be made, a worry began to creep into my mind. We were going to be on the road for seven days – how was I going to eat, keep it clean and still be ready for my fitness responsibilities after the dust settled? This was going to take a lot of planning, and I hadn’t given myself much time.
The last few boxes were being stuffed into the U-Haul. From my position in the front hallway, I could see Bob kicking the tires, inspecting our chariot. I still had time to put a few things in my cooler so that I wouldn’t be a total blob when I came home. I opened the cooler and tossed in the boiled eggs – I boiled a dozen that morning – baggies of oats, nuts, flaxseed, new fall apples, Greek yogurt, plenty of water and, finally, a small jar of raw almond butter. Then, I also remembered my beautiful tomatoes and cucumbers, which I had just picked from my garden. Planning for good nutrition – no matter where you are –needs to be as automatic as packing your underwear.
Mile after mile slipped underneath the wheels of our cumbersome vehicle, and before long, my stomach reminded me it was time to feed my metabolic machine. With my cooler on hand, it was easy to fill up on raw almonds and an apple, along with some much-needed water.
In seven hours, we had left Ontario behind and were lumbering into another mega city: Montreal. Our little hotel was located in Old Montreal, and we gratefully accepted a fresh glass of water from the concierge. Kelsey-Lynn is our resident foodie, and she had looked up a number of restaurants where we could very likely order clean fare. Montreal has a reputation for fabulous restaurants, a lively nightlife and wonderful architecture. Dinner was to be at 8:00 p.m., so Bob and I bolted to the gym while Kelsey and Chelsea rested and showered. It was one of the smallest gyms I have ever seen – there was barely room to move, let alone press a few weights over our shoulders, but we had travelled so much and needed to move our bodies so badly that we made the best of it. Our delts, lats and abs received a thorough workout, and we went off to dinner at L’Académie feeling a lot better. The fish and greens I had for dinner followed up one good decision with another.
We spent the next day touring Old Montreal, starting with a delish breakfast and latte at a little eatery around the corner from our hotel. We trooped around the city all day, visiting the Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibit, window shopping at Holt Renfrew and numerous cute shops such as Espace Pepin.
Knowing that we were driving the bulk of our distance the next day, Bob and I made sure to work out again, giving the remainder of our bodies a heavy workout. Legs were a challenge because there was no equipment, but lunges did the trick, with dumbbells in our hands for extra resistance. Afterwards, we enjoyed one of our last few meals together with the girls at Chuck Hughes’ new restaurant, Le Bremner. Chuck is a Montreal-based Food Network Canada star who serves up home cooking with stylish flair. His new digs had only been open for a few weeks, and already it was a star. We loved the spicy bass with edamame, rapini with chopped eggs and raw albacore tuna. They were stellar.
The alarm went off at 6:00 a.m., and it was time to hit the road to Halifax. The inevitable end of the road was upon us, and it lay over 600 miles eastward. The four of us took turns driving through the spectacular countryside. Between long stints of driving and rest stops, we eventually saw the city lights of Chelsea’s new home on the horizon.
When the day came to move Chelsea into residence, I found myself wondering what other parents did when they weren’t in shape or well-nourished. Because we couldn’t park our large beast near the residence building, we had to walk up the street with boxes and bags. I was definitely sweating but I felt good being able to help and be so physical. Remember, I am always listening.
Sitting in the car for hours on end can be tough on your legs. When you’re at the many rest stops along the way, instead of trying to fight the temptation of a donut, do a little jog around the parking lot (watch out for cars, of course). Your restless legs will thank you.
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