Staying Fit and Healthy While RVing – Episode 6: RVing with Joe & Kait

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In this episode of the RVing with Joe & Kait podcast, fitness experts Rod and Risa share their insights on how to stay fit and healthy while RVing. They emphasize the importance of mindset, nutrition, hydration, and movement. They discuss the benefits of tracking food intake and steps, as well as the role of strength training and balance exercises. They also highlight the power of accountability and community support in maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling in an RV.

Their advice focuses on simplicity, enjoyment, and sustainability in order to live a healthy, long, and fulfilling life. For anyone looking to merge the joys of RVing with a commitment to fitness and well-being, tune in to start your journey towards a healthier RV lifestyle.

Staying Fit and Healthy While RVing

Staying Fit and Healthy While RVing

Where to watch/listen

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Episode Guests

Rod and Risa Stewart are just a cool couple that’s been running a gym for the past 25 years. Their mission has been simple….lead a healthy, fun lifestyle by example and coach and inspire as many as possible along the way.

Their unique personal training gym, Club Performax is located in Melbourne, Florida. The Stewarts are pioneers in the personal training world going back to the ’90s and they have more recently entered the RVing world, purchasing their adventure van in the summer of 2022.


Key Highlights

  • Mindset Is Fundamental: Rod and Risa emphasize that having the right mindset is crucial for maintaining fitness and health on the road, highlighting how positive self-talk and goal setting can profoundly impact one’s wellness journey.
  • Nutrition and Hydration Are Key: The duo underscores the importance of proper nutrition and hydration, advocating for a balanced diet rich in proteins, vegetables, and sufficient water intake to enhance overall health.
  • Strength Training Enhances Longevity: They stress the significance of strength training, especially for those in their “second 50,” for maintaining muscle mass and bone density, which are vital for a long and active life.
  • Accountability and Community Support Matter: accountability partners and being part of a fitness community can greatly assist in staying on track with health and fitness goals, making the journey more enjoyable and sustainable.
  • Simplicity Leads to Sustainability: The fitness experts advocate for keeping fitness routines simple and enjoyable, making it easier for individuals to maintain these practices long-term and integrate them into their RV lifestyle.
  • Balance and Mobility Are Essential: The conversation covers the importance of incorporating balance and mobility exercises into daily routines to prevent injuries and enhance quality of life.


00:00 Welcome and Introduction
00:43 Rod and Risa’s Background in Fitness and RVing
03:15 The RVer 15
04:50 The Importance of Nutrition and Hydration
05:22 Nutrition and Exercise
07:45 Tracking Food Intake and Movement
13:25 Travel Day Road Snacks
15:54 Tips for Staying Fit and Healthy
18:18 The Power of Mindset in Health and Fitness
22:44 The Role of Strength Training and Overcoming Gym Challenges
29:50 Accountability and Community Support
32:00 Remote Health and Fitness Coaching
40:25 The Importance of Balance and Stability
44:45 Learning to Move and Stay Active
47:07 The Joy of RVing – Don’t Wait, Get on the Road

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Joe Russo Today we’re talking to fitness experts Rod and Risa about how to stay fit and healthy on the road. Living or traveling on the road in an RV always brings along a certain problem, which is putting on a few too many pounds from all of those delicious things you find on the road. Especially since you can’t tow the gym behind you, today’s episode is all about how to have the right mindset and some of the non-negotiables of staying fit while you’re traveling in an RV.

Rod and Risa, welcome to the podcast. So today we’re gonna talk about getting fit and staying fit on the road. And you two are kind of our experts on that. So tell us a little bit about yourselves and your background kind of in the fitness industry.

Rod Stewart That’s been our niche. It’s actually the only thing we’ve done our entire adult lives. We’ve owned a gym and we’ve worked with a certain subgroup of people for the past 25 years. That subgroup happens to be people in what we call their second 50.

You know when I was much younger. I was always helping those people live their best second 50 years of life. But it turns out that this is something that we decided to do forever and now we’re those people. So we’ve had a really good launch pad to learn what to do and what not to do. So if you want to call that an expert. Yes, that’s us.

Joe Russo I would call that an expert. When it’s your life’s work, you are an expert. Because I think they say you have to do something for, what is it, 10,000 hours to become a master of it. And I feel like you’ve done well over 10,000 hours.

Risa Stewart We’re past that.

Rod Stewart Yeah, we’ve definitely hit that mark. And then some.

Joe Russo And the other thing is, both of you are RVers.

Rod Stewart We are. It’s something that, you know, it’s funny because many years ago when we were much younger we always thought that we wanted to get a big RV and traverse the country. And it was always one of those things that we would say one of these days one of these days.

Part of one of the discoveries that we had recently is watching this certain group of people wait and wait for the right time to do something like that so we were actually a little premature in it we think but we did it for the right reasons. We just said, why are we waiting? There’s no more waiting. Just jump in and do it. And so we’ve only been doing it for a couple of years now, but we love it.

We’re part timers. So we’ve got a little bit of experience with it. But yeah, it’s something that we are anxious to continue doing. And yeah, it was great seeing you guys on the road.

Risa Stewart Yeah, we’ve followed you on YouTube for a long time. And that was, it was a thrill to meet you guys in person. And then to be a part of the whole community is so exciting for us. And like he said, a lot of people, we’re kind of at that right age, but we’re not retired. And we meet a lot of retirees on the road. And I heard someone say the other day, I think it was on a podcast, that he’s a presentist. And I said, yeah, it makes sense to be present and to live now because what were we waiting for really? We can make this happen. We can get the van, make the time, and we can learn to work from the road too. So that’s part of our next, our phase of life or our second 50. So it’s been a good experience.

Joe Russo Being very present on the road actually led me to, let’s call it, I won’t call it bad habits but putting on the RVer 15 as we like to call it. That first year and a half on the road, we spent a lot of time going from city to city. Every time you get somewhere new, every place has their food. You have to try, you go down to Texas, you got to do the barbecue. You go different places, you have to do this or that. It adds up quickly. I think my RV or 15 probably was a 25.

There are a lot of people I think who are looking to get on the road, are on the road now, or just part-time RVers, and they want to stay, continue to stay fit even on the road, but it can be difficult for a lot of us. Let’s talk about how you can combat that.

Rod Stewart You bring up a really good point there, because part of this whole RV experience and traveling and exploring is that I want to partake in what that community or what that region has to offer. And you don’t want to feel like you’re depriving yourself of that.

So certainly you should make time and room for those indulgences. But along the way, you want to make sure that you’re filling gaps throughout your day so that when it’s time to partake in, whether it’s a lunch or a dinner or whatever the occasion might be, you’re not feeling guilty about it.

So when I say filling gaps, making sure that you’re getting the basics down first, and we can go into some of these individually, but just an overview of them. Are you getting the basics of your hydration? Most people walk around dehydrated. Are you getting, and that has, that plays a really big role in, in appetite suppression and making sure that you’re not eating out of emotion versus actual physical hunger cues.

So just filling the gaps of things like water and your plants and your protein, getting those things dialed in first so that when it is time to make those indulgences, you’re keen to do it. It’s cool, it’s not gonna be something that hurts you because all that stuff adds up over time.

Joe Russo Is nutrition the biggest factor they should consider first and then exercise or what is the best way of looking at that?

Rod Stewart Oh, the old chicken versus the egg quandary there. I mean, yes, they’re both important, but you know, food is thy medicine. I like to say, start with that. If you can just add before you begin to subtract, that’s been a critical component in what we teach people on the regular.

Instead of saying, you can’t have this or don’t do that, we like to say, let’s add the things where there are gonna likely be deficiencies along the way. So I think nutrition comes first. I mean, there’s different ways to slice it, but this is our personal recommendation and personal experience. Get your nutrition dialed in, but exercise is a, you know, it’s close.

Risa Stewart Yeah, with long periods of sitting and driving, you’ve got to make sure you’re getting mobile, that little spurts throughout the day. And we can talk more about that. But yeah, if you can do simple, basic things, literally have an apple a day. It sounds old fashioned, the apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? But that is kind of a filling, healthy item full of fiber that can help you not overeat or have snacks that are not quite as good for you and then later when you get to New Orleans you have the beignets or you know whatever the case may be.

But getting back to the exercise part we’re going to keep it simple and just move. Make sure you’re conscious of when you stop, do a few squats, air squats, or just get a walk in too, because you’re gonna be driving a lot in this community and sitting. By keeping it simple, whether it is the food part or the movement part, that’s the goal.

Rod Stewart How many times do we get to our destination and like, oh my gosh, we’ve been sitting for X number of hours and that’s not what we’re accustomed to. When we get out, we can’t wait to do at least a form of walking. I mean, it doesn’t have to be anything super structured as you progress and advance and your fitness improves and increases. Certainly there are some really simple, structured exercise routines that one should follow. But initially we tell, because we’ve got several clients now that are part-time RVers, and some that go away for the whole summer. And that’s where we start. They’ll check in on a regular basis with me as their coach.

And the very first thing we look for is just what is your movement? Are you able to track that? Anything you want to manage, you’ve got to measure. So it may be as simple as how many steps am I getting today? Because when I’m home, it might be easy to get whatever your goal is. It might be 10,000, 12,000, 15,000. But when you’re on the road, you’re like, oh my gosh, I looked down at my tracker. I’ve only got 2,000 steps today.

And if we’re going to have the barbecue and the beignets on top of that, well, yes, the RV or 15, as you described, it is definitely going to creep its way in. But yeah, we just start with steps and movement. How much am I moving today? And if you can learn to manage, you know, how much you’re ingesting versus what you’re burning, consumption versus you know, your daily burn, that’s a really good way to start.

But then beyond that, after you’ve sort of mastered that and you can manage your calorie intake versus your burn, then we can get into some more structured nuances of how one should do things to keep their muscle mass. Because that’s a key indicator as to not only how well we live, but how long we live. It’s a key metric in the second 50, in the second phase of life.

And then, you know, things like bone health and all these metabolic disorders that people suffer from in their second 50 when they start leading a more sedentary life.

Kait Russo For folks who do want to start tracking, let’s say their steps and their food intake, what are some tools or suggestions that you all have?

Rod Stewart My motto these days is keep everything as simple as possible. Let’s just keep it simple. So everyone who owns a phone, which is I think everyone on the planet these days, your phone has a step tracker in it.

If you want to go a little more specific than that, you can get basic pedometers. And of course, there’s all sorts of high-end devices, of trackers but initially just get a baseline it doesn’t have to be precise just get an understanding of self movement. How often and how much am I moving on a regular basis? And I think most people will be stunned at how little they move. That’s a big part of why it’s easy to gain that extra weight that you’re looking to avoid.

Risa Stewart At the gym, we have a device we use. It’s like a heart rate monitor, but it’s incentivized. It has points awarded for how much you move, how long you’re in certain like heart rate zones. So what’s neat about that is it becomes a healthy competition for yourself, to say, oh, I better get my points today.

Rod Stewart Based on movement.

Risa Stewart Yeah, and right. And so, and then our members, our clients also like to compete with each other with how many points did you get today or this month? And it’s kind of, we have like a little leader board.

Rod Stewart We should create one for the RV community. How much have I moved today?

Risa Stewart And not on my tires, but actually on a bike or on my feet. Yeah.

Rod Stewart That would largely dictate how many beignets or beers or whatever your preferences.

Joe Russo I noticed when I started tracking my food through MyFitnesspal, I was shocked at how much I was eating compared to what I thought I was eating. That was I would say the one thing that helped me the most was tracking the actual intake of calories. You know at first I was a little anal about it, but after I just I get a much better feel for how much I’m eating.

Rod Stewart That’s one of the first things I recommend for people. Once again, getting back to that concept of you can’t manage what you’re not measuring. So yes, it could be as simple as writing it down. I have some clients who actually take pictures of what they eat on the regular, on the daily, because some people are visual learners. They just want to look at it and it’s like, oh my gosh, I didn’t realize I took a handful of this, a slice of that. And it just adds up over time.

So whether it’s written or a digital app or a picture. You’re trying to bring it into your conscious state. So you realize how much am I moving? How much am I consuming? And then I can begin to manage it.

Risa Stewart Yeah, without feeling deprived or feeling guilty, but accountability comes with that journaling or tracking or whatever it is. And that’s helpful to have that accountability, whether it’s to one of us to show us and let us know, just to keep them on a little better track or to yourself.

We’ve noticed that and it’s very common, like you were saying about those extra calories or the extra sugar. Like, oh, I’m eating this healthy, so-called healthy yogurt and it has 26 grams of sugar and it’s more than ice cream. So I might as well have ice cream, right? You know, it’s like a dessert. So look for extra sugar because there’s so much added sugar in things. Just by cutting sugar out a little bit, it’s not have to be completely.

Rod Stewart Oh that helps everyone.

Risa Stewart Everyone notices the difference immensely. And then those extra calories too. I remember when we had little ones when our kids were small oh, you’re not gonna eat that chicken nugget or oh, give me some of that. So I’m eating off their plates, what they’re not finishing, and eating mine too. And that’s how the extra calories that people forget about add up, you know, or whether it’s liquid calories or whatever.

Rod Stewart And let’s face it, when you’re on the road, when you’re driving, hey, it’s snack time, right? I mean, we’ve got to kill the time. We’re sitting here, we’re driving to our next destination. It could be, it could be a full day. How do you help pass the time? Well, let’s stop at Buc-ee’s, let’s stop here or there. Let’s, you know, all of that stuff adds up.

And if you just start filling those gaps earlier in the day, I’m gonna make sure I’m hydrated. I’m gonna make sure I get ample protein. I’m gonna make sure I get a variety of plants. And then when it’s time to indulge in some of those other things, you’re typically not as hungry. And second of all, you’re filling those gaps of the nutrients that your body truly needs to keep your metabolism high.

Joe Russo My dirty snack on the road is chicharrones. I’ll stop into a gas station, roll in, get a bag of chicharrones and just be snacking on those things.

Rod Stewart What the heck is a chicharrone? All right, you got to fill me in. What the heck is a chicharrone?

Joe Russo Fried pork rinds.

Risa Stewart Oh, salty, yummy.

Kait Russo Fatty.

Risa Stewart Yes, yes. Well ours has been, we’re letting it all out here, peanut M&Ms, right?

Rod Stewart oh that’s one of our travel foods. Yeah.

Risa Stewart There’s something easy about peanut M&Ms, that’s been the one lately.

Rod Stewart And we never eat it when we’re at our destination or at home, but for whatever reason that helps ease the difficulty and discomfort of and monotony of driving for so long.

So yeah, everyone should have their thing, but make sure that you’re getting the. Just keep it simple and get the basics first. Can I get ample amounts of protein? And it’s different for different people, but get ample protein and get plants on the regular. You know, when I say plants, I mean, eat the rainbow. There’s no doubt that that’s a part of it.

Risa Stewart Yeah, fruits, vegetables and other things. Even your coffee, I know you like coffee. It’s a plant, you know, it just depends how much stuff you put in it.

Rod Stewart Yes, it could be a plant, it could be a dessert.

Kait Russo Joe doesn’t need more reasons to drink coffee.

Risa Stewart Yea, I know, sorry about that. So full-time, full-time RVers, so they experience this all the time. So where for us, we’re not on the road as often and we wanna be on the road more soon. But that works if we’re having the once or twice a month, doing the M&M thing or whatever, the treat. But every day that could take a toll. So you wanna find other things to snack on like fruits and nuts. And if you’re not hungry, you gotta be careful and don’t just eat for boredom, like he was saying. That can take a toll.

Rod Stewart What we found so far is that being in the RV community, it’s all about the campfire and telling stories around the campfire and indulging in what, and everyone’s sharing something. You’re sharing treats or drinks or whatever, and you wanna certainly participate in that. That’s a part of the experience. But it’s gotta be done judiciously and you gotta make sure that you’ve filled the other gaps in the diet ahead of time.

Joe Russo So what are some non-negotiables for our viewers in terms of exercise, nutrition, whatever it is. Like if you said this is a set of non-negotiables, you do this no matter what.

Rod Stewart I’m going to say number one, first thing in the morning is water before coffee. And all the modern day experts in neuroscience who have done all the research on this, you know, about a liter of water first thing in the morning, 90 minutes before you have your coffee. Because it limits the amount of cortisol and it allows you to kind of put off that boost of energy that most people are looking for from their coffee to later in the day. It lasts longer throughout your day. It allows you to allow that cortisol to take over instead of relying on an external substance to get you going.

So water would be number one. And then number two, I tell people to look at the I have a concept that I use with my clients called the 321 diet. And it essentially means you decide, especially if it’s someone who’s looking to cut back that RVer 15.

You decide and pick three 30 minute windows throughout your day that you’re going to eat. It could be different for everyone. That way it’s super flexible, but that way you limit the amount of snacks and handfuls of this or that throughout the day. So it could be 10 to 10.30, three to three 30, and seven to seven 30. But it just, it opens, it shines a light on how we used to eat, at least if you’re someone that’s close to our age.

I mean, back in the day, there was no grazing throughout the day. Oh, I gotta have some of this, I gotta have some of that. I mean, when we lived at home, it was, you know, you get your three square meals and people have now, been duped in my opinion that in order to be healthy, to have a healthy metabolism, you should graze throughout the day and that’s done nothing but lead to more and more weight gain.

So if you can pick three specific times of the day that you’re going to consume your calories, that does a wonderful job for people just getting an idea of I don’t need to eat every 30 minutes. I don’t need to have a handful of this, a handful of that. So that’s one of the non-negotiables.

Risa Stewart Of course movement, we can get it to simple exercises, simple little pieces of equipment you can have in the van. You don’t have to go and find a gym. That’s often difficult on the road.

But before that, basic things are taking stock in where you are at in your thinking. Do some deep breathing. There’s just again, he’s talking about the neuroscience of it all. But we do a lot with our clients these days on focus, language, breathing.

We loved the concept of our van happens to be a Storyteller and people, you know, about telling better stories. Well, if you look at your story every day and your language and what you’re saying, it’s a way to stay positive. If the doldrums are kicking in on the road or wherever, journaling and breathing are huge.

Rod Stewart It keeps you in the moment and once again getting back to that concept of being a presentist because that’s what happens to most people. They’re searching for some form of comfort, whether it be sitting down instead of going for a walk or indulging in something that’s sweet and that’s not really good for them instead of the vegetable intake that they’re trying to reach on a regular basis.

So yeah, it helps keep you in the moment. It keeps those stories straight in your mind so that it feels like you’re on the right path when you’re doing the right thing. It shouldn’t be suffering or deprivation, that’s certainly not our, I mean, we like to indulge as much as anyone else, but the non-negotiables of movement and getting those basics in of a certain number of plants, protein and water on a regular basis, those are those are inputs. You know, the physical inputs, the nutritional inputs, and then as Risa was alluding to, the mental inputs.

The whole mindset of staying healthy, being goal-driven, and just living in a freer mindset and space. It goes back to words and thoughts, and that’s something that we’re looking to help spread that message throughout the RV community, because we know sometimes on the road, especially for full-timers, you can get that whole sense of FOMO.

Well, it’s nice to be on the road, but then sometimes it’s nice to be back in my, you know, in my home, in my abode where I have a, you know, a steady place to live.

Kait Russo Can you share some tips or kind of talk through how do you get into that right mindset to focus on health and fitness?

Rod Stewart First of all, we explain to people what the definition is because when people think of mindset, they think of this really big nebulous thing. You don’t really know what it is. You just know that he’s got it or she’s got it and I don’t.

But everyone has mindset and it’s essentially the story that you tell yourself on a regular basis. If you wanna break it down, I mean, we can get really technical and talk about what’s happening in the conscious and unconscious brain, but from a sake of simplicity, it’s just the words and the story that you tell yourself on a regular basis.

So if you tell yourself that I’m fat and lazy or I’m tired and hungry all the time, that’s exactly what your brain is gonna go in search of and in support of. So we start really basic by just letting people know to examine the words and the story that you’re using with yourself on a regular basis. And that’s why the power of journaling is so omnipresent now in all the literature and all the self-improvement podcast.

There is great value in being able to write down the words in the story so that you can look at it from a very analytical and intellectual perspective and then you can begin to craft and change the words so that better serves you instead of living by a story that most of the times is not true.

I mean most people are really hard on themselves harder than other people are hard on themselves. So yeah that’s the mindset. You know it’s funny because like we said, we’ve been doing this for 25 years with our gym. And for the first, I’d say, 16, 17 of those years, the focus was always on the things that we’re talking about for RVers now. Got to move more and eat better.

But over the course of the last six, seven years, our focus has shifted on, let’s work on the mindset first. Because as the words and the stories develop, the exercise and the nutrition takes care of itself. And it just really helps people to feel lighter, not just physically weight wise, but mentally and emotionally. And when you feel better about yourself, you just make better choices, better decisions.

So that’s been just a total change in approach to the way we coach. And certainly I think it’ll help anyone who’s on the road, whether you’re a part time or full time, just getting a hold of those, that whole inner bully story that we all have about ourselves.

Joe Russo I’ve been on my own personal journey here for the last year or so. And one thing I’ve found as I’m going through the literature and everything else is that as we’re aging and especially in your second 50, being able to either build or at least maintain the amount of muscle that you have is crucial for longevity. And for me, that comes in the form of going to the gym and lifting weights. That’s something I love to do.

But you know, I’d love to hear your thoughts on lifting weights and then how to overcome some of the difficulties when you’re on the road and you have a gym, you have a certain routine, but you know you go to a new gym in some other town and it’s completely different. How do you work around some of those difficulties?

Rod Stewart You know depending on the level, depending on the fitness level of the individual, if you’ve if you’re at the point where you’ve mastered basic body weight movements, whether it be squats, push-ups, step-ups, planks, things that you can do anywhere. I call it the EA equipment. Equipment, it’s your body, everywhere, anywhere. You can do those things anywhere.

After you’ve developed, you know, over the course of the first four to eight weeks of doing those basics, and you are someone like you guys that travel a lot, and you have access to a gym while you’re on the road, then you wanna, you wanna, I tell people, use the most basic machines there. It does not have to be complicated.

I’m just, I’m so enamored with the concept of keep it super simple. So if you can do, if you can pick, even if it’s only one, but if you can pick like two or three exercises per primary movement, meaning I have to push. I mean, essentially you have a few motions that you want to keep strong to age well.

You bring up a really good point because the amount of muscle mass that you take into your second 50, and I don’t care if you’re 40, 50, 60, 90, 100 years old, the amount of muscle mass you take into those decades play a huge role in how well you live that decade.

But if you come up with two or three of your favorite push patterns, you don’t need anything more than a kettlebell or a dumbbell. You don’t have to know how the machines work. Just some basic weights like dumbbells. If you’re doing two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of pushing, whether you’re pushing straight out in front, pushing overhead, pushing down, do that twice a week. You’re going to maintain your muscle mass.

Same thing with pulling, curling, rowing, pulling towards you, squatting, whether it’s a leg press machine, a dumbbell squat, some of these would be easier to describe from a visual perspective, but, and then some sort of hinge, whether it’s a kettlebell swing or it’s a deadlift, something where you’re picking something off the ground because. Hey, you know when you’re loading that RV up and unpacking that RV, last thing you wanna feel is like, oh my gosh, I can’t do that, or I hurt my back. You wanna have that basic fundamental strength where you just feel like you’re independent, especially for someone who’s traveling solo. You want to feel independent. You don’t wanna have to knock in your neighbor’s door and say, hey, can you help me pack this up or put that away?

So, yeah, as simple as you can keep it, I’m doing a few sets of pushing, I’m doing a few sets of pulling, I’m doing some core work, some squats and some hinges. And then, you know, if you don’t have access to a gym, you could take some really simple tools like exercise bands that you can pack into duffel bag or if you wanted to take a single set of dumbbells you could you could become more advanced with that routine that I’m describing to you.

But initially I we have found that most people don’t even do the basics yet they don’t even move well with their body weight. So things like squats and lunges and push-ups and some of those can certainly be modified for any age or any level.

Risa Stewart As far as longevity that’s been we’ve known it for a long time but you know, there’s so many more studies now showing and proving for longevity, and you hear so much about longevity these days, and aging well and strong and living longer, and improving that, not just your health span, but what is called play span.

So that not only are you living long, but you’re enjoying those years, those latter years. And part of that is getting up and out of, in and out of the van while you’re carrying groceries. So mimic those daily movements with holding things. We practice, we hold kettlebells say in the gym, but you can lift just some milk jugs and step up into that van. That’s a step up. That’s like a lunge with weight right there. So those things that you do every day and we take for granted getting in and out of the van become harder, but we don’t want them to be.

And the coolest part is strength training, all the literature out now and weightlifting, it staves off dementia. They know it does. They know brain health is directly affected by lifting, by strengthening.

Rod Stewart Robust, vigorous exercise. And whatever that means for you as an individual, it doesn’t have to be what I do, or what she does, or what anyone does. It’s just, are you up-leveling yourself from yesterday? Can you just do a little bit more than yesterday? If you manage that, if you measure that, if you track that over the course of eight weeks, you’re gonna find that you feel completely different.

Most of us like these really big rigs. And those big rigs, sometimes they have a big step. You’ve got to get into that rig. You don’t want to feel like, hey, can you give me a boost to get up there? So yeah, I would say keep it simple and do the basics first. And then after you’ve mastered that, then yeah, external equipment, gym equipment.

But as far as getting to certain locales or gyms, I don’t even look at the machines anymore if I step into another gym, I just find the dumbbells or the kettlebells, and I try to keep it as simple as possible. And that way, I don’t feel like I’m spending half my time trying to figure out how to do this new machine.

If it’s something that you really want to explore, absolutely. But I find that the basics help people just as much, and it keeps it simple, and it gets you back on the road and doing the adventures that you’re really there for.

Risa Stewart You know, we found gyms, typical gyms and large gyms intimidating 25 plus years ago. And that was the impetus for opening our small personal training facility, you know, where you’re getting a coach. So certainly we don’t diminish the importance of if people want to hire a good coach on the road for a session here and there. That’s probably an option. If you’re confused or concerned or not accustomed to doing some of the movements, that’s not a bad idea. It’s a good investment is finding a good coach and getting shown some basics and you can take those with you.

But otherwise, keeping it simple and getting some endurance in and some strength in will go a long way for sure.

Rod Stewart You bring up a good point and sense of accountability, whether you hire a coach or you guys as a couple have each other as accountability partners, that goes a long way as opposed to trying to come up with some really complex solution or, hey, I saw this influencer say this or that. Just having that source of accountability and tracking it on a daily basis, it goes a long way to build morale and mindset and the story once again the story that you’re telling yourself.

Kait Russo I don’t think we mentioned but you all’s gym is in Florida and I know a lot of our beers travel to Florida for the winter and for us you know, we’re always traveling around the country and looking for gyms that we could potentially drop into for a week or month at a time. Is that something you all offer at your facility?

Rod Stewart Yes, absolutely you know, this is for the destination for snowbirds or for part-time travelers but yeah if you’re ever in the 321 central Florida we’re about an hour east of Orlando an hour east of Disney World we’re right on the beach. It’s called Club Performax.

Risa Stewart Yes Melbourne Florida and you might just see a rocket launch while you’re here because at least a couple times a week they’re going up and we are keenly aware of it because it’s I go just go in our backyard.

Rod Stewart And we’re it Starlink and it’s Starlink.

Risa Stewart So we’re intimately, you know following that because we don’t have Starlink in our van yet, but we’re thinking about it. That’s a whole nother topic for RV life and for you guys um, but it’s that’s a neat benefit of living here is the continuous rocket launches are beautiful. There are a lot of night launches.

So you can come work out with us, see a rocket launch, go to the beach, I’ll sell you on it. We have to figure out a way to become a host, Harvest host.

Joe Russo But another question for those out there who aren’t in Florida or won’t be down there, do you offer any type of like teleconsulting? So over the phone, video, that type of thing.

Rod Stewart You know, that’s become really popular over the course of the last few years for obvious reasons. And yeah, so I’ve a lot of my clients now are not local. I have a remote program. As a matter of fact, they have a great resource for just improving mindset, because once again, I think that’s where most people should start, even though when they come seeking our services, they just want to tell me how to eat and tell me what I should do exercise wise. And usually as I you know, just allow them to put the brakes on that for a moment and teach them a little bit about the basic concepts of mindset. The lights kind of come on and it goes a long way.

So I have a remote program and anyone who’s watching this and they want a free resource for adopting a healthy mindset. Step number one, they can find it at what’s called And it’s a fantastic way to get a basic understanding of how mindset impacts you, whether you’re at home or on the road, and how it impacts your decision making, all the things that you’re looking to do that you know that you should be doing that you’re not doing.

Risa Stewart Yeah, we used to talk a lot about living better, but I don’t wanna tell someone, live better, you know? It’s a little preachy, right? But the thing about living light, it isn’t just light of body or losing weight, although a lot of people wanna get leaner and need help with that. This is a little part of that, but it’s live LIGHT light, but it’s also lighter of mind and thinking.

A lot of the people Rod works with when he’s doing the remote coaching, it’s a breakthrough where they go, wow, I’ve kind of slowed down and I’ve thought about these things a little bit and it’s not so heavy and it just could take an hour even 90.

Rod Stewart Most people feel like they’ve lost 10 pounds after the first hour because it just it shifts your perspective on how you’re thinking and how your words and your language and your story patterns influence your life in so many different ways. So they’re like, oh my gosh, I feel lighter. I’m like, Risa, these people are losing 10 pounds in their first session. It’s fantastic.

Risa Stewart 10 pounds of emotional weight. Exactly. It’s pretty cool. So that’s an exciting thing that we’ve been working on after over 25 years in the fitness space, basically. It’s neat to add this into it because we realized that’s really the root of everything. And a lot of it did come out of, silver lining out of COVID. Learning to use Zoom. We had Zoom going at the gym and we were shut down for about a month.

But then we had trainers at the gym zooming with people that were at home that couldn’t come back to the gym. You know, they maybe had a reason to be a little more nervous. Elderly people at home or different reasons for not, you know, as you remember, there was it was it was it was rough. So we kind of pivoted and found ways to coach via online.

Rod Stewart Goes back to that whole accountability factor. People like people just do better with a coach. People do better with accountability. So like I said, if you guys, anyone who’s listening, you know, you guys use each other as accountability partners. If you don’t want to hire a coach, that’s, you know, not necessary, but having someone to report to on a regular basis, you’re usually going to get much further if you just if you’re left to your own devices.

Risa Stewart Yeah, some couples can struggle with being each other’s coach or partner or.

Rod Stewart She won’t let me coach her.

Risa Stewart That’s not true. But you guys, you’re like us, you spend even more than us time in a closed space together. Sometimes you probably need your own time. But also, I’m sure you could do this since you’re used to it and you enjoy spending that close time together.

Rod Stewart Yeah, structuring those walks while you’re on the road, doing walks together. If you start your morning with water and walks and then your coffee. That’s tip number one.

Risa Stewart Right.

Joe Russo I’ve seen a lot of accountability stuff with friends of ours. And what they’ll do is set up a small group of other friends on Facebook or something. And everyone is responsible for every day posting some type of exercise or movement that they’ve done. And that keeps everyone accountable. And if you don’t post, they’ll call you out on it.

I have some other friends who they’ll get together with people and they’ll make bets, fun bets with each other. That next time I see you, I buy the round of beers or whatever it happens to be. But during this time, who can lose the most amount of weight or just stuff like that, different games and things that people can play that we’ve seen with fellow RVers.

Rod Stewart Yeah, gamifying the experience. Certainly it creates intrigue and interest and certainly nothing wrong with that. I will say that an underlying factor should be how can I make this something that’s sustainable? Because it’s, no, it’s easy to win a bet one time, or it’s easy to create interest and intrigue one time, but most people want to have sustainable solutions and by going back to the basics and keeping it super simple, I’ve found that that’s most helpful for people, but yeah, I think ways to gamify your your life and your goals, there’s certainly some benefit to that.

Risa Stewart Yeah, I’ll add that community support, just like with the RV community or with the fitness group, like you mentioned, and we have our people in a chat group, and they really support each other, and when someone might be dipping or they’re a little down or they’re low, the others build them up, hey, let’s go for a walk, let’s go for a ruck. That’s something we didn’t mention for endurance exercise and cardio health.

Rod is an avid cyclist. He loves road cycling. We’ve had to find ways to fit many bikes into the van. I got back into mountain biking recently after many, many years, like before having kids, and so just started learning to mountain bike again.

So, but rucking is something to add onto this conversation where I have a 10-pound weighted vest, put that on, and I can just walk. And it makes it a lot more challenging than just going for a walk. If people say, well, I, I walk all the time, but I don’t want to run. And I running is, can give you great benefits, but it can also really hurt the joints, especially in our middle age, right? The knees and the hips and the ankles aren’t the same for, for runners.

So if you’re not going to get on a bike or a stationary bike or, um, think about weighted vests. And you even have to invest in that if you can put on a pack like a rucksack, basically, like if you’re in the, in the military, right. Um, you can load that up with some canned soup and, and go for it. So, um, we do it here up and down the causeway over the water. It’s really pretty. We can see dolphins and manatees. So that’s neat.

Rod Stewart Yeah. Joe, Joe mentioned the, the calling card of maintaining your muscle earlier in the conversation and he’s absolutely right. And that’s one way to not only your muscle mass, but your bone integrity, especially for people that sit a lot.

In your second 50, rucking is proving to be extremely beneficial for people in that demographic, so highly recommend that. And that’s easy, you know, you throw a rucksack or a backpack in the, in your RV and you’re good to go.

Kait Russo I feel like on the next long driving day, I need to have a backpack ready. So every time we stop, I put the backpack on before I get out of the RV, walk to the gas station, walk to the restroom, and then get back in and take it off. Like every little bit counts, right?

Rod Stewart Absolutely. Every 10, roughly 10 minutes of walking is going to give you an added 1000 steps to your day. So if it’s a day you’re only stopping for bathroom breaks and you take three or four of those, well hey you know you’re probably gonna double the amount of steps that you’ve that you’re gonna get just from being on the road that long.

Joe Russo Or just go to a Buc-ee’s and do a loop or two around the Buc-ee’s.

Risa Stewart You read my mind if you go inside Buc-ee’s and you’re gonna load up with the jerky in the backpack and load it up with some of those fudge and the brisket sandwiches or all that stuff.

We went to Buc-ee’s for the first time just before we met up with you guys earlier this year. We had never been in a Buc-ee’s and we were like, oh, and then there’s Kait with her.

Rod Stewart Now we know why Kait has a suit.

Risa Stewart Yeah, the full onesie. Buc-ee’s, I have to get one of those for sure. So you might see us in those next. But yeah, that you can make good use of the backpack and Buc-ee’s in the whole expanse of it. It’s enormous. So you could definitely get a little workout.

But that just reminded me of balance. I don’t know if we spoke about that yet. We did a little bit of getting in and out of the van or holding grocery bags, but, um, so important to work on that at any age, um, especially with the traveling, cause you don’t want to step off a curb at Buc-ee’s or Publix or whatever, any grocery store and, and have a stumble or something that would set you back.

So we work on a lot of balance, a lot of movements that he talked about earlier of pushing and pulling, can also be accomplished on one leg. So you just, I’m doing it right now. You can’t see it, but I can practice, and you can feel the corrections and everything. Brush your teeth on one leg. It takes, say, a couple minutes to brush your teeth. Do one minute and then switch to the other leg.

Rod Stewart Roast your marshmallows on one leg.

Risa Stewart So unilateral movements, practicing that balance.

Rod Stewart Yeah, stability and lack of stability and falls. I mean, that’s one of the indicators or the key reasons why people lose their ability to enjoy their second 50 or they lose their play band. You can have a very debilitating accident and it just it takes away a lot of your joy. So yeah balance and stability exercises just as important as the walks and the and the weightlifting.

So challenging yourself on a regular basis on safe but unsteady surfaces standing on one leg. We do a lot of that with our with our people in the second 50.

Joe Russo I was actually reading something that strength training, mobility exercises and that at the gym actually create more neural connections in your brain than a lot of other things and that’s one of the big reasons why, as you mentioned earlier, those types of exercises help stave off things like dementia and that and keep you sharp.

Rod Stewart That whole neural network, it needs to be stimulated on a regular basis. The old adage of, you know, if you don’t use it, you’re going to lose it. It’s very, very true. Whether it’s you’re talking about your muscle, your bone, your brain, your van, you got to use it.

Risa Stewart Yeah, exactly. After all these years of being in the fitness business. We always knew there was something there, and now we love that it’s, you know, like I said earlier, all the studies are showing that what it does for the brain, forget the, it’s not about no pain, no gain, and all these, you know, back when we were kids and he was a bodybuilder and things like that, well, really the long haul of strength training and working with some weights and weight-bearing exercise, it’s truly amazing what it does for our brain.

Rod Stewart Goes a long way. It’s way more important than any other asset that we deem really valuable. You know maintaining your health maintaining your muscle mass maintaining your brain health is so important. Because you know, we want to we want to RV till We’re 103.

Joe Russo I love it Well any other last-minute bits that you have that you think people need to know.

Rod Stewart I know I’ve said it before I mean the power of simplicity You know keeping it enjoyable. Making sure that you have something that you feel like you’re training for. If you’re on the road, you probably have the next big trip in mind. And when you show up to that destination, you don’t want to be the person that’s lagging behind.

Risa Stewart Yeah, that’s it. I just had a question for you guys. I wanted to know how long have you been doing the RV thing?

Kait Russo We started in 2015, so going on nine years. And six and a half years of that was full-time RVing. And now we’re doing part-time RVing.

Joe Russo First year and a half was just kind of run and gun. We were bouncing all over the place. Like I said, I definitely put on the RVer 15 plus. And then we started to get more serious about our health and really watching what we ate.

I think the other difficult thing for us was in an RV, you have smaller fridges, you have less carrying capacity and that. So when you’re thinking about eating healthy and all of that, a lot of times it comes down to fresh food, fresh vegetables, meats. It can be difficult, especially if you’re going to be off away from a supermarket for a while to really stock up with those essentials. So for us, it was more of a learning experience. How do we do this but still be able to do it out of a small RV?

Kait Russo And learning to move. Move more, I should say, because, well, when we first started full-time RV life, we had two dogs. And so that always forced us to at least go for multiple walks a day and getting out more. And then when we started RVing without any dogs, I found myself and we were in, you know, small camper, a van. So you park, you turn your seat around, you’re at home. We don’t even go outside and do a perimeter walk around where we’re camped, and all of a sudden I find myself, you know, working in the van for the rest of the night, and I haven’t left. And my commute was like two feet within the van.

And so learning to just, you know, move, and reminding myself that, you know, don’t sit all day. Like you were saying, sitting for long periods of time is not good.

Risa Stewart I had that same experience with the dog walking. We lost our dog last year. But prior to that, I’d say, oh, Charlie, just go outside in the backyard. Right. And then again, it’s another silver lining. Everybody talks about a COVID, but you were home more. I was sitting around.

We had, I had a COVID 10. I think I put on, I’ve never put on weight. I’ve been fortunate as far as not putting on a lot of weight, but COVID hit. Like you hear that COVID hit and this happened COVID hit and that happened. Well, I know I wasn’t moving as much. We’re sitting around eating more.

So I started walking the dog instead of putting him, sending him out to the backyard. And every day, Charlie would look at me like, aren’t we gonna go for a walk? It’s time for a walk, sometimes twice a day. So last October.

Rod Stewart Your steps doubled.

Risa Stewart Yeah, so for several years, I walked every day a lot more. That was terrific. And then when we lost Charlie, and I’m not doing those walks as much, we’re keeping active, but we’ve got that frame of mind of, do we want another dog? It’s been over a year. And there’s the whole van, that’s a whole other RV topic for you to have with someone is the dog in the van, the pet in the van, because it’s easier without, I know, right now for us to just go.

Kait Russo And one question that we are asking all of our guests is, what is something you wish you knew about RVing before you all started?

Rod Stewart I wish I knew how flippin’ fun it was. I’d have done it a lot sooner. Why wait? Don’t wait, the clock is ticking. Whoever’s listening out there, why wait? We can, you know. You know, the old saying is you’re gonna, you may never run out of excuses, but you will run out of time. Get on the road, explore, do the things that you have always wanted to do, and you’ll figure it out along the way.

Risa Stewart Yeah, I agree completely with that. I’m learning to get comfortable driving it. That’s honestly, it’s not a big rig, it’s an adventure van. You know, it’s a, and I can drive it all around town here, that’s awesome. And I’m getting accustomed to the feel of a Sprinter van on the highway. So that’s a neat, it’s always, it’s, it’s always good to learn and get, get out of your comfort zone and get more comfortable with things. So that’s what I realized that I knew I could drive it. Um, sometimes I look at these huge rigs and I’m like, Ooh, I don’t know. Right. But, um, that’s kind of something I learned.

Rod Stewart She’s gotten really good.

Risa Stewart I will. And I can. I will. And I can drive the van. That’ll be my mantra.

Joe Russo Well, thank you guys so much for coming on the show. And again, can you kind of tell the audience where they can find you, your information, contact, that sort of thing?

Rod Stewart We are about to launch our podcast as well. And we are looking for unsung heroes in their second 50. We really want to showcase people that are in their second 50 or approaching their second 50 that are doing fantastic things, you know, I don’t care if it’s you know someone who cycles or runs or dances or people that are that are really living life to the fullest. Learning to manage their health from a physical and mental standpoint and being able to showcase those people in their environment.

So that’s one way, if anyone wants to reach out to us, or if you know a good candidate, that’s one of the ways we’re really looking forward to using our RV. Traveling around, meeting people in their second 50, and a lot of times, they have really fantastic stories and pointers for the rest of us, how we can age gracefully and once again, continue to lengthen that play span, that time where you’re active doing the things that you enjoy most.

But as far as reaching us, we’re on Instagram at club underscore performax. I wore my shirt. I don’t know if you can see it. P-E-R-F-O-R-M-A-X dot com club, And anyone interested in the, the self-improvement program that we, that we call live light, learning to live lighter. They can find that free resource that I mentioned before at.

Joe Russo After that episode, I feel like I need to either go for a long walk, do some pushups, or hop on one foot or something because I’ve been sitting here way too long today.

That said, I hope you enjoyed this episode of RVing with Joe and Kait. For any of the resources that we mentioned in today’s episode, you can check out the show notes below along with a link to my two books, Take Risks and Tales from the Open Road.

There’s also a link there for my one-on-one coaching services. You can click on that link, learn more about what I offer, and if you’re interested, fill out the form and I’ll get back to you.

If you enjoyed this episode and you’re on YouTube, make sure to like and subscribe. For any of you listening to the podcast, please give us a review on whatever platform you’re using. But that is it for today’s episode.

We’ll see you next time. Bye.

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