Staying Fit While On The Road (In Your RV)



No need to pay drop in fees at the gym while you’re on the road in your RV.  With a few simple pieces of equipment you can continue your workouts in your RV, or outside at your site, if the weather’s favorable.

I brought some hand weights, resistance elastic bands, and a small ball along with us on our 30 day road trip. I also brought some workouts that were RV-friendly.

The elastic I threw over the bathroom door and put my hands through the handles. Pulling down with straight arms, I was able to do lat pulldowns.  Pulling down with  arms bent at the elbows and held close to my sides, I was able to work my triceps.

This elastic is a pretty versatile piece of exercise equipment.  By sitting down, legs extended, and looping the elastic over the bottom of my shoes and pulling it towards me, I was able to work the back of my shoulders (seated row).  Standing and stepping on the elastic, while holding the elastic in either hand, I was able to work the side of my legs by stepping sideways several times; e.g. step sideways in one direction 8 times, then back 8 times (which is one set) then do that 8 times total. (Not my favorite exercise).

Using the hand weights, I was able to do bicep curls and rotator cuff exercises.  I was able to do squats and arm work simultaneously by holding the weights in either hand and raising my arms to the side, front, or back, at the same time as I performed the squat.

Using no weights, or elastic, I lay on my side, legs extended, and did side leg lifts.  Flipping over on to my front, and positioning myself such that my upper body was raised with my hands flat on the floor, I was able to lift and lower my legs towards the ceiling with bent knee to work my glutes.   Similar to this video except upper body was raised:


Simple wall push-ups or floor push-ups work the pec area.

Using the small ball, which can be purchased cheaply at a dollar store, I worked my lower abdominals by lying on my back, with my legs drawn toward me and feet on the floor. I placed the ball between my knees and squeezed the ball.  Regular crunches work the side and middle abs.

To combat neck and shoulder tension, I lowered my shoulders several times. Another exercise that’s good for shoulder tension is to retract shoulder blades together (all that is required for that exercise is to pull your arms back, keeping them bent and at chest height).

Add in some walking, biking, or hiking for cardio and the fitness bases are covered.

The last days of our trip were some long hours of driving.  To combat stiffness I did what I termed “car aerobics”. I’m sure the other people on the road thought I’d lost it, but, in time to the music, I would move my arms out to the front, sideways, overhead, and I’d get my legs going too, moving them side to side or extending and pulling them towards me.

*Check with your doctor first before attempting these or other exercises. I’m not a fitness professional, just someone who likes to exercise.  Now, I’m off to my next home workout.

Easy Summer Salmon

BBQ Salmon Steak
BBQ Salmon Steak (Photo credit: Fil.Al)


Take one large piece of salmon that has been filleted and deboned. Spread an equal amount of cream cheese and jalapeno jelly down the middle. Bake in oven at 350 for 15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and loses its bright pink color.  Can also be BBQ’d.

Kit Kat Dessert

My in-laws, Henry and Mary, are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this year.  Their extended family is getting together this weekend, camping in the mountains.  There will be twenty of us, including small children.  When we get together as a family on these camping weekends, we divide up the meals.  My sister-in-law Arleen is making dinner Saturday evening.  My other sister-in-law Pauline and I, at my behest, got our heads together to come up with a special dessert for Saturday evening’s meal.  It had to be portable, suitable for all ages, and fit in a small RV fridge or cooler.  And, of course, something that my in-laws would like.  Pauline test drove a dessert last week that she pronounced “too eggy-tasting” (Henry does not like eggs by themselves. If they are in baking, he is fine).  The dessert she test drove was an almond torte which happened to be gluten free, and I wonder if the lack of flour made the egg taste more prominent.  Cheesecake was suggested, however, careful questioning by myself revealed my father-in-law is not fond of cheesecake.  We eventually concluded that the dessert below fit our criteria.  We are hoping Henry likes cream cheese.

Don’t be daunted by the length of this recipe, it is easy and comes together quickly.  It is a perfect summertime dessert as no oven needs to be turned on.

1st Layer: Mix together:

½ cup of melted butter or margarine

2 cups graham crumbs

1/3 cup white sugar (optional)

Press into the bottom of 9 x 13 pan.

2nd Layer, mix together with mixer:

1 cup of icing sugar

8 ounce package cream cheese

¼ cup of butter

Spread evenly over layer one.

3rd Layer, mix together:

1 pkg of instant chocolate pudding, prepared as per package directions

3 smashed kit kat bars

Spread evenly over layer two.

4th Layer:

Spread 1 tub of cool whip evenly over layer 3.

Sprinkle 1 smashed kit kat bar on top of cool whip.

Put in fridge to chill.

Now that I have made this once, and not being fond of packaged pudding and cool whip, I would make the chocolate pudding from scratch and use real whipping cream for the top layer.  Made that way, it would have to be eaten the same day it was made, as the whipped cream could start to separate.

Grilled Nectarines

I love the summer’s bounty. We have been enjoying this lately.

4 nectarines, sliced
2 T. each brown sugar, honey and grand marnier liqueur

Divide the nectarines between two pieces of tin foil. Add 1 T. each of the sugar, honey and liqueur to each piece of foil. Add a splash of vanilla to each packet. Fold up the foil. Grill on the BBQ on medium for 10 – 15 minutes, until the nectarines are soft. This can also be done in the oven at 375.  Serve in bowls with a scoop of yogurt or vanilla ice cream.  Serves four. *This would also work well with bananas, peaches or other stone fruit.

Taber Corn and Bean Salsa

Taber corn is the King of Corns.  My husband feels it is vastly superior to other corn. Taber corn is grown in Southern Alberta, Canada, where there is “near perfect growing conditions — sandy loam soil, long, warm summers and irrigated fields.”

Here is a easy recipe I’ve adapted from a  Taber corn distributor.

1 1/2 c. fresh corn

1 c. canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1 med. sweet red pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper (handle with care and don’t rub your eyes after) seeded and finely chopped

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 T. lime juice

1 tsp. dried cilantro

1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Cook corn in a small amount of water for about 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and cool.  Combine corn and remaining ingredients.  For variation, add in some chopped tomatoes and green onions.  Makes 4 cups.

Edited to add:  Another variation:  place a few tablespoons of this on a wrap, sprinkle with some shredded Jack or Cheddar cheese, and microwave for a minute, or until the cheese melts and the wrap is warm. Lunch is served!

Summer Coffee Cake (aka “Platz”)

Adapted from the Mennonite Treasury of Recipes

I don’t cook much out of the Mennonite Treasury of Recipes (circa 1961) — the recipes contain too much saturated fat and carbohydrates for our taste — even though I am a Mennonite-in-law, marrying into a Mennonite family almost 15 years ago.  There are a few recipes I don’t mind though, I’ve mostly made Fruit Soup (Plumimoos) and Platz (aka Dutch Apple Cake, Coffee Cake).

I made this last week.  It takes about 25 minutes to put together. You can cut up the fruit the night before and refrigerate (sprinkle with a little lemon juice so it doesn’t go brown.)

Mix together:

2 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

4 T. sugar


2 T. margarine or butter (cut in with a pastry blender or two table knives)

1 c. milk (the original recipe calls for cream)

1 egg

Mix well and pat out on a fairly large baking dish.  Put on a layer of any of the following cut up fruit:  apricots, apples, peaches, plums, rhubarb, or any in season fruit. (I used rhubarb)

Combine in a small bowl:

3/4 c. flour

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 T margarine or  butter

Sprinkle over fruit.  Bale at 375 for 25 – 30 minutes (this seemed to take longer in my oven; I had put the platz into an 11 x 13 glass baking dish and it took about 40 minutes).  Serves about 10-12.

Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

2 cups frozen corn, defrosted (or the equivalent canned or fresh)
1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
2 green onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Japanese Quinoa Salad

Salad days
Salad days (Photo credit: elisabet.s)

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 pkg (340)g firm tofu, drained and diced [or 1 cup cooked chicken breasts, diced, or 1 can salmon or tuna, drained], optional
2 cups coleslaw mix
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 small package sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 can (8 oz /227ml ) sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, optional
1 tbsp dried parsley
½ c. Asian Sesame Salad Dressing or Renee’s Gourmet Japanese Ginger Dressing

Rinse quinoa in colander thoroughly with cold, running water. In medium saucepan, combine quinoa and water; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Cool slightly. In large bowl, combine quinoa with remaining salad ingredients and dressing. Makes 6 large servings.