Guest Post: My Journey to Healthier Living on the Road

Today I'd like to welcome Les, who has kindly written a guest post for me. Les has been a client of mine since January of this year and has made huge changes in his life over the last few months.....but I'll let him tell you all about that....

Myself and Les at the start of this weekend's Whistler 10km race!

It was January 2013. I was 5’9½”, 215lbs with a 38” waist. I was living on the road, spending a week or two at a time away from home, making poor food choices. I was using a major back surgery a couple years previous as a convenient excuse not to exercise. The unflattering physique in my vacation photos stared back at me. It was time to get serious. 
I was lucky – I already had incredible support from my wife Deanie – who unlike me does follow a regular exercise regimen and eats an extremely healthy diet. I needed to change and become more healthy and fit. And after enlisting the help of Chris as my Health Coach I had two people in my corner ready to help me on my journey.
At that first meeting Chris worked with me on my specific goals and particular challenges – for me it was my limited British pallet when it came to food choices and preferences and the work schedule (or lack of one!) that I kept. I didn’t expect any magic pills and my first rule was that if we are going to do this it is not a quick “Diet” to lose some superficial fat. If I lost any it would be a pleasant side effect of changing my lifestyle.
When I was at home I was pretty good. With help from Deanie I cleaned out all the pre-packaged rubbish foods; the commercial white breads, pre-packaged pies, soups and beans, sausage rolls, cookies and potato chips. These got replaced with healthier alternatives I could enjoy; fresh vegetables, beans, nuts and dried fruit – and I realized just how many veggies I did already like and enjoy! Deanie helped me make some great bean and vegetable soups/stews which could be made in a slow cooker and then separated into baggies or plastic containers and frozen for future use. And at home I had a treadmill and was able to use it.
So my issues would be mostly on the road.
I was not familiar with many healthy eating options where I travelled  and it was so convenient to swing by a drive-through and grab a quick bite to go or something for dinner and take it back to the room. That along with some strange food intolerances meant that most places preparing healthier options were difficult to order from.
So what did I do? Well, I would stop at the grocery store on the first day on the road and pick up a large bag of snap-peas, carrots, maybe some broccoli pieces, apples, oranges, a bag of mixed nuts and trail mixes and a case of water. This served to both fix the snacking issues and improve the lunches and dinners.
I found it was still easy to go out and get a grilled chicken breast, chicken or turkey breast sandwich or soup or even the occasional burger or personal pizza, but now instead of having the burgers and sandwiches loaded up with cheese and bacon I switch out to lettuce. Instead of fries and onion rings I now have my veggies and fruit for dessert. Instead of Pepsi I drink water or a fresh vegetable and fruit juice. I realized that there were actually plenty of choices for me after all!
I now have cut the caffeine from my diet almost entirely. I skip the coffee in my hotel rooms, and when I need a warm drink I search out a good caffeine free tea instead. My new favourite drink is water and I drink about 2-3 litres a day!
So what about the exercise?
Mornings would often start with phone calls and e-mails at 7am. When I was at home this was fine as my treadmill was open at all hours, but at the hotels I did not know which ones had exercise rooms and what their hours are. I worried that the gyms might be too busy, and what other people might think of me – yes lots of excuses!
After 3 weeks of using the treadmill at home and building my stamina to walk/run 30 mins I didn't feel like I would out of place in a public gym – that’s one excuse checked off. Secondly I discovered that most hotels DO have a small exercise room with a treadmill or stationary bikes and some sort of weight machine/bench, with really flexible hours.  So I’d head down to the hotel gym before work and just get on with it. Sometimes if I had extra energy when I got to the hotel in the evening I would go down and exercise for an hour then too. You see there really never seems to be an issue with equipment and I believe in all the hotel gyms I've stayed at I've only had company maybe 3 or 4 times. As a bonus most gym rooms have a good TV so I can tune in the news while jogging or even watch the Hockey game during my evening sessions. I stopped making excuses, stopped worrying if it might be too busy, or what other people thought and GOT OVER IT. I realize that no-one is in there to judge you, if there’s even anyone else in there with you in the first place!
I met with Chris every 2 weeks and it meant a great deal that I had someone other than myself to answer to. We had set a goal of completing a 10km run within 3 months from when I started this, and when things were going well with my exercise regime I signed up for the Vancouver Sun run – my first ever 10km which I finished in 1:09*. We also had set a goal of trying new vegetables which has broadened my pallet of healthy food options, and along the way Chris has provided many nutritional information guides to help me make better choices.
These days I can wake up without coffee and have more energy after exercising. Oh, and the 30lbs weight loss to date and 2 inches off my waist size have certainly helped to keep me motivated…
Thanks to Chris at InSpiral Coaching for your help in leading me down this new path, and to my wife Deanie for putting up with me and helping me stay on track! 
*Les since ran his second 10km this weekend in Whistler, BC and knocked 4 minutes off his time! Great Job Les!


  1. This is amazing progress! Well done Les and well done coach Chris!

    1. Thanks Anna, Les has really done well for himself!

  2. Good work gentlemen! I love hearing about others sucesses. Les you are an inspiration to those out there who think they can not do it!

    1. You're right there; he's also an inspiration to his coach...;-)


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