Undersun Fitness

- 22 December

Here we are, three months into using the Undersun Fitness resistance bands exclusively for our van life workouts, and our expectations have been blown away.  What started as a challenge to seek out the perfect van life workout, has since evolved into fitness freedom. 

Up until this challenge, I used to be quite stubborn and small-minded with my beliefs that dumbbells are the overall superior at-home training equipment.  If you would have told me I would be volunteering to give them up for three months, I would never have believed you.  My old judgments have been shattered, as the bands have quickly become our all-around top choice for resistance training.


Slowing Down the Pace

During months one and two of the challenge we traveled very quickly.  We started out in Seattle, WA, and made our way around the Olympic Peninsula and onto the coast. From the Washington coast, we drove through Oregon and into California.  Wine country, San Francisco, Big Sur, and Pismo beach are all highlights for us.  To kick off our final month of the challenge, we made our descent further into Southern California and settled into Palm Springs. 

Even though we were traveling at a rapid rate in months one and two, we were still able to maintain our daily workout schedule by using the bands.  One of the most common challenges as a full-time nomad is creating a fitness routine that you can stay consistent with while living on the road.  While we were on the Pacific North West coast, we got stuck in some uncomfortably cold and rainy weather.  It was so unpleasant to be outdoors that we would definitely have skipped a slew of dumbbell workouts until we relocated.  Being able to use the bands inside of our van for an indoor workout was remarkable to us.  We didn’t miss a single workout.

So here we are now in Palm Springs, CA.  The state of California has entered a COVID-induced lock-down, yet again.  Only this time we are ready for it, as we are geared up with the right essentials for the best van life workouts. 

The Perfect Van Life Workout

After using the bands for our first training session, we were immediately hooked.  Feeling excitement and passion for our weight training was exactly what I was seeking – a fresh start to become eager about our van life workouts again. 

The price, weight, and storage size of the bands are what originally attracted me to them.  The effectiveness of the workouts is what kept my attention.  What’s even better is, after using the bands consistently for multiple months, the novelty of having new equipment has not worn off.  The bands are a fantastic tool for regular people with demanding schedules, to help us stay on task with our goals.

One day while setting up our band workout, Aaron and I chatted about how easy they were to get out, get started, and get our workout done.  Less thinking, more doing. We didn’t realize how limiting the dumbbells actually could be on certain days for our vanlife lifestyle.  After months of daily dumbbell use, the inconvenience was slowly deterring us and we hadn’t even realized it until we were freed from it.  That moment when we realized the bands had freed us from exercise anxiety was when we knew we were in this forever, not just 90-days.

Unexpected Bonuses

There are numerous advantages to using resistance bands that I have already preached about in blogs one and two.  The most significant for us as full-time RVers are the compact size and weight, and the ability to use these anywhere. 

Using the bands got us outside even more than before, as we now search for different places to get our workouts in.  We found growth by exploring further and shaking up our routine more.  I expected the bands to get us outside more, which they do.  However, the benefit of indoor use is an immensely unexpected plus. 

We not only took advantage of it while touring cold and rainy locations but also when the hazardous smoke from the wildfires trapped us inside of the van for 3 days.  Travel days are another occasion we found the indoor workouts came to our rescue, when it is early, cold, and dark outside.  With the new option of indoor workouts, the excuses are gone.

Aaron and I each have some nagging injuries that restrict us from performing certain dumbbell exercises.  Deadlifts, bent over rows, and squats are now back in Aaron’s rotation, thanks to the resistance bands. I have been able to nurse my overtrained shoulder back to health and add complete shoulder days back into my schedule again with the bands.  The bands have become an invaluable tool for us to train our entire bodies, even while working through injuries.  We have both been able to regain the strength that we have lost as a result of not being able to train using dumbbells on the affected areas.

The Transformation

Early in our third month, Aaron and I started to see physical changes in each other and even in ourselves.  It is really incredible to see changes in yourself, as we are each our own’s worst-critic.  It is extremely motivating to start to see muscle growth and improved definition as a result of your work.

During the first month or so of the challenge, I experienced a range of mental highs and lows as I placed an expectation of perfection upon myself.  It took me a good six weeks to finally make progress with my diet and find an approach that works really well for me.  What worked for me in my past wasn’t working as well for me this time around.  I had to re-assess and shift gears midway through the challenge.  After tweaking my nutrition plan, I found my groove and was making some headway in terms of diet.

I must admit, when I originally committed to this challenge, I had a vision of myself becoming super shredded during my 90-day experiment.  But as the challenge was underway, I discovered myself enjoying the journey and finding a balance that works well with our amazing lifestyle.  I placed less pressure on “perfect” food choices and urges to crash diet and more emphasis on filling 90-days with consistent habits that I enjoy daily and can sustain long-term.

Just as a diet can take trial and error, so can other areas of transformation.  You may need to focus on your mindset, your program layout, your equipment, or how you organize your daily schedule to find what you respond best to.  Pay attention to changing one variable at a time to see what has a positive effect on you.  Measure your success in ways that matter such as your confidence, your happiness, your positivity, and your outlook.  That is a transformation!

Just Getting Started

Even though our 90-days are over, we are just getting started with our newly invigorated fitness routine.  As we enter into our third year of full-time vanlife, we are really proud of the modifications that we have made to enhance our lifestyle.  We plan to continue living life on the road for an indefinite amount of time.  We also plan on keeping the bands on board and using them as an essential component of our van life workouts.

Identifying obstacles then finding solutions is an ongoing process for constant self-improvement.  Continue to make small tweaks here and there, and you will see they add up to significant changes and continued growth.  As you set your goals for yourself, think big, place urgency, and break your main goals into mini-goals with deadlines. 

Finding a strong support system is invaluable.  I am so grateful to have a husband who supports me with my goals, and he is by my side every day.  As if that isn’t enough, I have now found “my tribe” of fellow Undersun users.  I joined in on the official “TA2 and Undersun User Group” on Facebook and have been loving what I see on that page.  The members give nothing but love and support to each other, day in and day out.  I’m honored to be a part of such a great group of people.  Thank you to Undersun fitness for offering such a quality product and inviting me to share my van life workout story.

Vanlife is not always what Instagram makes it out to be.  It can be really challenging and incredibly stressful.  During a year that pulled the rug from everyone’s feet, the Undersun fitness bands helped us find a way to workout anywhere, anytime, and enjoy this crazy thing called vanlife even more!