Episode #14: Diet and Fitness While Traveling

This week, we are sharing tips and tricks on how to stay fit and healthy while you are traveling.  On this week’s episode, Russ and Mika are once again recording on location in Italy, and they are talking about a topic that is very pertinent to their life at the moment. This week’s podcast...

On this week’s episode, Russ and Mika are once again recording on location in Italy, and they are talking about a topic that is very pertinent to their life at the moment.

This week’s podcast is all about how to maintain diet and fitness while traveling. (and how the Italians manage to stay so slim!)

It’s not always easy to stay in shape while you are vacationing or traveling, and this episode is all about how to create a healthy mindset that will allow you to stay fit in some of the most challenging situations.

You’ll hear tips and tricks for eating well, exercising, and living a healthy life while you’re away from home.

In this episode, you will learn:

• What Russ’ fitness routine looks like on the road.
• Mika’s tips for maintaining wellness while traveling.
• Why you should focus on maintaining rather than making gains.
• Observations about the way that Italians stay healthy and fit.

Mentioned in this episode:
Russ Perry on Instagram
Mika Perry on Instagram
The Sober Entrepreneur by Russ Perry
The Russ Perry Show
The Break by Marian Keyes
3 in 30 – Podcast for Moms
The Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Dr. Gabor Mate
Apple Music
Peanut Butter Jelly Time
It’s Raining Tacos
12 Minute Athlete App
Michael Pollan


Russ Perry: And today we are doing an episode in which we actually attempted before. However, we were too generic and vague, so we’re trying it again. It’s called diet and fitness, but now we’re looking at diet and fitness while traveling. As well as how the Italians stay slim.

Mika Perry: So, we know that there are a lot of podcasters out there talking about diet and fitness. There’s so many experts in this field, and we recorded an episode talking about our experience with diet and fitness. We’ve touched on it a few times before in past episodes, but when we recorded this particular one, we realized at the end of the day, did we offer you guys any new value other than just kind of sharing out story? Which I think has a value on it’s own because we always want to share our experience with you, because I think that is where a lot of good points can be taken from. But after that, we’re like you know what, what is unique about our current situation? Or what we’re doing to improve ourselves and then we’re like wait, we’re on a trip. We’re traveling, we travel a lot, and how do we stay fit? How do we stay healthy? How do we keep our diet on track while we are on the go?
So, this episode is coming to you with a lot more passion, a lot more heart and a lot of great ideas that we hope you can use as takeaways for yourselves.

Russ Perry: You can’t out expert the experts, who are basically creating their entire lives around the conversation of fitness and wellness. So, this is a unique angle and we’re really pumped about that. But, before we get there, we need to get into our real little segment which is something we do every week. If you haven’t checked it out, you can go to our podcast website, which is, and get the full list of what we’re reading, listening, eating and loving.

Mika Perry: The acronym is RLEL.

Russ Perry: RLEL.

Mika Perry: And we just updated that list to be much more user-friendly and quick and easy for you. I just worked on that yesterday.

Russ Perry: Totally more comprehensive too.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: There’s even more on that list. So you can go to that website, throw in your email. You’ll get one email with the link to that and you can check out all of the things that we’ve recommended and talked about from all the episodes. Okay.

Mika Perry: Who goes first?

Russ Perry: You always go first or RLEL.

Mika Perry: Okay. Alright, so, reading, I finished a book called ‘The Break’ by Marian Keyes, it’s a fictional book, a novel. I finished a novel. I actually picked up this book here in Florence, we found an English book store. I’ve read Marian Keyes other books in the past, not for a while though. There was a point in time where I read a lot of novels and maybe it was before I was an entrepreneur and had a little bit more time. She is a great Irish writer and hilarious, but very heartwarming, touching, makes you think about life a little bit, but hilarious. So, ‘The Break’.
Listening, I have been binge-listening to ‘3 and 30 Takeaways For Moms’ by a woman named Rachel, I don’t have her last name at the top of my mind right now. I actually messaged her on Instagram, saying how much I loved her podcast. She does 30-minute episodes. All interviews, maybe there’s a few solo episodes. But they’re interviews of other mom’s giving three takeaways to become better parents. Examples, how not to yell at your children.

Russ Perry: What’s the tip?

Mika Perry: There’s three of them. I want you to go listen to hers. I think she will do a better job at it than me trying to say it here. But, let me just tell you that I have been taking actual notes in my journals, after I have been listening to podcasts lately, just so I don’t forget the takeaways. From this and other ones. I’ve written a lot from hers and definitely check it out.
I actually told her on Instagram that I would mention her here and she was super sweet.

Russ Perry: Well, shout out to Rachel, we wish we knew your last name, and thanks for your awesome podcast.

Mika Perry: Alright, eating. This week I have been definitely feeling the effects of gluten, eggs and dairy. Oh my gosh, you guys, Italy, the food is so good. There is something called sfoglia which we actually have on the table right now that we picked up from the pastry shop. It’s like puff pastry with cream in it. It’s so good. Gelato, fresh pasta made with eggs. I have an egg sensitivity. Also gluten and dairy too. It’s not life threatening so I can eat it, and be okay, but I do break out in eczema like type situations. And I’m feeling it. So, I’m enjoying it. That’s what I am eating, but just wanted to put the disclaimer that it’s sinking in, the effects of what you eat. Which is very appropriate for this podcast topic.

Russ Perry: Right. We’ll talk more.

Mika Perry: Yep. Oh, side note, I’ve also had lots of gnocchi as well. That’s a potato pasta, so not made with wheat. But I had it at a restaurant made with browned butter, sage, and bacon and it was absolutely delicious and the next day I was making dinner at home for everyone and I made it and tried to recreate it. I think I did pretty well.

Russ Perry: Yeah, it was a slam dunk.

Mika Perry: Yep. Okay, last one, loving. I went on a social media fast while I was here. I took a whole week off of social media, and you guys, I loved it. Literally, love, love, loved it. I got so many amazing benefits from this that I am really excited to share with you in a blog post in detail what happened by going on a social media fast.
You know what, I think I’m going to do it again, soon, when I’m back home.

Russ Perry: Nice. And if you guys don’t know, we each kind of run our own blogs. They’re definitely different angles. Mika’s blog, totally beautiful blog. We just updated it too, so there’s a lot of new content on there,, and then I’m over at Mine’s obviously more business focused, talking a lot about sobriety, training, business, things like that. So, definitely if you’re wanting to dive in more to the ideas that we kind of both independently bring, you can check those out independently.
We have a lot of websites.

Mika Perry: We do.

Russ Perry: It’s okay, bigger footprint.

Mika Perry: But you know what, they’re easy to get to and they’re all tied together.

Russ Perry: Now, if you get confused, here’s another website that you could go to.

Mika Perry: Add it to the list.

Russ Perry: That’s kind of like our directory, so you can find links to anything that we’re working on, or projects, future projects. So that’s yet another website. I’ve listed four websites on this podcast, so far.
Good share sweetheart. I love the social media fast, obviously. That was a huge takeaway for me. One thing that I really noticed that you were moving slower. Not in like a snail pace, not in a speed of movement, but you just had more intention. I felt like the decisions from going from things throughout the day, you were really intentful and you were really mindful of that. I could get that energy from you. So, I loved the social media fast.

Mika Perry: You know what, I just thought of it now, but you saying that reminds me of the benefit of sobriety from whatever it is. It’s clarity and intention and more mindfulness.

Russ Perry: Right. Well, that’s been a past topic for us. Sobriety and kind of going into my RLEL list here. One of the books I mentioned previously was the book by Gabor Mate which I just finished. It was freaking amazing, ‘Hungry Ghosts’. And the biggest takeaway of that was that addictions can come in substances, or behaviors. And they’re the same in terms of how they impact your life. They can impact your mental state. Probably the second half of the book was talking about mindfulness and awareness as one of the biggest ways to break free from any type of addiction, or destructive habits.
Your social media fast is effectively allowing you to rise up above social media. Not to say you struggle from a hard addiction around it. Some people might, but it gives you the awareness of that behavior, without being in the middle of that behavior. No different than quitting drinking allows you to be aware of your behavior in other areas. Parties, social situations, Sunday afternoons, Tuesday mornings, whatever you’re drinking. And being able to identify how was I normally behaving versus how am I doing it now?

Mika Perry: Yeah. It was an experiment to see how I would feel. What would come out of it? Really awesome.

Russ Perry: Cool. I’m excited for that blog post. I definitely want to share that. Maybe probably do it myself.
Now, onto reading. So, non-fiction for the win. I just finished the book ‘The Sales Acceleration Formula’ by Mark Roberge. This guy was an early employee of HubSpot, which is a cool marketing software. We use it for a couple of my businesses. He actually was one of the first hires around building a sales team at HubSpot. Now they’re a publicly traded company. But he was an engineer. He was from MIT, he was very focused on the science behind how do you build a winning sales team? Not by personality types, but using data and analytics. And the book was a quick read. Super inspiring for us here at Design Pickle. We’re actually implementing a lot of the strategy that they’re using for building a sales team inside our company, which we’ve never had before. I’m excited for that.
Very easy to read too. I’ve read a lot of sales books and this was like step one, do this, step two, do that. So, if anyone’s out there inside of a business that you’re thinking about either building a sales team, or need to improve it, I highly recommend that.
Now, I’m listening, as I do most weeks. This is not a new thing, but one of my favorite Australian DJ’s, vocalist, songwriters, and producers, is a woman by the name of Anna Linogh. She actually lives in L.A. now but she was recruited in 2015 as part of the starting line up for the launch DJ’s of Apple Music. Which, I’ll get to in a second. She has a weekly Friday show called Hyper House.
Now, from my college days of always listening to electronic music when it’s kind of time to work. There’s no words, you can get in a zone and focus on it. So, every Friday, it’s a two-hour mix. There’s a little bit of DJ talk between guest artists and things, but it is my go-to music for when it’s time to just create, write, put headphones on, get busy. So, I highly recommend that. You can find it on Beats One on the streaming side of that, inside of Apple Music.
Eating. Mika. I love your bread.

Mika Perry: I have been baking bread here.

Russ Perry: Right. Our Nanny that we hired to watch our kids during the day is super amazing at cooking. What’s up, Emma, if you ever listen to this. And she taught Mika this incredible bread recipe. It’s the best bread. I had a sandwich with it last night. It’s all throughout our house. I normally don’t like carbs and bread.

Mika Perry: All throughout our house.

Russ Perry: There’s a pan of it, it’s in the fridge, I’m just finding it. It’s rising, doughs rising outside. But I think you need to post the recipe on how to make that.

Mika Perry: Okay. It’s basically focaccia, olive oil bread. They call it Ciaccia here, I’m probably mis-saying that but it is easy to make and we’ve committed to eating gluten here on this trip, so I’m just going for it. It’s an easy addition to a meal. It becomes the bread for sandwiches last night. You rolled in at like 1:30 am, after working a really long day and I made a sandwich with it, it was easy.

Russ Perry: How about a micro-blog, Instagram post on the recipe?

Mika Perry: Oh, on the recipe? Totally, I love. Let’s talk about micro-blogging for two seconds.

Russ Perry: Okay, go ahead.

Mika Perry: I love it, and I’ve been trying to do it because I love seeing things like recipes in the actual caption. I think it’s awesome. And more and more people are moving away from blogs, unfortunately reading, and I get it, it’s time. But consuming content on stories and the actual Instagram post caption is awesome, I’ll do it.

Russ Perry: Cool. Finally wrapping up. This is one of my all time, top 10 app things ever that I love, but it’s clearly related to my listening, is Apple Music. Listen, guys, I don’t care what you pay for. Pandora, Spotify, you don’t pay for anything, you need to get an Apple Music subscription. It’s $9.95 for yourself $15 for your entire family and it is fantastic. Like I mentioned, they recruit live DJ’s, there’s all sorts of live playlists that are updated by hand, it’s not algorithms. Tons of new music. I feel like plugged into the music scene and a lot of what I recommend here, is basically just what’s trending there.
So actually I won’t seem as dialed in, if you start listening to Apple Music because you’ll realize I’m just repeating what is new and note-worthy there.

Mika Perry: And our kids love Apple Music. They don’t know that they love it because we use it when they want to do a dance party. Right now they love Peanut Butter Jelly Time, and a song called It’s Raining Tacos. Every afternoon we go home and they do a dance party. It’s like on-demand music.

Russ Perry: We’ll make sure to link both of those songs in the show notes, so you too can have dance parties to Peanut Butter Jelly Time and It’s Raining Tacos. Alright. So, that wraps up our reading, listening, eating, loving list. Again, go to the site and you can get the full download of everything we’ve listed.
So let’s dive into the main topic today. This is fitness, wellness, health while traveling, and a bonus section on what we’ve observed on how the Italians stay slim.
Mika, do you want me to go first?

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: Alright. So, first of all, just like on our general strategy and best practices on our commitment to health and fitness and diet, while we’re on the go.
The first thing is just more of a mindset. This is about staying steady. What I mean for this is it is a lot of pressure for yourself if you’re traveling somewhere new, or it’s a short trip, or it’s a long trip. If you feel like you need to put a ton of pressure on yourself to just dominate whatever it is that you’re trying to do, in terms of fitness.

I would not recommend traveling if you’re in a highly competitive fitness environment, with the exception of potentially like a marathon. I think you could pull it off if you’re doing something related to running. Because that’s the most accessible form of fitness when you travel. But if you’re doing weight lifting, or weight loss, or muscle building, bodybuilding, any of those kinds of things. You really just need to come to accept that the best case scenario when traveling is that you stay steady. You don’t slide back from wherever you’re at, when you start the trip.

So for me, I really just focus primarily on weight lifting. Which is about 70-80% and then running for the rest of it. It’s super simple. You don’t need a ton of complexity of gear, equipment. You just need to find some local gym. Which, there’s always one nearby if you’re going to a major metropolitan area. If you’re not, you can always do body weight stuff. Which I’ll get to a great app for that in a second.

I love Cross-Fit style workouts. Very simple, they don’t require tons of machinery, and the workouts themselves are quick. So you can get one done in 10 to 20 minutes and it’s what you need. You feel awesome fhe rest of the day. You feel focused. You have that “pump”. And the other thing about that as well, is muscle, building muscle and working on muscle has always been one of the best ways in terms of burning calories. So you’re really counteracting all the gelato. That’s the way I like to look at it.

The other big takeaway are kind of travel, fitness, wellness as I just mentioned is running. And running is A, super easy, just remember to bring the right shoes. And B, it is this added benefit of getting to see wherever you’re traveling to. So when you go for a jog, when you go for a run, you’re seeing the countryside, you’re seeing the city. You’re seeing whatever location you’re at from a very different point of view. And you can cover a ton of distance.

I remember going to San Francisco, late last year, and I was running and I ended up running across the Golden Gate Bridge. I just kept going and I got closer and closer and I was like, I’m just gonna do this. I’m just gonna run across the Golden Gate Bridge. And it’s one of the most memorable experiences I have in San Francisco, is I ran across the Golden Gate Bridge. Took a selfie, it was beautiful, it was windy. Then it started getting dark and I was like oh crap, I gotta get home. I’m really far away from the city.
So you can access more too, when you’re running that you can’t access when you’re walking with your family, or when you’re just inside a gym, often without many windows or views on anything.

Mika Perry: How do you decide on your route?

Russ Perry: Good question. So, I think what I don’t do, which I should is there’s probably tons of runner blogs and guides and apps. I honestly have never gone after it. I think part of the joy for me is I just go. I try not to run in highly trafficked areas for safety reasons. If I was in a major metropolitan area, I would maybe try to find a park, or some type of walk way, trail. That aligns something that is typically when we’re traveling, it’s a little more green than areas around us. There’s often rivers or pathways that they’ve created. But that’s often the joy of it. Is going out there. Like the San Francisco experience where I’m just gonna keep going and I have like a mileage or distance, or time. So for me, it’s like, okay, if I want to work out for a half an hour, I’ll run for 15 minutes, one direction, and then just turn around wherever I’m at. Or whatever distance.

That way you also don’t need to worry about having the right gear. Do I have the pedometer? Or all this stuff. You just go. Usually, you have your phone on you, so you can track the time that way. Also, I noticed there’s tons of culture and communities around running. So if you’re in a place for quite a bit of a time, you can usually find a local running club and they’ll always have trails and paths, and courses mapped out that they’ll do on a regular basis.

So, the next tip I have on this is give yourself some grace. And what I mean by this, is usually, most often than not when you’re traveling, at least when we travel, we’re moving our bodies a ton more. Just this morning we got to our co-working space. We walked to get coffee. We walked to pick up some lunch. We walked back to the office. So you’re moving a ton more. This has been validated by the pedometer on my watch. I’m averaging five to seven miles of movement a day, that I normally would not be doing in Arizona. No way I would be doing that much.

So, when you don’t get to the workout. When you don’t get to that run and wake up early because your kids were up all night, sneaking in your bed and bothering you, and making you go crazy. Don’t stress out about it. It is honestly okay, because on average, you’re moving a ton more. We found this to be true everywhere we go. Even if we go to another city like Chicago or New York City. Oh, let’s walk there and we’re walking four blocks. Where we would never do that in Arizona.

Mika Perry: Ever. Like when we’re in Arizona and I see people walking around, I know that they’re not from Arizona. They’re tourists because they’re walking.

Russ Perry: Right, and they look lost and they’re pissed off because it’s two miles of nothingness, they’re walking.

So, that grace is great. It’s just tons of relaxation knowing that it’s going to be okay. Now, practical tip, as I mentioned if you are wanting to do workouts and you just don’t want to think about it, it’s an app called The 12 Minute Athlete, it’s one I’ve recommended to everybody. And what’s cool about this app is you just tell this app what you have. So, you could say I have nothing, and it will give you a body weight workout, that’s either 12 or 16 minutes long. High-Intensity Interval Training workout. HITT, as the fitness bloggers say.

Then the other thing is if you have like a kettlebell, or you’re in the world’s lamest hotel gym and there’s a pull-up bar. You could say okay, I have nothing except 25-pound dumbbells and a pull-up bar, and an elliptical. Although, it will not include the elliptical in your workout. And you just tell it what it has and it creates a workout. So, this is good for a hotel room, this is good for a lame hotel gym, it’s good for any kind of facility that you’re in. Even by yourself in a park or something if you’re just-

Mika Perry: Or when you’re short on time.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: I remember when we were in Tahoe, for whatever reason, we could only get a small workout in. So we went to the gym, it was nice, it’s at the Ritz Carlton, but I did this app. It was hard.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: It was really hard.

Russ Perry: And it’s an awesome app. The free version is all you need and it tracks a lot too. So you can kind of set your own metrics if you use it regularly. Now, two more and I’ll pass the mic over to Mika. This one goes without saying. Don’t drink when you travel. This might be hard for some people. Especially for those not on the sober bandwagon. Let me tell you this, even if you’re not choosing a life of sobriety like me and my wife. If you choose not to drink on your trip, I 100% guarantee you will come out on top in areas of health and fitness and wellness and mental clarity. It is amazing every time one of my friends … because I kind of got the sober brand going for me. So, when someone has sober moments, I hear about it immediately. I went to Vegas, and I didn’t drink for eight hours. Good for you.

Mika Perry: That’s awesome.

Russ Perry: I don’t think everybody needs a life of abstinence, I certainly do. But if you consciously choose not to drink when you travel, on the airplane, whenever. There’s so much advantage to how you feel, that it is game-changing. You will realize man, I’ll happily drink at home, but I don’t drink when I travel. You’re just doing more, seeing more.

I always tell this funny story when I quit drinking, on my first trip to Vegas. I’ll tell it quickly here. It was a 24 hour trip to Vegas. We fly in out of Phoenix, it’s a 40-minute flight. Me and Mika like to go for a night, get a nice dinner, come back the next day. We’re not gone very long. It was the longest Vegas trip I felt, ever, because I was sober. I was up late, I was up early. I was doing things. I went to the gym. I got so much done in those 24 hours that it honestly felt like a week-long trip that I used to have. Because you would just get drunk and not do anything.

Mika Perry: And you remembered everything.

Russ Perry: And I remembered all of it. So, look, you don’t have to be abstinent to just choose not to drink for a couple of days, or a trip. And it will most certainly, and it saves you calories too. So you can eat more gelato.
Finally, don’t stress out about this too much, enjoy it. You may only be wherever you’re going once. So, eat the egg pasta, have the gelato at lunchtime. Have the croissant filled with chocolate at 8:00 am. Because honestly, you’re more than likely not gonna do that again. And if you do, it’s a bonus. Enjoy wherever you’re going. Don’t stress out.

Mika Perry: Like this morning at the pastry shop, next our coffee place. I was like, should we get this pastry. There’s one with puff pastry and it’s so good, sfoglia, and I paused and I looked at you. I’m like, yeah, we’re getting.

Russ Perry: Totally, absolutely, we’ll eat it after we record this.
So there you go, guys. That’s just the real practical frame of travel. Some detailed things, some more mindsets, but take what you want and I guarantee your next trip, you’re going to feel a ton better when you get after it.

Mika Perry: Alright.

Russ Perry: Off to you ma’am.

Mika Perry: Off to me. So here are my tips and thoughts on how I travel and maintain the healthy, wellness lifestyle and fitness that I try to keep at home. You know that travel just wears you down. So, I kind of feel like this is really important to think about. Because you’re already at a disadvantage in health and wellness and fitness, by traveling.

So you kind of have to do a little bit more and be a little bit more proactive. So, let’s start with my first tip. Which is finding a gym in advanced and booking classes in advance. So, before you go, find a gym or a studio and then go online and book those classes. So an example is, I love Soul Cycle spin classes and they don’t have Soul Cycle in Arizona. So, whenever we travel, I try to look for a Soul Cycle and you have to book your bike in advance anyway, but I do that.

Russ Perry: What is Soul Cycle for people who don’t know?

Mika Perry: Really?

Russ Perry: I’m sure people don’t know.

Mika Perry: That’s true.

Russ Perry: I didn’t know.

Mika Perry: Okay, Soul Cycle is … really? You didn’t know?

Russ Perry: Not until I went and now I love it.

Mika Perry: It’s so good. It’s basically a dance party on a bike. So if you’ve never done spin classes, you’re in a room. Usually, it’s dark, there’s good music and you spin your heart out for like 50 minutes. It’s awesome, and it’s lead. And there’s different styles. Like Flywheel I haven’t been to, but it’s based on your RPM’s and speed. I’ve taken some spin classes at the regular gym and it’s like so painful to get through sometimes. It really depends on the instructor.

Russ Perry: Painful as in not fun.

Mika Perry: Not fun, yeah, it’s boring. It’s like trudging through it. Soul Cycle, the instructors are amazing, the music is loud, it’s an awesome vibe. I get most times, emotional and teary-eyed doing it, because I’m so euphoric and it’s so fun. Honestly. Then they have quite songs where they’re like close your eyes and bike for this whole song. I’m like, tears are falling from my eyes because I’m like life is so beautiful and this is a wonderful moment.

Russ Perry: Now, if there are any guys out there who dis on spin, I fell in love with it. It’s an awesome, awesome, awesome workout. And I’ve done it in the Philippines. I took my team there and we did a spin class.

Mika Perry: That’s right.

Russ Perry: So, it’s all over the place.

Mika Perry: So, I book these classes in advance. And the last time I went to Soul Cycle was in Newport Beach and we were staying at the hotel. I wanted to sleep in so badly, but I had booked the class the night before, and it forced me to go to class. I had to take an Uber. It was like a 30 minute Uber ride. It was pre-paid so that’s like accountability right there. I was like you know what, I paid for it, I’m gonna do it.

Take supplements with you. Now if you follow me at all on my Instagram, you will see that I take this giant thing called a Wellness Tower. It’s these little compartments that started out with three or four little compartments and now I’ve twisted on little compartments in this cylindrical tower. In it are all of the different supplements that I take. I am going to answer the supplements in my Q&A episode that’s coming up next. There’s a lot of different ones that I take, so I’m not going to get into that here. But, whatever you take at home, bring it with you, and stay on top of it.
There is one thing I’m consistent at and it is that here. In the morning and at night time. Because again, travel, by physically getting on a plane and moving, and dehydrated air and germs everywhere. Then the sleep quality that you do, or don’t have when you travel. That all affects you. So your mental body being needs to be in the best condition that it can be. Supplements can help.
I have taken the big, giant protein powder container with us before. That was a lot. I didn’t bring that this time to Italy and I regret that. I wish I brought that, because that is a huge part of my daily wellness and food and I don’t have that with me. So, I don’t know.

Russ Perry: I’m sorry.

Mika Perry: It’s okay.

Russ Perry: I always felt though, when you travel, I don’t know. We’re going to talk about all these specific things. I guess it depends on where you travel. But better quality protein is more accessible. Like getting some fish, getting some chicken, and we’re eating out more. We’re having more of that in our diet, regularly.

Mika Perry: True.

Russ Perry: Maybe supplementing isn’t required, I don’t know.

Mika Perry: True, True, okay. Alright, next, don’t try to make huge gains. Focus on maintenance. So when I’m traveling, my mindset is not let’s keep up the progress of my fitness, but just maintain. You’re going to stress out if you try to make gains. I did this kind of bouncing on what you mentioned Russ, is like don’t travel when you’re competing or you have something huge. I did that last year. I was prepping for a show that I didn’t do, I’ll be honest about it. But I was prepping for a bodybuilding show and I traveled and it was tough. I took a cooler with me, I packed and it was all I could think about. My food and what I was going to eat. It made it less enjoyable. You can do it, people do it all the time and professional bodybuilders, that’s their life. They travel to shows and they make it happen. So, it’s doable, but man it’s not fun.

Next, if you’re given the choice of what to do. If you’re like alright, I have time to work out on my trip, what do I do? If you’re between a cardio session and weight lifting, I would say go for that quick weight lifting work out. Soul Cycle is all cardio. They throw in like two-pound weights for an upper body work out, that does nothing at the end, I don’t know why, but whatever. But for me, Russ, you mentioned the pump. I actually have that here in my notes as the “pump”.

Russ Perry: In quotes.

Mika Perry: Because after I do a weight lifting work out … in quotes, it’s here, because the next day … like right now, I did something two days ago and I’m sore. It just makes me stand a little taller, feel better. My abs are sore. You feel tighter and you feel good. Whereas if you do cardio, you’ll have that refreshing, energized feeling, which is also great, but if you’re wanting to just physically feel better and look better in your clothes or something. I do shoulders when I travel and I know I’m going to wear a sleeveless dress for an event. I’ll make sure I hit the upper body like extra because that “pump”.

So, that being said, runs are awesome. Which is my next tip. I think if you go for a run. I’m running right now. I’m mixing both, weight lifting and running here. But when I have a little bit more time, runs have been awesome, memorable moments. In Central Park in New York we went running. In Belize, I ran along the beach early in the morning. So less of like a results driven tip, but an experiential tip with your health and wellness is go on a run. It doesn’t matter how long you run, how far, just do it.
As far as mindset, I was in a funk a week ago. I think it’s hormonal.

Russ Perry: Perhaps.

Mika Perry: It definitely was. I was in a funk and I didn’t want to work out. I was really not motivated, but I said you know what, just go and a run was an easy way to just step out the door. Our gym here is a little bit far for us and it takes a bit of getting, you gotta get there. The run, I could just step outside and go and start. I knew that that was the first step I needed to get myself out of that mental funk. So, give a run a try.

Russ Perry: Nice.

Mika Perry: Maddy said she wanted to start running, so she’s gone on some runs on this trip too.

Russ Perry: Yeah, it’s an easy thing to get your family enrolled in as well. And Maddy, I just approached this where let’s go out and then the next time, let’s do better than the time before. And we’re doing it once a week. We got another run on deck this week for her and she was really cognoscenti of it, she complained, but then she loved it. So, the mental benefits and that sense of accomplishment that we feel, it’s the same for our kids at whatever level they’re at.

Mika Perry: Just a couple more tips here, before what we get into what we’ve noticed in Italy, specifically. Don’t drink on the plane. I think saying you’re going to go on vacation and not drink, if you’re not choosing abstinence or a sober lifestyle, you’re actually going on vacation to check out and zone out and for a lot of people that involves drinking on the beach and drinking at dinner and all of that. But even if you choose to continue that, try one step of not drinking on the plane. When we fly, there’s champaign and free flowing wine now. I used to drink to relieve some of the anxiety of flying and travel, but it is so dehydrating and so bad for you. All it does is bring negative things to your entire experience.
So as fun as it is in the moment, try the self discipline tactic of not drinking. Have sparkling water and you will feel better once you land, you will feel better the next morning to go on that work out, to lead a healthier day, wherever you are.

Russ Perry: If you do drink at home in your day to day, you can take a vacation from drinking when you travel.

Mika Perry: That’s true. Yeah.

Russ Perry: Clearly we have an opinion on this but I know when I stopped drinking and Mika was still drinking, I felt so much more relaxed landing in the new location and airport, figuring out how to get to where we were going and not having that murkiness that existed from even a beer or two on the airplane. Which, with the high altitude, low oxygen, you’re already at a disadvantage.

Mika Perry: Meanwhile I’m on a champaign buzz and I’m like it’s fine, Russ will take me wherever I need to go. Alright. Another thing is fit in fitness wherever you can. So an example of this is a couple of days ago, we were out by the pool. It was Sunday, today is Tuesday, it was Sunday. We were just having a chill day. I was just having the feeling of you know what, I feel like doing some push ups. So you and I both did 100 push ups total. Paige and Reese were there. Reese counted the push ups for us and I thought that was great.

Russ Perry: Paige started sitting on us and it’s like no.

Mika Perry: And she was pouring water, they had such a fun time. They were pouring water on us. But I felt better the next day. My upper body felt better. It’s not going to change your life to do 100 push ups, but it will only be a very small step in the right direction. I’ve really felt on this trip that those small steps make a huge difference and don’t discount them. I am someone who always thinks those things way down the road and wants the results, the big results. But then, it’s all the little small steps. So I’ve been trying to honor those small steps while I’m here.

Russ Perry: You’re definitely better at push ups than I am.

Mika Perry: You think?

Russ Perry: Yeah. I was so slow.

Mika Perry: Oh, okay, I’ll take it.

Russ Perry: I think maybe my form was maybe-

Mika Perry: I was watching your form. You changed your form half way. You started really small, doing tricep ones.

Russ Perry: Well because I like wide and getting elbows in, but I bring my chest to the ground.

Mika Perry: I do too, kind of. Alright, last point is same as yours. You’re only at your place for a short time. I was going to say you’re only there once, but you may return. Let’s just enjoy the moment. Have that extra thing. The thing is like, you can always work on it when you get home. That’s how I’ve felt. I’ve felt kind of discouraged and having a little bit of a mental struggle. Like oh wow, these jeans are feeling tight. I’m not feeling as good as I do when I’m at home. Because we’ve been here for a while and we’ve been eating that pasta for a while. But then I was like, you know what, I can just get back into it when I get home. I know how to work out, I know how to eat right. I’ll do it when I get home. I want to enjoy it. If I’m sitting here stressing out about it, it’s going to miss the whole point of this experience.

Russ Perry: I think this is not the right mindset to have if you’re already home, oh I’ll do it later, I’ll do it later. But knowing that there really literally is a finite amount of time that your trip is, that your experiences with your family or yourself. And making a commitment that you’ll honor when you do get back to a just course. But also making the commitment to yourself mentally that the reason you’re on this trip is to experience something different and new. It’s not to be on the Keto Diet the whole time.

Mika Perry: Right.

Russ Perry: Or you know, exactly replicate every part of your routine back at home. Now we bring in elements when we travel to have certain pieces that we know serve us. But at the same time, it is not about just a carbon copy of Scottsdale, Arizona, how can we make that here in Italy. I think those of you who’ve tried to do that, it just becomes a ton of stress, and that is even worse for your health and wellness.

Mika Perry: So, it’s give yourself grace and the flexibility to do things a little differently, be a little bit more relaxed about things, but follow these tips and ideas so that when you get back, you’re not 100 steps behind and you’re kind of creating yourself less of a recovery than you would had you just done a free for all, when you’re on your trip.

Russ Perry: Nice. Now, if you guys have anything that you’ve experienced or loved while you travel in this topic, like things you’ve done to really hack health and wellness on the go, send us an Instagram message. We’re both on there. Russ and Mika Perry is just our handles. We’d love to hear. We’re going to definitely do a final Italy episode and we can share a little more if we get audience participation on that.
So, Mika, we’re going to keep going with you. Because we’ve been here, we’re wrapping up five weeks in Italy. We’ve just noticed the Italians, they are so attractive, everyone. Everyone is looking good, everyone is in the zone. They’re not bubbly, super friendly like you would find as maybe like in Chicago or something. But they’re on point. They seem healthy, the seem dialed in, they’re connected to their food. They’re connected to the vibe of the city. So, we’ve put together some observations that we’ve had that I know we can definitely share with the audience and bring this back home with us and incorporate this into our own lives.
So, what have you noticed?

Mika Perry: Well, I want to preface saying they look good and they’re slim, the Italians are slim, that’s not the only definition of health. However, it is an outward reflection of something that’s happening.

Russ Perry: It think regardless of body composition, everyone’s dressing nicer. Everyone’s comfortable and confident that I noticed.

Mika Perry: You’re right. And they seem focused and in the present moment. Which I think is a healthy mindset, which comes from a healthy lifestyle. So, let me get into what I’ve observed. Because I’ve been taking notes as we’ve been here.
Observations and differences. There’s a lot of walking and transportation is inconvenient. In our Italy episode part one, we talked about our conundrum with the driving situation. We have a scooter. Russ bought a bike. We walk everywhere. Getting to the bus stop is even far. So, getting to places is not convenient here. You have to think about it and it takes walking and movement. People are moving more here. That’s the thing. You’re not sitting in a car and going about your day from point A to point B, to point C, to point D and then getting out of the car and then getting into your house.

Russ Perry: Literally, you don’t even go outside your house. You get in the car inside your house, inside your garage, drive to where you’re going, walking 100 feet and then being where you’re at.

Mika Perry: Even like here, where we park our car at the house. So we pull up to our villa, there’s a gate, you have to get out, unlock the gate, open it, get back in the car, park the car. Then there’s like three points of entry. Then we walk down the stairs, to the kitchen to unload the groceries. So vastly different from my garage at home and the kitchen is right there when I get in.
Also, there’s no drive thru’s. There is one drive thru and it’s the McDonald’s. They have a drive thru here. There’s no such thing as a drive thru. Starbucks, they don’t even have Starbucks.

Russ Perry: I haven’t seen one.

Mika Perry: Nope. So not even like the American Starbucks and the McDonald’s but just the concept of driving through and picking something up, while sitting-

Russ Perry: In your vehicle.

Mika Perry: Yeah, is not a thing here. This sounds terrible, but you know the movie Wall-E, where everyone’s sitting in these motorized scooters and they’re in space and they do anything but eat.

Russ Perry: They’re more like hovercraft scooters.

Mika Perry: Okay.

Russ Perry: Just technical note. As a huge Wall-E fan.

Mika Perry: Honestly, that’s the image that I’m kind of getting of Italy versus America in a certain way, which is kind of sad.

Russ Perry: What is the mindset of an American versus and Italian. I think gross generalizations is there’s a lot of entitlement of mindset that we face. I feel entitled often when I don’t have the parking spot that I want. When the service isn’t fast enough, or what not. We’re all guilty of it. There is that lack of entitlement here. People, they’re working for what they have. You go into a restaurant and you don’t get this the customer’s always right vibe. It’s kind of like, I have the best croissants here, do you want a croissant, yes or no? Because if you don’t want a croissant, then the guy behind you wants a croissant. Or whatever it might be.
That I think in that sense of entitlement, that influences health and wellness decisions, a ton.

Mika Perry: Totally. I agree with you. Because I’ve though about wow, next time I don’t find parking really close at the Target, I can’t complain. I need to be grateful because look at how close I was able to get-

Russ Perry: You just rolled into a Target with a parking lot that’s bigger than any parking lot I’ve seen in all of Europe. In the one Target next to our house.

Mika Perry: I’ve mentioned the garage. I will be so grateful for the garage when we come back home.

Russ Perry: I’m actually going to disable the garage door opener, so you have to manually open it every time, and it’s just like be thankful, be thankful.

Mika Perry: Please don’t do that. Okay, next observation is in Italy, they have small or non-existent breakfast. For example, we just had our “Italian Breakfast”, which is going to the bar, which is an actual legit bar in the afternoons. But it the morning, it’s where everyone goes for a cup of coffee, standing up. You pay extra to sit down at a table. You pay extra. So we stood at the bar.

Russ Perry: Cover charge.

Mika Perry: Yep. Cover charge is what they call it. So, that’s kind of a typical breakfast and we went on a food tour. The lady said the Italian Breakfast is three minutes max. You have your coffee, your little croissant or your little pastry and you’re out the door. Vastly different from the mentality that breakfast is the most important meal that we have in America, and the big fried eggs, bacon, think of like a Denny’s style meal or something. Or even like avocado toast, acai bowl, smoothie, that’s not here. It’s just a hit of caffeine. Maybe a little bit of sugar and that’s it. Other differences, everyone drinks caffeine here. Also note, lots of alcohol as well. That’s a little different. Not quantity lots. It’s prevalent but as a back note. It’s not in your face. Even at the bar we just went to for breakfast, it’s just there and I’ve actually never seen anyone drink alcohol at the bar, even when we’ve gone there in the afternoon.

Russ Perry: Yesterday at lunch it was like a cup of generic wine from a bottle that’s no label. I saw a couple having small little glasses that were maybe the size of tea cups. They’re just having it and that’s that. It’s not this ritual process.

Mika Perry: Huge one. Gelato’s regularly. People eat ice cream here, every single day. Even in the morning. That’s different. And we’ve definitely taken part in that. We’ve only found one juice and smoothie bar. So you know like back home, they’re everywhere. I’ve only found one. In fact, there’s gluten, there’s dairy, there’s sugar, there’s carbs, there’s meat and in a lot of cases, there’s not a lot of vegetables and fruit when you eat out. So that makes me think that a lot of cooking is done at home and there’s only one gym and it’s the one that we belong to.
So, these are just the things that I’ve seen as we’ve gone through our days here and it’s like wow. This is different from America. In America we are so focused on diet and wellness and health and losing weight and being healthier. Yet, I feel like they’re effortlessly achieving that here in Italy. Without a conversation around it.

Russ Perry: The pressure around it.

Mika Perry: I thought how are they so slim. And I again mention slim because it’s not about being skinny. It’s just slender, they’re not, we haven’t seen a ton of obesity here.

Russ Perry: Like we don’t have to dance around it. There’s a lot of fat people in the United States that it’s no different than they choose to create and eat in a way that affects their body with their body composition differently that you just aren’t seeing here, period.

Mika Perry: So, here’s maybe why this is true, they walk everywhere. The only fast food that you can grab and go is actually home made. So people are grabbing a panini, or they’re grabbing a pastry. Yes it’s filled with sugar and carbs, but it is made by someone that day, usually. So it’s not processed at a factor, filled with chemicals. The portions are smaller. Wine portions are smaller, food portions are smaller. Gelato in some cases you can get a teeny tiny cup and that’s what we have been having. But people are going down with some big cones of gelato here. But overall portions are smaller.
Again, that small quick breakfast. I personally have said this about the American diet for a while. I feel like the big breakfast, the breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I don’t think that is true. I think intermittent fasting, that’s why that’s catching on. I feel better when I don’t have a huge breakfast. So I just think there needs to be some thought around that. That’s where I’ll leave it, because I’m not an expert.
Then, home made food in general. Yesterday we went out to lunch and the food was created by two sisters. Creating everything from scratch and that motivated or inspired me to inspired me to make bread. I never make bread at home and here I am on the patio with a bowl of rising dough, in our Tuscan villa. Totally home made food.

Russ Perry: Which all of the other listeners and people out there who make bread every day are like, this is ridiculous. You had to travel to Italy just to learn how to freaking make bread?

Mika Perry: And that’s the beauty of travel, the things you discover about yourselves and life around you.

Also I’ve noticed there’s this thing called herbal [Foreign language], I butchered that probably. But it’s a herb, [Foreign Language], like a shop. So it’s an herb shop that’s actually holistic products. So, there’s a lot of those. I don’t see a lot of pharmacies. There are some pharmacies, but there’s not like a Walgreens on every corner and a CVS. There’s just as many pharmacies with small amount of offerings as herbal, naturopathic product stores. And also, bio is what they label organic. Organic is called bio here, so when you see that … se we’ve been buying bio milk for the kids and bio yogurt. But that’s readily available everywhere. So, I’ve noticed that. Anyways, these are just my thoughts on how Italians seem so healthy and happy.

Russ Perry: Well, I have some breaking news for you Mika. Nine out of 10 experts would agree with most of your insights on the problems. I don’t have much more to add and to get this episode kind of wrapped up here. But, undoubtedly, the quality and quantity of food is drastically different. I put a little note here. Italians, the original intermittent fasters.

That’s what it is. It’s so funny. That’s the newest trend and you’re hearing all these people talk about it and I imagine if you are living in Europe or in Italy. I can’t say this is how all of Europe eats and behaves. You read a blog on intermittent fasting and you would be like, this is ridiculous. Of course, don’t eat a ton of food in the morning and you’ll be healthier. Because you don’t need that much food. You don’t need all the food that’s been marketed through conglomerate marketing campaigns from the milk industry and the dairy industry and the egg industry and the pork industry, and the cereal industry. So, all of the corporate money and all of the corporate dollars are going into it.

I do want to give a very, very high recommendation if you haven’t either read the books, or watched the Netflix series by Michael Pullin from Cooked. I think he’s from Berkeley, or lives in Berkeley. But he’s a great author and film maker. His series, Cooked, we just watch the Netflix series. We like the Netflix shoes. He dives into the hazards that manufacturing food is having across the globe and how you’re seeing how healthy cultures start to be disassembled because of the McDonald’s, the KFC’s. But there’s this whole episode around bread and how tons of the “allergens” and problems people are having isn’t because of the gluten, it’s not because of the bread, but it’s because of the manufacturer process.

So, it’s just eye-opening. It was eye-opening for us around food and quality. I can see that here, like you’re saying. Things are homemade, things are slower, things just take longer. They even have a huge focus in Italy on locally produced foods. Everything is clearly labeled if it’s made in the region of Tuscany and Italy. And people are very, very adamant about buying local and making sure that it’s not imported out from wherever.

Mika Perry: So I want to mention how in American we are like, cook local, source things local. That’s become not a thing, but much more awareness about that now. They’ve been doing it here for much, much, much longer. Then look at all the benefits that they’re having. I think maybe this is the signs and the example of what being local-minded can do.

Russ Perry: I’m totally optimistic about it. And to be honest, this is powerful lesson that I know I’ve learned in traveling, is to be more mindful. I know this is a nother weird thing is the waste we’re creating is how much waste is created versus here. Even just the trash bins at our apartment or our townhouse is like the size of our bathroom trash can.

Anyway, I can’t really add much more than what you’ve added. The one other thing that I would just kind of end with on this is, the overall day to day schedule I think has definitely been impactful. Their later nights, later to start in the morning. I think there is a cognizant culture of let’s have a good meal. Let’s get our day started right, let’s get enough sleep. We’re not trying to get into the office at 5:00 am, 6:00 am, 7:00 am. We’re going through the routines. I just know that’s been kind of guilty at first.

Because I am the guy. I had a Wall Street Journal article where I was quoted at waking up at 4:30 in the morning. But now I’m getting up at 7:00. At first I was totally like guilt-stricken about it, but now I get up and I get the coffee, and we get going. I think it comes back to what we started this episode with and talked a lot about. The mindfulness, the awareness, the clarity that we’ve had. If I take away one gift from this whole trip, it is understanding that and being able to apply that into my food decisions and my wellness decisions back in the United States.

Mika Perry: And also being okay with taking a break. Here, a lot of restaurants are closed from 2:00-7:00. So, you go eat and then they take a break. Yesterday we tried to go somewhere and they’re closed on Monday’s. There’s another restaurant I want to go to, they’re closed on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s. They know how to take a break.

Russ Perry: Right. They take care of themselves. So anyway, we’re going to document a ton of these things that we’ve mentioned in the show notes on our site, Go check that out. And if you haven’t checked out our first episode on Italy, it’s already going to be out there. We’ll be wrapping up our trip here, with a kind of wrap up episode in the coming weeks. But thank you so much for listening, we love all the feedback, we love all the comments. If there’s anything we ask, it’s simply just follow us on Instagram. And if you enjoy this, give us a rating on Itunes, preferably five stars.

Mika Perry: Thanks for joining us, we love sharing with you. Thanks for following along on our trip here to Italy. And just being a great supporter of this podcast. We really take heart to all the comments that you leave for us. So, stay connected, check us out on the website. And we hope you have a wonderful, wonderful week with your families.

Russ Perry: Arrivederci

Mika Perry: Arrivederci.