Vacations are no longer for blowing off workouts and stuffing your face with food and booze!  It's all fun and games until your pants don't fit!!! Right?

Thankfully for our health's sake we now have a whole new world of  "Wellness Travel." Hotels, resorts, and cruise lines have all adapted to meet the needs of healthy-minded travelers.   

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I'm sure you've all been to a hotel that claims they have a gym, but to your surprise, it's a tiny box with a few lousy cardio machines that don't even work.  Ugh. It's so annoying that you don't even want to work out.

The new era of travel and leisure inspires and enables us to keep up with our fitness while seeing the world and having a bit of fun too.  This is not as hard as you may think if you book in to the right place and come with the right mindset. Workouts can be part of a vacation, and they can become some of the most memorable experiences on the trip too! Picture the yoga guru at the hotel guiding you into a new pose at sunrise on a beautiful beach? Or a hike and cross training workout with a local guide! Whatever your dream vacation is... winter wonderland, tropical beach, or secluded oasis, know that the resorts and cruise lines are continuing to add healthy options to their menus and have stepped up their fitness facilities.  Make sure to ask about the activity packed perks that most resorts are now offering. 

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This year Ryan and I went to Cabo and stayed at the JW Marriott Los Cabos.  If you have never been, I highly recommend. This isn't the Cabo spring break spot by any means. Forget that, The JW is seclusion, luxury, and complete paradise.  This resort is as stunning as it is health conscious.  The hotel offered yoga, pilates, meditation walks, and spin classes to all guests.  Now that is what I call some great activity perks.  And did I mentioned they were all complimentary! Also to keep the balance Ryan got to do a Mezcal tasting! We had to sweat that out in the morning that's for sure!

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My motto while I am away...  "Sweat hard to Rest hard!" 

If you're like me, you can't roll out of bed and head straight to the pool.  I need to move, and nothing feels better than moving to start the day. A swim, beach jog or yoga class followed by a fresh juice and a latte will kick start any vacation day! I love to get active in nature with hiking, biking, surfing, and standup paddle boarding,   After I burn off some energy, I'm ready to chill out, read a book, and sip on a tropical drink.   

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SO, you're probably wondering, how do you find a wellness hotel or the right vacation destination to meet your needs? Let's get you started and moving in the right direction: 

1. What is your budget?  This is #1.  Your starting point.  You first need to know how much money you have for your vacation.  

2.  What time of year are you looking to travel?  When can you schedule your vacation? If you're flexible with your dates, you can find great deals for flights and air especially out of peak season.

3. What are your interests? How do you want to feel on your vacation, and when you are done? First determine this, and then you can decide what you want to do and how you want to do it. Adventure, relaxation, shopping, site seeing?

4. Consult with a specialist.  Travel agents do exist and are extremely helpful.  When you are sick, you go to a Doctor.  When you want to travel, see a travel agent.  They can often find you better deals and help you plan the trip that best fits your needs.  The part most people don't know is that the service is free! When you book through a travel agent the hotel, resort, or cruise line pays the travel agent directly a commission, so you don't have to. You pay the same price as you would booking on your own, but have the additional service and support! What a Win Win!

5. Subscribe to The Balanced B.   As you know I love to travel and I am always sharing travel tips and tricks.  My next adventure sets sail Dec. 17th on Royal Caribbean's newest ship, The Harmony of the Seas.  We're kicking off the holiday season with a family cruise so stay tuned... 



This past weekend Ryan and I had the privilege of meeting the Santiago family.  Magdalena a single mother,  and her 4 children. 

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Dulce Areli, 6 yrs, 1st Grade

Hugo Armando, 11 yrs, 6th Grade

Cristian Omar, 14 yrs

Juan, 21 yrs

Magdalena and her her family live in Ensenada, Mexico.  

I'm sure you're wondering how did Ryan and I end up in Ensenada?

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In 2015 Ryan donated 10% of his season's earnings and offered friends, family, and sponsors to match any portion of it. Generous supporters ranged from 5% of his donation to a full match at 100%. The goal was to raise enough money to cover the building materials for one house. By the end of the 2015 season, after the best results of Ryan's career enough money was raised to sponsor three homes! Ryan became the #1 ranked Men's Jumper in the world and secured his first World Title.  Fast forward to the end of the 2016 season and now we can say that we built a home for an amazing family and our lives are forever changed.

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This was my first house build and as excited as I was to help I honestly had no idea what to expect.  When I walked up to meet the Santiago family I was shocked to see the conditions that they had been living in for the past three years.  No running water, no electricity, a dirt floor, a bed sheet as a front door and building materials consisting of random pieces of wood and plastic.  My heart dropped.  How could anyone possibly live here? 

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As a single parent, Magdalena has made tremendous sacrifices to provide for her family.   Working from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm at the grocery store and then straight to her second job from 3:00 pm to 2:00 am packing goods.  Only getting paid $9 a day forced her to work those long 20 hour days.  Can you imagine working 20 out of the 24 hours in a day just to be able to put food on the table?  It was inspiring to see the length a mother would go for her children and I will always admire Magdalena for her ambition and dedication to her family.

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Despite all of the hardship that this family has endured they were incredibly gracious.  They may not have had the ideal house, but the love that this family had for one another was real.

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This past weekend showed me how powerful it is to GIVE.  Taking three days out of my daily life to participate in this act of kindness has changed this family's life forever, and will always hold a special place in my heart.  I am so grateful to be given this opportunity to join Homes of Hope on this house build. 

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Who's idea was it to make this a competition. hahaha    Who can hammer a nail the fastest?

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This is the street road / work area

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One wall done...3 more to go

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Old Roof

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New Roof (still in construction) : )

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Old Stove

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New Stove and Oven!

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NEW Kitchen

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Garden of Life made it to Mexico

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This experience has put my life in perspective and brings me so much joy to see how easy it is to positively impact, and completely change a family's life. Seeing what a group of people can do, with the support of an amazing organization was truly a beautiful thing.  It gives Ryan and I a sense of hope, and our wish is that it will inspire others to give (big or small) and spend a moment from time to time being more selfless.

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My favorite moment of the trip was the look on the mom's face when we handed her the keys to her new home.  This moment will be something I will always remember and will cherish forever.

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My Homes of Hope Keepsake : )

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Memorial Day weekend is finally here.  Whatever your travel plans may be I hope you have a safe and fun long weekend.  I leave today for Callaway Gardens to compete in the 57th Waterski Masters!  YEAH! I can not wait.  

People often ask, how do you ski straight off the plane?  Well, since most of my traveling is for business, skiing, I try to opt for healthy choices.  I have learned over the years what has worked and what hasn't.  So here are some travel tips that may help you with your travels.

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Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! I can not stress the importance of staying hydrated while flying.  I limit alcohol and caffeine intake the day I am traveling.  Don't get me wrong.  I love a glass or bottle of wine : ) but if you're looking to relax and unwind with an adult beverage it may not be your best option.   People often do not realize how drinking alcohol can dehydrate you.  Drinking before or during the flight lowers your resistance to cold and flu germs, putting you at a higher risk of catching someone's nasty cold.  Which I'm sure is not on your travel itinerary.

My advice is to pack an empty water bottle that you can refill after security and skip the bar.   Instead, choose a drink that will rehydrate you like Coconut Water or grab yourself a smoothie before you get on your flight.  I also keep antibacterial wipes in my purse to make sure the space around me is clean.

Let's be honest. Traveling can be stressful.  Canceled flights, missed connections, long security lines, extra baggage fees or the dreaded middle seat. We've all had those travel days where nothing seems to be going our way.  The more I travel, the more I have learned to go with the flow and whatever the day brings so be it!  I flew through San Fran a few weeks ago and was delighted to see they have a yoga room.  What an excellent idea.  I hope they start replacing those gross smoking rooms with a place where people can go stretch out, relax and find a little bit of quiet in such a busy place. 

My advice is to go with the flow.  Don't get stressed out with things that are out of your control.   Also, download the airline app for the airline you will be traveling with.  Delta keeps me up to date with gate changes, departure times,  and you can even see if your bag made the flight! 

Once you're on board, you can sit back and relax! ha right... those comfy airport seats are perfectly designed to jack your back up and misalign everything.  I am a very tall 5'3 and a half : )  Ok, so leg room is not an issue for me.  One of the perks of being short!  After a day of travel, yoga is definitely needed for my body and mind.  I try to take at least 30 mins to stretch and put my body through a full range of motion, so when I need to ski, I am ready. 

My advice is to keep moving on your flight and if you have a layover, go for a walk.  Try to keep your body moving when you can.  I prefer an aisle seat, so I can walk and stretch my legs on the flight.

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So, what is in my carry-on bag?  

No matter how long my flight is, you can be sure that I have these items with me at all times.  Eye mask, melatonin, Tylenol, Garden of life multivitamins, protein bar, water, ear plugs, music, antibacterial wipes, and my journal. 

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