(Pictured above: Daniel and Courtney Rose with their Tabata trainer in Mexico). Before we knew we would be participating in the Fit Family Challenge, we scheduled a long overdue reconnection trip to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Keeping that connection with each other after having children has to be intentional; however, traveling has always been a stumbling block for our fitness patterns. Eating healthy is challenging when not at home.  I also remember packing several rounds of workout clothes, but never exercised more than once or twice on any trip.  Eventually, I was honest with myself and only packed two rounds of clothes.  The final nail in coffin of healthy routines is how busy you are playing catch-up once back home and at work. This time, we were determined to at least try something different. We started strong. The food was exceptional, but we were intentional to choose the healthier options —  the restaurants even marked those on the menu.  We had several varieties of high-protein fish and unique side dishes to go with them.  Choosing different types of food than we would usually order allowed us to experience a lot of new flavors.  We splurged with appetizers and deserts, but the resort used very reasonable individual portion sizes.  We shared everything, which allowed us to try a large variety of flavors without doubling our caloric intake. It also added a “Lady and the Tramp” romantic element. As two accountants, we are always looking for the best value. We chose to look at the all-inclusive nature of the resort as an opportunity to try a wide variety of foods, without necessarily consuming a ridiculous volume of calories.  My kryptonite was the buffets.  Some of the foods I had never heard of, and I had difficulty being reasonable.  Who can turn down seconds of tequila ice cream? The table service was definitely the better option for my health.  My portion sizes steadily increased over the week, so it’s good the trip wasn’t longer. We tried the fitness center day one. The workout helped with the sore muscles from traveling and made us overall feel better.  It was challenging to convert all of the weights from kilograms to pounds for each exercise. We noticed that the resort had several exercise classes. We had heard good things about Tabata training, so we tried that class on the second day. The teacher was a refrigerator-shaped man without an ounce of fat and with an impressive resume. He wasn’t gentle with us, and he gave me several good tips on my form. Day three I tried the yoga class. The instructor was exactly what you would picture: shirtless, very thin and tan, and hands on. The setting right outside the spa was beautiful with sheets flowing in the wind, and the instructor walked around with incense. He started the class saying the yoga in this country is different and more of a spiritual experience. The class started very softly, but progressed into one of the more challenging classes. He also had several corrections to my form, which I am grateful to bring back. There were several other classes we didn't experience, but it gives us a goal for next time. We exercised in the middle of the day right before lunch. What we noticed was we felt better overall on the trip.  We naturally got up earlier, slept better and were more reasonable with consumption. You never want to spend vacation time exercising, but what we found is that it was an overall net add to the trip. The facilities and classes were very underutilized, so we received a lot of one-on-one attention. The experiences were also a unique dimension to the trip that we had never had before. Now the kids were on their own with their grandparents back at home in Hermitage. My parents typically have pretty healthy habits, but they definitely spoiled the kids. I guess that’s their right. They got to eat out several times and even choose the restaurants. I was so proud to hear that my boy picked peas over fries for lunch, but then I realized it was just a ploy for extra desert. Thankfully, youth can handle such bouts of freedom, and my kids reintegrated to healthy food rather quickly. A friend of ours who had been to this resort said we needed to be ready to gain at least five pounds in a week, but we only put on one to three pounds each.  We count that as a win as normally the damage would be a lot worse, and we expect them to come off just as easily. We really liked the changes we did this trip and hope to apply them in the future. I was a little obsessive about going to kickboxing at the YMCA the Saturday when we returned. I wanted to make sure to re-establish that routine as soon as possible, but the true test remains for this week as we catch up from the trip and start new patterns for the summer with the kids. — Daniel Rose