Healthy Habits for the Roaming Film Professional

Let's dive into the dynamic world of maintaining fitness while working in the demanding film industry. We explore practical strategies for staying healthy amidst the hustle of set life, from quick workouts to smart eating choices. This guide offers insights into adapting fitness routines to fit the nomadic lifestyle of film professionals, ensuring physical well-being is not left behind in the pursuit of cinematic excellence.


Josh Coblentz

3/4/20248 min read

four men standing outside Feed and Grain store
four men standing outside Feed and Grain store

Traveling from hotel to hotel, living off of budget restaurant food for months on end? We get it, you’re in the film industry. It can be tough to achieve your healthy fitness goals, and by all means your friends and family will understand why you gained weight on your last show. However, this article will explain some of the ways you can maintain or start your fitness journey while on the road. 


To start off though, it needs to be made clear that none of this works without being in the right mindset. You should understand exactly what you're are trying to do and how that can be best achieved. Are you trying to maintain the way you look? Are you trying to become more active? Or are you trying to become some Adonis looking bodybuilder? These are just a few examples of some of the questions you need to ask yourself while you are on the road. To understand what you are trying to achieve is to have the power to achieve it. 

After understanding what you are trying to achieve you will have to commit to doing it which unfortunately is where most individuals struggle. Many people will commit to exercising X amount of time each week and eat only salads and grilled chicken and rice for the rest of their lives. But this commitment is unsustainable for the majority of people for good reason - because it sucks. Instead of committing to a set amount of hours and salads instead commit to doing what feels good for you. If it feels better for you to have a grilled chicken salad in the middle of the day instead of a hamburger, then order the salad. If it feels good to go for a walk in the morning then go for the walk. Instead of committing to vast lifestyle changes you should chase the feelings you get after doing something good for you. 



By far the easiest way to achieve any of these is to pay someone else to organize it for you. If you have the means to get someone to write plans for you, then it is definitely the fastest way to see results. In particular, you will be looking for someone who is familiar with your situation and is trained to provide you with plans that work and are healthy for you. One of the hardest parts about staying healthy on the road is having to plan your exercises, it makes it so much easier to have someone else do this. And if you are not too experienced with healthy habits it can be nice to have someone there you can talk to that is very knowledgeable in that subject.  


That being said, many people can’t or won’t pay for a trainer, so that’s where the internet comes in handy. Youtube is a great source for figuring what to do and not do in regards to exercises in the diet and the FitnessBlender channel has some really great info. There is no shortage of channels dedicated to educating people on healthy habits, and their view counts easily reach into the millions per video. One of the downsides with this approach is the lack of personability. The people making content and educating you do not know your situation therefore can not give the best advice on how to achieve your goals - they don’t know what’s best for you. The biggest downside though is that there are so many people in this field that say completely different things so you can go down rabbit hole after rabbit hole and get contradicting advice from multiple people. Leading to a large amount of confusion on what you should be doing. 


Similar to videos except with more reading, these can educate you on some good practices and then also maybe some bad ones. It can be hard to differentiate between the two. That being said, there are plenty of websites that provide people with information on healthy practices. Some popular examples of these are and Both will have different methods and techniques for reaching your goals. The best plan for yourself though will come from taking ideas from both articles, videos, and then practicing on your own.


There are some exercises you can do while on the road that don’t require any equipment and can provide a good burn and some time to destress before or after a long shoot day.


Touted as one of the primary ways for anyone to take care of their health. Taking time out of your day to go on a walk can have a large amount of benefits on your day to day life. Some of these benefits include heart health, weight control, and most importantly when you are 14 hours deep into a production day - mood lifting.


The upgraded version of walking. Running is something that many people have a love hate relationship with, or just hate hate. At least for myself it takes a tremendous amount of will power to go for a run. But it is different for everyone and you can see its benefits on the road. Not only does it provide the same benefits as walking but it also develops your muscles even further and the best part is you don’t have to run as long to see the same results as walking. So that means when you only have 30 minutes before you’re supposed to eat your powdered hotel eggs and jump on that pass van taking you to set; you can get a very healthy start to your day in not a large amount of time.


Calisthenics is highly underutilized when it comes to being healthy on set. Everyone praises going for runs and going for walks and while those are definitely good practices, they can not cover what calisthenics achieve. For those who are unaware, calisthenics are doing exercises that only use your body weight with little to no equipment.Think something like pushups, squats, crunches. That means you can add muscle in your hotel room or even on set if you’re feeling brave enough. I was on a set once and met a PA who would unexpectedly drop and do 20 pushups during time in between scenes. Another great benefit to starting calisthenics when you are on the road is that the workouts are short and there are plenty of already made plans online like ones from Tonal many taking as little as 15 minutes to get a full body workout in. Those are just two of the dozens of online articles and videos to get you started on a good calisthenics routine that you can practice on the road. So I would highly recommend you look through a couple and find one that is right for you.


While working on the road, having access to a gym is never guaranteed and always a luxury. Whether it is the gym at the hotel you are staying at or a standalone one down the street. They are great for building your body while on the road but require significant time and dedication to make sure you are not hurting rather than helping your body. The gym can be complicated so it’s best to understand what your gym has equipment wise and then come up with a plan that takes into account your time and experience. Starting with the time, most trainers will recommend spending an hour in the gym using whatever equipment they have available. However I understand dedicating an hour of your time to sweating after you just spent a full day shooting doesn’t sound appealing. So you should keep that in mind while you are coming up with your plan for figuring out how you are going to exercise that day. Another aspect is the equipment in whatever facility you are using. Because you are dealing with weights that can actually hurt you if you lift them wrong, it is important to thoroughly research whatever exercise you are going to do to make sure you are doing it right. There is nothing more tragic than a camera operator already having a bad back from holding a 30lbs camera on their shoulder for 12 hours and then going and destroying their back because they lifted a weight wrong. Many of our jobs on set require us to be physically able and not in pain 24/7 so do yourself a favor and make sure you get a tutorial for the exercise you want to do before trying it.



This is by far the most common way you will get your food while working on the road. Unless you are in a set with dozens of more people you should expect to have to order your food a few times a day. And while it may seem like fun at first, it quickly becomes tiresome. Constantly consuming restaurant food high in unnecessary calories, fats, salt, and sugar is a good way to throw a wrench in your fitness. Therefore you should think about how you are ordering and cater it to how much work you are doing. You can’t avoid many of the unhealthy attributes in much of restaurant quality food but you can at least have an idea on how to mitigate it. I’ve found that the best way to do this is to avoid ordering fried foods every day and instead switch to grilled meats or vegetables. Not every meal has to be a salad, just keep in mind what you are eating and if it will make you feel good in the long run.


Whenever you’re a part of a crew of more than a handful of people it makes more sense for production to get catering than getting a restaurant plate for every meal. This can be sometimes tricky for healthy eating goals as you can no longer order something specific to you. That being said there are still things you can do to ensure you stay on track. While applying the same things from the restaurant section you can also make sure to not overeat, put food items on your plate that you know won’t hurt your stomach, and just keep in mind that you are not eating to eat but to feel good too.


On the rare occasion you are in a position to cook for yourself, congratulations! You now get to use your per diem to buy groceries. Jokes aside, being able to cook for yourself while traveling is extremely uncommon and should probably be taken advantage of if you’re able. Cooking a dish that you would typically have at a restaurant almost always means it is going to be better for you. Along with the added benefit of always being open at any time of day so if you get back from set at 2am you can always make yourself something to eat and not go to bed hungry. Where cooking starts to lose people is the effort required to make something after a long day, where the last thing you want to do is spend up to an hour making a dish and then have to clean it all up after you’re done. From my personal experience it is almost always worth it to make something quick for yourself and not go to bed with horrible indigestion. A good place to start is to have a list of easy recipes you can make while in a hotel or airbnb that you know you like and won’t send you into a manic spiral while you’re trying to make it.

What Works For You

While this article talks in general about ways to stay healthy on set, please take into consideration this is from personal experience from someone who considers themselves healthy and has traveled for months at a time while working various productions.

Again, I can not stress enough how important your mindset going into this is. Committing to doing everything right does not work if you’re headspace can’t commit. Once you have fully decided to pursue a healthy lifestyle on set, you can start making one good choice after the other. Take a blend of things from this article, other articles, videos, wherever you get your information and create something that works for you and your schedule.