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On the Road…And Ready for Action

July 21, 2010

I travel a lot for work, which can make sticking to healthy nutrition and exercise goals a challenge. It’s easy to get caught up in a travel “death spiral” and give up on attempts to eat well and exercise because not all of the choices before you are healthy. More times than I can count, I started a week doing everything right — eating well, hitting the gym — then I go on the road and give up because I didn’t have control of the schedule or the menu. So, why not toss it all aside.

I try to be prepared for my trips, whether I drive or fly. Here’s how:

  • Pack Healthy Snacks. When I drive, I pack fresh fruit, granola bars, 100-calorie snack packs, fiber bars and the like. Not a ton, just enoug to make sure that I have something to rely on if a healthy choice isn’t provided. I also bring along bottled water and Diet Dr. Pepper. Yes, I can get some of these items in hotel gift shops, but they can be expensive. When I fly, I usually toss a box of granola bars or dried fruit into my suitcase.
  • Be Ready for Action. Workout clothes and shoes are a must-pack for every trip. I’ve gotten so used to this I don’t even think about it. I also pack my iPod so I have music to fuel my cardio session. There’s a great podcast called MotionTraxx, where “Deekron the Fitness DJ” creates great FREE workout music mixes. (On a side note, I’m one of the few, admittedly crazy, people who always, always, always checks a bag when I fly. Yes, I hate to pay the baggage fee, but here’s the thing: I wear size 16 shoes! I can’t pack my workout shoes and my clothes and whatever else in a rollerboard that fits in a plane’s overhead compartment.)
  • Prepare Before You Get There. Most hotels have exercise facilities of some nature, or relationships with nearby gyms where guests can workout. Because some of these “facilities” are of questionable quality, there are other options to consider. Some hotels have portable workout equipment you can request be in your room before you arrive. Additionally, you can do no-equipment workouts in your hotel room. If the hotel has a pool, you can change up your cardio routine. With a little research beforehand, you can create a walking or running route that starts and ends at your hotel. Or, ask the concierge. On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., the concierge at The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel handed me a card with three- and five-mile routes mapped out around the national mall and tidal basin. It was a great walk!
  • Make Time for Yourself. Several days trapped in a conference room of seemingly endless meetings is a necessary evil, but can become tortuous. And, while networking with colleagues is important, whether it’s at the hotel bar or on the town, it’s also necessary to carve out time to take care of you. A workout or a walk/run of just 30 minutes can be a great stress reliever, and the attitude adjustment is a benefit everyone can enjoy.

Before you hit the road next time, take a few minutes and come up with a plan to stay on track. You’ll be glad you did.

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