When On The Road: Useful Fitness Tips When Traveling

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Neal & MC workout

This is a guest post from Monica Lewers, who for the past few months has been my personal trainer. Her clients keep signing up with her again and again. For one reason: she gets results. In this article she provides some tips on how to not   “fall off the wagon” and stay healthly when you are traveling.

Enter Monica Lewers:

I have had discussions with many of my clients about keeping up their exercise and eating regimens while on the road. Whether the trip is for work or pleasure, here are just a few of my tips to keeping on track:

  1. Be your own boss first
    Put on your job description – “must perform some form of ‘getting the heart rate in the range,’ ‘strength,’ or ‘flexibility’ exercise for thirty minutes at least once every couple of days while on the road.” Some of you may say, “but I don’t have the time.”  Yes, you do.  It is not a matter of having it.  It is a matter of making it.  Make the time to demand good work from you, for you, first.  Why does your job, your boss and your customers deserve the best of you and not you deserve the best of you also?  Health is not an option. It is mandatory.  It is a privilege that should be treated as such. Where do I find the time when on the road you ask?

    • While I wind down watching the news or something else on TV in my hotel room.  I ask for extra towels and use them for mats on the floor.  I bring exercise DVDs and pop them into my computer.
    • Staying at a hotel that has a 24-hour fitness room.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, just functional.  Ask a personal trainer for some creative regimens to get full body and good cardio workouts on limited equipment.
    • Taking my jump rope and going outside early morning (even if it is the parking lot). Walks and jogs count too.
    • Researching where the nearest health club is.  I plan my departure/arrival so that I can go outside of the times of my scheduled events and/or travel times.
    • Develop great relationships with my clients and traveling colleagues.  When I do, they tend to be more understanding when I excuse myself a few minutes short from the end of the extended dinner chats or social drinks for something “heart healthy.”  And the more your body looks the part, or your enthusiasm demonstrates your commitment, the easier it is for them to understand and even be inspired.

       
  2. Being polite does not mean you have to be rude to yourself
    Many of my clients have shared with me that they don’t want to be rude at family events by not filling their plates with the wonderful (but not necessarily the lightest, heart healthy, or personal physique goal matching) spreads that your loved ones have put together.  Others have noticed that often the choices at business related events are on carbohydrate, fat, and/or refined sugar overload.

    Again, don’t fret.  Here are some of the things that I do:

    • Focus on the fruits and veggies.  Go for the raw when available and leave the dressing and dips alone.
    • Get only a spoonful/sliver of the indulgence foods.
    • Share a piece of dessert with a colleague or loved one.
    • Go for whole wheat or whole grain bread.  Consider making open face sandwiches by taking a piece of the bread off, and leave those tempting rolls in those pretty baskets.
    • When the food is on the “better for your goals” side, eat the right meal amount and let good ole’ fashioned take home containers be your handbag for the rest.
    • If possible, eat before you go to the event or have healthier choices waiting for you back at home or at your hotel room to complete your daily intake.
    • Share in the meal preparation by making your goal-friendly dish for the family.
       
    Often times, someone brings up my eating habits on-the-spot.  They become a topic of discussion that leads to a great conversation about health, diet and exercise.  I never criticize the food or others habits.  I just educate them why what I am doing is best for me – if they ask.  If like me, you gain energy from how understanding family and co-workers become when you share knowledge and results as the basis for your dedication, then you will be motivated to keep on keepin’ on!

     

  3. Identify a place to purchase better choices of food
    When I have a trip planned, I will spend the extra time to locate the places where I can get meals that meet my personal goals.
     

    • Grocery and convenient stores are great places to get wraps, salads, naked juices, prepared (grilled or baked ) chicken and such that store well in the hotel room.  (Still read the nutrition labels though!) Fill your ice bucket and use it as a mini-frig.
    • When at a restaurant, order double of the foods that work towards your goals and use my favorite handbag – the take home bag.  (For those new to business, protocol dictates you order the extra food on your dime…)
    • Buy extra at the airport.  Have protein bars, burritos (minus sour cream), bananas, etc. and have them available to eat on the plane, car, etc. and for when you get to the hotel/destination.  Eating/snacking every couple of hours helps so much to curb your appetite in the direction of your goals.
    • Stay at hotels with a kitchen (or at least a frig and microwave) or spend the extra money for hotel food that is goal friendly.
       
  4. Cut back on the drinks
    Drinking alcohol is not a requirement.  And drinking water, sipping on a pop (soda) – if you must – works just as well.  Enough said.
     
  5. Whatever motivates you – Use it!
    Find what gets your underwear in a bunch and release that negative energy into positive exercise or staying focused on your diet.  For me, I despise love handles on me and I love looking tone (ok, “cut” ).  I love having health stats of a grade school age person. I love the fact that I have saved my life by shamelessly making my health a top life objective listed privately on every one of my job descriptions. If I know that eating this or not doing that impacts any of the above, then you know what – I listen to my gut before my gut shows its ugly self as a side order of flab.

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About the Author:   Monica Lewers is a certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist with twenty-five years experience as a business and fitness solutions provider located in Chicago, IL.

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