Workout Wednesday - Travel Edition

Trying to stay fit while on the road is a very difficult thing to do.  You have far less control over your meals, you fill up on the continental croissants and coffee since you never know when you're going to see another meal again, and sensible sleep patterns almost always get tossed out the window.  Furthermore, 3-4 hours on a flight is enough to render your circulation useless.   It is possible to retain some semblance of healthy habits while traveling, 

When I'm traveling, I try to stuff as much into as small a bag as possible, because who wants to a) schlep their entire life to Kansas City, and b) pay airline bag fees?

Often times, I'm torn between bringing my trusty tennis shoes and packing a book for the flight, but here's some tips to keep you honest whilst on the road.

Before I even launch into these tips, first and foremost; pack versatile shoes.  I can't always stuff my tennis shoes into my carry on, but I always bring at least one pair of shoes that I can walk long distances and bike in.   

1.  Try the early morning run (walk) around your new digs.  If you are so fortunate as to not have a 6:30am start, bring an easy-to-pack pair of tennis shoes (Nike FlyKnits are very smooshable) and grab a map from the concierge and knock out a few miles before breakfast.  Many hotels have water and apples set up in the lobby for the morning runner types.   Stop on your route and snap some pictures for visual interest.  

2.  But don't count on getting it in.  Anyone who travels for business knows the deal - a little too much red wine the night before, or finishing up the execution of a contract at 11pm - whatever.  There are a billion things that can sabotage your early morning exercise plans.  Try to sneak 3-4 brisk fifteen minute walks between meetings to keep the old circulation going.  

3.  Before you go, check to see if your hotel has fitness amenities.  This might mean a health club that allows you to get a quick swim in before sunrise, a group fitness class on the back terrace, or some personal time with the yoga mat before bed (I think Kimpton hotels supplies yoga mats as do some Sheratons.) I'm sure I've shared it before, but Yoga Studio is a very good way to spend $3.99 and you will always have a soothing yoga class on the go.  You can sneak in a quick workout even at odd hours.  

4.  Check your hotel TV channels for fitness channels or shows.  A popular hotel chain (I think it may have been Hyatt) used to have Acacia fitness channels available to guests at no charge.  I watched those quite a bit - you can sneak in 15-20 minutes of working out while you're waiting on room service.  

5.  Bring resistance bands.  I'll admit, I hate my resistance bands, but they do work.  I have the Nike ones as shown   They are easy to pack and coupled with a door and some YouTube videos, you have instant weight training on the go. 

6.  See if your hotel has bike rental or speed to your meetings using bike share if available.  I've often made use of Capital Bikeshare whilst in D.C. Most major cities and many not-so-major ones have bike share available in metro areas.  A fifteen minute ride won't leave you sweaty.

7.  If all else fails, eat dinner a mile or two away from your hotel and walk back.  You'll avoid the crowds, try someplace off the beaten path, and the postprandial jaunt will help your digestion. There's nothing like a brisk walk after you've stuffed your face with steak frites.

And this goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway.  Be sure to stay thoroughly hydrated when you're on the road. Airplanes zap the moisture right out of you and the popular meeting cocktail of java and cabernet is a very effective diuretic.  One of my most enduring travel rituals is to find the nearest drug store on arrival, and pick up several bottles or a box of water to have on hand.  

Bonus tip: Melatonin is the gold standard for sleep aids; but is contraindicated if you're asthmatic.   I always travel with a bottle of lavender essential oil: sprinkle a few drops on your pillow before bed and it will calm you and lull you to sleep.

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