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How to stay fit while on the road

Posted Feb 13 2012 5:16pm
No matter how well your workouts are going, little interruptions can derail them quickly. Perhaps no interruption has as much derailment potential as traveling. When we're working out normally we get into a routine. Eventually we have enough momentum that working out isn't even an active thought. It's just something we do. Traveling breaks that routine.

Yes, temporarily breaking a routine can be healthy, as can changing our environments. That's how we can stay fresh. Even still, if we want to maintain our exercise habits while on trips, particularly business trips, we have to make some adjustments. As with most things in life, planning can take us a long way.

Plan your road workouts



The first rule of working out while traveling: Forget the hotel gym. Unless you're staying at a five-star hotel, chances are the gym will not be up to your normal standards. Cheap hotels are cheap for a reason. Even at a five-star establishment, the gym can be underwhelming. There's nothing worse than having a plan for your workout and then entering the fitness room to see that none of it is possible.

The best strategy is to plan a workout you can do from your hotel room. This will involve bodyweight exercises for the most part. AskMen has a pretty good hotel room workout that requires a few easy-to-acquire props. (It also works just as well for women.) It's simple, quick, and gets the job done. It's also a routine, since you can do it pretty much every morning of your trip.

Plan your dining



Finding and doing a hotel room fitness routine might seem easy enough. Maintaining a healthy diet, however, is another story. When we're at home we retain a level of control over what we eat. We can avoid eating out too much, and we can avoid buying foods that will expand our guts. On the road, when we're constantly dining out, it becomes a more difficult proposition.

Here are a few guidelines for planning your meals while away from home:

1. Pack meal replacement bars. They might not be the best meals, but they at least let you control what you're putting into your body.

2. Protein-heavy buffet strategy. If you're hitting a buffet -- as you're certain to do in Vegas -- make sure to fill your first plate mostly with protein. Eggs, chicken, fish, even pork and red meat will do. You can add some fat here, too, so you needn't stay away from the bacon. Fats and proteins digest slower and fill you up faster, so you won't load up too badly on unhealthy white carbs.

3. Look up local restaurants online. Before you go to a restaurant, check what's on the menu. Do this immediately after following a meal, too. You won't be hungry, so you can sensibly plan your order ahead of time. It might be tougher once you're actually sitting there, but you'll have a better chance if you plan your entree ahead of time.

Plan your re-entry



Once you're back at home, it's important to remain in rhythm. If you need a full day to recover, so be it. But make sure you're back in the gym at the soonest possible date. This will ensure that you ground yourself in your old routine again. Also, make sure you're following the same schematic as before the trip. Even if you left on, say, a legs day, and your workout upon returning is again legs day, stick with it. You'll stay on your routine better that way.
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