Ok. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but I have a traveling bone.
I travel for work.
I travel for fun.
I travel to sightsee.
I travel to run.
That was SO Doctor Seuss, wasn’t it?
But I digress….
But HOW, Bob ( you may ask) How does one keep up on one’s wellness goals while traveling? Not to mention, why does one speak of one’s self in the 3rd person?
Damn I am goofy today.
Alright, so let’s talk about wellness on the road. It is so easy to fall into bad habits while traveling. Your gym isn’t there. Your favorite running trails aren’t there. Your workout partners are most often not with you. You aren’t making your own meals, and fast food is everywhere! So here, in no particular order, are my tips for keeping your good habits intact while traveling;
Pack your Shi….. stuff.
What does this mean? It means bring workout clothes. 2 pairs of shorts, 2 shirts, gym shoes. I’m sorry, that doesn’t take up much space at all. And if you make one of the workout shorts a swimsuit, you keep that option open as well. I know. You’re going to be busy (if it’s a work trip) or you’re “on vacation” ( I’ll get to this concept later). But it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy here. You don’t think you’ll have time, so you don’t pack workout clothes. Then you find you DO have time, but now you can’t because you didn’t bring your stuff. So….? BRING IT!
Scope out the joint.
Where are you staying? What hotel / resort / cruise ship? Betcha they have a website. Check it out and see what your options are. If it’s a hotel and they boast a “fitness room” guess what? It’s gonna be crap, 99 times out of 100. It’s gonna be tiny. It’s gonna have 1 elliptical. It’s gonna have a “jazzercize” logo mat from 1982 (yuck). Unless it’s the Kerry hotel in Shanghai. They have a gym that puts almost every fitness facility I’ve ever seen to shame. Free weights, machines, TRX, heavy bags , classes. But if you’re not going to that corner of the People’s Republic of China, it’s probably gonna be crap. But it’s something.
If you’re cruising, there will be a fitness room, probably a nice one. But there will be a bunch of people who never work out in there.
They will be;
Using things wrong
Barefoot and /or bare chested.
Underage and unescorted.
Deal with it. Plan on it. And get your work in. Bring your music, put your head down & do what you can.
Don’t listen to “them”
You know them. They are the ones who say “ Why would you work out on your vacation?”, like it’s an illness or something. They’ll say “we’re just going out after the meetings for a quick drink. You really ought to bond with the group”. They’ll say “ Oh yeah, I do ( yoga / crossfit / pilates/ ) 6 days a week at home. I’ll get right back to it when I’m back there”, without showing any outward sign of engaging in physical activity whatsoever. And guess what else? They are the majority. You, who actually engage in wellness, are a marked minority. They are going to talk about you when you’re not there. They are going to make jokes. They are going to look at you funny.
I’m used to the remarks and the judgement. It’s what people do when you make them uncomfortable. You go do you. And guess what? When you go do you, you will find your tribe. The other people who make time instead of excuses. Who make good choices and aren’t afraid to own up to them. And they can be some cool people.
You’re in the airport. You woke up 10 hours ago in a different time zone. You’ve got 8 more hours before of flying you even get to the destination airport. You’re hungry as hell. And the only thing that even looks edible is McDonalds.
Get the damn quarter pounder and fries.
Don’t torture yourself . And more importantly, don’t beat yourself up about it!
It happens. You try to plan ahead. You try to bring cliff bars ( those are my go to). But sometimes that’s not gonna cut it. So do it. Enjoy it, cause you know what? When I actually have one, they still taste damn good. But that should not open the dietary flood gates. That’s not the “oh screw it, I’m just not going to worry about it all day. Or all week”. Have your moment, then get back on the horse.
Make the good small choices.
You know what I’m talking about. The stairs as opposed to the elevator. Maybe you don’t need the after lunch ice cream cone every day, even if it is free. I know how good pub mix is, but maybe not every time you get a beer. Go dancing. Who cares if you don’t think you’re very good. I do this a lot on cruises. I don’t know if people are laughing with me or at me, and I really don’t care. I’ll never see 99 percent of them again. And 2 hours of dancing is some kick ass cardio, my friends.
Notes for traveling runners.
If you are in an unfamiliar town, pick a direction. Go in as close to a straight line as you can, then back the way you came. I learned that lesson in Washington D.C ( just because you can see the Capitol Dome and run to it doesn’t mean you can find your way back) and Stockholm ( every freaking road is at least 12 letters long and ends in “gatan”, which I’m guessing means “road”.) Also, use your phone navigation system. That has saved my butt several times. Bring a credit card. You may need to buy your way back to the hotel. But definitely run. It’s a great way to scope out the neighborhood. You’ll have time to see things you’ll never see out of the back of a taxi or Uber.
- That’s all for now. I guess all I’m saying is that if you work out on a regular basis, working out / healthy eating is something you actually enjoy for it’s own sake. I’ve found that I do enjoy it as part of my vacation, and it’s a familiar habit when I’m in unfamiliar surroundings, whether for work or play. I hope these little musings help.