Sunday, October 31, 2010

You’re On the Go? No Problemo!

As an avid traveler, I have come to learn a few things about staying fit while you travel. What’s the biggest thing I’ve learned? That it is not easy! Therefore, I think those who have just started working out and those who have had trouble working out while on the road will definitely benefit from this. Whether you’re staying at a hotel or squatting with friends/family, there is always an option for you. But wherever you’re travelling to, and wherever you are staying when you travel, one thing is always clear: Plan your fitness regimen BEFORE you travel. Don’t assume that you’ll figure it out when you get there because, let’s be honest, when you daily routine changes, so does your inclination to work out and eat right.

Hoteling it
Exercise: Living in hotels is hard enough when you can’t wake up in the dark and figure out what part of the room everything is in (or is that just my OCD talking?). But it is important to choose a good hotel before you travel. While you are making a choice, try to ask yourself the following questions:
  • Is there a gym at the hotel? If there is a gym, your life just became a lot easier.
  • If there is a gym at the hotel, is it included in the room charges?
  • If there is no gym, is there a gym near the hotel? How much does it cost?
  • If the hotel can’t satisfy the two options above, where is it located? Is it near a park that you can run at? Is it in a major city? Is it in a safe neighborhood where you can feel comfortable running outside?
  • If you decide to work out outside, what’s the weather going to be like? 
  • What kind of workout clothes would you need to pack?
Yes, it is actually a little more complicated than it seems when you do think about it. One major thing I have learned while travelling is that sometimes a ‘Marriott’ or a ‘Holiday Inn’ is better than a ‘Hilton’ because they all have good rooms, but the Hilton would usually charge you to use the gym, while the others would not.

Food: There are usually good restaurant options in or around hotels, so at least you don’t usually have to drive miles and miles to find a good place to eat. But there are also questions you can ask yourself:
  • Are the restaurants within walking distance? Can I just take a quick walk?
  • What kinds of restaurants are around the hotel? Fast food, generic, or fancy?
  • Would I be eating alone or with friends/co-workers?
When most of your meals are determined by other people like friends and co-workers, it’s difficult to be picky about where you eat. But at least if you know what is around the hotel, you can prepare yourself to present some options. If you’re eating at Burger King every day, it is going to be extremely difficult to be strict about what you eat. But at the same time, Burger King is a chain, so you can figure out what your healthy options are and rotate what you eat based on those limited choices.

Now, if most of the restaurant options are smaller restaurants, not chains, and you have no idea what kind of food they serve, you can still make sure you ask the waiter about what is healthy. Waiters know everything on the menu so they’ll be quick to point out their healthy side or what compromises the chef can make for you.

Staying with a friend
Exercise: If you and the person you are staying with plan to lead independent lives while you are there, go back to the hoteling section because you’ll have to look around you to figure out how you can work out. But if your lives would be intertwined, consider the following:
  • Does your friend work out? Staying with someone that works out makes life easier for you. You have a partner to gym with, and you just have to ask them about their exercise schedule. If he/she works out at a gym, find out which gym and research their visitor options. For example, my gym allows members to bring in guests free on Wednesdays and $15 each other time. Ordinarily, a guest would pay $25 if they come alone.
  • If your friend does not work out, ask yourself the hoteling questions. What would your schedule be like? Is there a gym around his/her house? How much does it cost? Can you work out outside? What would the weather be like?
Food: Again, if you plan to lead independent lives, all the hoteling questions would apply to you. If not:
  • Ask questions! Does your friend usually cook? If he/she cooks, again, you life may be easier (or harder depending on who you are staying with) but your major focus would be portion control.
  • If your friend does not cook, find out where he/she usually tends to eat. And research restaurant options so when asked what you are in the mood for, you have an opinion based on what is nearby.
Hope this helped those that travel! I know how hard it can be to stay fit while on the road, but just like with anything else, don’t assume. Recognize that you’ll probably need to plan and make some changes. You can do it!

Cheers Eights & Weights!


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