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The Fit (to be tied) Traveler

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Recently, I have been spending increasing time traveling for work.  Sadly, I have not managed this well.  Okay, okay.  I’m a newbie to this constant travel thing, take it easy…

Working out with a personal trainer 5 days a week was returning me to a carved little figure (beneficial to the brain housing group, as well). After a traumatic injury, yielding me disabled for nearly 7 full months, relying on a cane to keep me balanced when attempting to do something which closely resembled walking and completely changing my life course, it felt to amazing to be strong again.  I’ll admit.

Enter the travel schedule.  An incredible opportunity presented itself and the action created the need to travel often.  But traveling gets you off schedule. I don’t know about you, but when I’m away from home –especially when staying in a hotel- I get completely off schedule.  I loose all track of time… and reason.  I wake up early, work very late, skip meals and forget to workout. The last two are yes, the most detrimental.  Ladies, you know how long it takes to get those killer abs.  We all know it doesn’t including watching some video beginning with the title “6 second abs”.  Ridiculous.  Good marketing on a trash product.  But simply ridiculous.

My abbies slowly made their exit, somewhere between “I’m almost finished with this task” and “I’m so tired, I’m not even hungry”. But its not just the tight core, it’s the cardio, it’s the daily nutrition needs… it’s the muscle strength that is keeping me out of spinal surgery (yeppers, gave the old thumbs down to having hardware installed on my spine).

They say the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem.  Hi, I’m Jen and I am an ineffective road warrior.

Here is the solution. Force.  Yes, force is a powerful thing.  It can be mental. It can be…. emotional.  It can also be in the form of a bottle of Vitamin Water set so effortlessly airborne that it is actually able to influence the external behavior of a person without even removing the lid! Yes, force is a major influencer of behavior.

Ladies and Gents, I have taken a giant step towards recovery.  First admitting I have a problem and second, establishing a personal rule that includes forcing myself to stay on-track.

Dangitt.  I hate being wrong.  I hate having to take two steps back in order to take 3 steps forward.  Suck it up Jen and caulk this one up to being a novice business traveler.

Alright, here are Jen’s 5 Tips:

1) Pack healthy snacks for travel

Traveling days are the worst.  It doesn’t matter if you are going there or coming home, regardless it’s time in the airport or car, or God help you, both.  Your stress level may be increased, triggering the desire for high carbohydrate and salty foods in larger amounts than nutritionally necessary. These foods burn energy fast, leaving you feeling fatigued, gross and leaving your skin nasty and your pants ever tighter.

Solution includes the following 3 steps.

Step 1: Go spend like $10 bucks on a portable, fabric lunch box

Step 2: Pick up some 1-Zip re-sealable clear plastic bags (the nice ones ya’ll, not the cheap stuff)

Step 3: Get out iPhone and lock in the nearest Whole Foods, Sprouts Market, or WinCo.  These grocery markets have whole food options where you are free to purchase things like almonds, granola, etc by the pound.  They also have gluten-free options.

Pack yourself X-days amount of snack time treats.  Make sure you give yourself variety like raw almonds, fresh bananas, apples, grapes, oranges, avocados (my personal fave) and protein bars.  Enjoy your pure energy without the crash or extra lbs.

2) Schedule your workout like a business meeting

You bend over backwards to make meetings happen all day, why shouldn’t you take the same enthusiasm and share a little with yourself.  Block out a reoccurring meeting time in your shared calendar, then everyone will know about it and all you have to battle with is your own sinister work ethic.

By now, you know what times are the most busy during your day, schedule those short down times for a meeting with yourself.  Go for a run, a swim, a yoga class, or hit the gym for a workout.  If you are traveling to a new city what better way to get to know the area that with a little jog-aruski.  During my first visit to Prague, I spent the mornings running around the city with a Camelbak, a Cliff Bar, local currency, cell phone, passport and a map (do I sound like a snob now? …Okay whatever, true story AND it worked).  It was an invigorating way to beat the jetlag and get to know the city in an intimate way.  Traveling should be an adventure whenever possible.

3) Be a Brat

Pressured by the executive team watching what you order?  Fahgit about it.  This is your body, your temple. When ordering your meals at hotels or restaurants, do not be afraid to ask for what you want. Common questions and requests I make when ordering:
– Can you make that with egg whites?
– Can you add tomatoes and avocado?
– Can you grill it instead?
– Can I substitute a salad for the fries?

The majority of the time, if you are pleasant and polite, they are happy to make changes and you can minimize your brat-ness.  Your body will thank you, and who knows, after a while you may start a change in the behavior of those around you (sans the Vitamin Water).

4) Create an arsenal

Staying in a hotel for an extended period of time should mimic your home… right down to the food you have available.  I bring things from home. I always bring framed photos and my own pillow case.  These small steps create a sense of home, reducing stress and increasing ability for the body to go into “rest mode”.  Okay, now go shopping (at the aforementioned locations) and buy yourself meals to prepare that are both easy and simple.  Ask the front desk for flat wear and anything else they have that might make your food preparation easier.  Use that mini-frig for your coconut waters, G2, Greek yogurt and egg whites.

5) Pack those Nikes (What? I’m a Nike girl, don’t hate, no foot problems… EVER)

Always. Always. Always pack your Ni er… sneakers. Sacrifice your hair dryer (the hotel has one anyways), get a plastic bag and get those stinky babies into your suitcase.

A Final Word

Awww… does this sound like a job? After only two trips, you will feel like it’s the natural thing to do and you’ll come home feeling like a million bucks! The goal is to feel like you never left, minimizing the amount of time needed to recharge and decompress.


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