Health and Fitness

Fitness Anywhere

Traveling for business or pleasure can be a challenge to a healthy lifestyle. Many of my clients return from their adventures feeling bloated and a bit depressed despite the wonderful locales they have experienced. They have overindulged in every sense of the word and under-indulged taking care of themselves. Too much alcohol, salt, sugar and just plain lack of exercise can throw even the healthiest body into disarray.

The number one question I get from my clients is, how do I stay healthy on the road and not come back with an extra 10 pounds of baggage on my hips?

You really have to make a deal with yourself before you hit the road: Am I going to throw caution to the wind, not exercise, eat what I want and be okay with the results when I get home? Or, can I make healthy choices about 90% of my trip, take 30 minutes for myself each day to exercise and come home feeling healthy and fit? Personally I opt for plan B, as it can be depressing to come home with the “extra baggage.” Who wants to quickly lose their vacation bubble and come home stressed out about losing the weight put on during a trip?

The Secret Sauce
My rule for eating, no matter where I am, is 5 meals per day, eating every 3 hours. I drink a tall glass of water when I get up in the morning and more throughout the day. 3 of my meals are small (around 250-300 calories) and 2 are larger (400-500 calories) (based on my needs, a 125 pound woman who is 5' 8" tall). Each meal should have a balance of healthy proteins, whole grains, and vegetables. White sugar and flour are not going to do you any favors, so stay away. I know it’s hard to resist the French baguette or croissant, but try and keep your eye on the prize — a fit and healthy body. Limit alcohol to one small glass of red wine or one vodka with a splash of soda and fresh lime juice or cranberry splash. Protein bars are a lifesaver when you are on a flight and need a small meal or satisfy a sweet tooth. Find a healthy version you enjoy and one that is not loaded with sugar and fat. It should have a good balance of protein and fiber, if possible. I like Cliff Bars in Oatmeal or Peanut Butter. They also make a mini version (100 calories) available online, which is great for travel. A final note — never get on a plane without packing your own healthy food. The food you are offered in first class, business or coach is usually full of salt, bad carbohydrates and often, full of fat.

Your Body is a Temple – Make your Health a Priority
Whether you are on a business trip and up and out the door for an 8am meeting or rallying the kids for a day on the beach, you can always find 30 minutes to work out, if you plan ahead.

First and foremost, dont forget to pack your workout gear and fitness shoes. If the weather is good, step 1 is to check with the concierge to get maps of local trails or jogging/biking paths around the city. You can also consult the  Athletic Minded Traveler website. $19.95 a year gets you access to information for the serious fitness-minded traveler. From hotels with the best health clubs, to running and hiking trails in your city, this site is not to be missed. You can do a 30-minute jog, or even better, sprints mixed with fast paced walking for 30 minutes.

But if the weather is not cooperating for outside activities, and the hotel gym is not up to par, you must have a reliable backup.

Your Hotel Room Door and Desk Chair are your Friends

My new favorite hotel room workout is TRX.  For those of you new to TRX, you are in for a treat. Created by the U.S. Navy SEALS and developed by Fitness Anywhere®, Suspension Training® is a revolutionary method of leveraged bodyweight exercise. Easily set up the portable TRX® Suspension Trainer™ and you’re in control. Safely perform hundreds of exercises that build power, strength, flexibility, balance, mobility, and prevent injuries, all at the intensity you choose. There’s a unit designed to be used specifically at home or in a hotel room, as well as units to be used almost anywhere (such as on a tree at the park or beach), and you can pick and choose downloadable sets of exercises to support your favorite activity such as golf or martial arts. The DVD that comes with the unit is also excellent. 30 minutes of this and you are in good shape, literally.

For traveling yogis, though there are many DVDs on the market, I find it can be hard to watch a video while in a downward dog. Great audio is the way to go. Susan Fox is a very popular yogi in Silicon Valley. A downloadable audio version of her Vinyasa class is available for $20 and is perfect for those who practice yoga on a regular basis. Don’t forget your yoga mat. This mat is easy to bring along.

For the very adventurous fitness-minded individual, there is CrossFit. CrossFit is strength and conditioning fitness methodology used in nearly 1,700 gyms worldwide and by many fire departments, law enforcement agencies and military units. There are thousands of classes daily in near every city in the US and worldwide. A friend of mine who is on the road 3 weeks per month plans ahead and locates a CrossFit location virtually every place he travels. At 55, he is in the best shape of his life. Did I mention he travels 3 weeks per month? Inspiring.

Vacations are meant for adventure and re-charging the batteries. So make some room for your workout attire and a few tools of the trade, pack your fitness shoes, and come home fully recharged.

Sandra Hahamian