Last weekend my wife and I made a quick trip back home ("quick" is relative...it was an 11-hour drive each way) for a friend's wedding. We split both trips in half and stopped at a hotel each way. We needed to stay on track, and reinforcing that 80/20 rule I'm always talking about, we actually brought our kettle bells with us on the road trip. That morning in the hotel before hitting the road, we hit up the hotel gym and knocked down a great workout: 100+ kettle bell snatches, high-rep rows, goblet squats, and planks. We fueled up with that "free" breakfast (eggs/fruit and coffee), and we were off. We both felt energized for the remaining drive...the vacation didn't beat us! Travelers-1 Vacation- 0
Now we definitely prepared for this trip...we packed everything we needed to set ourselves up for success. We packed protein powder, smart snacks (like almonds, quest bars, sparkling water, and smart-pop popcorn). We had the luxury of space on this trip. Now, I know it's difficult to bring everything you need when you're traveling, especially when you're flying, but I'm going to help you find the perfect solution for your next trip. There really is no excuse!
"Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail." Pack for any situation; prepare ahead of time. Did your flight get delayed? Don't worry, you packed a Quest Bar and have a water bottle on-hand. Did your business meeting run long and you don't have time to find a gym? No problem, you're equipped with a couple 10-15 min bodyweight workouts to get you through (below). Are you trying to avoid eating out (or eating in excess) while you're out of town? That's why you packed your protein powder, vitamins, electrolyte tablets, and BCAA's to make sure you have all of the nutrients you need to stay on track. Again, there really is no excuse when you have the luxury to plan ahead.
Here are a few things you can do to proactively plan for the trip ahead:
1- Stock up. Keep a stock of quest bars, electrolyte tablets, fish oils, multi-vitamin or whatever you need in your bag so that you're not scrambling for something when you need it.
2- Pack a TriggerPoint or Lacrosse Ball. They're lightweight and small, so when you feel tight or stressed from the trip, you can work out all of those tight spots.
3-Bring a water bottle, and keep refilling it! Nothing will dehydrate you faster than flying, so keep the water flowing!
4- Invest in equipment. Things like Val Slides, Super Bands, Mini Bands and TRX suspension trainers are great tools for travelers and don't take up much space in the bag. They'll take your hotel workouts to the next level.
A little research goes a long way. Scope out some restaurants that provide healthier alternatives. Longer stay? Check out that local grocery store and pick up some fresh fruit and nuts for an energy packed breakfast or snack. If you have time in between meetings or events, find a local gym and get a day pass. Maybe there's a park or track nearby--use it!
Just a couple pointers to stay on track:
1- Remember the 80/20 rule. If you tore through the all-you-can-eat brunch buffet and didn't workout that day, opt for the traditional, diet-friendly, lean protein and veggie kind of dinner.
2- Order the basics from the menu. You don't need to order and eat a full portion of chicken carbonera...rather, you can probably order a basic chicken breast with a side of steamed veggies. They've got the raw ingredients and they accommodate for dietary needs every day. Your waiter has definitely been asked this before, trust me. And by ordering lighter, you will feel better and be more productive.
3- Intermittent Fasting. All my clients know I'm a fan of this eating method, especially when traveling. Revolve your eating around your scheduled. For example, do you have an after-conference dinner with cocktails? Modify your eating schedule so that you're only eating between the hours of 12-9pm. Do you have a breakfast meeting? Eat at breakfast and grab an early dinner, only eating between the hours of 7am-5pm. This method is flexible and can be used effectively on the road.
4- JUST SAY NO. You don't have to eat the free donuts, muffins, and pastries they offer at the continental breakfast. Let's be honest, it's underwhelming. You're going to regret it. So, be picky!
This is both the easiest and the hardest part of traveling. Theoretically, it should be simple enough to squeeze in a 10-30 min workout; I mean, we've all got 24 hours each day. But in reality, you're dealing with jet lag; high-sodium, high-fat foods; time changes; and probably an uncomfortable bed. You need to treat your workout like it's a part of your trip schedule; create a calendar event if you have to. If you set the time aside and plan for it mentally, you'll reap the reward. I have written up a few of my favorite "on the road" workouts below. You'll find different versions to include the TRX, Super/Mini Bands, and Val Slides. Feel free to pick your own poison.
1) Pushup – 5 x 10-12
2) Step Back Lunge – 5 x 8-10/leg 3) Back Bridge – 5 x 20 4) Side Plank – 5 x 30s
5) Burpee 5x10-15
30-45 sec between sets!
Val Slides (or furniture sliders)
1) Alternate Superman Pushup – 4 x 6-10/side
2) Slide Reverse Lunge – 4 x8-10/leg 3) Slider Knee Tucks (abs) – 4 x 10-12 4) Slide Leg Curl - 4 x 10-12
5) Slider Ab Fallouts 4x 10-12
TRX (or any suspension trainer)
A1) TRX Alternating Lateral Lunge 8/side
A2) TRX Step Back lunge 8/leg
A3) TRX Row 10-12
A4) TRX "Y" 10-12
A5) TRX Bicep Curls 10-12
* 3-4x then progress to circuit B
B1) TRX Ab Fallouts 10
B2) TRX Pushups 10
B3) TRX Tricep Extension 10
A1) Band Deadlifts - 4x10-15
A2) Band Resisted Pushups - 4x 8-12
A3) Band Resisted Row (tie onto something stable!) 4x12-15/side
A4) Bulgarian (rear-foot elevated) Split Squats 4x6-10/side
*B1-B2 done 30 sec on/30 sec off, alternating exercises for 4 total rounds!
B1) Band Curls
B2) Mountain Climbers
Hotel Gym (DBs up to maybe 50lbs)
*Set Timer for 15 min and complete as many rounds as possible in time! Use the same set of dumbbells throughout the whole circuit.
A1) DB Reverse Lunge 8/leg
A2) DB curl-to-press 10
A3) DB Squat 10
A4) DB Bent Over Row 10
A5) Reverse Crunch 10
*After the 15 min circuit, rest 2-4 min and progress to circuit B