Staying In Shape on the Road
Lots of us take vacations, visit families, etc – and most importantly, have to travel for work. Some of you have BRUTAL work travel schedules. This post is NOT about me going all crazy, Jillian Michaels on you fools, yelling NO EXCUSES and preaching that you should be under a barbell every day whether you’re on your honeymoon to Tahiti or working a 20 hour day for some “sales conference” in Vegas. Instead, these are just some easy tips to try to help you guys see that there are ways to make staying in shape accessible that aren’t too tricky.
It’s super easy when you are out of your element to let working out fall by the wayside. You think well, it’s only one trip, it’s only a few days. But, how many times have you come back from a vacation or work trip feeling sick, feeling bloated/fat, sad, and scared to go back to the gym? Not only does getting out of your workout vibe mess you up the days you’re traveling, but way too often we allow it to drag further into messing us up once we get back.
Working in sports, I travel semi-frequently, especially during the NFL season. Here’s are some helpful things that I have found help me stay in shape on the road.
#1: Make A Plan
Take 15 minutes on the plane or car ride in to your destination to decide exactly which days of your trip you think you can squeeze in a workout. Doing a blanket statement “I’m going to exercise this work trip” or pretending like you’ll do it every day is like hoping the tooth fairy effs up and leaves a million dollars under your pillow – it’s not happening. Be honest about what your responsibilities are while you’re away. For example, if I’m gone for 4 days, I typically try to get in a workout for at least two of those days for at least 30 minutes. Don’t just plan that you’ll do it – get specific. Plan the days, and then WHEN you’ll fit that in on those days. Will you have to wake up 30 minutes earlier? Sneak it in between meetings? Skip a cocktail hour one night? Figure out what the plan is.
#2: Stick To The Plan.
If you create a SPECIFIC plan, chances are good you’ll feel better about sticking to it. The more specific the plan, the more accountability you will feel. Other things you can do to help accountability: set reminders in your phone for the times you slated to workout; have a friend text you checking in to see if you did your workout; join a group fitness class where you pay up front (seriously, I never miss a class I already paid $30 for). The execution of sticking to your plan DOES involve some form of willpower. But again, if you’ve already gotten creative with a reasonable plan for yourself, you should be able to stick to it.
#3: Pack Basic Equipment/Keep It Simple.
If you’re going somewhere where you feel like you won’t have access to workout equipment, bring a couple basics with you. My favorite thing to bring with me on work trips? A jump rope. AMRAP 5 minutes, double unders. Here’s a great company that a lot of CrossFitters buy their jump ropes from. Instant workout that leaves you smoked, and takes almost zero time and takes up no room in your suitcase. You can also bring resistance bands like the ones we have at the gym. But, the best thing about CrossFit, is you don’t necessarily need equipment to get a great workout. Ever done Cindy or Angie? Those chicks don’t use any equipment and they still demolish people just fine. Here is a document that I love and use of 100 bodyweight workouts you can do in hotel gyms.
#4: It Doesn’t HAVE To Be CrossFit For It To Be Good.
Of course, I truly believe in CrossFit or I wouldn’t do it. We are lucky to have a national CrossFit community and thousands of affiliates to choose from – it’s really easy to drop into different boxes to get your WOD fix and make sure that you’re staying under a barbell during work trips. However, that’s not always feasible for work trips. So don’t forget about what we call plain old EXERCISE. Don’t hyperventilate because you can’t do the CF WOD, or whatever your normal routine might be. Go for a run – it’s a great way to explore a new city. Try a group class at a globo gym down the street from your hotel. I was recently in NYC and hopped into a Soul Cycle that was around the corner from my hotel because it was convenient and only lasts 45 mins. Do a made up workout in a nearby park. Do one on your hotel floor. Just remember, just because you’re missing a WOD, does not mean you have to miss exercising.
#5: Get Right Back Into It.
Just like you have a plan for when you leave, you need a plan for when you get back. Select the day and time you’re going to come back to the gym before you even leave. Don’t let yourself have a “travel day” and then a “day after travel day” and then a “well I already missed this whole week and Sharkeez is having a Shark Attack special.” Remember, even if you’re feeling exhausted or weak from being gone from the gym, you can ALWAYS scale workouts down as you come back, or even just come in to ride the Watt bike, row and do some mobility.
#6: Abs Are Made In The Kitchen
I only wanted to do 5 tips, and this could be an entire separate blog post, but don’t forget that staying in shape also has to do largely with your diet. It’s tempting on work trips to slip into eating whatever is convenient and in front of you. One thing that I always try to do is plan ahead and find the nearest grocery store to my hotel. When I arrive, I take a few minutes to grab supplies – coconut waters, apples, nuts, sliced turkey, etc – things that will help me through a bind. Indulging while you’re away is OK, but follow the same rules that you would for staying on top of your workouts; make and keep a plan! Decide ahead of time which nights you’ll give in and where you’ll stay a bit healthier. For example, I used to be THE WORST eater in America on planes. I would load up with Cheez Its, Goldfish, Peanut Butter M&Ms, I mean you name it. Maybe a Rolo. Who knows. Finally, one day I made a rule for myself that I’m not allowed any crappy snacks on planes, and I’ve stuck to it. MAJOR difference. When I arrive I feel refreshed, not completely disgusting, and then I don’t feel as bad if I want to have a cocktail with a coworker. Make your own rules, but stick to them.
Hopefully these tips give you guys some good ideas on how to create some accountability for yourselves to stay in shape while traveling. Remember, fitness is a lifestyle, so keep it light, keep it fun, and just do your best. If you fail one work trip miserably, just learn from it and try some different rules the next one.