Originally Featured on Boston.com: 2/12/2013
Fitting in exercise and eating well while traveling does have its challenges, but it can be done! I recently went away for three nights and want to share with you some tips I used for staying on track while away from home.
My best advice in this department would be to find a hotel that provides a mini-fridge as an amenity. My boyfriend and I stocked ours with strawberries, broccoli, greens powder, protein shakes, carrots, cucumbers, hard boiled eggs, hummus, chicken sausage, low fat cheese, snack size packets of guacamole, blueberries, string cheese, limes, clementines, and my slightly different version of these lemon poppy protein bars. We packed everything in a cooler for the ride up. If you don't have access to a fridge, you have a few options. You can keep the cooler outside if the temperature is low enough, fill Ziploc bags daily with ice from the hotel to keep your cooler cold, or pack foods that don't require refrigeration. Examples would include almonds, walnuts, nut butters, apples, bananas, oranges, protein and/or greens powder, canned beans, the protein bars mentioned above, or peppers.
If you're dining out, many restaurants now display their menus online and sometimes even the nutritional content of their items. Taking a look at these will help you make better decisions once you get there. Items that are baked, broiled, steamed, or grilled are usually lower in calories. Descriptions that use the words deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, alfredo, au gratin, or in cream sauce generally indicate meals that are higher in calories. Don't be afraid to ask for extra vegetables, or to swap the rice, potatoes, or pasta for vegetables. Restaurants are usually very accommodating. If you're dining out multiple times throughout your stay, try picking one meal or dessert that you want to indulge in, and choose healthier items the rest of the time.
Booking a hotel with a fitness center or pool is a huge bonus, and makes fitting in exercise much easier. Even a basic one that has a few dumbbells, a bench, and a treadmill, like the one where we stayed, can provide countless options. For instance, after a dynamic warm-up, I performed 6 sets of the following three exercises back to back: goblet squat, 3-point row, and half kneeling overhead press. The next day I did treadmill hill sprint intervals.
A great strength training routine can even be done in your room by incorporating exercises such as bodyweight squats, push-ups, lunges, planks, or hip bridges. For more intensity try squat jumps, burpees, plyometric push-ups, lunge jumps, up/down planks, or single leg hip bridges.
If your hotel has a pool, you can do laps or water running. Try running the stairwells, or walk around the hotel. Sneak exercise into your vacation with activities like walking tours, skiing, biking, hiking, or snow shoeing, depending upon your location. Be creative! There are countless ways to fit in exercise. Just because you don't have your usual gym nearby, don't let that stop you. Doing the best you can in these situations is much better than doing nothing at all.