Staying Fit On The Road

img_20161031_094853As you may have read about in a previous entry I travel a relatively large amount. In looking at upcoming trips and my year-to-date travel I will have flown 160,000 miles on United and 55,000 miles on American, spent 156 nights in Marriott/SPG properties and about 30 in AirBnB and smaller boutique hotels by the end of 2016.

Staying healthy on the road is going to be a multi-entry storytelling adventure on my part. I’d like to start with exploring fitness related aspects of being healthy. A future post (probably at will explore the food aspects of staying healthy (particularly breakfasts). Another will explore a relatively new aspect of health, my mental health, and ways in which Kundalini yoga (introduced to me by my wife, a Kundalini instructor and certified PTSD yoga therapy healer) has helped me stay centered and focused in a sometimes-hectic routine.

A critical part of my daily routine is exercise. I will go out of my way to schedule meetings, stay in certain hotels, and plan travel around finding appropriate locations to work out. Back in 2008 I discovered CrossFit which provides a highly variable and intense mix of weightlifting and cardio. There has been plenty of praise and scorn directed at CrossFit and both camps are right in some ways. Certainly, with poor form and poor coaching you can injure yourself as you can in any activity. Personally, I am seeking to maintain a fitness level/body type that incorporates weightlifting and cardio so CrossFit has been perfect for me.

There are some drawbacks, primarily associated with bad coaching and bad programming. For those not familiar with the concept, CrossFit consists of coach-led small group classes where everyone performs the same (or a scaled version of the same) workout. The potential downside is that if the coach programs an easy or mundane workout you often don’t have the flexibility to do your own thing. Having travelled around the world and worked out at more than 85 different CrossFit affiliates in 19 states and 8 countries, I have only had issues at a handful of locations. The group fitness aspect is critical to me. If I take a red-eye flight across the country from SFO-BOS and land at 530AM, I can make the 6AM class at CrossFit Lando Charlestown where the other 10-12 people provide the motivation I need to get that workout in and not succumb to the “I’m tired…I’ll workout later” voice that would otherwise win out.

Nothing beats jet-lag into submission on my quarterly trips to Stockholm Sweden like a morning workout at Crossfit Solid nor provides a better avenue for my fidgetiness after a 16-hour flight to Sydney Australia like CrossFit Athletic City. Adding CrossFit as a key part of my day provides a solid routine that I can find in 99.9% of the places in which I travel. This is important. Most hotel gyms suck and running/bodyweight exercises on my own only goes so far. The further from major metro areas you are, the worse hotel gyms tend to be. This tends to be inversely true of CrossFit gyms (although not totally true, looking at you DC & Potomac CrossFit). Some of the best gyms were in converted RV garages, barns, etc. such as Appleton CrossFit. Every CrossFit gym provides a certain level of equipment (weights, rowers, rings, oh-my!) that I can usually count on to get a good workout. Note: CrossFit is not enough by itself (nor is one hour of daily exercise of any type) to be fit and healthy. Instilling a personal goal of near constant movement throughout the day is definitely a goal and as important if not more so is nutrition (more on that in the future).

In addition to CrossFit I still run (especially when I’m in a new place I want to explore) and break up my day with walks, probably do some pushups and sit-ups in the hotel room, and if I’m in lucky enough to get a per-diem rate room at the Marriott Marquis in DC, might grab a hotel-gym-workout after dinner just to keep the blood flowing. My wife and I have both been obsessed with tracking our movement, distance traveled, and calorie burn with our Garmin-235 watches. We will definitely post more about our praises and frustrations with this device in the future.

What do you do to stay fit on the road?