The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
If you’re a nerd like me, you’ll recognize this as a Bilbo Baggins quote from “The Lord of the Rings“ by J.R.R. Tolkien. If you’re not a nerd like me, well, you should be.
For those dear readers who are not familiar, Bilbo sings this quietly to himself as he travels from his cozy little Hobbit hole in the Shire to the beautiful, yet distant and mystical, Rivendell. In the book, Bilbo, Frodo and their other Hobbit compatriots step outside their comfort zones to expand their horizons and save Middle Earth in the process. Sound vaguely metaphorical?
The story relates to my life in the sense that change is hard and it takes time. When we accomplish major milestones in our life, we can’t attribute it to our own inherent awesomeness (although that kind of heroism plays a part). We often need backup, those who love us and support us in all we do. We have to be kind, compassionate, friends to ourselves as well, because we never know what lies around the next corner.
Human beings, much like Hobbits, are creatures of routine. We wake up, get ready for work, go to work, come home, cook dinner, go to sleep, wake, repeat. Hopefully go the gym at some point. Making wise decisions about our healthy lifestyle is easy when you can see for miles ahead, but what to do when an unexpected adventure arises?
One of the biggest challenges with living the Fit Life is trying to do so on the road. Whether it’s a business trip or day trip out of town, being out of routine is so hard. This article is a double-whammy. It can be a guide for those weary travelers looking to stave off weight gain while out and about, but it’s also going to keep me honest.
Let me explain.
As I am writing this, I am looking forward to a short vacation from work. I am taking off Thursday, Friday and Monday of the following week to head up to Dallas to visit some of my husband’s friends that we haven’t seen for a year. I am very excited. My husband and I have an agreement: If I don’t want to do something, he leaves me to my own devices and he to his. That means that I could do absolutely nothing if I want to. This is a glorious prospect that my mind cannot even process. No 8 to 5 job, no personal training clients in the evenings (or very early morning), no gym to run or classes to be at. What is this magic?
So, you see where I could get myself into trouble.
Here are some ways I make fit trips happen.
Pack your bags.
Duh, right? But imagine if you pack clothes with actual mindfulness. What is going to keep you on the straight and narrow: sweat pants and a roomy tee, or an outfit just fitted enough that looking like a stuffed sausage after eating way too much is a real possibility? Save the sweats for the long ride home.
Choose wise road snacks.
Yes, chips and candy bars are energy-dense, cheap fuel, but that does not mean they’re good for you. Look for natural dried fruit without extra sugar, your favorite kind of unsalted nut, and the darkest chocolate you can find. Mix it up and you have a healthy trail mix! Turkey jerky isn’t a bad idea for some satisfying protein. Chewing it passes the time! Most gas stations sell fruit like bananas, apples, and oranges. Finally, liquid calories. Skip the soda and opt for flavored sparkling water. In our road trip excitement and upheaval of routine, we often dehydrate ourselves.
This is a nifty website that basically operates as a database for chain restaurant’s nutritional information. So, basically, you know you’re dining out, so dine out wisely. I rented a condo in Florida once so that I could cook in the available kitchen. Did that happen? If you answered yes, then you don’t know me. Also, don’t forget how gross you’ll feel pounding back hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza meal after meal. Use the 80/20 principle to eat in moderation: 80 percent of the time, eat well. 20 percent of the time, game on.
Use the fitness facility.
Hope you packed some gym clothes. Brighten that sad, lonely treadmill’s day! Walk on it! People actually pretend they don’t know that their hotel has a gym, tiny though it may be. You’ll boost your mood and energy levels, not to mention you’ll sleep better, with 30 minutes worth of activity. It’s better than reruns of Law and Order in a boring hotel room.
Expand your horizons and your fitness levels by exploring the place you visit. Walking tours are one of the best ways to see a new city on your own terms. Certain hotel chains like Westin and Hyatt, among others, have a fitness concierge that can help you stay active on your trip with walking/jogging routes, classes, and even shoe rentals (with disposable insoles, which definitely decreases the ick factor of wearing borrowed shoes).
Dear reader, you are my support network. I have packed cute, well-fitted clothes and gym clothes. I have bottled water, Cuties, apples and sunflower seeds stowed away for safe snacking. I will splurge, but just a little, because vacations don’t come around often enough. I intend to use the gym each day I am there. Pics or it didn’t happen!
Part 2: I have returned from my trip! For the most part, the trip went as planned. I used the gym, but not everyday, as my husband became ill and we had to return home earlier than expected. Despite that, it was a blast. Vacations never last long enough. Here’s a pic of me going for a jog at the hotel’s fitness facility as promised. I look rough, so don’t judge!