Category Archives: Travel

Being Resolute

Calvin

So it is the second week of the year.  The holidays are over, vacations are complete, the airports are becoming sane again and being resolute in the commitments we made over the new year may be becoming a bit harder than we expected.  Making resolutions always seems really easy, being resolute is another story entirely.  If you are like most Americans, your resolutions centered around 1) health 2) money and/or 3) relationships.  So as a RoadWarrior, how do we ensure that our resolutions become habit?

You decide in advance what you will and won’t do and we only make decisions once.

The problem with most ‘resolutions’ is they are focused on the end results and are not date specific.  In order to achieve them, we need to focus on the steps that will get us there, this is where the RoadWarrior Rules come in to play.

Let’s hypothetically say your resolution was to lose 10 – 15 lbs.

The first thing you need to do is to set a date.  When are you going to lose this weight by?  Don’ just ‘Begin with the End in Mind’, clearly define when is the End arriving?  A date is what moves a resolution to a goal (we’ll talk about moving the goal to a lifestyle later).

Next we need to set the activities (rules) that need to be followed and excluded until the goal is achieved.  This is exactly what the RoadWarrior Fitness rules are all about.  They are the Guardrails that set you up for success in your health journey on the road.  As a quick review:

  • Do something….anything….every day!!! – I really don’t care what it is. Run, lift, do Pilates, hit up a Beachbody DVD, walk the local mall/tourist attraction or train at a local martial arts studio.  Heck, I have been known to run on the treadmill in the Admirals Club and have been caught running stairs in the airport.  If you are doing more than a day trip, you need to be doing something active.
  • If you see fruit, eat it – Often times when you check in to your hotel, there are apples on the counter. Or in the gym, there is a basket of fruit.  Or in the airport gift shop, there is a refrigerator with various fruit options.  Pretty simple rule, see it….eat it.
  • Don’t eat anything fried – For the most part I avoid anything fried while on the road (there is a wonderful place in Fort Lauderdale that has lobster corndogs that I make an exception for though…unbelievably good and you can check them out at coconutsfortlauderdale.com). What this also means is I do not do ‘cheat meals’ on the road as my cheat meal usually involves something fried.  Those are saved for being at home with the family where we can enjoy it together.
  • Workout first, then you can have wine – I love red wine. I believe there is a reason that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine… just sayin’.  However, my rule on the road is I will not have wine (or any other alcohol) if I have not had a workout first.
  • Don’t eat in any restaurant you could eat at at home – The restaurants you find at home and on the road are chains. They are all about systems and duplication.  Nothing necessarily wrong with that but I want quality and nutrition.  Ask the front desk or Yelp/Google/Urban Spoon about whom to go eat with.  Every region of the country has a specialty that when prepared right is fantastic tasting and fantastic for you.

Being resolute is a matter of being prepared more than disciplined.  Preparation allows you to avoid areas of temptation and put the actions that lead to success first.  These are my rules regarding healthy living on the road.  Start with your goal and set up the rules that will lead you to success in savings, improving your relationship, spending more time with you kids, whatever.  Be resolute.  Be better in 2015.

See you on the road.

Failing to plan is planning to Fail

Sometimes I feel like all I do is plan to be on the road.  What clothes are clean?  What toiletries do I need to replace?  What’s the weather going to be like at the destination?  These are all things that readily run through my crazy road warrior head but the planning is not just limited to what I have to deal with, I also pay attention to what is going to happen back on the home front.

I am the one in the family who does the grocery shopping and meal planning.  It has become a bit of a Sunday tradition/therapy for me.  Sit in the morning with the coupons, see how much I can save while shopping and then spend the afternoon cooking one good meal to start the week as well as staples that can be thrown in the microwave throughout the week.

Where I have fallen short is not having a plan that is flexible and varied

Not to say the least about communicating that plan to my beautiful wife so that she might be able to execute on said plan.  I leave to eat restaurant meals throughout the week and leave the family at home with all kinds of ‘options’ but nothing solidified.  So in the bustle of wrestling practices, weightlifting, orchestra rehearsal, kickboxing and karate, the family is stuck grabbing whatever is ready in the fridge/pantry or making a Shakeology before racing out the door.  It is not the ideal and quite frankly, it is my failure.

You see, meal planning is not an issue for me.  I have no problem coming up with a plan for the week.  I also have no problem communicating it, where I lack is including creativity/variety in the plan.  I would eat the same thing all week without issue.  I enjoy structure and familiarity.  My family would appreciate eating something besides grilled chicken, brown rice and broccoli though.  I needed a solution that met all of our needs.

So I themed each day of the week

This gives me the structure I work best within but challenges me to vary the menu from week to week.  So here you go, here is my weekly ‘meal plan’:

Meatless Monday – Pretty simple to explain and especially appreciated in a house where one of us mostly eats vegetarian.

Taco Tuesday – Food delivered via foldable, edible container.  Could be Fish Tacos, could be Asian Lettuce Wraps.

Wet Wednesday – Soup!!

Throw it out Thursday – This day is all about the leftovers.  We are terrible about eating them unless we set a day aside to make sure we do.

Fishy Friday – Something from the sea (to be transparent, we eat fish at least 2-3 times a week already)

Sizzling Saturday – My day to fire up the grill

Sumptuous Sunday – I usually have more time to really try something different and time consuming.   This is normally the day I try and emulate something I have had on the road as well as cook for the rest of the week.

Each day is supremely flexible in the fact that we can use what is on sale, try new recipes, make it ahead and take it with us (coming soon on this ‘Picnic Parents’), make extra for lunch the following days, accommodate both vegetarian and meat lovers……you get the point.

Most importantly, it sets everyone up for success!!

The only step I have added to the normal routine is to be sure that the meal plan (including recipes) is printed out for the week.  Cut and paste from the websites/Pinterest boards that are relevant for the week…..I may even try putting together a shared board for my wife and I for the week……huh, just thought of that one.  Thanks!!

So remember, while you are about to race out for the week, your family is hunkering down awaiting your return.  Do everything you can to make their week as successful as yours!

See you on the road!!

Fitness and sightseeing – a perfect match

“Traveling to all those different cities must be so interesting!!  You get to see so much!!”

There it is.  The two sentence combination that immediately tells me that my conversation partner is what I like to call a ‘tourist’.  The kind of person who only travels for pleasure and has no idea what business travel is really like let alone real RoadWarrior stuff (oh, how I long for the bliss of those days).  For those of you who can call yourselves ‘tourists’, let me say that I envy you and let me also provide you with some insight as to what the typical business trip looks like.

Wake up early ->  Jump on a plane -> Get in cab to client offices -> Conduct meeting -> Uber to hotel -> Shuttle to the airport

In and Out….as quickly as possible.  That was my routine for a long time and to a great degree still is but that does not mean you can’t fit some of the life of the city in and keep fit.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to spend very short stints of time in some of my favorite sightseeing destinations.  Seattle, Chicago, New York and DC.  With the exception of Chicago, my trips to all 4 were less than 24 hours in total duration but I still managed to spend time experiencing the Manhattan Skyline, Soldier Field and the lake, the Seattle waterfront and Space Needle and the vast majority of the DC monuments (isn’t my workout selfie wonderful?).  I did it by incorporating my sightseeing expeditions with my fitness routine.

I know, not everyone loves running but most everyone can run or walk and if the line at the treadmill in these cities was any indication, a lot of RoadWarriors were spending significant time on those machines.

Take that run/walk outside and experience the city!!

With just a little bit of planning, or the right app, you can find a route that will put you on the right path to a workout and a great tour of the city.  I use www.mapmyrun.com to plan my routes.  In a matter of clicks I had routes to see the city and a guide to make sure that I was following the right path.

Soldier Field

4 miles in Chicago let me see the lake and Soldier Field.

Empire State

2 miles in New Jersey let me get an unbelievable view of the NYC skyline.

WWII monument

5 miles in DC gave me a route that hit all of the major memorials and the White House.

So get out of that dingy hotel gym (let’s face it, even the nicest of them are usually in the basement or some underutilized corner of the facility) and get outside.  Pick a monument, a theatre, a landmark and take your own workout selfie.  I promise you, you’ll be glad you did.

Make it Work!!

My ratio of pleasure vs. work travel is infinitesimally small but I was fortunate enough this past extended weekend to travel to LA & Santa Barbara with my wife Joy  On paper the trip was ideal, 4 days with just the two of us enjoying our native California sand and sun.  One day as a couple in Santa Monica and 3 up in Santa Barbara where we would reconnect with fellow UCSB Gaucho alumni and their families.  What could be wrong with that kind of trip?  Romance, friends, California sun, great food and my beloved Ocean, virtually nothing could derail this trip, unless of course the hotel we stayed at did not have a gym.

Which of course, it didn’t.

Now when I travel for business, I am faced with all kinds of options as to where I would like to stay.  The choice is mine and very often it comes down to ‘Who has the best gym?’.  But this time we were traveling with 5 other families, from all over the country with kids of all ages all getting together in the same spot.  My fitness needs took a back seat (and rightfully so) to the greater needs of the collective.  So as we found the one hotel in the Santa Barbara area that could house our motley crew, it was up to my wife and I to figure out a way to make fitness a priority.  We had a choice to make.

We could either let it slide for the weekend (I mean really, it is just a weekend) or we could make it work.  So make it work we did.

Santa Monica was easy, with a full gym a located less than a block from the beach and running paths, it was a no brainer.  Easy-peasy and I got to enjoy sights like the one below.

Santa Monica

Santa Barbara was a lot tougher but thank God I had Joy with me. 

You see she is a Beachbody Coach and in the middle of a PiYo challenge so I focused on her routine rather than mine.  She had her workouts downloaded already and even though we did not have a single weight, treadmill or elliptical at our disposal, we got 3 challenging workouts in over the 3 days in Santa Barbara.  Without a workout room, we even had to improvise on the location (it is amazing how much space your standard pool deck has when you move the chase lounges out of the way) where we could complete the PiYo workouts. To say we improvised is putting it mildly.   Joy even took video of our space for one of her accountability groups which can be seen below and as you can see, there was a great deal of improvisation going on with these workouts.

Now I am not going to lie, we got a lot of funny looks from the other guests who were passing us doing our PiYo on the pool deck.  Our preferred workout area was directly on the path for all hotel guests who were getting their breakfast from the free buffet.

And for every ‘You guys are so good’ comment I heard or crazy eye directed our way, I had to remind myself that;

a) Their opinion did not matter – living longer for my wife and kids does

b) It is my health and not theirs – I can only choose to affect my own health, they can only choose to affect their health

c) We do crazy stuff like this so that we can enjoy the good stuff later – Like Brophy Brothers which is one of our absolute favorite dining spots on the planet and the location of the picture below;

Brophy selfie

So don’t let opinion, resources or apathy get in the way of you achieving your fitness goals while on the road.  You can always do something.  Walk, run, do a body weight series or maybe even a PiYo workout.  Regardless of the circumstances, you can do something and you will feel worlds better for it when you are done.

‘Tis the Season……Conference Season!!

Every industry has it.  Those 3-4 months where it seems like every other week is a 3 day conference somehere.  I am just coming to the end of mine now.  Over the past 8 weeks I have been a featured speaker (by far the best way to experience conference life), an attendee (great way to learn and network with your peers), a business partner (yep..nice way to say ‘vendor’ and this is a grind) and finally, as a part of the host organization (this is just a butt whipping).  Regardless of your role, there are three things you can be sure you will experience at every conference:

1)      Long Days with Packed Schedules

2)      Lots of Inactivity

3)      Conference Food

As a RoadWarrior, I cringe just thinking about them.  So what can we do to protect ourselves from the energy sucking vortex that is the very nature of a conference?

As Steven Covey would say, “Begin with the End In Mind”.  We need to plan ahead.

Schedule:   Don’t wait till you arrive to determine your schedule.  Look up the schedule of the conference events on-line or download the mobile app built around the event.  Plan your days but not just the sessions and client meetings, include your meals, your workouts and your quiet time.  Remember, these trips are about productivity first and fitness second.  If you see that day 2 of the conference is packed with good stuff starting at 8:00am and the only possible time to get a work out in is at 6:00am – forego the nightlife the night before and opt for dinner with a client rather than the partner party.  Be realistic, if you are just going to ‘fit a workout in somewhere’– you won’t.

Lots of Inactivity:  Now I am not going to tell you to get up in the middle of the keynote and do lunges down the aisle.  That is just crazy talk (but wouldn’t it be hilarious?).  I am going to ask you what have you made time for though?

  • 20 minutes?  Better plan on an in room body weight exercise plan.
  • 40 minutes? Maybe a local run or weight routine in the gym.  How does that hotel pool look?
  • 60 minutes?  Let’s get some lifting and cardio in or toss in the BeachBody DVD and get pumping.

Of course, being RoadWarriorFit means you have already done your homework and know what fitness equipment is available at the conference hotel.  The good news there is most facilities hosting conferences also have decent fitness facilities.

Conference Food:   Let’s start with the realization that just because it is served does not mean you have to eat it.  You are not visiting someone’s home (where you should always eat what is being served), you are at a conference facility.  The chef is not going to be offended that you opted to not dig into the pasta alfredo on the lunch buffet line.  It’s your body, your health and your choice.

I always travel with my own stock of various snacks/bars/powder but I especially stock up on conference trips.  If I know I am having a great dinner that evening, I can skip the Chicken Piccata swimming in oil and opt for a bar for lunch.  Having a great lunch with a client?  Probably won’t need to stock up on finger foods at the conference celebration party that night.  The one meal I won’t do this with is usually breakfast.  Even on a continental breakfast bar, you can usually put together a great tasting and great for you meal to last you till the next healthy option.

If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.  

Maybe It is the Eagle Scout in me coming out but if you prepare correctly for any trip, you can maintain your fitness and more importantly your health.  So get prepping, packing and I will see you at the keynote (I’ll be the one in the aisle doing lunges).

The motivating power of an empty water bottle

We all know we should drink more water.  For RoadWarriors this fact is especially true.  We are constantly placed in environments that are actively working to suck the water out of us.  From the unfamiliar the climate of the destination city to the airplane cabin that delivered you there, there are forces at work to steal your water.  I don’t know about you but at times it feels like I am traveling on Tatooine.  You know, the desert planet from Star Wars.

So how does a RoadWarrior fight back?

I could talk about your salt intake and avoiding foods that are diuretics but let’s face it……you need to drink more water.  Sorry but sometimes the simplest answer is also the best, even if it is the most annoying.  So with the solution so obvious, how do we put it in practice?

Drink water before your coffee-

Helio Gracie, the founder of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, advised all of his students to have a cup of water beside their bed.  His reasoning was that when you wake up in the morning you are at your most dehydrated.  If you are going to be able to defend yourself at all times, you need to by hydrated at all times.  So drink the water as soon as you wake…..even before your coffee.  While we may not be walking into literal battle we all know that life on the road is a battle all to itself.  Besides, if it is good enough for Helio Gracie, it is good enough for me.

Ask for water with every meal –

I always ask for both water and whatever else I am drinking.  Then I try and consume them in at least a 1:1 ratio and I am not just talking about wine with dinner.  This goes for diet coke, coffee, tea, whatever and at every meal.  Oh yeah, this also works on the plane when they come by with drink cart.  They have never turned down my request for water and (insert your favorite choice here).  Never.

Carry your own water bottle –

OK, I admit it. I fought this one for years.  I would look at the person with their personal water bottle and think “Really?  You can’t just pick up a Dasani at the Hudson News?”  Well I could but I didn’t.  I would grab the Diet Coke or Frappuccino or energy drink (well I wouldn’t but my son would). Reality is, I drink more water when I have my own water bottle to fill.  There is something different about an empty bottle that I can throw away (recycle) vs. an empty bottle that I refill.  I don’t let the bottle sit empty for long where once the disposable is in the recycling container, I am not thinking about it anymore.  Besides that, I am a scorecard guy.  You better believe I am keeping count of how many times I fill that baby up each day.

So there are three simple ways to make sure you are consuming more water on the road on your next trip than you did on your last trip.  Let’s hear it RoadWarriors.  How do you make sure you are taking in enough H2O as you go, go, go?

What are your Guardrails?

Guardrails

There is a great message out there by Andy Stanley from Northpoint Church in Atlanta (watch it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt5tkQS7K4Q or buy his book here http://www.amazon.com/Guardrails-DVD-Avoiding-Regrets-Your/dp/0310893984).  In this message Andy talks about guardrails.  You know, the ones that keep you from running your car off of that bridge and/or cliff.  Pretty simple design actually, put posts that are really thick, buried deep enough down to withstand a serious impact and then attach a solid steal rail to them.  So even if the worst happens, you should be able to stay on the road rather than ending up in the ditch or off the cliff.

If you spend any time at all on the road, you have to install guardrails in your travel life.  While I have put guardrails up around my mind, spirit and most importantly, my relationships, for this post I am going to focus on those I have installed around my physical fitness.  I’m not implying that you need to have the same guardrails as I do but you do need to have your own guardrails.  Below are the guardrails I have in my own Road Warrior journey.  They have served me well for the past 5 years and I hope that they can inspire you to put your own in place.  I will expand on each in later posts but here are the basics.

  • Do something….anything….every day!!! – I really don’t care what it is.  Run, lift, do Pilates, hit up a Beachbody DVD, walk the local mall/tourist attraction or train at a local martial arts studio.  Heck, I have been known to run on the treadmill in the Admirals Club and have been caught running stairs in the airport.  If you are doing more than a day trip, you need to be doing something active.
  • If you see fruit, eat it – Often times when you check in to your hotel, there are apples on the counter.  Or in the gym, there is a basket of fruit.  Or in the airport gift shop, there is a refrigerator with various fruit options.  Pretty simple rule, see it….eat it.
  • Don’t eat anything fried – For the most part I avoid anything fried while on the road (there is a wonderful place in Fort Lauderdale that has lobster corndogs that I make an exception for though…unbelievably good and you can check them out at http://www.coconutsfortlauderdale.com).  What this also means is I do not do ‘cheat meals’ on the road as my cheat meal usually involves something fried.  Those are saved for being at home with the family where we can enjoy it together.
  • Workout first, then you can have wine – I love red wine.  I believe there is a reason that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine… just sayin’.  However, my rule on the road is I will not have wine (or any other alcohol) if I have not had a workout first.
  • Don’t eat in any restaurant you could eat at at home – The restaurants you find at home and on the road are chains.  They are all about systems and duplication.  Nothing necessarily wrong with that but I want quality and nutrition.  Ask the front desk or Yelp/Google/Urban Spoon about whom to go eat with.  Every region of the country has a specialty that when prepared right is fantastic tasting and fantastic for you.

So there it is folks, my 5 Guardrails when it comes to physical fitness on the road.  What are the rules you live by, either on the road or at home?  Any I am missing?  Looking forward to your input as we travel this road together.