Tag Archives: day trip

The upside down life of a RoadWarrior

Everything is always changing.  When it comes to life (and particularly your health), there really is no such thing as homeostasis.  So after this long holiday weekend, I decided it was time to review my rules for traveling fit and in the process realized the application of one of them was not producing the results I was hoping for.  You can read all about all of my guardrails here but for this post, I am going to focus on just one:

“Rule #3:  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 corn-dogs 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.”

When you spend 60-80% of your time on the road, you find that some of your world gets completely turned around.  Most people see travel as a reason to let go, have fun and not pay quite as much attention to what they are putting in their body or how much they are exerting themselves.  I have found over the recent months that this relationship has flipped itself on me.  I am hyper aware on the road but not giving it the same attention at home.

Dessert every night? – No problem, it is a treat that I am home.  Besides, I made it so how bad could it be?

Cooking with rich ingredients? – No problem, I am not home to do this every day.

2500 Calorie Breakfast? – No problem, it’s a treat.  Besides, when I am not here the boys are eating cereal if we are lucky.

Portion Control? – Are you kidding me, we never eat the leftovers so it needs to be eaten now.

Snacking late at night? – I never do this on the road so this should not be an issue, right?

I realized this weekend that the mentality that most people have on the road when it comes to calories I have adopted at home.  The idea that the small splurge will not hurt the long term plan is actually a valid one.  The problem for any RoadWarrior is that you need to be disciplined both on the road AND at home.   Couple all of these excuses with a strong desire to serve my family and my love of cooking and basically every weekend has become a ‘Cheat Meal’.  Heck, just this weekend I made both Chocolate French Toast for Breakfast and Inside Out Apple Pie for dessert on the same day (pictured below but man were they good).

image  image

My idea of a splurge is turning into a habit of rich meals when home and deprivation on the road.

Not good for anyone.

So as we are half way through this year, I am reassessing how my road habits can become better home habits.  What are you evaluating?  Where are you strong and where do you need help?

Just a bit of musing for a Monday.

Looking forward to seeing you on the road.

The Dreaded Day Trip

I have a love/hate relationship with the ‘Day Trip’.  I love the way they look on the calendar.  Morning flight, midday meeting, return flight the same day and finally sleeping in my own bed, all within a single day.  Heck, I can even tell my lovely wife that I will be “home that day”

The problem is I do not live my life on paper

As I write this, I am sitting on the first flight out to Chicago.  I will also be on one of the evening flights back in to Dallas tonight.  Nearly 6 hours of travel time for a 4 hour meeting, of which I am only leading an hour of.  It is days like this that make me want to banish the ‘Day Trip’ from my calendar forever, or at least severely restricting the geographies I am willing to schedule these life sucking journeys to.

You have to have a strategy in place to stay RoadWarrior fit!!

There are so many pitfalls that the Day Trip puts in your path from a health and fitness perspective.  They really are just evil.  Let’s take a look at them and how to avoid them.

Disturbed Sleep Schedule:

For me at least, a Day Trip involves a very early flight (today’s departure time was 6:43 AM) and a late return (I am landing at 10:00 PM).  That meant I was up at 4:30 and will not be heading to bed until probably around midnight assuming that there are no delays heading home.  That makes for a very long day and more importantly, for very little sleep.  There are thousands of studies that show the importance of sleep to both physical and mental health.  I rarely get my full allotment of sleep before or after a day trip.

Coping Strategy – Get to bed early the night before

I know you saw that one coming and to be truthful, I suck at this one but it is a must.  You know you are not going to sleep on the plane so make sure you get your Z’s in the night before.  Need help making this happen, click here

Lack of Exercise:

I truly wish I was the type of person who got up early in the morning and exercised but alas, I am not.  The only times I work out in the morning is when I either have a late afternoon flight or the weekend (and even then we are not talking about early mornings).  Packing so much travel time in one day often means I am breaking the first rule of being RoadWarrior fit:

Rule #1: Do something, ANYTHING, everyday!!

When you are already scheduled to wake up at 4:30 it is really hard to set that alarm and stick to it another 30-60 minutes earlier.  3:30 wake-up call just to get an exercise session in?  C’mon, not happening.

Coping Strategy – Plan for the down time

There are times I have been able to work out on a day trip.  I have been known to walk airports for the hour before my flight.  I know which airlines clubs have fitness facilities in them and this trip I even packed my workout clothes and shoes to get a workout in at the Hilton in O’Hare (great gym that is accessible from the terminal) but in over a decade of travel, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE DONE THAT!!

hilton gym1

If you know you have a Day Trip in a particular week, plan to exercise around it.  None of us can or should do a true workout every day.  Your body needs down time to recover so use these days wisely.  Get a great workout in the day before (it will help you sleep also) and make sure you get one the next day.

Crazy Diet:

At 5:00 in the morning, I am not going to be breaking out the cookware to make the healthiest of breakfasts so I am usually grabbing something to go.  Now I am talking fruit and shakes, not Poptarts so let’s not get too crazy.  However that is usually followed up with a ‘working lunch’ (read: local sandwich shop or my favorite, Pizza) and a dinner at the airport.  Most of the time, this is breaking my last rule for staying RoadWarrior fit:

Rule #5:  Never eat somewhere that you could at home!!

In other words, I try and avoid the chains as they are about easily replicated food and very rarely about the quality nutrition we should be looking for.  That is not very easy to do when you are dining at the airport.  So very often I end up having a shake for breakfast, a protein bar for lunch (especially if I am presenting – it is really hard to present and eat at the same time) and another protein bar at dinner.  That may sound like the next fad diet but I can assure you, it is not good for you in the long run.

Coping Strategy – Get a good breakfast

You can have a great breakfast without waking the entire house up.  Prep your food the night before so it is ready to go in the morning.  I love breakfast tacos and these heat up in the microwave very easily.  Pair an English muffin smeared with Peanut Butter to a bowl of berries and greek yogurt.  You get the point but make sure this one meal is complete and at least you know you are starting the day well.

Sedentarism:

Yes, I just made that word up but take today as an example.  Between the car rides to and from the airports, two plane rides and the meeting with the client, I am sure I will be sitting for at least 12 hours today.  12 HOURS!!!  That is how you get DVT people, no really, it is.

Coping Strategy – Move every chance you get.

Pretty self explanatory.

It is Just Rude:

Picture for a moment my wife’s version of these trips.  She is awakened at 4:30 AM by me trouncing around the house getting ready to leave, the dogs waking up and being active with me.  She is then left to fend for herself with the boys all day including getting them ready and off to school, playing chauffer for various events, making and cleaning dinner, monitoring homework and being disciplinarian when needed.  Then at the end of the day, having me reenter life like the conquering hero right before (or sometimes well after) everyone heads off to bed.  Sounds like a great day, right?  Wrong.

Now, I understand the desire of parents of younger kids to be home in time to tuck their kids in to bed.  That also relieves some of the stress on your spouse if you can handle that portion of the day but my kids are teenagers.  I can assure you that they have NO DESIRE to have me tuck them in at night and the stressful part of the day is not bed time.

To put it simply, my wife hates Day Trips

Coping Strategy – Communicate

I have been known to just ask my wife if she would prefer a day trip or if I should just head out the night before.  I also try and make sure I have something in the crockpot that morning so that dinner is just that much easier for her.  Acknowledge that these trips are probably just as hard on your spouse as they are on you.  Believe me, they will appreciate the effort and acknowledgement.

So there is my argument against and my tips to help survive the Dreaded Day Trip.  I think everyone is healthier and happier if you can tag a night on somewhere (I prefer the front end of the trip) but if you can’t at least there are some ways to mitigate the damage.

Safe travels and I will see you on the road.