Tag Archives: food

No Skip – No Excuses – No Gain November

The month of November has become a rallying cry for men all over the United States to help bolster men’s health issues including Prostate and Testicular Cancer awareness and research.  For years now, men all over the country have shelved their razors for the month as they participate in either ‘No-shave November’ or ‘Movember’.  Both are a great way of promoting very important issues that men often tend to ignore.

However this year, I was going to pass. 

Not because I don’t believe in the cause nor because I think the charity organizations are not well run (to the contrary, I think they are very well run_.  Nope, this year I was going to pass for one simple and very self-centered reason,

I just don’t look good with a beard.

Beard

I know, it is completely narcissistic and self-serving but with the reaction I received last year, it is clear that the important people in my life prefer me sans beard.

However I wanted to give back and support the cause and I wanted to give you all an option also so I am hereby christening this month as No Skip November.  Evidently it is such a good idea that the folks over at Movember.com thought the same thing and added a movement challenge this year, so whether you drop the razor or not, you can participate.

So for every work out I complete in November, I am donating $5 to the Movember Foundation.  My plan is to not skip a single day in November, even rest days will be active rest days.  The side benefit of it all, it will also be a No Gain November as I .enjoy the holiday season.  However, I don’t want to do this alone.  I am asking for your help.

Nope – check that – I am asking for your participation

There are two ways you can participate:

Donate today:

Your donations are always welcome and appreciated.  You can make your donations here:  http://mobro.co/roadwarriorfit

Join me!!

I am looking to build a team of movers.  Pick the amount you are willing to donate to the cause and then register at http://moteam.co/road-warrior-fit-gives-back to join the team.  The goal is to raise $1,000 in total but just as importantly, the goal is to move.

The second best part about participating with me (the best is helping with awareness and research around men’s health issues) is you are setting yourself up for a No Gain November.  Ever wonder why eating better and exercising more are at the top of nearly everyone’s New Year’s resolutions?  What if you could focus on something else because you are already focused on your health and weight?  Well, you could.

In fact, my wife and I are hosting a No Gain November healthy living group beginning on November 9th.  It is 21-days of focused nutrition and activity and a great way to help hold yourself accountable and if you are so inclined, to help with a great cause.

So how about it, are you ready to join me in No Skip – No Excuse – No Gain November?

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day – especially on the road!!

For years we have all been hearing about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  We could probably get together and sing the jingles from Saturday morning cartoons of our youth together.  So why is it that the older we get that the more we neglect this uber important start of the day?  I even see it in my own kids.  For years I made them a complete breakfast before school (seriously, the USDA could have taken a picture and used it as the cover to their brochure most mornings) but now that they are teenagers I am lucky to get them to grab a bowl of cereal.  Really makes me wonder why I am surprised when I travel with folks and they do not grab breakfast in the mornings – and no, a Venti-Triple shot- non-fat, no whip macchiato IS NOT BREAKFAST!!!

Now I could certainly make a strong argument and point you to all kinds of resources as to why you need to eat breakfast.

Like this study from John Hopkins University

Or this one from LiveScience

Or even this one from WebMD

Are you getting the point?

Instead, I want to address the reasons why you as a RoadWarrior (or anyone who finds themselves on the road) need to pay special attention to making sure you start the day off right.

Accomplishment: 

This one may just be me but I feel better knowing that I got up and started getting things done.  I dislike feeling rushed in the morning more than I dislike the alarm clock.  Allowing of the extra 20 minutes making time to stop by the breakfast buffet starts my day off with a sense of accomplishment.  It may sound trite but you are literally starting your day off with a victory and victory is contagious.

Mind Set/Focus: 

I use this time to get my mind focused on the tasks that are at hand that day.  I can eat, have the calendar open and review the appointments, to do list and travel plans for the day.  I spent this much time and effort getting there, use the morning time to make sure you are prepared to execute.

Nutrition:

The beautiful part of most hotel breakfast buffets, whether in the lobby or the concierge lounge, is they typically offer some great nutritional choices.  Unlike most evening fare that consists of heavy pastas and fried finger foods, breakfast options tend to include eggs, oatmeal, fresh fruit, non-fat yogurt, juices and coffee (wait – did I just put together a complete meal!?!?!)

Sneak in a Vegetable:  

I have come a long way since my days of only eating canned green beans but I still struggle to make sure I eat enough vegetables.  However one of my favorite ways to eat vegetables is in an omelet.  Load that bad boy up with all kinds of veggies and then you can even smother it with salsa (did you know that as long as there is not added sugar that cooked tomatoes have the same nutritional value??)

Availability:    

Most hotels of repute these days have some type of breakfast buffet.  It seems to be a standard amenity these days – which is a wonderful thing – so it does not take much extra effort to start the day off right.  I make sure I get a good breakfast because often, it is the only great meal I get.  From running to meetings, to calls, to shuttles, to airports to hotels I often find that I am grabbing fruit and/or a Protein Bar and calling it ‘lunch’.

So listen to common logic and make sure you start your day off right….WITH BREAKFAST!!!  I’ll see in you in the lobby in the morning.

A Tale of Two Lists – What makes a good RoadWarrior Restuarant

Earlier this week my wife forwarded me a great list that Men’s Health had put together listing the “Coolest, Healthiest Restaurants in America”, a summary of the top 18 restaurants around the country that are not only dishing healthy eats but food worthy of top praise.   You can read their recommendations here

Suddenly – I have a new To-Do List!!

I am a sucker for lists like this.  Give me the top 20 or so ‘place experience here’ and I am all about trying to get them checked off as done.  This latest list reminded me of another that at one time I had the goal of working my way through and just how much things have changed over the last 6 years.  That old list?  The top 50 burgers in the State of Texas (you can find that one here and I really cannot recommend Dutch’s burger highly enough – it was phenomenal).

I used to be so bad about eating burgers that my boss stopped checking my expense reports:

“Andrew – why would I check your report?  Wait – let me guess.  Cheeseburger and a beer at Pappa’s Burgers in the airport for $18.68.   Shocking.”

It was one of those wake-up call moments in life.  I think I made it about ½ way through the burger list before getting serious about my health and focusing on what I put in my body when I am traveling.  It has become such a focal point that I made it Rule #5 of getting and staying RoadWarriorFit.

Finding the local burger joint is easy –the good, healthy and appealing alternative is usually not quite as ubiquitous.  This new list makes me ask the question – what makes a good RoadWarrior restaurant?

Local Flair:

One of the very few perks to traveling across the country every week is I do get to experience some great food.  With a little preparation and/or a trip to the concierge desk of the local full service hotel (you know you don’t have to stay there to ask a question, right?) you can find fantastic options to meet every taste preference.   Skip the familiar chains and head to a locally owned treasure to support the local economy.   Most of the time you can practically taste the love in the food in the local hot spots.  Oh, and don’t forget to ask the wait/bar staff of your hotel where they eat after getting off shift, I have found some of my favorite dining eating experiences that way.

The smell of smoke:

Grilled is always better.  Period.  (Says the guy who grills just about every day I am home).  Yes, there can be arguments made for specific dishes as to their health benefits vs. grilled but in general, grilling is a safe way to go with your meals.  So if you are standing at a crossroads and one way smells like smoke – head that way.

A bent towards whole foods:

We all know that the less processed the food, the more likely it is to be better for you.  We focus on buying the best for our families when we are at home, why would you change on the road?  Check the menu for the preparations and techniques (you know how I feel about fried foods on the road already).  Heck – take a walk through the restaurant real quick and just glance at people’s plates.  See lots of brown and white?  Keep looking.  Plates look like rainbows?  Time to have a seat.

So there you go.  That is what I look for when I am evaluating restaurants on the road.  Hope it helps and look forward to seeing you on the road.

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 ‘Dad Bod’ Myth

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist” – Keyser Soze – The Usual Suspects

So lately there has been a lot of chatter around the ‘Dad Bod’ and how it is actually more attractive than a lean physique.  This all started from a Blog post (the pesky bloggers ;-} ) by a student at Clemson University, Mackenzie Pearson, who was commenting on the interests of her roommate when it came to the male physique.  To give credit where credit is due, you can read her post here.  Since this was posted back in March of 2015, I have seen it covered by MSN, The Today Show, Health, GQ, ABC, CBS and CNN.   Ms. Pearson should give a clinic on how to pick a topic to go viral.

But Seriously??  This is a thing?!?!?

Pearson defines the Dad Bod as a ‘nice balance between a beer gut and working out’ – I call it a medical tragedy waiting to happen.

AAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Where do I even begin?   It is especially troubling to me that the men she is describing in the blog are not even dads.  They are young men who should be in their prime.  I can confidently say that the majority of the people that I see on my Facebook feed look considerable different now than they did in high school/college.  I know I do.  They call it your physical prime for a reason.

Dear Frat Boy – Your ‘Dad Bod’ is trying to kill you!!  Literally.

Now I am not at a single % body fat, I enjoy my wine and beer but I also know that I cannot allow myself to have any excuse to carry extra weight around, especially around my mid-section.  You see, that fat that is around your middle is known as Visceral Fat – and it is the most dangerous to carry around with you.  It actually directly increases your chance at developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and even sleep apnea.  How?  According to WebMD, here’s how:

  • Abdominal fat breaks down easily into fatty acids that are processed by the Liver and your muscles. Neither of which likes the material it is breaking down.
  • When the liver breaks down the fatty acids, your LDL levels (the bad Cholesterol) spikes.
  • When your LDL levels spike, insulin becomes less effective – causing blood sugar levels to spike (read: increased chance of developing diabetes)
  • Hormones released during the processing of the fatty acids also create constriction of the vasculature system – leading to heart disease and potentially stroke.
  • Even the sheer weight and volume of the fat can push against your diaphragm and result in difficulty breathing and if severe enough, sleep apnea.

Now ladies, I have a specific message for all of you.  Do not let us get away with this excuse for not taking care of ourselves.  This is not about getting to the point where we will be staring in the next installment of Magic Mike but we should want to be around for as long as possible.  Besides, who said all dads were soft and pudgy?  Last I checked, Hugh Jackman, Jean Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Craig, Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Gossling and even Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson are all dads.  If we are talking about their examples of ‘Dad Bod’ – then I am all in.

I think my sister in law put it best “This is just an excuse for Frat Boys to party on the weekends”

Happy Father’s Day and I will see you on the road!!

The Family Vacation

There is nothing more rewarding about being on the road than being able to bring your family with you.  A couple of weeks ago it was spring break in Texas and we decided this year we would make the most of all of those miles & points.

Radio City Music Hall

Over seven days my family and I took planes, trains, UBERs, Metros, subways and did a lot of walking through both Washington, D.C. and NYC.  There is also no better way to see how neurotic you have become about traveling than by traveling with a group of people who don’t travel every week.  Evidently I travel a bit “differently”.

I am a creature of habit

There is nowhere this is more apparent than in a hotel room.  I am the kind of traveler who unpacks the same way, as soon as I get in the hotel room, EVERY TIME!!  I do exactly the opposite as soon as I wake up on the last day of my residency at said hotel.  To say that my 13 and 15 year old do not follow the same dedication to order would be unwarranted to say the least.  We were lucky just to find all of their clothes let alone actually have any of them actually reside in a drawer, on a hanger or even in the suitcase that brought them to the destination.  Makes you wonder what the lost and found at a Disney resort must look like!!

Working out while traveling with family is hard!!

And this is from someone whose spouse is dedicated to fitness and health as well.  Over the course of the 7 days, I got a grand total of one real workout in (granted, we did average walking over 5 miles a day in these wonderful cities).  When I am on the road alone, I have no problem working out late at night or delaying dinner until after a run.  It is a must attend event for me, I have recently even found a way to make this happen on The Dreaded Day Trip but for some strange reason, my family actually likes to eat on a regular schedule.  Eating at a normal meal time?  Huh, who would have figured?  Might have to try that sometime.

When traveling with the family, throw the rules out the window

I have a few rules around when I travel.  They are the core of my routine when it comes to staying fit while on the road and you can read all about it here With the exception of ‘See Fruit – Eat Fruit’, I gladly broke every single rule I have made for myself on this trip.  One thing I realized is that the rules are selfish when you are traveling with family.  They are (purposefully) self-centered because when you are on the road alone or for work, you can afford to be self-centered.  In fact I can make a strong argument that YOU SHOULD BE SELF CENTERED ON THESE TRIPS!!  When you are on the road with family though, it is time to be others-centered.  We had a couple of great meals that normally would not be RoadWarriorFit approved.  New York pizza slices, sandwiches from chains you can have anywhere, even burgers and fries at The Harlem Shake.  For example, let your child drink the melted ice cream and caramel sauce with a straw!!

Legal Seafood

Some rules are universal

I am fortunate that my boys are finally of an age where they actually will trust me when I say ‘Trust Me – you will want to try this’.  We had several great meals on this trip that we could not have had at home (New York City pizza, late night at The Harlem Shake, lobster rolls at Luke’s Lobster in DC) but the one that won hands down was brunch at The Red Rooster in Harlem

Red Rooster

OH MY GOD…you have to try this place.  Martin Samuelson has completely outdone himself with this new Harlem mainstay.  My point here though is not to give you a glowing restaurant recommendation but rather that the experience was the important part.  I got to share a phenomenal brunch with the most important people in my life.  It was an experience we could not have had at home (and the chocolate French Toast is to die for).

The biggest lesson learned on the trip? 

Traveling with others is better than traveling alone.  Even though I was not able to enter or exit a room in less than 2 minutes or get a work out in every day or avoided all fried food, the experiences and memories we were able to develop as a family were worth it all.  I saw my boys marvel at the NYC skyline, I saw them humbled by the National Mall and astonished at the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Yeah, it was a good trip.  Now it is back to the grind and following a bunch of rules.  See you on the road.

Pressing the Reset Button

Do you ever get to the point where you feel you just need to press the reset button on life?  I do and I am there right now.

One of the dangers we all face as RoadWarriors is the anonymity we have.  If your travels are like mine, you end up in a different city every night, seeing different people along the way.  For me this means being alone in a sea of people.  Constantly making acquaintances but never really developing relationships is one potential pitfall of the RoadWarrior life.  We were designed for connection not seclusion.

It is amazing how social you can be without making any real connection with anyone. 

This is not a good place for me mentally and it reflects in my choices.  It becomes easy to stop being disciplined about diet (“Sure, I’ll have the fries with that”).  It becomes easy to skip a work out (“One missed workout is not going to kill me”).  It becomes easy to have that extra glass of wine (“I’m not driving anywhere”).  It becomes easy to sink away.

Put that cycle on repeat and then ‘suddenly’ you have a set of choices that have become habits that are hard to break.  That’s when it is time to hit the reset button.  No one ever said you had to wait for either New Year’s Day or the start of Lent to evaluate and change some things in your life after all.

Here is what my reset button looks like.  It is spending the next 30-days being hyper focused on ensuring that my daily actions reflect the lifestyle I am preaching and desire.  So for the month of April (no this is not an April Fools’ joke) I am going to be eating clean, working out daily, increasing my average sleep time, abstaining from alcohol and sharing the journey with all of you.  I know myself well enough to realize that I need to fill my time alone with healthy activities otherwise it is all too easy to fill it with those that degrade my health.  Scarily enough, I consider blogging on the healthy list and I also know I need the accountability that making something public creates.

So I am choosing to bring you along for the journey by blogging daily on how the journey is progressing.  I’ll be tweeting meal choices and the work out of the day.  I will share with you where the wins were, where the stumbling blocks arose, the pitfalls you should avoid if you choose to follow along and (hopefully) the results in mental and physical health.

Will I feel better?  I can’t imagine any other outcome.

Will I reinforce good habits?  I better, that is the whole point of this exercise.

Will I end up over sharing?  You can almost certainly bet on it.

So let’s get this trip started and I am looking forward to seeing you on the road.