I have to be honest, I used to snicker at people who exercised while on vacation. You know the type: running down the beach at 8am while you’re dragging yourself to find the nearest place to grab a desperately needed hangover cure. I always thought vacations were for being lazy. And drinking. Why would someone intentionally lace up sneakers and sweat on vacation? You should have a beer or an umbrella-decorated drink in your hand, not a Fit-Bit on your wrist! That was my strict vacation philosophy.
Dr. Meghan had been into her exercise regimen for a few weeks when she had to travel to San Diego for a friend’s wedding. In violation of my philosophy, she actually packed her workout clothes and purposely went out to sweat. Thanks to the marvels of GPS she was able to make some long circuits through an unfamiliar city without getting lost. She texted me “I could get used to this exercising on vacation thing…it makes the martini’s taste even better.”
As I continue my quest for more healthy living, I have changed my mind about vacation exercise. Now the question is: how do you stay on track while travelling whether it be for business or pleasure?
Contrary to what I used to think, exercise is actually easier when you’re on vacation. For one thing, you’re rarely at the mercy of a strict schedule. It’s your vacation and you can do what you want when you want to. I prefer to get the exercise done in the morning. You know, get it out of the way before vodka time.
A while back I was in New Orleans for a long weekend and actually managed to get up after a long night out at Bourbon Street establishments and was rewarded with an entirely different experience of the French Quarter. During my run I got to see what happens to all the rubbish those thousands of nightly revelers leave behind. The crews swept and washed it all into the streets where the machines traveled back and forth gobbling up the previous night’s sins. While those smells leave something to be desired, running anywhere within a couple blocks of Café du Monde brings the irresistible scent of fresh French roast and hot beignets to your nose. Running past Jackson Square, I caught the beautiful sight of an elderly couple enjoying coffee and each other’s company as we all enjoyed the soft, changing colors of the sunrise over the square. This warm morning jaunt made the shrimp po’boy and Dixie Lager taste even better later that day.
Getting your exercise in while traveling for business can be more challenging because you’re usually operating on some sort of pre-defined schedule: breakfast meeting, lunch/afternoon presentations, pre-dinner cocktail things, dinner, post-dinner drinks. If you’re like me and work in the liquor industry, double the aforementioned “drinks”.
My advice when you’re traveling for business is to look ahead at your schedule and if possible insert at least one hour to get your exercise in. It’s not so much how much you get it, it’s more important that you get something in, to keep your routine. So pencil in some time because, like they say, if you fail to plan, plan to fail! But you know what? Sometimes planning to fail is okay too. Recently while on a trip to Guadalajara, Mexico, I couldn’t fit in an exercise regimen unless it was a 3:00 am session in the hotel fitness center. Which was simply not going to happen since I had enjoyed one too many shots of tequila Herradura that day. Another reason was that my itinerary was simply too full. Every hour of every day – luckily only two – was filled with activity. Up at 7:00 am to see the agave fields and enjoy a traditional Mexican breakfast before heading to the Herradura Distillery for tours and tastings followed by lunch, more tours, drinks, dinner, drinks. The other thing that put a crimp in my exercise style was safety. Our agents in Guadalajara strongly advised against venturing anywhere outside the immediate two block area surrounding our hotel so going out for a run was not an option I was willing to entertain.
If exercise doesn’t fit into your business travel schedule, then you flank workouts before and upon returning from the trip. Make the workouts more difficult before you leave. Dream of all the delicious margaritas and tequila shots you will throw back while cracking the treadmill up for 30 minutes. Follow that up with both abs and arms workout. You will feel less guilty while away. Once you return, immediately get yourself back to a brief 20 minute run. Follow it up the next day with your regular routine.
Planning to fail and planning the rebound work hand in hand. At the end of the trip, whether business or pleasure, you will feel less guilty and will be more likely to fall right back into routine.
1 ½ oz. Herradura Reposado Tequila or el Jimador Reposado Tequila
½ oz. Simple Syrup
½ oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz. Tamarind Nectar (find it in the Mexican aisle – in a Jumex Can)
Place ingredients over ice in a shaker – shake – strain into a rimmed margarita glass. Or throw it into a blender in the warm months for a delicious frozen Tamarind Margarita.
For the rim of the glass, wet the rim with lime juice then roll onto a plate with a mixture of equal amounts: salt, sugar and chili powder. I know what you are thinking…chili powder?! Just try it…you’ll love it!