One of the reasons I got out of shape so badly in the first place a couple of years back was the amount of travel I was doing. It was nearly impossible for me to keep any sort of routine when I was on the road. Depending on the hotel I was staying in and the events around the conferences I was speaking at, I may have been able to squeeze in a little workout here and there, but nothing as stringent as when I was at home and could plan my schedule. Working on Shwowp and 'grounding' myself to focus on that was a huge blessing and allowed for me to set and stick to a routine. It was freeing to turn down speaking gigs, knowing that it would allow me to continue down my path of getting back into awesome shape. But lately I've been on the road again - this time for my startup - and the same challenges of sticking with my schedule have creeped back into my reality. Over the past few weeks in Boston and New York, I ran ONCE. Sure, I justified it by walking everywhere, but it really isn't the same. Not only did it throw my personal goal of prioritizing M-E into a tailspin, but it was also terrible for my personal state of mind. After two weeks of not sticking to my routine, I felt less capable of handling the stress of running a startup.
That was not good.
A couple of things stood in my way of sticking to my routine. First, I was staying with friends in both Boston and NYC, and neither had a gym in their building or even nearby. Then I was planning on running outside more and even mapped out some good routes through RunKeeper, but the weather didn't cooperate. It was either so cold it was unhealthy to run outside without the proper equipment (which I don't have) or it was snowing so heavy that people were calling for a snowpocalypse (it was extreme). I thought about finding a gym, but I packed my schedule so tight that it was nearly impossible to get to one.
I hate excuses. I don't believe in them. I only believe in solutions. But in this case, no solution I was grasping for was cooperating. It was incredibly frustrating and added to my already demoralizing routine (pitching, as I've outlined, is a bit of a rollercoaster ride). I resolved after this last fitness fiasco of a trip that I would plan better going forward.
So, what is my plan?
- Actually PUT time in my schedule for working out. No compromise. No matter what comes up, I'm sticking to that plan just like I do at home. It's as important as that meeting with a potential angel investor. I wouldn't cancel on him/her. I won't cancel on my body either.
- Build in enough time to get to a gym that is inconveniently located to where I am just in case of weather woes. In fact, plan for the gym and fall back on running outdoors if I'm lucky enough.
- Map out gyms around my accommodations ahead of time. Put them in my TripIt itinerary. Email or call ahead to make sure dropins are okay and find out the rates. Have hours and backups ready.
- If all else fails, create a travel routine that at least gets me some equipment free exercises I can do in a hotel room or at a friends. There are all sorts of at home fitness podcasts out there to use. Jamie Eason has an amazing plyometrics routine I've downloaded to my laptop for future use:
What I love about running is there is minimal equipment for carrying, but there are options for lightweight travel equipment if you prefer yoga or free weights:
- Gaiam Travel Yoga Mat is nice and lightweight and works in a pinch;
- Bodylastics Resistance Bands or any other sport bands make for a great traveling gym.
Oh...and something I ALWAYS forget, but have put a note in my suitcase to remember is: a bathing suit! There are usually YMCA's or other gyms with pools in most cities that provide a good workout in shorter bursts of time. Don't forget a swim cap and goggles, either. These are super light weight to pack and I find a 40 minute swim is equivalent to a 1.5hr workout.
Speaking of which, I need to finish this post and my work so I can get to my pre-scheduled gym session as I'm, once again, traveling (this time in Toronto). It's nice to be back on track!