When travel and fitness do not go together…
For someone who travels a fair bit, I have never hit the gym at a hotel. Occasionally, I do check out the hotel swimming pool, mostly to grab a beer by the poolside.
I am not proud of it.
But, the reality is that I have always struggled with balancing travel and fitness routines.
Hence this post.
I recently took a break from active employment and decided to travel for a few weeks. The idea was to see a few new places and explore some business opportunities along the way. Travelling without the immediate deliverables of work hanging over my head was a first for me.
So I indulged with wild abandon.
Eight weeks and seven pounds later, I am back home and wondering, “What now?”
For someone who had written a post a few years ago titled “Squash and fitness – Steps covered and calories burned,” I am slipping.
I need to get back in shape. Get six pack abs like all those Bollywood actors that I watched in India who seemed eager to take their shirts off at the drop of a hat.
Check out this post titled “Bollywood Actors With Six Pack Abs.”
Clearly, I am not practicing what I preach. I need to fix things so that I don’t make the same mistakes the next time I hit the road.
So, I decided to do a root cause analysis. Here are a few things that I hold responsible for my excess baggage.
Buffet breakfasts: At the time of booking hotel rooms, a room rate that included breakfast sounded like a good idea. I should have left my options open. I found myself sampling and consuming different types of food simply because they were available and included in my price.
Room service would have made a great alternative.
Buffet vs à la carte: When I did the math, it mostly made sense to go for the buffet vs à la carte for lunch and dinner. That was a bad call. I invariably ended up eating more than I needed to, and devouring desserts that I typically would not look at.
In hindsight, the cafes at the hotels would have provided healthier choices.
Mimosas for breakfast and beers for lunch: No explanation needed here.
Note to myself to order skimmed milk for breakfast and fresh lime and soda for lunch next time.
Steps covered: Leaving my Fitbit behind at home was not intentional. Though, I did not need a gadget to tell me that I was barely covering 5000 steps per day. The guilt factor from the Fitbit metrics may have made a difference. In my defence, most cities that I visited were not conducive to walking.
If I really wanted to, I could have gone to the gym or a nearby park. Maybe I will, the next time.
No squash or tennis: When your primary fitness routine is centred around playing sports like squash or tennis, travel can easily disrupt that. Around fifteen thousand step equivalent that you cover in an hour of squash is hard to replace when you are holidaying.
Family and food: When you visit family in India, they work under the presumption that you have been starved for traditional delicacies. The four meals a day that I indulged in and the resultant pounds that I gained were directly attributable to the hospitality shown by family and friends.
The only viable option I see here is to stick to the seafood and veggies and avoid the rice. Not an easy option when rice is the staple food.
Sitting more than standing: When you travel, you need to make conscious efforts to stand up and move around. Since, I had no reason to, I did not.
Reminder to download “Stand Up” app on my iPhone.
Complimentary chocolates in the room: I should learn not to consume things just because they are free.
Or, just eat the fruits.
Bar fridge in the room: I like the idea of a bar fridge in the room. Though, it occasionally led to a night cap which I would have avoided if I had to go down to the bar.
Note: If tempted, drink water instead.
So there you have it.
I now know the primary causes for my current plight.
I also realize that it is always easier to gain weight than to lose it. I have decided to get back into my fitness routine starting with squash. Though, I don’t see myself winning too many matches in the near future. Until I get back to my old self, my mantra on the court will be: “It is not all about winning, it’s about having fun.”
Who am I kidding, it’s all about winning!
As for the six pack abs, I may have underestimated the effort required to develop a sculpted body. Of all the steps and exercises recommended by various fitness-related websites, the only one that I figured I could do without too much effort was: “drink a lot of water!”
However, for future reference, I have bookmarked this wikiHow on “How to get six pack abs fast.”
In the meanwhile, I may have to settle for a six pack from the Beer Store!
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