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How to Stay Fit When You're Away from Home

Does out of town mean out of shape? Not necessarily. Here are some tips to help you stay on track with your fitness goals even when you're not at home.

It’s been quite a trippy spring for me. No, not drugs — actual “go somewhere” trips: A family trip to Washington, D.C., a trip with my husband to Jamaica, and a business trip to Napa. I know, poor me. But for someone who thrives on a schedule, being out of my routine was hard. One of the most difficult things was finding ways to work out and eat healthfully away from home.

Here’s how I tried to keep fit on each of my trips. I hope some of these tips will come in handy as you hit the road this summer.

D.C. with the kids (a.k.a., A walking tour of the cupcake capital.)

Exercise – The great thing about our nation’s capital is that it’s a really easy city to walk. The not so great thing about walking around D.C. with kids is that they walk slowly and complain loudly. To make all the traipsing through the museums a little more fun, I relied on sibling rivalry: I brought pedometers and had Thing One and Thing Two compete over who could take more steps.

Also, when I knew I’d be frustrated at the snail’s — I mean child’s — pace we’d be walking, I got a little selfish. I got up early, left the kids in front of cartoons (a vacation treat for sure!) and took half an hour for myself. A quick jog to the White House and a few reps at the hotel’s meager gym were enough to keep me sane.

Nutrition – Going on vacation with kids (at least with my kids) means a break from healthy eating. In D.C., the cuisine de choix was french fries and cupcakes. Fortunately, we drove there, so I was able to pack some healthy snacks. I made sure we had whole grains and protein at breakfast and brought along snacks like fresh fruit and my “approved” granola bars.

When we did splurge (usually at Crumbs), all four of us shared a couple of head-sized cupcakes. We also enjoyed our treat thoroughly — when I indulge, I try not to do it with a side of guilt. It ruins the taste.

Jamaica with the hubby – (a.k.a., pina coladas by the pool.)

Exercise – While it’s hard to motivate while on vacation, the idea of “earning” my poolside pina coladas was incentive enough for me, so I tried to hit the gym before breakfast each morning. I also tried to take advantage of the resort where we were staying: I took the water aerobics class, walked the beach, and swam a bit. Honestly, though, I spent most of my time on the lounge chair. And the rest did this body good.

Nutrition – When I’m out to dinner (whether at home or on vacation), I try to strike the balance between enjoying myself and not gorging myself. In Jamaica, I followed a “best 2 out of 3” rule: When offered bread, wine and dessert, I chose two. (Usually bread and wine — they make the world go round). I also opted for fish whenever I could, not just because it was the lighter option, but because I was on an island and felt pretty confident the fish was fresh. Bottom line, indulge don’t binge. There will be another meal!

Business Trip – (a.k.a., All work and no play. Literally.)

Exercise – Business trips are a good reminder to me that . When I’m booked with meetings from before breakfast until well into the evening, it’s impossible to get in my regular workouts. Instead, I try to just move when I can. I wear shoes that are easy to walk in so I can take some laps around the airport. I climb the stairs at every chance I get. And since I rarely have time to hit the hotel gym, I always pack my resistance bands and try to squeeze in a few strength moves. I also find it helpful after a full day of sitting to do some sun salutations and other yoga moves to stretch and relax before bed.

Nutrition – Like with the family trip, packing my own is key. I find that if I have something healthy like a Luna Bar, I don’t reach for the afternoon cookie. I also try to get protein and vegetables at every meal, because these seem to have good staying power for me. When I’m not ravenously hungry, I don’t need to rely on sugar for my energy.

I also watch the alcohol. Ever since I had one too many cocktails at a business event a few years ago — I mean, who in their right mind holds a conference on South Beach?!?! — I limit myself to one glass of wine when I’m out with colleagues.

I hope these tips inspire you to stay active even when you’re away from home. Happy trails!

For more on staying fit on a business trip, check out my article, "."

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