The Secret to Staying Fit While Traveling

[Originally written June 3rd, 2017]

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Sacramento, CA, nearing the end of a long week-and-a-half stint of travel. Memorial Day weekend was spent in Toronto for a fitness conference (5-hour drive both ways), arriving back home for a quick two-day break before heading back out on a flight to San Francisco for a day-and-a-half, before finally making the 2-hour drive to Sacramento for another three days where I will eventually make the flight back home to Ann Arbor (tomorrow afternoon/evening).

Hotel Selfie Sacramento
Requisite hotel selfie–Sacramento, CA.

Simply put, my schedule has been HECTIC this past week and my normal routine of fitness and eating has been completely turned upside down. I’ll admit, it’s hard to keep a regular eating and workout schedule on the road when you lose control over a lot of variables–such as access to quality food, the ability to cook said food, and gym facilities.

With all the unpredictable, uncontrollable craziness that travel brings, it can be easy to let workouts and nutrition fall by the wayside. It’s EASIER to just skip workouts and eat out all of the time. It’s also not realistic that you can completely maintain a regimented routine similar to home.

While travel is the obvious example of a wrench being thrown into your plans, this is a great metaphor for the challenges one often faces any time life gets extremely stressful or hectic. Inevitably, chaos will ensue, and your life (for whatever reason) will be in shambles. Whether work, travel, family, or personally-related, during these times it will be near impossible to stick to your routine 100%.

You can read the full article on staying fit while traveling (click here), but here I want to share one powerful tip that can help you stay in shape during any of life’s most stressful times. This tip can be applied while traveling or any other time in your life when things get a bit chaotic.

If you want to stay fit during the storms of unpredictability, fall back on your M.A.P. (Minimum Activity Plan).

What the heck is a MAP? It’s simply the minimum exercise and nutrition goals you set for yourself during times of uncontrollable chaos; that 20% effort that will be just enough to keep you on track and hold you steady until you can get back to your normal routine.

The hills in San Francisco are SERIOUS.

For example, my personal MAP includes:

  1. A 2-mile run.
  2. Hitting within +/- 100cal of my daily calorie goal.
  3. Consuming approximately my bodyweight (in grams) of protein during the day.

This means no matter how hectic my life may become, as long as I complete those three things by the day’s end I can feel good that I was successful in staying on track.

I choose running because it gives me a great cardiovascular workout (and if I find hills or stairs it can be a great leg workout too!), requires no equipment or facilities, and can be done anywhere, anytime.

Nutritionally, I’m normally pretty regimented, consuming specific foods and nutrients at specific times during the day and around my workouts. However, during these high-stress times I don’t get bogged down by finding food or getting the right nutrients, so long as I maintain my calorie goal and get enough protein (how I specifically accomplish these things I outline in the full article above).

Your personal MAP goals will be different. Some choose to get 10,000 steps in by the day’s end, while others focus on staying hydrated (an important travel consideration altogether!). It is up to you to decide what the minimums are that will make you feel good at the end of the day.

Then, when life gets chaotic, simply fall back to your MAP and don’t worry about the rest.

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