Your Passport to Keeping Fit While on the Road
Here at AHAA Headquarters we’re a motley crew: no two lunches are alike; no 10 lattes are alike; we all beat to a different drum – except when it comes to our exercise routines. We are rain or shine, snow or sleet, heat wave and blizzard-proof. Our no excuses ethos is a no-brainer when we’re living our lives in the comforts of our homes; but on the road, it hasn’t always been easy. Getting our mileage done has often taken some pre-planning and fancy footwork. Here’s some outside-the-box ideas for you to consider when you have to head out of town for business or pleasure.
1. THE TREADMILL IS YOUR FRIEND
Yeah, we know, the world is made up of people with all sorts of opinions on treadmills. There are those who think treadmills are ‘easy’, and only road running counts; those who love to run on treadmills to avoid the damage caused by pounding the pavement; and others who only use treadmills for rehabilitation, etc. Well, one time some people from the team had a 30KM training run scheduled for the weekend and they were away at a conference. The day they arrived, they checked into the hotel, slipped into shorts and technical tees and moments later were out enjoying a leisurely run on local trails. The next morning they woke up to 15 feet of snow! Luckily, the hotel gym had state-of-the-art equipment and after getting the manager to override the 30-minute time limit, they got their 30KM run done in just under 3 hours. Truth be told, these runners had a huge hate-on for treadmills, but this experience softened them. Moral of this story: when you can, always, always, always stay at a hotel that has working treadmills, just in case.
2. SHAKE IT UP
We know, we’ve heard you say it before, you loooove your new yoga teacher. However, we’re willing to bet you can’t convince her to travel with you 😉 What you can do is this: book accommodation that includes a yoga studio. One time we stayed at a YMCA in New York that offered all types of non-impact activities like yoga, pilates, and intro to dance. Google your fingers off looking for accommodation near a yoga studio or based around a yoga-lovin’ community. If you’re short on time, book your trip with a travel agency that specializes in active lifestyle. Or, consider that you may just have to shake it up for the days you are away. You may not get to do your downward dogs in the company of fellow yogis, but you may be rooming near a boardwalk, strand or beach (and waking up early to catch the sunrise while you’re out for a walk can be pretty yogariffic too).
3. BYOG: Bring Your Own Gym
If you’re a self-made millionaire, it’s easy to just call up a hotel and ask them to pimp up your pad with any equipment your heart desires, down to the brand. But, if you’re a hard-working, yet to be millionaire, you may just want to travel with your own equipment. Love pilates? Instead of a roll-up yoga mat, invest in a fold-up mat specifically for travelling. Can’t live without your Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred? Simple: just pack the DVD and play it on the hotel equipment. If you require weights, just make sure you book a hotel that has a gym and call ahead to make a special request for them to let you borrow weights for the length of your stay. Even if there’s a charge, it beats having to pay a weight fee for your luggage.
4. DO NOT SIGHTSEE IN STILETTOS
Some of the smartest, most educated, fittest people we know have returned from working vacations with this story:
“I used up a vacation day, so that I could stay in Paris after the conference. I didn’t have the right shoes, and after a day of walking in my business pumps, my feet hurt like $%^& and I’m having back problems”.
These are people who own a plethora of running shoes and who do über research on every sports drink they put their lips to, but for some reason, they don’t give walking the honour it deserves. Our tip: A L W A Y S pack your running shoes. No one will judge you if you’re simply ‘walking’ in them.
5. SWIMMING IN THE DESERT
If you happen to be training for a multisport event, it can get a bit complicated. A lot of hotels have gyms, but not all of them have indoor pools where you can get your hour of swimming done. If your training includes running, biking, swimming and possibly some weights, the best thing you can do is locate a gym or community fitness centre that offers day passes to nonmembers. Alternately, call the Chamber of Commerce for the city you’ll be staying in, and ask them for help. As much as we live in a lightning-fast era, with instant messaging and 3D printers, we have one old-fashioned tool that we often forget to use: never underestimate the power of picking up the phone and talking to a human being. Last month we called the New York Road Runners Club in regards to registering for the New York City Marathon and, believe it or not, Mary Haskins from their office personally offered to help any of our team members book caregivers if we needed. She’s a busy, active parent herself and knows tons of great child caregivers. Those types of interactions are only possible human-to-human.