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The Traveler’s Guide to Staying Fit on the Road

Today’s post is a guest post from Greg Hayes.

About the author:  Greg Hayes is the author of a fitness blog about getting fit and healthy in the midst of a busy lifestyle.  To read more of his work, check out Live Fit Blog.

For me, traveling usually means dragging too much luggage through airports, long business dinners, too much food, and precious little time for exercise.  None of these conditions are conducive to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Over the last few years though, I’ve made progress toward addressing some of the challenges of staying fit while on the road.  If you struggle with this as well, try these tips for the health conscious traveler.

Luggage & Fitness Gear
According to most travel experts, over packing is a serious problem among travelers.  Over the last few months, I’ve re-examined my packing habits, using sites like OneBag for guidance, and I can honestly say their advice actually works.  I’ve reduced the amount of weight in my luggage by more than half by switching from a laptop to a tablet computer, and developing a carefully thought out packing list.  I’ve eliminating unused items, and improved my packing efficiency.  Fitness gear always gets included, and consists of lightweight running shoes, weightlifting gloves, and technical workout apparel.  Using this method I was recently able to travel to Australia for a week with just one piece of carry-on luggage, and still had the gear to go for a run in Parramatta Park.

Business Dinners
For the frequent traveler food presents an ever-present problem, because you’re consigned to restaurant food.  Walking out of any restaurant without tagging on 1000+ calories isn’t an insurmountable challenge, but it definitely takes some forethought.  Take these tips to heart for healthier eating on the road:

  • Adjust your thinking.  It’s common for travelers (especially business travelers) to adopt an attitude of “food entitlement” while on the road.  After all, you’ve been out all day, working hard.  The least the company owes you is a good dinner, right?  Maybe – but what do you owe yourself??? For a perfect example of what NOT to do, check out the breakfast dish that Lean Muscle Matt recently overindulged in during his recent trip to Colorado. The appropriately named “HOLY COW” consists of scrambled eggs and a giant pile of mashed potatoes topped with chicken fried steak, sausage, crispy onion spirals, and then surrounded by delectable french toast sprinkled with powdered sugar (Is that an orange? I think I see an orange.).  I’m guessing it’s not found on the light menu!

  • Plan ahead – look at restaurant menus online and decide what you’ll order before you arrive so you’ll know how many calories you can expect to consume.
  • Choose restaurants with lighter fare.  Chik-Fil-A and Panera are two examples; restaurants with at least a handful of items to choose from that aren’t laden in fat and calories.
  • Substitute grilled vegetables for baked potatoes, fries, or anything with cream sauce.  You’ll thank me later.

Explore the Area
It’s always easy to find excuses for not working out, and those mount up dramatically when you’re on the road.  But the truth is that most cites have local attractions for fitness buffs, whether it be a favored running track or something more daring, like this Ventana Canyon Trail Desert Hike.  Locating these gems and striking out gives you the opportunity to explore new areas, and can provide an appreciation for different locales.  Even if the great outdoors isn’t your thing, many hotels have partnerships with local gyms, and will give out day-passes for guests to workout at little-to-no cost.  Take advantage of these opportunities.

These are just three of the small ways I’ve changed my life, and in the process dropped 60-pounds over the last six years. I continue on my quest to live a fitter, healthier lifestyle in the midst of raising a family, taking care of a home, and managing a career.  It isn’t fancy, and it isn’t easy, but then again, the best things never are.

Thanks Greg for those fabulously fit traveling tips, and congratulations to you for all your fitness successes. I know you’ll continue to rock it!

Sound off time! What are some of the “secrets” you’ve discovered for staying fit on vacation, or on the go?  Feel free to share them in the comments section below, or talk about whatever else makes your hair fly back. 🙂

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    1. You bet Greg! It was perfect timing for a post on staying fit while traveling. Spring break will be here before we know it!


  1. Good advice. Also consider bringing protein bars where ever, and keep in mind that you can never go wrong with chicken salad and light dressing. I mean seriously, you can eat healthy no matter which fast food restaurant you go to, except maybe for Taco Bell, and even then you can get chicken soft tacos and add tomatoes.

    1. Two excellent points Steve!

      I’d also add to be sure and watch the sugar content in the protein bars you select. Some are really just glorified candy bars. Most brands that are lower in sugar use sugar alcohol as a substitute, which is preferable.

      Thanks for stopping!


  2. Good point Steve. I often carry along one or two as meal replacements for breakfast. I occasionally get some odd looks when sitting at breakfast with sales guys, but those are the breaks…

  3. Greg, awesome stuff. I’ve gone the same way with my packing. I can get all of my stuff into one bag, and I’m good to go. The computer is a prob, as I don’t have a tablet. This next trip I’m just going to avoid taking the computer all together.