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March 2006 Newsletter

Making the Most of Your Trip

Dear Fellow Business Traveler,

I recently returned from yet another trip to the west coast, where I stayed for what felt like the 100th time at the same hotel. The good thing about staying at the same place time and again is that you can fall into a good routine. In this month’s newsletter, I recount how I came up with my healthy routine; you can adapt these ideas to get the most out of your next trip and avoid the perils of falling into a bad routine.

To Your Health,
Customer Service, Healthy Travel Network and Chief Fitness Officer

squareFall into a Good Routine

Falling into a good routine is just as easy as falling into a bad one!

Arriving Late
As is often the case when traveling, you arrive too late and tired to eat a proper meal. Hopefully, you preloaded your briefcase with healthy snacks but if you didn’t or if you’re just craving something different, give microwave popcorn a try. I discovered it on my last trip and found that a typical bag is only 180 calories and has 3 grams of fiber. You can find popcorn in the vending machine or sundries store, and if your room doesn’t have a microwave, usually you can find one in a common area of the hotel.

Another hint: Pair your popcorn with a protein bar for a more balanced meal. The fat and protein in the bar will help you fill satiated so you aren’t grabbing candy at midnight.

Your mother was right—breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many studies have shown that successful dieters consistently eat a healthy breakfast. After much searching for healthy and appetizing items on generally lame hotel breakfast buffets, I finally found a few items that get my day off to a good start.

Skip the carbohydrate and sugar laden bagels, donuts, and Danishes, and look for protein rich foods that have some fat. Yes, fat! Your body needs it to function properly, and it will help you fill full so that you aren’t snacking by 10am. If the eggs look appealing (and real), I try a small helping of them with a slice of whole wheat toast and some fruit. If the eggs are simply too horrible, I opt for whole wheat toast with peanut butter (also great when you are late for your meeting). Note that while cream cheese does contain protein, it doesn’t contain nearly as much as peanut butter.  And while peanut butter does contain more fat, the ratio of fat to protein is more balanced in peanut butter than in cream cheese.

Don’t forget to add  some fruit for fiber and vitamins.
The hotel that I keep getting stuck at is near San Francisco bay. For about the first half dozen visits, I kept trying to enjoy the beautiful San Francisco weather by walking or running by the Bay, which I knew was flanked by wonderful trails. However I kept failing to find my way over to it on foot. The staff at the hotel wasn’t particularly helpful. I am not sure what flash of insight I finally gained, but I stopped in at the hotel next door to see if they could help. Behold! The desk clerk produced a wonderful walking map of the area, allowing me to finally enjoy the Bay.

Lesson learned: If at first you don’t succeed, ask someone at a more expensive hotel.

Strength Training
The fitness center, while in existence, of course leaves a lot to be desired at my “budget” hotel. In fairly short order, I concocted yet another hotel room workout to fit my time constraints and accommodations. This particular one consisted of 3 sets of 20 reps each of:

:: One-legged squats—Stand about 2 feet in front of a stable chair or low table. Extend one leg behind you, toes resting on the chair/table. Squat down as you normally would, but of course you are on one leg only. Repeat on the other side. Remember not to let the knee of your forward foot extend pas your ankle, so adjust your positioning accordingly if needed.

:: Decline push-ups—Start in push-up position, but with both feet on a low table, step, or even a couple of phone books. Do push-ups as usual.

:: Plank abdominal hold—Start in a plank position, on your elbows. (Same as the starting point for a push-up, but you are on your elbows instead of hands.) Hold in this static position for 60 seconds. For an added challenge, try holding on one foot only and alternate to the other foot after 30 seconds.

Wishing you safe travels on your next trip and hoping you fall into a good routine and avoid the bad ones!

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