Six ways for road warriors to stay in shape

Business travel can be brutal on your body. One night, you’re out with clients, sipping that extra cocktail and scarfing down dessert – you don’t want your client doing these things alone. The next day, you stuff fistfuls of French fries into your mouth between meetings and devour a fast food “snack” as midnight is closing in. The project needs to stay on track, so you eat what you can while you work, and sleep is out of the question. This happens over and over … making it close to impossible to take care of yourself while you’re on the road. Before you know it, you’ve gained (or lost) too much weight, dark circles are forming under your eyes and your complexion has gone to hell.

There has to be a better way …

All is not lost. There’s plenty you can do to take care of yourself while living the road warrior life. None takes too much time (important, since you don’t have any), and your bag won’t have to get much fuller. If you decide you want to recapture some vigor while traveling frequently, check out the six tips below.

1. Decide you need to make a change … and mean it
When I was a management consultant, I came across plenty of lists like this one. Occasionally, I’d give something a try, but the path of least resistance always won. None of those writers seemed to have any idea how hard it is to motivate yourself in the land of the 16-hour day, endless meetings and crushing workloads. For the first few weeks, you have to make the clear and difficult decision to knowingly turn your life for the worse. After that, it starts to get better.

2. Workout “lite” is your only option
Short workouts will probably be your only option. So, don’t plan to hit the weights for an hour or more. Instead, stick to cardio. If you run, use the treadmill in the hotel gym instead of turning to the streets. Cardio machines (e.g., treadmills and exercise bikes) have the added advantage of multi-tasking: you can read reports (or the newspaper), check your Blackberry or take notes on what you need to do that day.

3. Make time to walk
Short walks during the day give you a chance to clear your head. Step outside a few times and walk around the parking lot. Each jaunt shouldn’t last much longer than a leisurely trip to the bathroom. To recapture some productivity, bring something to read, or catch up on calls or e-mails. You’ll be moving your body, at least, and the change of pace will do you good.

4. Back to basic (training)
My drill sergeants always found a way to cram exercise into my life. While you probably don’t want to bust out a few sets of pushups during a conference call, their method for squeezing workouts into short periods of time can be helpful. When you can back to your hotel room, for example, do a few pushups and situps before you go to bed – maybe while you watch some television. Over time, you’ll find yourself doing more reps.

5. Watch the booze
When someone else is picking up the tab, it’s all too easy to have another glass of wine, especially if you’re accustomed to slurping vino from a box. All those team and client dinners add up, though, and you wind up paying for it in the end. At some point in the evening, switch to sparkling water or soda water with lime. It looks like liquor and feels different from the nonalcoholic stuff you normally drink. The best part: it’ll be easier to get up in the morning.

6. Roam when you call home
Having a family can make the road warrior’s life even harder. Any chance to call home becomes incredibly valuable, and just about anything else will be sacrificed when you want to dial those all-important digits. Instead of calling from your room, walk the hotel grounds while you talk. If you’re staying in your room, do some flutter kicks or toe-raises while you chat away. Don’t work out so hard that you can’t carry on a conversation, but do use more muscles than those in your jaw.

“Fairmont Fit” program supplies sporty guests with running shoes

Before every trip I tell myself that in between sightseeing, wine tasting, and multi-course gastronomic feasts, I’m going to get in some physical activity. Then I start packing my carry-on and, when things get tight, the workout clothes and running shoes are the first things to get cut.

Despite my good intentions, I’d rather pack an extra pair of heels or save room for some souvenirs than squeeze my bulky running shoes into my bag. And I’m sure I’m not alone. To make it easier on people like me, Fairmont’s “Fairmont Fit” program provides guests with a gently used pair of running shoes in their size to use for the duration of their stay.

Guests must be members of the Fairmont President’s Club loyalty program and pay $10 per stay for the Fairmont Fit program. The shoes need to be requested in advance; they are cleaned after every use and replaced each season. In addition to use of the use of the shoes (available at 56 Fairmont hotels), guests can also use Adidas workout shirts and shorts or capris, yoga mat and stretch band, and an MP3 player loaded with 1,000 songs.

Who am I kidding? I’m not going to go for a run even if the hotel does lend me some kicks. But for the more dedicated, it’s a great way to pack light and still be able to maintain your workout routine on a trip.

[via Travel+Leisure]

Boot camp yourself to wedding-dress thin

Any man should know better than to talk about women and weight … especially when it comes to fitting into a wedding dress. But, this idea is interesting enough that I’m willing to risk my safety. Live in Fitness Enterprises has put together “The Bridal Retreat,” which is not as innocuous as it sounds. If you’re worried about looking good for your groom in a two-piece on the honeymoon or need to drop some serious pounds for the big day, they’ll get you into fighting shape.

This “boot camp for brides” situates the victims participants in luxurious one-bedroom suites, with inspiring Los Angeles ocean views. It’s the perfect scene to which to crawl back after putting in your time with fitness expert Eric Viskoicz. After a series of fitness assessments, brides receive custom itineraries that include training sessions, meetings with nutritionists, motivational speeches and tailored meals.

Sounds nice, right?

Well, training starts every day at 8 AM and runs for 11 hours. Meals are served “every couple of hours” – between hiking, kickboxing bouts, spinning, water aerobics and other activities designed to make the fat melt away.

No pain, no gain. Remember, the pictures from your wedding will follow you for the rest of your life.

Daily deal – Garmin Forerunner 301 wrist mounted GPS unit with heart rate monitor

Yeah, I know what you are thinking – “oh please not another GPS unit”. This product is different though; it is a wrist mounted GPS unit with a built in heart rate monitor.

With the Garmin Forerunner 301, you can track your performance at a very detailed level. The Forerunner captures your heart rate (when you wear the included waistband), plus it stores your GPS location. The GPS location can be used to calculate your lap time, lap speed, distance and even how many calories you burned. Think of it as a super accurate pedometer. Once you are done working out, you can connect the unit to your PC and download your performance, plus it can display a “breadcrumb” track, showing where you ran.

The Garmin Forerunner contains a rechargeable battery, with enough juice to keep the device powered for 14 hours. It is also waterproof, so you’ll be able to take it out for a jog in bad weather. If you regularly jog in the dark, then you can even use the built in backlight to keep an eye on your progress.

The Forerunner 301 is perfect for fast paced jogs, but also if you just want an idea how far you have walked on your sightseeing trip. Included in the package is the Forerunner, the heart rate waistband, an AC charger, USB cable for connecting the device to your computer, a CD-ROM with the Forerunner software and of course a selection of user manuals.

The Garmin Forerunner used to retail for $227, but it can be yours for just $99.99 from, and since it is over $25, it ships for free with “super saver shipping”.

To avoid confusion; this device is NOT capable of directing you through traffic, or navigating you. It does not contain any maps, and the GPS is only used to track your performance. Do not purchase this device if you are looking for a portable product that can help guide you home when you are lost.

Gadling Gear: Kettlestacks

A little under a year ago I decided to get serious about working out and keeping my body in peak shape. After a ton of research (the kind that finds all these cool things that I write about every week), I decided that Crossfit was the best possible choice.

Not only is it great for strength, endurance, dexterity, power, and a number of other metrics, but it’s also efficient. That means that instead of spending an hour in the gym I can spend just 20-40 minutes and still get huge results.

This is acheived by combining huge compound movements which work out several muscles at once with old fashioned weights.

The favorite tool in the Crossfitter’s arsenal is the formidable kettlebell.

The kettlebell, in its original form looks like an iron cannonball with an oversized handle on the top. It was overwhelmingly popular until the dumbbell took over by virtue of being adjustable. With cheap weight plates available to adjust the weight of a dumbbell up and down, the kettlebell found it’s way to obscurity in the main stream.

Still, serious weightlifters and trainers continued to use the kettlebell. Despite not being adjustable, the kettlebell was favored for the wider range of exercises it could support. For example, the handle can be gripped with two hands and be swung from between the legs to shoulder height.

This exercise, appropriately called a “swing”, works the back, quads, and glutes. There’s no equivalent with a dumbbell, other than awkwardly trying to replicate the movement with a dumbbell (I’ve tried it).

One of very few compromises in my lifestyle which had to be made when I decided to go totally nomadic was my workout routine. Gyms are easy enough to find everywhere, but kettlebells are usually nowhere to be seen.

To the rescue comes a company called Kettlestack, which makes the first fully adjustable kettlebell. When I found out that they use standard dumbbell weight plates that can be found in gyms and stores around the world, I was excited.

A few weeks later a package was delivered to our apartment in Tokyo containing two Kettlestacks. At first I was a bit skeptical. All kettlebells I’d ever used were made of heavy solid metal. These were a hard plastic handle and a thin steel frame, coupled with a heavy duty axle to hold the weights.

The instructions are deceptively complicated. Once you understand how they work, loading and unloading the kettlestacks is a trivial procedure barely worth mentioning.

I loaded up 35 pounds, about half the capacity of the lightest model, and started doing snatches with it. I was blown away – the handle felt at least as good as any other kettlebell I’d used, and the overall experience was exactly like using a regular kettlebell. I anticipated weights clinking around and shifting, but there was none of that. All of the plates moved as if they were fused together.

But could it handle heavy weights? I loaded up all the weight I could and did a few swings. The result? I got winded and the Kettlestack showed no signs of stress.

I’m an ultralight packer, which makes the kettlestacks perfect for me. They take up almost no room in my pack and I just buy new weights everywhere I go or bring them to a gym and use them there.

Here’s a video of me packing my 28L pack with everything I own, including the Kettlestacks.

And here’s a picture of me doing some overhead swings on the lawn of Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan last week

Besides being perfect for traveling, these are ideal for the home gym or even a regular gym rat who wants a more effective workout. Get yours at