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February 26, 2011

Fat Loss While Traveling: Confessions of a Gladware Goddess

By Tara Ballard

Here we go again…right when I’m starting to get totally back to my home routine and into my groove, it’s time to take off for work again.  I travel for work every 6 weeks or so, and while it would be easier to let my nutrition and workout plan slide during the week I’m gone, I’m pretty dedicated to sticking to the fat loss lifestyle as much as possible. They don’t call it a lifestyle for nothing :)  Here are my top tips for keeping it tight while on the road:

DIET – Visualize, plan and execute!!

  • First, visualize how wonderful you will feel afterward, having stayed committed to your goals when faced with many temptations and potential pitfalls.  GO YOU!
  • When traveling, try to stay in hotels that have at least a microwave and refrigerator.  I personally love staying at Homewood Suites properties.  All of their rooms have full kitchens: stove, microwave, full-sized refrigerator and a dishwasher for easy clean-up!  They also provide dishes, pots & pans, plates, etc.  I bring my staples with me, and also go grocery shopping and stock the refrigerator as if I were home.  Staying as much in my routine as possible is critical for me, and doing these things really helps.

  • Next, plan for all the potential temptations and pitfalls that may present themselves  – lunches, dinners, cocktail parties, etc.  Then visualize and decide how you will respond to those situations.  I am not telling you to abstain completely from these things – that isn’t practical or possible in a lot of cases.  But you can be smart about your food and drink choices. If you’re going out to dinner, don’t let the menu dictate what you order.
  • Decide ahead of time what you’re going to have and stick to the ME rule of protein first, green veggies second, and if you have starch, limit it to 5 bites.  If you must have alcohol, try to limit it to one glass of wine. Sip slowly, and for each sip of wine you take, take two sips of water.  Sounds easy, right?  Trust me; I know how hard it is to stick to your guns when your companions are going all-out. My thought on that is this: I sincerely believe that, while it may feel awkward and you may get some flack, in the long run, your will power, dedication and commitment will be admired.   Not only that, I bet they will think, “hey, if  she is that dedicated and committed to her personal health endeavors, I bet those same qualities spill over into her work ethic!
  • Have Tupperware/Gladware?  Will travel!  Stock a cooler with several days’ worth of clean meals and take it along on long trips.  That way, you can pop the prepared meal in the frig upon your arrival and you’ll be less tempted to eat out since everything is already prepared!

  • Shoot for getting at least 8 hours sleep per night and drinking a gallon of water a day

EXERCISE – a little (of the right type) goes a long way!

  • Again, visualize how good you’ll feel knowing you stuck to your fitness goals while on the road!
  • Research the area in which you’ll be staying: does the hotel have a decent fitness center? Are there gyms in the area that offer guest memberships?  Check the local gym’s group exercise schedules for classes that might be of interest…don’t be afraid to try something new!! I usually hit up a Bikram Yoga class or two when I travel – something I rarely have time for at home.  On this trip, I visited an awesome new Bikram studio, Radiance. It was beautiful, and such a wonderful way to de-stress after work.  On my next trip, I hope to visit OmVelo, a TRX/Spin/Yoga center…cool, huh?
  • Research the area for trails, parks, etc., anywhere you can sneak a short HIIT or ME workout.
  • If you’re driving to your destination, bring a couple sets of dumbbells with you for in-room workouts. Check out the downloadable workouts on the Metabolic Effect website.  Several of these only require dumbbells.  I rely heavily on these when I travel – they are short, intense and perfect when I’m in a time crunch! Other items I travel with are my TRX Suspension Trainer, a yoga mat and a jump rope – all very lightweight items which can easily be packed in your suitcase, whether driving or flying.
  • Work out in the morning.  How many times have you said to yourself when the alarm goes off, “I’ll just go to the gym after work.”? And then how many times did that plan get thwarted by working late, being too tired, etc.?  Thirty minutes is all you need in the morning for a HIIT cardio or ME heavy weight workout.   Not only will you not have to worry about it later, you’ll have more energy and also be burning fat for hours after it’s over…score!!
  • The key is to be proactive – research and know what your options are before you arrive, and work this into your schedule!
  • Check out my quickie shoulder workout I did in the room yesterday!


So, you’ve planned, prepped, visualized and decided to stick to the FLL while on the road…what happens if you fall off the wagon?  I will be the first to tell you that I am FAR from perfect, and I do fall off from time to time :) If this happens, the best thing to do is pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get right back on that wagon the next day.  No guilt-ridden, beat-yourself-up moments. Accept that you slipped up and move on!

I hope this helps those of you faced with frequent travel. I would love to hear any other tips you guys have as well!!

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