Staying fit on the road

MAINTAINING FITNESS is a challenge when you travel, but absolutely possible.

1. Opt out. Don’t cram too many activities into each day. This is my number-one rule for travel and at home. Build a buffer of downtime. Your stress levels will stay low and you’ll come home feeling refreshed, rather than needing another vacation.

2. Always pack a pedometer, jump rope and resistance bands. These items are lightweight and easy to pack for traveling.

3. To maintain cardio fitness, jump rope for 15 to 20 minutes. As an alternative, clip on a pedometer and aim to walk a total of 10,000
steps each day (I am always surprised how easy this is to do in new surroundings).

4. To keep muscles toned, use resistance bands for 10 or 15 minutes. It’s easy to hit every major muscle group with just a few key exercises:
upward rows or overhead presses for shoulders; flies and chest presses for your chest; and seated rows for your back. Add a few abdominal exercises (planks, crunches, etc.) and some lunges for your lower body, and your workout is complete.

5. Alternately, you can try a 10-minute yoga routine (three of these routines are in my book).

6. Order a hot beverage, or a low- or no-calorie beverage, with your meal. This helps fill you up with few or no additional calories.

7. Wine and other alcoholic beverages count as starch. If you drink one, substitute the starch in your meal with low-glycemic vegetables (broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, green beans).

8. Share a meal, or order an appetizer as your main course.

9. Order the simplest foods on the menu: baked, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, stirfried or steamed entrées with light or no sauces or other extras.

10. Use these portion guidelines: Half of your fist—that’s your starch or carb portion. The palm of your hand—that’s your lean protein portion.

Your thumb—that’s the portion for fat, including cheese. (Make sure to cut off all visible fat, as there can be a lot of hidden fats in restaurant foods. Remove the skin from chicken, and cut away visible fat from a steak.)

There is nothing better than traveling and fully enjoying the local food and culture, but without gaining a pound.

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