working out on vacation

Woes of the Traveling Athlete

12beers

Staying fit while on vacation is always a struggle. You’re out of your element, your schedule is different, you don’t have your usual equipment, you probably want to be lazy and skip it. But you don’t have to. I firmly believe that continuing my routine on vacation is how I avoid the dreaded vacation weight gain.

When I’m traveling I do my best to pick hotels that have a gym. I do my research and book accordingly. It doesn’t always work that way. When there isn’t a gym option and maybe the weather is a little iffy, I have two choices. The first is to suck it up and go for a run in the rain anyways or to do a workout in the hotel room using the Nike Training Club app.

What are the woes of a traveling athlete? Sometimes it can be a hassle to make it work. First, you have to plan ahead. This could mean figuring out gym access, running routes, researching places to hike, etc. Second, sometimes you DO need a break. So plan that accordingly, too. What are some of the other challenges I’ve noticed? See below:

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Vegas

All of the casinos I’ve stayed in have had pretty decent gyms in the hotel.

The woe of Vegas?  BESIDES the decadence and overindulging…You almost always have to pay extra to use the gym. The last time I went to Vegas I paid to use the gym and was glad I did. Michael was usually staying up late playing poker and I’d get up at my normal time and have a good hour or so to kill. I headed down to the gym and got my workout out of the way.

Vegas is a good place to stay fit, ironically. If you don’t want to spend the money on the gym access, you can always go for a run on The Strip. That was a GREAT experience for me! So much fun! We were staying at The Palms and I just went for a run around the hotel. I got to see things I normally wouldn’t see by doing this. If you’re not a runner, don’t worry. You will get TONS of exercise simply walking everywhere in Vegas. The Strip is deceptively long and you end up walking probably 10 miles a day.

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Hawaii

Running along the beach in Kona was amazing–one of my favorite memories of our trip to Hawaii beside swimming in the ocean (so much better than the pool at the gym). If running and swimming aren’t for you, what about kettle bells?

The woe of Hawaii? Michael decided to bring his 20 pound kettle bell to Hawaii with the intention of working out in the morning, which he did a few times. He packed the kettle bell in his carry-on and had no issues going through security on the way to Hawaii, but returning, the Hawaiian TSA was very concerned about it. They wanted to know what it was, why he brought it and eventually made him take it out and check it like a suitcase. He was annoyed at having to pay TWICE for the luggage when he could have put the kettle bell in his suitcase and save $20 and he was also worried that he wasn’t going to get the kettle bell once we arrived in Portland. We stood at the baggage claim for a long time before it finally came out. A lone kettle bell with a tag on it.

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Texas

I love Austin. What a cool city. The culture, the food, the sites. There is so much to do and see there and I definitely felt like I was “at home.” People say that Austin is just like Portland, but hotter, and I felt like that was a pretty accurate statement the few times I’ve been there.

The woe of Austin? THE FREAKIN’ HEAT. Wowza. It was so hot every time we’ve been there (which is twice, LOL).  The last time we went there for our anniversary after Michael’s sister’s wedding it was in 107 degree territory. That was way too hot for me to go for a run, or for us to really go for a hike (which we did do a small hike once), so I had to think of something else I could do. I found Barton Springs, which was a natural spring they turned into a “pool.” It was a nice alternative to a sweaty, dizzy run in 100 degree heat.

Make It Work

The good news is that you can usually make SOMETHING work. It may not be ideal (like doing crunches in your hotel room) and it may not be what you wanted to do (like weight lifting, but there’s only cardio machines available). My motto is that something is better than nothing. Even if it’s an evening walk or a quick swim in a hotel pool, doing something to move your body will make you feel better.

So what are some of the fitness hassles and challenges you’ve encountered while traveling?

LA: The Restaurants and the Fitness

We flew into LA in the afternoon so I was able to get in my workout at home before we left. That was nice, getting it out of the way so I could enjoy some pizza for dinner!

Vito’s Pizza We went here for a slice the first night we arrived. The pizza was supposedly very highly rated. I didn’t like the vibe of the place, but the food was good. The restaurant was small, cramped, with limited seating options and it was in a strip mall. It seems like most of LA is in a strip mall…The pizza came out on a paper plate–again, lacking in atmosphere! But the pizza was decent. I got the white pie with pesto.

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What I thought were chunks of mozzarella cheese turned out to be ricotta. It was odd and new to me, but good. The only flaw is that they used a lot of ricotta cheese and it was really rich. The pesto helped balance out the sweet ricotta.

Fitness in Hollywood

On Saturday I woke up a little early in order to enjoy the gym in the Loew’s Hollywood Hotel. It was such a cool gym! It wasn’t lame like a lot of hotel gyms. There were half a dozen treadmills, 4 ellipticals, a few bikes and the weight room was outside next to the pool.

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I worked out on the elliptical for about 20 minutes and then spent some time lifting weights. I had to modify my workout quite a bit because I didn’t have access to some of the things I needed for my program, but I still got in a good workout!

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On Sunday I went for a swim in the pool. I wanted to do more swimming on this trip but just didn’t get around to it. The pool was empty when I got there Sunday morning and was able to enjoy my swim with the pool all to myself. It was kind of a small pool for lap swimming but I made do.

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Then a guy joined me and decided to swim in a circle around the perimeter of the pool while I was trying to swim laps. I have no idea what he was thinking. 😛 It was very annoying.

On Monday I took a rest day from the gym but ended up doing so much walking in Santa Monica that I definitely got a work out!

More Restaurants

The Abbey This place was such a cool find! It was such a cool building and huge! So much outdoor and indoor seating. It’s a restaurant/gay club/bar/nightclub.

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We went here on a Sunday afternoon for a late lunch/snack and the place was completely packed. Not only that, there was a DJ spinning records. On a Sunday afternoon? Crazy!

25 Degrees We went here twice because the options near our hotel were so limited. First we went for happy hour. The drink options were decent and I loved the wine I got. We shared an order of happy hour onion rings and Michael liked them a lot. I did not. The batter was odd in flavor and texture.

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The next day we got breakfast here. It was super spendy and honestly, overpriced for what we got, but the food was okay. This time Michael wasn’t impressed but I enjoyed breakfast. I got the scrambled eggs with burrata cheese, tomato, pesto and prosciutto.

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The dish was a little saltier than I prefer but it came with a big bowl of fresh fruit that was great. At the very least, go to The Roosevelt Hotel to check it out. The inside is amazing. We wanted to go to their bar for a drink but ran out of time.

Ray’s and Stark Bar This was a nice discovery. It was a really hot day and we’d been outside seeing the sights and walking around the park for the La Brea Tar Pits for hours. This was much needed shade. The vibe was very cool and there was a nice breeze as we sat in the shade.

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We ordered a drink each and they gave us some homemade chips (which I wasn’t a fan of). They also brought out a thick menu for bottled water. Guess what, I could have had a bottle of water for only $20! 😛

Murakami Hollywood Hands down one of the best sushi dinners I’ve had, almost as good as the stuff we had in Hawaii. The reviews were raving and recommended the garlic soy sauce. Michael and I kind of mocked the people raving about it…I mean really, how good is garlic soy sauce? It’s pretty damn amazing we discovered! That sauce was fantastic. I don’t know how they made it but damn, I want more of that stuff.

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The fish was fresh and delicious. Michael got the spicy tuna bowl and I got the mixed sashimi salad combo that came with a specialty roll. The food was so good I wanted to go back the next day and eat it again!

Chateau Marmont Hell yeah we went here! We actually went here for a drink and appetizer before going to the sushi restaurant for dinner. I’d wanted to go to the Chateau Marmont for years. It was so cool seeing it and enjoying a drink on the outside garden patio!

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We shared an order of calamari at the restaurant and a drink. Cameras weren’t allowed, which I knew ahead of time but was still hoping to spot some celebrities and get photos!

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When we were leaving I saw Richard Lewis at the valet. He gave me THAT look–the one that says “I know you know who I am, but please don’t say anything or talk to me” look. LOL Whatever. It was still cool to see him!

In-n-Out Sunset Blvd OF COURSE we went to In-n-Out. I’d been thinking about it for weeks leading up to the vacation and could not wait. We had lunch here our first day (skipped breakfast for it, too!). We kind of also went again for lunch on our last day before flying home…

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Animal style is where it’s at. It’s a good thing I don’t live in California because I’d eat here all the time. All. The. Time.

I’m so glad we got to eat at some GOOD restaurants, slightly disappointed that we got burned at a few places. I guess I had high expectations for LA restaurants. I definitely ate more than normal and things I don’t normally eat. I’m glad we shared a lot of the meals we ordered–hopefully I didn’t do too much damage…But, the happy memories are worth it!

QUESTION: Ever seen a celebrity in person?