Updated: Sep 21
From work to leisure, you've probably spent an extended period of time in a hotel room.
I was in midwest America for a work week, living with just a mini fridge and a microwave. I had successfully gotten into a routine where my gut was finally happy again! Here's what I learned living in a hotel for a week.
I was so excited to be joining corporate travel America for more than a weekend. Picture this: you're working as a judge for the national finale of a midwest dance competition circuit. Your day starts with a hasty visit to the Starbucks drive-thru (where someone's order is always *the* order to make you late that morning), before you sit down at the judge's table at 8:30am. For the next four hours, you critique routine after routine. A quick lunch break (that's catered, of course), and you're back for another five hours behind the table. You might also be conducting rehearsals with dozens of elite dancers after your long day of sitting. Back to the hotel at 9pm, sleep, wake up, do it all again. I left that work week with a full heart, and tired eyes. Absolute bliss, with some lessons of course!
Here's what I learned living in a hotel for a week.
Research where you'll be eating
As someone who lived long-term on cruise ships, I was no stranger to walking into a continental breakfast offering and being underwhelmed. I armed myself with knowledge. You can too! Doing a big of digging into what food is available at your destination gives you the ability to go where you need to go, armed. Even if it's just mentally preparing yourself for eating oranges and stale banana bread for breakfast every day for a week. You can plan ahead and accept the dodgy breakfasts until you get back home, OR you can throw a few extra things in your suitcase (particularly if you have a more sensitive tummy, like me). Some foods that I brought with me and did NOT regret were:
instant oatmeal pots
travel packets of nut butter
Sometimes the workouts you don't do in a gym, feel like the biggest obstacles
Environment makes a difference. External stimuli provides internal chain reactions that set off habits and routines that feel commonplace. For example: you walk into the kitchen and automatically open the fridge to look for meal inspiration. Or, you walk into your local gym and immediately walk into the stretch room to start warming up for your training session. When you're traveling, your environment changes. Your external stimuli shifts, which causes your normal "routine sequence" to shift as well. I battled my brain every morning to get some movement in, because I didn't have a gym to utilize freely. Bodyweight workouts were the name of the game, but here's where there's benefit:
Bodyweight workouts help you improve core stability and balance
Bodyweight workouts give you more facility to focus on form
Bodyweight exercises still give you the mental benefits of exercise such as uplifted mood and improved sleep
Muscle memory still matters when you're away from home; you can bounce back into your bootcamp classes when you get home that much more effectively.
Food is either a tool, or a crutch
This boils down to what your goals are. If your goals are to maintain regular toilet trips, avoid the sedentary belly bloat, and increase your chances of having energy through the 3pm slump, your food choices influence that more than any amount of caffeine/ supplement can. If your goal is to enjoy getting a break from the kitchen, relaxing the conscious thought process that goes into the meals you prepare, and release any sort of self-imposed dietary guidelines on yourself, your food choices influence that more than any preparation/ pre meditated menu choices can. You can enjoy eating on the go, and you can enjoy it whether you pack your own food or not.
The goal isn't perfection. The goal is consistency.
Before you even think about ANY of this, think about the goal of the trip: are you trying to maintain a routine as close to homeostasis as possible? Or will you take this opportunity to totally deviate from normal so that normal can feel fresh upon your return? Consistent can/ could mean:
bringing a set of workout clothes (or two) to keep movement levels a bit higher
making your own food in self-catering accommodation vs. booking into a hotel with no kitchen
getting to sleep at the same time every night, regardless of time zone changes
choosing to hydrate first thing in the morning, because that's always been the first step to your morning routine
Consistency doesn't/ couldn't mean:
hand-cuffing yourself to your routine, no matter where you are
throwing yourself into a brand new routine because you want your time away to be the healthiest/ most disciplined you could ever imagine
stocking up on supplements that you have never invested in before
treating your change of scenery as an experience that you have to force to be the same as home
When you're in alternative accommodation, away from home, what do you find the most liberating?
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