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Maintaining Your Diet and Exercise Routine on the Road Requires Commitment

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), more than 41 million Americans will kick off the unofficial start of summer – Memorial Day weekend – with automobile travel. An additional group will travel by plane, train, and other modes of transportation to destinations in and outside the U.S.

Many business and leisure travelers share the desire to maintain their healthy diet and exercise program, when away from home. It’s about a commitment to maintain a positive lifestyle versus a sporadic contribution to wellness.

The common denominator for those committed to their fitness routine is FITT – frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise. It’s train like you live, and, live like you train – no matter where you are in the world.

Before my wife and I had our two sons, I traveled one week a month for ten years to develop my reputation in sports performance management. This past Mardi Gras weekend, we decided to drive two and half hours to the Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, located on Mobile Bay.

Standing as a hospital during the Civil War and later as host to key training operations during World War II, the Grand Hotel, on the sands of Point Clear, Alabama, was where Allied forces trained in Operation Ivory Soap, a classified military operation that played a vital part in World War II’s final push.

As with any hotel that I visit – business or pleasure – the first order of business is to look ahead at the food menus and fitness amenities – hours of operation, equipment, and space.

I know what it takes to prepare myself mentally and physically. It’s about consistency – keeping the same daily schedule, training plan, and meal timing. Like many people in my field, it’s also about keeping your health and performance age below your chronological years.

The Grand’s 24-hour access fitness center has a standard Life Fitness equipment package – treadmills, ellipticals, stationary and recumbent bikes, both free standing machine and dumbbell resistance exercise options – along with stability balls for core training, and an assortment of resistance rubber tubing, stretching mats, and Reebok steps to round out additional fitness options.

According to Tiffany Cameron, Director of the Spa Operations at the Grand, the facility gets approximately 25,000 guest visits per year. “The majority of our guests are 45 to 65-year old males. In winter seasons, we’ll see a nice turnout of ladies prepping for summer fitness. In the summer months, we’ll see an uptick in the 25-35-yr males, as well as, an increase in female visits of the 45-65 age range,” notes the director.

One of my routines included: thirty minutes of moderate intensity elliptical work, followed by stretching. Then, high intensity interval training composed of twenty treadmill intervals of thirty second duration at intensities between 6.5 to 9 miles per hour at an elevation of 4 to 6 – with 30 seconds of active walk recovery, while the treadmill continues to move at the chosen speed. That’s not something I would recommend for the novice.

From there, it was another stretching session followed by 280 core repetitions and15 upper body multi-angle resistance tubing exercises– pumping out 300 repetitions. Then, a stretching cool-down.

New Orleanian, OJ Lacour, a 70-year old former Tulane University basketball player (1962-66) said, while on the treadmill next to me, that he’s been actively exercising – running, elliptical, and biking, along with yoga and weights twice weekly, since his college days.

The Grand offers its guests an excellent breakfast buffet that allowed me to stay consistent with my Mediterranean-style eating plan: fresh fruit, low fat, homemade yogurt, egg white omelet with spinach and mushrooms, and dry rye toast. The newly renovated resort’s multiple restaurant venues also provided similar ways stay on any diet.

It was a Grand, FITT time.

Article and photo originally appeared on

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