Will Traveling Destroy Your Fitness “Gains”?

Devin Arrigo

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Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Human beings have a deep, evolutionary desire for control. When we lived in tribes, the ability to control our surroundings was necessary to keep us alive. Today, that sense of control still exists, albeit in a slightly different form.

I love having control over my life — especially my schedule. It’s one of the ways I find comfort and clarify in all this ‘crazy’. The most important method of control is my strict health and fitness routine.

Wake up. Coffee. Read. Go for a run. Shower. Start the day. Running in the morning is my go-to for controlling my schedule and supercharging my day. Before most are awake, I already feel accomplished, healthier, and happier.

I also find control by treating my body like a machine and only fueling it with healthy, fresh, non-processed foods. By sticking to simple, delicious, and nutritious meals, I’m able to keep my engine running smoothly.

Being intentional about when I go to sleep and wake up is another essential method of control for me. I’m in bed by 10:30 pm every night, so I’m fully rested when my 6 am alarm blasts for my morning run.

Day after day, this is how I find create control in my life. But when I’m traveling, it’s incredibly difficult to stick to this routine.

Between a completely different bed, visiting with family and friends, and nutrition changeups, my schedule gets flipped upside down and it becomes increasingly difficult to stick to my strict workout routine.

Getting up at 6 am becomes more difficult. Sweet treats start to look more appetizing. And I rarely get to bed by 10:30 pm.

While traveling, I’m usually left with an incredibly important decision:

Fold, or figure it out. I can either make excuses like ‘it’s too hard to make it work’ or I can just suck it up and workout anyways.

This decision is always extremely uncomfortable. When we are traveling — whether for work or pleasure — working out is usually the last thing on our minds. That said, in the back of our minds, we know we need to work out.

While the decision to work out or not is incredibly difficult, it’s always a turning point that will define your future. It’s this decision that will determine how you react to future adversity, tough workouts, and even race day.

In a race, nothing will go as planned. Regardless of the training or preparation, things will inevitably go wrong. I promise. But again…

It’s not the adversity that defines us, but rather how we react in the face of adversity.

Respond well, and good things will come. React poorly, and similar results will follow.

And so, traveling is a unique opportunity to prepare for the adversity we will inevitably face on race day.

Little to no sleep. A painful muscle cramp. Extreme heat. The inevitable ‘pain wall.’

This is all stuff that you might have to react to on race day. How you react will define your race results.

If you reacted well to the adveristy of travel, the decision to do so again on race day will be that much easier. Ultimately the harder the training is, the easier the race.

So…Will traveling destroy your fitness “gains”?

It could, or it could not — it’s really up to how you react to the adversity that traveling creates. Fold, and traveling will undoubtedly get in the way of your fitness goals. Push through the discomfort and find a way to train, and I promise that come race day, you will be more prepared than you expected.

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Marathon runner | Triathlete | Personal growth addict | Writing about creative ways to become a better human being. devin.arrigo1@gmail.com

Los Angeles, CA
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