I dread these extended trips to exotic places, nice perhaps as a holiday, but when you have to work under stress you wonder what impact it has on your health - different diets, little or no chance to rest or to exercise, bumped around in 4X4 wheel vehicles and in Eastern Europe and Central Asia especially a hospitality culture that has you drinking vodka for breakfast!
The amazing fact I just discovered after getting home is that my body has responded quite well to high elevation (over 7,000 feet) in Yemen, a lack of fresh vegetables, a diet high in carbs and protein and yes, in Georgia, copious amounts of alcoholic beverage.
I was able to exercise; in Yemen on a relatively good multi-machine in the basement of our office and in Georgia in the standard hotel fitness room. The weights were not what you'd expect from a professional fitness center or bodybuilding gym, but just about adequate to maintain my strength. I tested against my September 2009 weights benchmarks yesterday at my home gym in Bangkok and came out slightly ahead (tip: keep a written record of what you do in your fitness routine, it's easy to forget and gives you something to play against). Today I had my regular 3-monthly blood chemistry profile: amazingly my blood sugar was stable (just under the extra-tough Kurzweil and Grossman reference level - see my post on Kurzwel) and my lipid panel (cholesterol, triglycerides) had actually improved.
I did manage to stay off the desserts and extra sugar (fruit sugars are OK and you get whatever other sugar you need in your normal food) but my consumption of carbohydrates rocketed - the baguettes in Sana'a City in Yemen were fresh and excellent and Central Asia lives on bread. So while the diet hasn't been good, somehow my body has responded well to the abuse. It's interesting that this hunt for fitness isn't just a straightforward matter and that sometimes extreme travel and rough times can actually do you good. Or maybe it was just the vodka!