3 Ways to Stay Healthy at VMX

By Sarah Rumple

If you’re like a lot of veterinary professionals, your New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, or focus on your overall well-being (or all of the above!) typically come to a screeching halt the minute you board your flight to Orlando for the first major veterinary conference of the year: VMX. 

But, this year can be different. (No, really!) Here’s how you can stay healthy at VMX this year.

1. Stay active
You aren’t the only VMX attendee who packs gym clothes and running shoes every year but rarely uses them. This year, dirty up that active wear, get some good endorphins flowing, and feel better about all those dinners out with colleagues. Be sure to:

  • Participate in the IDEXX/NAVC 5K Fun(d) Run/Walk event. This pet-friendly event (Sunday, January 20, at 6:30 a.m.) is $35 for humans and free for pets, with all proceeds benefitting the WSAVA Foundation. Want to run with a pet but not planning to travel with yours? Not to worry! Pet Rescue by Judy is providing shelter dog running buddies! 
  • Visit the VMX Health and Wellbeing Center. According to the VMX Preliminary Program Guide, attendees who visit the VMX Health and Wellbeing Center in the Expo Hall between Sunday, January 20, and Wednesday, January 23, can particiate in Pilates with Puppies, sponsored by Nexderma, as well as chair yoga, chair massage, and educational sessions focused on well-being. 
  • Partner up. Have friends and colleagues who like to stay in shape, too? Find a partner or group and organize runs, walks, swims, or fitness center sessions for specific days and times during the conference. And, no excuses allowed—hold each other accountable (even after that late night at the hotel bar).
  • Make the most of your hotel. All three host hotels (and just about every other hotel in the area) offer amenities to help guests stay active. In addition to a 24-hour fitness center and multiple pools, Hyatt Regency Orlando offers a rooftop tennis court, bicycle rentals, and fitness classes. And, Hilton Orlando has basketball, bocce ball, tennis, volleyball, and more.

2. Stay nourished
Healthy eating is not something that comes easily while traveling. In addition to staying hydrated (hint: more water, less wine) and avoiding too much salt, you should also:

  • Plan ahead. Pack healthy snacks or meal replacements, like crackers with mini packages of peanut butter or your favorite protein bars, for those instances when exhibit hall food just won’t do and there’s no time to sit down for a proper meal.
  • Do your research. Look up the menus of the restaurants located in or near your hotel so you’ll have an idea of where you want to go rather than ending up at the closest fast food spot in a “hangry” state.

At David’s Club Bar & Grill (Hilton Orlando), you’ll find a plant-based burger option, a chef’s local seafood catch, roasted brussels sprouts, and healthy sides, like collard greens, market corn, and a cucumber salad. 

If you’re staying at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse offers gluten-free pasta and roast chicken or vegetable flatbreads. And, the 24-hour B-Line Diner has a “Healthy Start” section of their breakfast menu, with avocado toast, steel-cut oatmeal, and more. 

At Rosen Centre’s Everglades Restaurant, the menu is marked with GF (gluten free), DF (dairy free), and * (lighter fare). (Bonus: The tenderloin of buffalo is GF, DF, and *.) And, if sushi is your thing, don’t miss Banshoo Sushi Bar. 

  • Watch your portions. Don’t be fooled by healthy-sounding options at restaurants. Often, because portions are so big, those “healthy” dishes are dishing out an unhealthy number of calories—in some instances, more than a day’s worth! Save some calories by ordering an appetizer instead of an entrée or sharing one entrée with a friend (or two). 

3. Stay rested
All that healthy eating, exercise, learning, and networking will be useless if you don’t get enough sleep.  

Here’s to keeping New Year’s resolutions and enjoying VMX 2019!