I'm not even going to try to fake it. Working out and staying fit while on business trips isn't exactly high on my priority list when I'm traveling on business. I have to much to DO! Too many places to SEE! Too many restaurants and new foods to TRY!!! And we all know how convenient everything is when you're away on business (it's soooo easy to grab that junk food during a snack break!). I absolutely love what I do and I love being able to go to different areas across our lovely Earth to to immerse myself in the city or countryside for the short amount of time I'm there. I don't want to think about "staying fit".
But alas… there are many things we may not LIKE to do. But if we didn't work on staying fit with all of the business travel that many of us are lucky enough to take, my waist size would be going up, while my energy level continued to go down, down, down. So, staying fit on business trips is something I am committed to doing, even if I do a few things that may slip through the cracks, unlike when I'm at home and in my steady routine!
So how does one even attempt to stay fit while traveling to business events, seminars, conferences, etc.? Try some of these tips and no matter where you may be jetting off to, you'll be able to stay healthy, happy and energized!
1. Pack A Workout!
I really don't enjoy using fitness centers at the different hotels and resorts I stay at. Something about it just screams "you don't belong here!" and half of the things that are in the center I either don't know how to operate or don't work right. So I've gotten into the habit of packing a couple items to make sure I make the little time I have efficient when I'm traveling!
Simple things like a jump rope, resistance band, and a step counter will really help you to stay accountable. I've packed some DVD's before and downloaded some workouts on my phone and tablets! And you can't even try to make up the excuse that it takes up a lot of room, because we know those things take up barely any room at all! When I'm in new cities, I love to explore. I take walks and check out the things that are on my to-do list, so by having a step counter with me (I use a FitBit watch) I'm able to see just how active I am being on days I'm away from home. It also allows me to track the calories I've burned, stairs I've climbed and many other fitness goals that keep me moving all day long! I generally ask the front desk about any sightseeing things I should check out in the area where I'm at and most of the time, I have a list a mile long of places that I can walk to and enjoy! Better yet? Find those stairs and hike it up instead of always using the elevator!
This does mean that I'm packing my sneakers, too. They can take up a little more room when you're trying to cram everything in a carry-on, but my tennis shoes are one thing I've decided to make my non-negotiable. It's too easy to slack on some workouts when I'm away when I have the excuse that I don't have the right shoes! No more! (Here is a tip… wear your tennis shoes when traveling and you won't have to worry about cramming them in your carry-on!)
Exercising while you're away on business isn't just about getting a good workout in. It's been proven that it helps boost immunity, which is a biggie when you're traveling! There was a time when I was ALWAYS getting sick after a business trip. It also reduces stress. There have been plenty of times when my stress-level is through the roof at events, especially if I've helped to plan them and get everything set up perfectly. And I'm always amazed at how much better I feel after just one workout! Just keep it simple and have fun, and it will become second nature to get moving more when you're away from home on business!
2. Stay Hydrated
When I'm on business, there are always tons of options for a cool drink when needed, whether it be at the craft services table, or after a long day hard at work. But make sure what you are choosing is optimal for staying fit. The answer? Water! Don't take advantage of the free sugary sodas that may be available to you at your business conference. And don't hit the coffee too hard, either.
Traveling can really dehydrate you, so make sure you're sticking with some extra water along the way. You're consistently exposing your body to germs, different temperatures, changing elevations, etc., which can take a toll on your skin and your body water levels. Start your day off with a glass of H2O and you'll be happy to begin the day with a dose of hydration!
3. Eat Smart
One of the big life-savers for me has been bringing some snacks with me that I know are healthy and I enjoy. Having so many unhealthy options right at your fingertips the entire time you're away from home can be a major hurdle. So why not stock your hotel fridge with some baby carrots, fresh fruit, yogurt, and whatever else you may eat on a regular basis at home to keep healthy? You are going to really cut down on those excess calories you don't need and when the temptations come roaring their ugly heads, you'll already be satisfied from the smart snacks you provided for yourself!
Than there comes all of the meals where you're expected to show up and not cause a fuss when you're at a restaurant. I've been there. And what do I do? I just order the easiest thing that looks good to me, regardless of the health benefits. And than I curse myself later.
Instead, you just have to be smart! I know what my weaknesses are, so if I know I'm going to be going to a specific restaurant, I try my hardest to get a peak at the menu online and figure out what I can eat beforehand. I'm not caught off guard and don't feel like I have to ask a ton of questions and hold up everyone else's process. I have even called the restaurant before to ask them questions about some food choices beforehand. Easy! Try to go with things that are steamed, roasted or broiled and avoid fried foods at all costs (I KNOW, I'M SORRY!). Ask for dressings and sauces on the side and before you know it, you're going to be keeping your meals as healthy as possible!
4. Make Time For YOU
So if you're committed to this staying fit thing, you're going to have to schedule that into your day. I know, I know… stop groaning. It's true! Something as simple as waking up a half hour early can help you get a quick workout in before the day starts. Because I know myself… if I don't do it right away, I'm going to find a million reasons on why I can't do it AFTER the conference that day! Or, what happens even more often is that I'm invited to meet with a few colleagues or new faces after we wrap up for the day and there goes the "me time" I scheduled for a quick work out. Just get it done right away!
Trust me, the studies don't lie. They have proven that working out gives you more energy and also makes you more conscientious about your food choices throughout the day, which means you'll be starting out on the right foot before you even set foot in your business event! It's a win-win, especially with how draining business travel can be! It also really helps me kick the jet lag to the curb if it has found me sleeping in a corner halfway through the day!
Oh, weary traveler, there is so much to do in so little time. But what happens when you wear yourself down? You get sick. You make poor decisions. You are tired. Did I mention the poor decisions? Therefore, it's imperative you get that beauty sleep you need to always be in tip-top shape all day long. If you're presenting at your business event, you REALLY need to be on your game. But even if you're just a face in the crowd, there is nothing a presenter hates more than to see people nodding off because they aren't getting any rest.
I get it. You are jet lagged. You had a half a day of travel delays. You had to participate in that late-night dinner last night to keep everyone happy. It's not always going to be possible to get that 8 hours of shut-eye. But do the best you can to maintain some boundaries around your time to make sure you are giving it your all and rocking out the entire time you are away on business!
Business travel can be tough! You never know what exactly is in store for you and can be jam-packed with tons of itinerary items the second you walk through the door. That's why it's even more important to maintain a healthy diet while you're on the road. No excuses!