A common issue that business travelers have is how to focus on staying fit while traveling. Traveling consists of eating lots of quick meals in rushed environments with little time for exercise and general health. While on the road, it can be difficult to make sure you get enough sleep, which can also lead to deterioration in overall health. Here are a few tips that I used over the years in order to try to maintain a somewhat healthy lifestyle while traveling for business.
Before any trip, it pays to do a little bit of research on your destination. Often if you are staying in a generic Marriott or Hilton type hotel there will be a small gym that will consist of basics like a treadmill, dumbbells, maybe elliptical machine. However, if you prefer a full service gym, depending on the location you are traveling, you can typically find an Anytime Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness type facility where you can purchase a day pass and work out in a full gym environment. For about $10 a day you can go and use these facilities, instead of being limited to a hotel gym. If you are going to be in the area for several days, these establishments will offer a week pass, which will provide further savings. Even though you are on the road, using a full service gym will allow you to stay in your normal exercise routine.
However, if your location that does not have access to a full service facility or your time is limited and you cannot leave the hotel, there are various ways that you can make use of the equipment in the hotel gym. Here is a YouTube video that I used to create a hotel gym routine. If you do a similar routine, and it is done at tempo, you can achieve many of the benefits of your normal workout.
Staying Fit While Traveling – Cardio
Some people do not like to run on the treadmill, and that is understandable. One of the problems with treadmill running is that it can be very boring and it is hard to keep your focus for long periods of time. Here is a Youtube video from professional runner Sage Canaday that provides treadmill specific workouts.
A few tips that I learned includes listening to podcasts instead of music. Some people like music because the beat helps with cadence, however, I find that podcasts/audiobooks allow me to zone out and makes the time go faster. Here is a list of popular podcasts that may help you in running on a treadmill. Another tip that I have use is to put a towel over the display of the treadmill. If you are doing steady-state running, the towel prevents you from watching the time/distance tick by and instead run by feel.
Another way to plan for an upcoming business trip is to check the weather and see if it is possible to run outdoors. Most cities have natural running trails and a quick Google search can lead to some of the popular trails in your area. One website I use is greatruns.com which helps me locate a safe environment to run while travelling. I will often use a map feature in Google maps to download the map so that I have it on my phone and I can follow the path I am running.
If you are visiting an area overseas. It might even be beneficial to hire a running tour guide who can turn your morning run into a way to get in some tourism. For example, in Prague, you may not have time to visit all the sites and get exercise, so instead of choosing one or the other, do both! The guide will take you through the best areas, keep you safe and you will have the ability to take pictures and explore, while also getting in your weekly mileage.
Packing for Fitness While Traveling
It is important to plan ahead. If you know that you might not have time to get a hotel gym, it may make sense to pack some resistance bands so that you can do body weight exercises in your hotel room. However, if you are going to a place that has full-service facilities that will probably be unnecessary.
If you plan to run where you are going, it may make sense to bring a foam roller. When I travel, I have a small foam roller that fits easily into my luggage. The roller allows me to rollout the muscles in my legs before and after I exercise. Carrying a foam roller can help keep your muscles loose and becoming sore while traveling on planes and long car rides. Another item I pack when I plan to run on a trip are flight compression socks. 2XU makes specific compression socks that cover your entire legs when flying. I highly recommend wearing compression while flying, whether you plan to workout or not.
A final packing tip is when you are traveling and have a limited amount of space, bring your oldest and most disgusting workout close. When you are done using them, they can be donated or thrown out at your destination. This way you accomplish two goals, one of traveling light, at least on your way back, and second, allows you to get rid of the most offensive clothing in your wardrobe.
Overall, you will find that taking the time to work out while on the road not only has health benefits, but you will feel more awake, more alert and ready for your meetings.