Ever wonder how a coworker stays in such great shape when she travels for work more than half of the year? How does she eat donuts at the morning meeting and still fit into that power suit? Staying fit is hard enough at home, when you don’t have layovers, work dinners and the other perils of business travel to contend with.
So how do others do it? Do they have ridiculously high metabolisms? Do they not eat? Are they freaks of fitness nature? Nope, they just know seven things that you don’t. Make that seven not-so-secret secrets…because now you know them, too! Read on for seven business travel tips that fit people follow (but may not talk about).
1. Carry a Big Bag.
“Speak softly and carry a big stick” may have been Theodore Roosevelt’s catchphrase, but when it comes to staying fit while traveling, we say, “Move quickly and carry a big bag.” Seasoned travelers know that squeezing in a workout isn’t easy when you have a jam-packed schedule, but being prepared with your fitness essentials (read: tennis shoes and socks) is key if an opportunity does present itself. Carry a bag big enough to hold at least a pair of shoes with socks stuffed inside. If you’re a woman, plenty of purses and totes are large enough to do this but are still work-appropriate and stylish. If you’re a guy, it’s a bit more challenging, but I’ve seen guys squeeze a pair of shoes into their laptop bags. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And think of the benefits! If you suddenly have a business meeting cancelled and find yourself with an extra 30 minutes to kill, instead of being stuck in dress shoes and wandering around the trade show floor, you can lace up your sneaks and get a few good power walking miles in! You can even do some lunges and squats if you’re near an open space.
2. Befriend the Concierge
What an amazing concept the concierge desk is. Your hotel concierge is there to help, and they know what’s up. Don’t just think they know about Broadway tickets or dinner reservations, either. The concierge can help you find the closest grocery store to stock up on healthy snacks and the closest park to jog in, and give you the nitty-gritty on the Embassy Suites gym (in some cities, Embassy Suites gives guests access to nearby full-service clubs). Seasoned travelers: Don’t let this service go to waste!
3. Be Flexible
Being fit isn’t about super-long workouts in the gym or eating perfectly. It’s a lifestyle, and it’s about choosing the healthy option 80 to 90 percent of the time. This is a key point to remember when traveling for business. Fit travelers know that being perfect isn’t really possible on the road. Instead, they do what they can, when they can and are flexible about their workout plans. Those who swear by early-morning workouts may have to trade sleep for cardio after a company night out, or a long-distance runner may have to cut down his or her workout to just a few miles because of time constraints. Stress isn’t good for your health, so don’t stress about your workouts too much. Be flexible and do what you can!
4. Make Friends
Friends make everything better-including working out. And while you’re probably not taking your best friend along on a business trip, you probably at least have someone at work with whom you either enjoy spending time or who also has an interest in fitness or losing some weight. Find that person and commit to making fitness a priority on your trip. Plan workouts together and seek out healthy places to eat together. And believe me, having a workout bud there who expects you to go jogging the next morning and keeps you from drinking that second glass of wine at the company dinner is priceless.
5. Work Out Smart
When seasoned business travelers hit the road, they know they won’t have the amount of time in the gym that they normally do. So they use the time they have in the most efficient way possible by combining strength training and cardio. To burn maximum calories in a limited amount of time, alternate cardio moves such as jumping jacks and mountain climbers with strength-training moves like lunges, push-ups and planks. It’s amazing how simple moves can get you sweating so much!
6. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition
Being fit isn’t just about working out. A huge part of staying healthy is what you eat. So if you can’t get in a workout or do as much exercise as you’d like, pay extra-special attention to your diet. Those who stay fit, in spite of business trip after business trip, carry healthy portable snacks (such as apples, almonds and protein bars) to keep their metabolism revved and to avoid temptation when the donuts come out at that 10:30 a.m. meeting. It’s also important to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can, chow down on some lean protein and drink lots of water. Being properly hydrated can reduce fatigue and combat jet lag!
7. It’s Just Another Day
For those who don’t travel for business regularly, going on a work trip can seem like a vacation. But remember that even though you’re in a new place, it’s just another work week. Fit travelers plan for their business trip just like they do for their regular Monday to Friday. If possible, try to go to bed at about the same time as you usually do (as long as the time change in your new city isn’t too different from your own), eat the healthy stuff that you do while in the office, and practice the healthy habits that you have at work. If you would never eat a huge bagel with full-fat cream cheese in the office, why would you anywhere else?
There you have it: Seven fit travel secrets from business travelers like you. The secret is out! Now you have no excuses, right?