The word “travel” has some very different connotations. Ask a 20-something backpacker making his way across India with $70 and a toothbrush, and the word means excitement, cultural education, and expanding one’s mind. Ask a business traveler who’s had to go from LA to Sacramento six times in a month about traveling, and his blood pressure may go up 60 points.
While traveling for leisure and adventure is one of life’s great joys, so is traveling for business one of life’s great stresses. Whether you’re traveling to visit your company’s corporate headquarters again, meeting new business clients for the first time or attending a small business conference, business travel is usually a stressful experience even for the most experienced of business travelers.
Not only do small business owners stress about saving on business travel, but they are also hit with a barrage of other external stressors to manage. For example, as a business traveler, you frantically rush to pump your rental car full of gas before dropping it off, then racing to print out your boarding pass at the airport before hustling through the security checkpoint while dragging your overstuffed carry-on baggage behind you. And when you’re stressed, thinking about stuff like eating healthy and working out can often go by the wayside. Making you even more stressed.
As difficult as it is, staying healthy during business travel is crucial to functioning at your best, and not creating health problems when you get home. Here are 11 easy ways you can keep in shape while traveling for business.
Keep a regular eating schedule
Though your body can get all kinds of messed up when you travel for business – especially when changing time zones – keeping in shape on the road is all about discipline. Discipline to wake up early enough to work out, and discipline to eat when you need to. Make sure you take breaks to eat, even if it’s quickly, and your body will better know how to use the calories you give it. And if your hotel offers a variety of restaurants to choose from, try to pick the healthiest option.
Workout in your room
Unless you’re traveling to Japan and you’re in one of those tanning beds they pass off as hotel rooms, there SHOULD be at least a few square feet of space in your room for dry-land exercises like pushups, crunches, and stationary aerobics. If you want to get a little more high-tech, download an in-room work out and play it on your laptop. Just hope the maid doesn’t walk in.
Book a hotel with a gym
The hotel’s gym doesn’t need to be a full-weight fitness center either. Even a scaled down gym with an elliptical, a treadmill, and a multi-cable machine can give you a full workout if you get creative. Yeah, it’ll involve you waking up an hour or two earlier, but nobody said staying in shape while traveling was easy.
Not that the art of staying hydrated is any groundbreaking news to you, but water will fill you up and curb hunger when you travel for business. So if you’re sipping on a bottle of Aquafina while your plane is delayed, it’s a lot less likely you succumb to the siren calls of Cinnabon.
Bring healthy snacks along
Along with the aforementioned Cinnabon, another trap of eating on the road is the quick junk food items at convenience stores and airport newsstands. Or those boxed meals on long flights. But if you pack some apples, nuts, beef jerky or whatever else mildly-healthy you can to keep you satisfied, it’s much less likely you’ll find yourself having barbecue kettle chips for dinner.
Find a running route
Assuming you’re not staying on the side of a major interstate/in a neighborhood no sane person would run in, go online and map out a running route near your hotel that matches the mileage you do back home. Or, if the front desk clerk looks particularly fit, ask if there are any cool places to run nearby. It’ll not only keep you in shape, but give you a different view of the city than you’d otherwise get.
Research local public gyms and pools
Most cities have community centers with pools and gyms that you can visit for a small fee. If there’s one within driving distance, make it your de facto gym to hit after or before you get to work. Or if you want to spend a little more, find out how much day or week passes are to gyms near where you’re working/staying.
Subway is your best friend
Not that we’re blatantly endorsing the product here, in case you missed it we don’t have advertisers. But it seems like every backwoods highway gas station now has a subway inside it. And while it might not be a Michelin-starred gourmet treat, it DOES give you a relatively healthy option if you’re on a long road trip with a turkey, veggie, or grilled chicken sub.
Eat small, frequent meals
Not bad life advice either, but if you’ can’t keep to your normal eating schedule, down an apple every couple hours, or a bag of beef jerky, healthy snack bar or something else from that bag of food you already brought with you.
Try to avoid alcohol
If you’re entertaining clients or meeting with people to form relationships, this may be difficult. But if you can, keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum so you can sleep better and not add on extra calories at the end of the day. And if you’re traveling alone, well, you’re not George Thoroughgood so don’t drink alone.
Your mom and every breakfast cereal commercial ever already told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But when traveling it can keep you from getting hungry at inconvenient times and settling for the unhealthiest thing in the airport gift shop. Make sure to at least have a protein bar or a piece of fruit before you head out so you can keep yourself satiated until you’re somewhere to eat something healthy.
If you regularly travel for business, then there is no need to forgo your healthy lifestyle. Follow these actionable tips to stay healthy during business travel.