Whether you’re heading to a nearby beach for the weekend or boarding a flight for an extended vacation to somewhere exotic, traveling can throw a monkey wrench into your workout routine. After all, it’s not like airports are brimming with healthy options to help you balance out your lack of physical activity.
Business travelers are faced with this tough situation on the regular, since they spend most of their time in airports and hotels. Which means they need to get creative when it comes to working out and eating healthy on the go. So we asked a few seasoned business travel pros to share their insider tips for staying fit on the road.
Here are the top on-the-go health, food and fitness tips from business travelers who have earned their wings.
Always pack sneakers
“Always bring your sneakers, even if it’s a quick trip,” says Allie Gavin, a fitness instructor who travels bi-monthly. “Anyone can squeeze in 20-30 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill at a hotel gym or even on a brisk walk to explore your new digs and the surrounding neighborhood. Even a short workout counts and is better than nothing!”
Book a hotel with a pool
“Whenever I book a hotel room, I make sure it has a swimming pool,” says author Katharine M. Nohr. “I prefer pools big enough to swim laps, and I always bring several bathing suits, so I can alternate them and not be forced to put on a wet suit. I’m so serious about swimming, I often carry a suit and goggles in my carry-on bag.”
“My best advice for anyone looking to stay on track while traveling for work is to plan ahead,” says business strategy consultant Joshua Schall, who travels for work half of the year. “I make sure I know what the healthy food options and gyms are around the hotel. If I have a business meal planned, I make sure to look at the menu online to see what healthier options are available to eat.”
Break a sweat first thing in the morning
“I always ensure I wake up and fit in at least 20-30 minutes in the morning before anything else can get in my way,” says Susan Vernicek, CEO of Identity Magazine. “When eating out, I don’t deprive myself, but I make sure I have a balanced diet.”
Work out, even if you only have 7 minutes
Steve Land, director at a software firm, says that during the two weeks per quarter when he’s traveling, hotel room workouts are his go-to. “I follow the ‘seven-minute workout’ routine using the app,” he says. If you’ve got seven minutes and enough room to do a few simple bodyweight exercises, you can squeeze in a workout!
Split meals when eating out
“Halve your food portions,” suggests Gabriela Yu, a digital marketing associate for TRAVO who travels once a month. “You are going to be eating out most of the time when you travel, so you are often given much larger portions than you are used to. To combat this from the start, split the plate and ask for a to-go box so you aren’t tempted to keep eating.”
“On average, I travel 10-12 days every month, sometimes months at a time,” says Linden Schaffer, owner of Pravassa.” It’s always important for me to pack snacks when I travel, as I never eat plane food. I also always email [the hotel] ahead and ask for the mini bar to be cleared out. This way I’m not tempted by high-sugar, high-salt junk food. Instead, I stop at a local grocery store and pick up my own goodies to snack on.”
Keep your workouts short
“[When I travel], I keep my workouts to 25-30 minutes,” says Dr. Omekongo Dibinga, motivational speaker and co-owner of three hot yoga and Pilates studios. “[I do this] because I am more likely to commit to doing it then committing to an hour.”
Walk whenever you can
“I stay fit by walking as much as humanly possible,” says Sebastien Dupéré, president and CEO of Dupray, who spends around 100 days out of the year traveling. “Most business travelers stay in hotels that are fairly close to where they need to be. Why not find a hotel that is two or three miles away? That walk can be accomplished in 30 minutes, and it is an absolutely magnificent way to stay fit. I usually book places geographically further away from where I need to be. In the morning, I wake up 30 minutes early and walk instead.”