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If you’ve read my recent posts, you know I’ve been the weary traveler as of late. I swear, there were times I didn’t know if I was coming or going. In fact at times, I was coming and going. Three time zones in 36 hours? Sheer madness! One of the hardest things for me to do when I travel is keep up with my fitness routine. Between the travel itself and the jet lag that comes along with it, the eight to ten hour work days, and then the sometimes less than ideal workout facilities, it can be tough. But with determination and sometimes a bit of imagination, here are some tips on how to stay fit while traveling for work:
Start with the hotel. These days, most hotels offer some sort of workout facility. But be wary. I have booked hotel stays based on the fact that they advertised a ‘fitness center’, only to find a small room with one ancient treadmill, a few mismatched hand weights, and a stinky old yoga mat. Yeah, no. Do your homework when you book. Go directly to the hotel’s website (especially if you are booking through a third party) and click through the photos to see what the facility actually looks like. Also make sure that the facility is open 24/7. If you are traveling for work, odds are you will need to work out either very early in the morning or very late in the day. Also check out the pool situation. Some hotels only have outdoor pools, so depending on the weather, you might not be able to take advantage of this option.
Let the world be your playground. I’m typically gone for three nights when I travel for my business, so I try to get in at least one outdoor run each trip. Interactive online maps make it easy to find a hotel with a park or running trails nearby. Do an internet search and see what’s around the area where you will be staying. Or, call the hotel directly and ask about your options. There also are several apps that can help you map out your route. And, while it takes a little extra work, search for a local running store in the area and call them and ask for recommendations. Who knows, you might just be able to meet up with a local running group and make some new running friends while you’re there!
Take advantage of your in-room Wi-Fi. Most hotels offer in-room Wi-Fi, and even if you don’t have ‘status’ with the hotel chain, you can upgrade to higher speeds for a nominal fee. Let’s be honest. If you’re traveling for work, sometimes the last thing you want to do is go to the gym. Or maybe you just don’t have enough time with your busy schedule to get in a full workout. You can easily hit up YouTube for a variety of workouts you can do right in your room. I recently bought a one year subscription to unlimited access to hundreds of yoga classes, varying in styles, levels of difficulty, and class duration. Yes, there are tons of free classes online, but as a novice, I needed something a little more structured where I can search my different options while learning the lingo. Plus, through Groupon I was able to purchase the subscription for just $11.99, which is more than 90% off of the regular subscription price. Yay me! Or as some of you might be thinking…sucker.
Pack your own gym. If you know me, you know I like to travel light. It doesn’t matter if my trip is three days or three weeks in duration. If it doesn’t fit in a carry-on, it doesn’t come with. Still, I always bring a few essentials just in case I can’t or don’t feel like making it down to the gym. Resistance bands take up very little space in my bag, and with them I can get a great strength-training workout done in a pinch. I have several resistance bands and tubes from my previous stints in physical therapy, but for less than $25, here is a great set of all kinds of pieces that will help you get a well-rounded workout in your room. I even bring this awesome therapy ball on all my trips to help relieve some of my inevitable travel tension.
Stop eating all the food. It’s so easy to lose control of healthy eating habits while traveling for work. Airport food, fast food, work-related food and drink receptions; they all add up to potential disaster. I fell into this trap early in my work travel days, but quickly realized this was no bueno. So these days, I plan ahead. I pack healthy snacks for travel day, just in case I get stuck in an airport with limited healthy options. I also choose hotels that offer in-room refrigerators and microwaves, and if they don’t come standard, I call the hotel and request them. They often are available free of charge. I travel enough to know which hotels offer these necessities, and often book rooms with little kitchenettes so I can cook my own healthy foods. Believe it or not, these rooms often are cheaper than ‘regular’ hotel rooms. Then on the way from the airport to the hotel, I stop at the local grocery store and pick up some healthy essentials; even enough to make home-made dinners in my room.
It really isn’t that hard to stay on track when you travel. It just takes a little bit of planning.
How about you? Do you travel for your work? How do you stay healthy on the road?