Travel Tuesdays: Fit and Healthy Work Travel
Twice a year I go to huge medical conferences for my job. This is hands down the most stressful function I have at work and also the longest days. My mornings start at 7 a.m. and I don’t get in until 10 p.m. Committing to a fitness routine during these trips may seem excessive but its what keeps me going. I know if I didn’t work out I would be borderline depressed and suffering major anxiety. I’m the type of person who has to do some form of exercise at least every other day.
Over the past few years, I’ve come up with a routine to planning my on-site workouts. If I don’t plan in advance it makes it that much harder to actually squeeze it in. So here are my tips for fitting in fitness with minimal time.
- Check out the fitness center. Before you pack, scope out the fitness facility online. Make sure they have the equipment you need to get in your workout. For me, that means a treadmill and some free weights. The hotel we’re staying at this year has a pretty great gym, so I’ll be packing minimal workout extras.
- Schedule your workouts. Once you have your work schedule confirmed, determine which days you can realistically fit in a workout. I know that there will always be two days where I can get to the gym, by planning around these dates I never feel bad about my schedule. I’ll be at this year’s meting from January 12-16, and have already decided that I’ll workout out on the 12, 13 and 16. Maybe not as much as I would do at home, but more than enough to keep me energized and happy.
- Have a back-up plan. Ideally I’ll make it to the gym as scheduled, however the attendees at my meetings are all in the health industry and the gyms fill up quickly, in the event that I can’t get a machine I plan to do Core Fusion on my favorite channel – YogaVibes.com. If you prefer workout DVDs, just throw a few in your suitcase.
- Walk, walk, walk. If all else fails just make an effort to walk as much as you can. At my last conference in New Orleans I ended up walking for an hour each day. Not only did I get to see some amazing sites, I also got in tons of fresh air and exercise. It was a nice change from my usual gym routine.
So its pretty obvious, getting in some decent workouts isn’t too difficult with just a little bit of effort, but whats incredibly challenging for me is sticking to a healthy diet. I don’t normally rely on junk food to energize me, but when surrounded by an endless supply of snacks and sweets and colleagues egging you on, its easy to get side-tracked. On top of the day time challenges, each night we go out to dinner with the clients and every client I’ve ever worked for has been a serious foodie. Here’s how I handle it.
- Choose the best breakfast. When you start your day on a high note, its easier to commit to eating healthy the rest of the day. Our breakfast buffet this year includes your standard bagels (my kryptonite) and pastries, but it also includes an oatmeal bar and tons of fresh fruit. One guess what I’ll be eating.
- Snack soundly. Again, I’m fortunate that this is a medical conference and at its heart everyone is trying to be healthy, so there will be options when it comes to snack foods. In addition to the usual chips, our group will be serving crudites with hummus and dips and a selection of sweets. Since I know dinner will involve appetizers and desserts, I’ll go with the lightest fare.
- Portion control. If I do let loose and snack on some sweets, I always pay attention to portion sizes. A lot of the cookies, brownies and cakes are huge, but there is no reason you have to eat that entire portion. I like to ask a colleague to split with me so there’s no way I’ll over do it.
- Beware of beverages. By that I mean, sodas, sugary fruit drinks, coffee drinks and heavy cocktails. During the day, I’ll stick to black tea, coffee and water and at dinner I opt for a glass of wine rather than a specialty cocktail.
One thing to keep in mind about this type of travel is that it only happens a few times a year, so indulging a bit more is a-okay! I’ll do my best to stay healthy, but this may be one of the few opportunities I have for free fine dining in Chicago so I plan to take full advantage at my dinners out. :)
How do you stay healthy when your travel plans are extremely hectic?