First, some semi-exciting news. I was down 1.2 more pounds at weigh in yesterday, making my total 11.2 pounds lost in the 5 weeks back on the new Weight Watchers plan. That means I only have 10.4 pounds left until my goal weight, and I’m more than half way done with the weight loss this go-round! I am SURE this is going to slow down sometimes soon, but for now, I’m enjoying the ride. 🙂
I’m currently on a plane to San Diego for work and will be there until next Tuesday, so what better time than now to have a refresher course about staying healthy while traveling for work!? I travel 4-5 times a year for my job for several days/a week at a time, so I am always looking for innovative ways to stay on track while traveling.
I used to take the complete wrong approach to trips and just splurge the whole time and not plan at all. Not only would I feel lethargic, bloated, and have no energy, but almost always I would come back 5 pounds heavier. While this is not the end of the world, 5 pounds, 4 times a year = 20 pounds a year. Not good.
While a lot of these tips can apply to travel for both work or pleasure, the main difference for me about staying healthy on a business trip v. a personal trip is that your time is not your own on a business trip. Sure, you’ll have a little bit of free time, but I have a schedule for the whole time I am there. I have a little extra time during the first few days, but then starting during the weekend, I am working from very early in the morning (6am) until late in the evening (8-10pm) with only a few breaks to eat. If I was traveling for pleasure, I’d definitely plan for a lot more flexibility with my days and squeezing in workouts, but that’s not the case for trips like this!
After doing some research as well as a lot of trial and error, here’s what I’ve come up with for the Top Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling for Work.
- Research the hotel and the area you are staying at.
- See if your hotel has a gym/fitness center.
- If there isn’t a gym, figure out some workouts you can do in your room without any equipment – like lunges, jumping jacks, squats, pushups, planks, sit-ups, etc. Do some research and print out a few workout options you can do to bring with you. You can get in some great circuits with these types of exercises and really break a sweat! Also, you can ALWAYS go for a run or walk outside which is a great way to see the city and get some activity in!
- If there is a gym, make sure you bring everything you need to workout, including socks, sneakers, headphones, and workout clothes! The last thing you want is to find the time to workout and not have what you need to do it.
- Check the hotel website to see if there are refrigerators and/or microwaves in the rooms.
- Did you know that you can request a refrigerator in your room because of “dietary restrictions”? I called ahead and told them I needed it for that purpose and they are giving me one for the whole length of my stay free of charge!!
- Research to see if there are any grocery stores in your area. There is a grocery store less than a half a mile from the hotel that I’m staying at, so I plan to head there almost immediately after I arrive to stock up.
- If you have a fridge, stock up on nonfat milk, greek yogurt, babybel cheese or string cheese, hummus, baby carrots, or anything else you can think of that’s easy to eat on the go quickly.
- Either way: Stock up on whole grain bread, oats, nut butter, whole fruit, dried fruit, granola bars, almonds/walnuts/nut of choice, or any other non perishables.
- If there’s not a grocery store near you, or there are some specialty items you’re not sure if you will have access to, bring them with you. I packed peanut flour with a measuring spoon so I can mix it into oatmeal in the mornings for extra staying power.
- Pick out a few restaurants you want to check out while you are there. You can even glance at online menus and come up with some healthy options so you don’t find yourself stranded/without a plan.
- See if your hotel has a gym/fitness center.
- What to Bring With You
- Reusable Water Bottle. This one is essential. Empty it out before you go through security, and then fill it back up as soon as you are through. Having a reusable water bottle with you will help you keep drinking water throughout your trip and stay hydrated, whether you have time to work out or not.
- Pantry Staples – Listed above, but its important. If there are special things you like and pretty much need (for me, peanut flour right now), make a little room in your suitcase to bring them with you. Granola bars, nuts, nut butter packets (single serving sized ones are perfect), etc.
- Workout Clothes – If you don’t think you’ll have time to workout, still bring one set just in case. You’ll be very happy if you end up with some time you weren’t expecting!
- Snacks – You never want to be hungry and have the cookies that they serve (speaking from personal experience!) as your only option for a snack. Not only will it not be satisfying, but you’ll crash! Top picks for me are almonds, granola bars, and whole fruit like apples and bananas.
- Utensils and bowls/plates – This is a biggie for me. If you’re planning on eating any of your meals in your room, you need to have some silverware to eat it with! Even if you’re just going to have nut butter on bread, you’ll need a butter knife to spread it with. Think about this while you’re planning what to bring!
- Schedule in Workouts
- I do this in my every day life and it helps SO much to actually schedule it in. As soon as I get my schedule for these trips, I look at when I’m free and where I might be able to squeeze a workout in. I have a lunch break on Friday for 1 hour, so my plan is to go to the gym and do the 5k pace run that’s on my training plan, take a quick shower, and be back within the hour.
- If you don’t have any free time during the day, wake up 10 minutes earlier to do a few sit-ups, planks, jumping jacks, etc. You’ll feel so much more energized throughout the day.
- Plan for a Splurge.
- This one is especially important for me. If I try to be “too good” during a trip, I’ll inevitably give up and throw in the towel and eat everything in sight. This one can correspond with researching restaurants in the area. Find the place you want to have your big meal out, and plan it for the last few days of your trip. Focusing on that will help you stay on track for the rest of your time there and not make you feel deprived.
- Set Realistic Expectations.
- Realistically, you’re not going to be able to stay on track as much as you can at home where you’re in your normal routine and cooking your own meals. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting expectations that you can’t achieve. Hoping to workout every day you are there if you don’t have the time to will just cause disappointment. Instead, focus on making the best choices you can make, and squeezing in activity wherever and however you can.
Wow this list turned out longer than I thought it would, but the bottom line: be prepared.
Do you travel for work at all? What are your best tips for staying healthy while traveling (for work or pleasure)?