Many work-at-home women, especially consultants, must travel as part of their business. Business travel presents some additional challenges to maintaining a healthy lifestyle over personal travel. When you travel on business, you have no control over the amenities available where your client is located. In addition, you must work while you are there, so time becomes an issue.
Here are some tips to help make your next business trip a little healthier than your last.
Choose the Right Lodging:
1. Location, location, location.
Look for lodging that is close to healthy eating options, a grocery store, a gym, or your client’s location, or airport. You want to reduce time spent traveling that could be used for food preparation and exercise.
2. Look for a hotel that caters to healthy lifestyles or has an onsite gym.
Beware of the hotel “gym” with a broken treadmill and only one 15-lb dumbbell. You don’t need a lot of equipment, but it needs to be in good working order and available at convenient times. Check out the Hyatt’s StayFit program that includes healthier menu options and 24/7 gym access! Westin Hotels and Resorts’ WestinWORKOUT® program can arrange to have yoga DVDs, a spin bike, or other exercise equipment available in your room! Ask about extra hidden fees for these amenities or services.
Think Ahead About Food:
1. Pack some healthy grab-and-go snacks that you can have in your purse.
The easiest way to sabotage your meal plan is to let yourself get too hungry. If you do, you’ll head straight for the nearest fast food.
2. Check with your airline to see if you can select a healthier in-flight meal.
If you are driving, pack a small cooler full of healthy options.
3. Consider booking a hotel with a small kitchen or with a refrigerator and stock up on healthy foods at a nearby grocery store.
Many hotels have refrigerators that you can rent by the day, or they will clean out the minibar fridge so that you won’t be tempted and can use it to store your own food.
4. Clients often want to make you feel welcome by providing one or more meals.
Of course, you don’t want to turn them down, but keep in mind that they may be dreading the extra pounds they anticipate putting on while you are there as much as you are! Talk to the host in advance about how meals will be handled. Feel free to suggest a fruit tray for breakfast instead of donuts or recommend lunch at Panera Bread.
For dinner, call ahead to the restaurant or look online to get information about what you might order. If you can, commit to one meal with the client per day and opt to have the rest of your meals on your own. It is perfectly reasonable to say, “You know what, dinner sounds great, but I’d like to work through lunch, so I’ll just bring something with me.”
5. Limit alcohol.
If your client wants to take you out for drinks or order wine at dinner, have just one drink. This is a good idea for several reasons, not the least of which is avoiding empty calories. Remember, however, that there is also nothing wrong with a gracious “no, thank you.”
Figure Out a Workable Workout Plan:
1. Before you travel, see if your local gym has a sister gym in the city you are traveling to.
For example, most YMCAs have reciprocal agreements. Know the details of your gym membership “level.” You may not be allowed to use the facilities of a gym that is at a higher “level” than the gym in your city.
2. Give yourself permission to splurge.
Most gyms will let you pay $10-15 a day to workout, even if you have no membership.
3. Keep it simple.
If the hotel has a decent cardio room but no weights, it’s OK to just hit the treadmill for 30 minutes per day and bypass your normal weight workouts.
4. Take the gym with you!
If you travel frequently, this is probably your best bet. Look online or work with a personal trainer to develop a couple of workouts that you can do in your room with some resistance bands and the available furniture. Also, most hotels will have a staircase. You can always walk or run the stairs. If the weather is nice, go for a run or walk.
5. No matter what you decide to do.
Put your workout on your schedule to help ensure that you do it.
Make It About You:
1. No family or house obligations.
Business travel is chaotic, but you also don’t have your kids and other normal home life distractions with you, so if you plan well, you can take advantage of this fact and relish your away time as part-business, part me-time.
2. If you normally don’t exercise or eat very well, look at your business trip as an opportunity to be kinder to yourself.
Set a few small goals like bypassing the eggs and bacon at breakfast and opting for yogurt and a piece of fruit. Likewise, you might plan on a short 15-minute walk every day.
3. Reward yourself for sticking to your workout and/or meal plan while on your trip.
Get a pedicure or massage before you return home or as soon as you get back. You deserve it.
How do you stay on track when you travel for business?
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Chris Heidel is the owner and primary personal trainer with Libra Fitness in Austin, TX, a private, in-home studio. Chris focuses her business on developing mentoring relationships with her clients built on trust and meaningful support to help them set, achieve, and maintain realistic fitness goals. Chris truly believes that while getting in shape isn't easy, it doesn't have to be complicated. Chris is certified through the American Council on Exercise. To learn more follow Chris' tweets on Twitter @librafitnessaus.