My 9-5 job requires quite a bit of travel. A lot of weeks that means leaving the house around 5 am on Monday morning and getting back late Friday night. It can be exhausting and can quickly throw off any of my well-intentioned healthy eating and exercise goals.
In September, I spent the entire month traveling for work. Because of the long hours we spent working on a project my company catered the majority of the meals from chain restaurants in the area. I won’t deny how amazing this seemed at first, but after a couple of days I realized I had probably consumed more sodium than I normally do in an entire month.
I’m sure a lot of you can relate. Traveling for business often means eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner and having less opportunities to squeeze in some exercise throughout the day. I’m back on the road again this week so today we’re talking about 10 ways that, with a little planning, can help you stay on track with your goals if you find yourself in a similar situation.
1. Research local restaurants
Do a little research before you leave on your business trip. Check out sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon to see what sort of restaurants are near your job site. Experiencing new food can be one of the greatest parts of traveling and healthy eating doesn’t have to mean flavorless food. Try to look for places that have more nutritious options on their menu.
I typically travel to the Washington D.C. area and there is a great place here (and up the east coast), called SweetGreen. They primarily serve salads, wraps and rice bowls, but what’s really inspiring about this place is that they partner with local organic farmers to use quality ingredients. Their menu changes regularly based on the fruits and vegetables that are in season. Finding places like this can give you the best of both worlds – great tasting and good for you.
2. Pack your running shoes
I know what you’re thinking. Running shoes can be bulky and take up prime real estate in an already packed carry on, but do your best to squeeze them in there. This way you won’t have an excuse to skip out on exercise throughout the week.
3. Bring a few healthy snacks for the airport
Airports can be very tempting places. Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, Five Guys – these are just a few of the establishments that are usually found in airports. It’s easy to wind up at one of them while waiting for your flight or killing time during a layover. Instead, try throwing a couple of granola bars or a pack of mixed nuts in your bag to hold you over.
4. Stop at a local grocery store
The first day I arrive I usually find a local grocery store and pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables to snack on throughout the week. Having a couple of apples, bananas or carrots on hand will help you avoid unnecessary sugary snacks and give you something to munch on while spending time in your hotel room.
5. Choose a hotel that offers an in room refrigerator
To piggy back off #4, having a refrigerator in your hotel room can give you a lot more options. You can pick up more of those food items that you normally buy at home. This can be an easy way to stick to your normal routine and stay on track if you are working hard to make healthier choices.
6. Request a room close to the hotel gym
This one might make me sound a little bit lazy, but I am much more likely to go to the hotel gym if its super close to my room. You can pop in and out for a quick workout or walk on the treadmill. Most hotels these days have gyms, and with a lot of companies you can include your travel preferences when you book your trip. I usually stay at the same hotel every time, so I request a room on the first floor near the gym.
7. Look for gyms or workout studios that offer trial classes
For a long time I had a membership with a yoga studio in my hometown and I loved it, but when I started traveling for work I wasn’t able to go nearly enough to get my moneys worth. I decided it didn’t make financial sense to pay monthly for something I wasn’t using so I ended up canceling it. However, I know that a lot of gyms and other types of workout studios will offer free or reduced rate trial periods or classes. Do a little research about the area, and find out if there’s a place nearby that offers a fun workout class free for first timers.
8. Explore the area on foot
Instead of driving everywhere, make an effort to explore the area on foot. Head to the downtown area and check out the local shops and restaurants. Another option would be to talk to the employees at the hotel – ask them if there a safe walking trail nearby or a lake where you can get in a quick jog. Even a quick walk can be very beneficial after a long day at the office.
9. Do some basic exercises in your room
If you don’t feel like heading to the hotel gym or have time to find a local class, you can always do some basic exercises in your hotel room. This is especially true now as the weather is starting to get colder and the days are getting shorter. There are several types of exercises you can do even without a lot of space. Try doing some planks, wall sits, push ups or squats while you watch TV. A short workout is always better than no workout.
10. Make a plan and stick to it
For me, this meant deciding that I was going to make healthier choices when it came to meals and snacking and sticking to it. What’s convenient isn’t always what’s best. Continuous travel is definitely something that can challenge your dedication to a healthier lifestyle, but with a little planning and some good old fashioned will power you can still meet your goals even if your job requires you to be a road warrior.
What types of challenges do you face on the road? What techniques do you use to stay on track? Do you have any tips or tricks that help you make healthier choices away from home?
P.S. The beautiful photo above is by Sylwia Bartyzel and is posted on Unsplash.