When our BLB teammate Tracey Hlucky sent me a selfie from a work trip to Virginia, I asked if she tried to keep up a fitness routine while traveling. Turns out, she has given a lot of thought to creating a plan that works for her. Some of her tips sound like good advice for leisure travelers as well. Read on...
"My co-workers refer to the weight gain people get from working our Regional Management positions as our version of the "Freshman Fifteen" people experience in college. When you have to travel 4-5 days a week, youíre going to gain weight. Itís a given. So when I became a Regional Quality Manager last November, I was determined to break the cycle.
Last year I turned 40 and weighed in at over 200 pounds, the heaviest I had ever been. It was time for a change. By June, I had changed my eating habits and joined a gym. And by the time I accepted my new position, Iíd lost 25 pounds and 3 clothing sizes. There was no way I was going to gain it back!
At first, it was extremely difficult. Company dinners with co-workers, catered lunches, new food options in places I had never been, and most of all, loss of the healthy routine I had established at home. I gained a little weight till Iíd figured it out, and now I have a tried and true method to keep me on track, even losing more weight and another dress size!
Here are my tips for when youíre on the road:
1) Bring your own food, including snacks. I plan my meals every week, meal prep every weekend, and take my meals with me. It may seem overwhelming at first, but it gets easier. I check two pieces of luggage now every time I travel, but Iím still saving money by not purchasing food on the road. Be sure to book a hotel that at least has a microwave in the room. Iíve become a regular at Residence Inns.
2) Allow yourself to cheat once. Temptation is everywhere, and sometimes you have to let yourself enjoy what a new city has to offer. Philly cheese steak in Philadelphia. In & Out Burger in Los Angeles. The best barbeque Iíve ever had in North Carolina. But I went right back to my healthy habits as soon as I was done. Itís all about balance.
3) Eat BEFORE you go out to dinner. This seems counterintuitive since eating is the point of going out to eat, right? But when you travel for work, someone ALWAYS wants to go out to lunch or dinner, and it seems rude to say ĎNo.í So I eat one of my pre-prepped meals before I head out, and order a side salad or small appetizer at the restaurant.
4) Research local gyms and running/walking trails. Before I travel to a new city, I hop on Google to find the best places to exercise. There are websites that even rate different trails and gyms. I look for a few options that sound interesting and have good reviews, then check them out. Not only do you get your exercise in, you get to see the city in a completely different way. Itís my version of "sight seeing."
5) Make time for fitness. A coach at my gym often says, "You donít FIND time. You MAKE time." So I get up an hour earlier than I need to and work out before my day starts. If you canít get to a trail or local gym, the hotel gym is always an option. Or exercise in your hotel room. I travel with a resistance band and sliders and have found a few apps for my phone. Check out the 7 Minute Workout Challenge.
6) Always take the stairs, and walk everywhere. If Iím on the first 5 floors of a hotel, I try to take the stairs as much as possible. If I need to run to the corner store or grab a cup of coffee and itís within a mile or two, I walk. I never use the "people movers" in the airport. Even if Iím about to miss my connecting flight, I play a fun game I call "airport cardio" and run to my next gate!
7) Make fitness and health a priority on the road. Your co-workers will eventually stop making fun of you for the 50 pounds of luggage you travel with and start becoming envious of your dedication. Itís totally worth it!"