by Julie Zellman, Marketing Communications Coordinator, LifeSize
Ahh, a vacation. As the weather gets cooler and the warm sun goes into hibernation for several months, it’s not hard to fantasize about a beach, a cruise, or just about any tropical destination on the globe. Vacations equal letting loose, forgetting calories and taking a “break” from the daily grind of everyday life, right? How many times have we gone on a trip and thought, “calories don’t count” or “I will exercise and eat right when I get home”?
Unfortunately for most business travelers, this mentality can seep into your work trips, as well. All of a sudden, your “vacations” from healthy food and exercise seem to last weeks or even months. Before you know it, you can pack on unexpected pounds and fall into very unhealthy habits when working on the road.
In order to nip this bad behavior in the bud, here is a list of ten easy ways to stay healthy while you are traveling for business.
1. Avoid the temptation of cocktail hour. Many networking and conference events can revolve around alcohol. It is best to make healthy choices, if you choose to have a drink. Sugary drinks like Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daquiris can sometimes have over 200 calories in just one tiny drink. Cocktails made with whole milk, such as Mai Tais and White Russians, may provide much-needed calcium but shy away from these if you are calorie-counting. Best choices include MGD 64, Budweiser Select, a glass of red wine or vodka and soda. Or even better, water or seltzer with a twist.
2. Pace yourself at the buffet. Buffets are the ultimate temptation to overeat. With so many choices in front of you, it is easy to go back for seconds or thirds. Only use one plate at a time and try to fill about two-thirds of it with healthy food. The last third can be for (small) indulgences like a healthy dessert – try a small slice of cake or a cookie with fresh fruit. Only eat until you are satisfied, not until you have a stomachache.
3. Walk and talk. Ever get stuck on a video or audio conference call for hours at a time? Take the conversation outside and take a stroll while you are listening in on the call. Even a 15-minute walk is beneficial. Video conferences are now doable on mobile devices and can operate on 3G or 4G networks, so you don’t need to stay tied to your Wi-Fi hot spot.
4. Just keep swimming. Almost every business-class hotel and conference center has a swimming pool. Swimming is a fantastic, full-body workout. Indoor pools are perfect for winter months, as well. Take a dip after a long day on your feet to feel weightless (and get some exercise while you are at it). If laps aren’t your thing, treading water in the deep-end of the pool is another great option.
5. Keep snacks for craving attacks. You never know when hunger can strike, so it is best to be prepared with healthy snacks. Granola bars, a piece of fruit, peanuts or even a bottle of water can help curb your appetite until your next meal. If you don’t have room for snacks in your bag, a sugar-free piece of gum can help give you the boost you need (and is compact enough for the most mobile road warriors).
6. Book a hotel with a gym. Hotel gyms are usually well-equipped and rarely used. It is almost like having your own workout room during early morning hours. Throw on your sneakers and walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes. To maximize productivity, you can spend the time cleaning out your inbox, catching up on the latest news on TV or reviewing written documents. A slow walk is better than no walk at all!
7. Treat exercise like an important meeting. Find the time to schedule in workouts during your day and put them on your calendar. That way, you won’t have any distractions and the “official” calendar reminder can help entice you to get it done.
8. Find a buddy to keep you accountable. Is there someone else on your work trip who is also interested in staying fit? Keep each other accountable by working out or scheduling meals together. When it comes to being healthy, a great support system is one of the best motivators.
9. Just say no. Tempted with morning pastries or an unhealthy afternoon snack from the vending machine? Just say no. Your willpower is stronger than you may think. It may seem simple, but the right attitude can take you far.
10. Think outside the box. Take the stairs instead of the elevator in your hotel. Park your rental car in the back of the parking lot and speed-walk to the front door. Commit to crunches and sit ups before your morning shower. If you make the extra effort to add in tiny workouts here and there, it can add up to big results.
Have healthy tips of your own? We would love to hear them. Comment below and tell us your secret of how you stay fit on the road.