Despite all your good intentions, when you travel for business your normal diet and fitness routine can soon go out of the window. Long hours, jet-lag and decadent lunch meetings mean that not only do you not have the time to exercise properly, but all attempts at a fruit and veg-rich diet can quickly be usurped by buttery sauces and chocolate cheesecakes. To help you stay fit and well on a business trip, we’ve put together nine top tips:
On a business trip, calorie-laden snacks and junk food are all too readily available. That mid-meeting cupcake or grab-and-go breakfast croissant might be the easy, time-saving option, but you can avoid the temptation by bringing some healthy snacks of your own. Energy or protein bars, dried fruits, nuts and seeds will keep hunger at bay and prevent mid-meal snacking, while filling your hotel room minibar with yoghurt and fresh fruit will give you a healthier alternative to the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet.
No matter how pressed for time you are, skipping breakfast is not a good idea. Breakfast not only increases your concentration but kick-starts your metabolism, making you far less likely to reach for the mid-morning snacks. So even if you don’t take our suggestion of filling your minibar with fruit, be sure to choose the healthier options on the breakfast menu. Replace that full English with porridge and fresh fruits and choose tea over a full-fat latte. That way, you’ll start the day fully alert, brimming with energy and raring to go.
It might be quicker and easier to take a taxi, but if your journey is a short one, why not try walking? Not only will you be giving your body some much-needed fresh air and exercise, but you’ll see more of your business travel destination too. This also works while you’re travelling – get your circulation going mid-flight by getting up for a walk, and when killing time at the airport, have a wander around the terminal rather than sitting in a café. Meeting on the 7th floor? Take the stairs; you can do it!
Improve your concentration levels and your memory by making sure you get a good night’s sleep. First, set your phone to silent and move it away from your bed so you aren’t woken up by emails in the middle of the night. Then, close the curtains and turn off the lights and any electronic devices, and you’ll soon drift off into a peaceful slumber. The age-old ‘early to bed, early to rise’ mantra is key, so learn when to call it a night; you’ll thank yourself for it when you awake rested and refreshed in the morning.
Booking a hotel with a gym or a pool will increase your chances of making time for exercise. You won’t have to go anywhere, and can hopefully squeeze in a workout or two in between meetings. Better yet, include these workouts in your daily schedule and stick with them. Top tip: schedule your exercise sessions early. This will not only give you extra energy in the morning but will leave your evenings free for any unplanned social events.
Although you might be short on time, it’s even harder to motivate yourself to exercise if you haven’t got the right clothes. So pack your trainers, sports bra and jogging bottoms in your suitcase and you’ll have no excuse. Even better, bring some fitness aids with you, such as a resistance band or a step counter, giving you the added impetus to get exercising.
Any exercise is better than nothing, so even if you just do 10 minutes of sit-ups and squats in your room before breakfast, you’re better off than if you do nothing at all. You can even use that resistance band you brought with you.
If your business trip is a whirlwind of networking parties and liquid lunches, try to keep control of your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is filled with empty calories, will dehydrate you and, if you go too far, can cause you to act in a less than professional manner that you might later regret. So, perhaps alternate your wine with a soft drink or water, or stick to lime and soda water and avoid drinking during the daytime.
Whether you’re on a plane, in an air-conditioned meeting room, or out and about in a hot and humid country, drinking plenty of water is essential when you travel, as it’s easy to become dehydrated. If you don’t like the taste, try sparkling water or add lemon or lime to make it more interesting, or opt for herbal teas. Your body will thank you for it.