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Paul Huddle, triathlon coach and author of “The Athletic-Minded Traveler” offers advice to maintain your fitness routine during business travels.
As a business traveler, how can I keep my fitness routine on track away from home?
It can be difficult to keep your fitness routine on track when you are away from home without the convenience of your regular running routes and gym facilities. The first step a business traveler should take is to get on the same time zone prior to leaving for a trip. For example, if you live in Los Angeles and are traveling to New York City, you should go to bed and wake up earlier and dial in your meals accordingly. It is also important to do some research about your destination before you go, such as local running routes, running clubs and fitness facilities. There is usually a decent selection of gyms in any major city with national fitness centers such as Gold’s Gym and 24 Hour Fitness. In addition, many cities have an extensive trail system or bike route network that can be found on the official city website. A great tool for traveling is MapMyRun.com, where you can find running routes in a particular city posted by local runners. Upon arriving, consider taking a half hour or so and going for an easy run in the immediate vicinity. This is an excellent way to get oriented with what is nearby, such as restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, etc.
How can I find the motivation to work out despite my busy schedule?
After a long workday, most people have trouble finding the energy to hit the gym. A great source of motivation is a training companion. Ask a coworker with similar fitness goals to meet you at the gym or go for a run after work, or meet up with a local running group. When you are obligated to train with someone, it makes it so much easier to stick to your routine. For those who prefer to work out alone, an iPod is an easy tool to increase motivation. Whether listening to music, an audio book or a podcast, you are more likely to enjoy the gym experience if you can zone out and not think about anything work-related. In fact, working out can provide you with a boost of energy and relieve stress after a long day.
Is it possible to maintain my fitness using a basic hotel gym?
Finding a decent hotel gym can be a challenge since there are great and not-so- great offerings within the same hotel chain. Keep in mind that all you need to maintain your fitness is a decent cardio machine (treadmill, indoor bike or elliptical), weight machines and dumbbells. Your workout might not feel as good compared to your comprehensive equipment back home, but a basic hotel gym is sufficient when it comes to maintaining your fitness.
How can I keep my nutrition in check on my business travels?
On business trips, perhaps the most difficult meal to eat healthy is dinner. Since you likely dine out with your coworkers, chain restaurants are a common choice. Still, you can usually find a healthy option such as salads or a lean protein such as fish or baked chicken. A common mentality is that because you’re traveling, “road food” is okay. However, if you travel frequently, this way of thinking can quickly catch up with you—and your waistline. I recommend visiting a local grocery store to stock up on nutritious foods for breakfast and snacks. If you don’t have a fridge in your hotel room, just ask, as many hotels have small fridges available.
What are some helpful packing strategies?
A common misconception is that you need to pack a lot of gear. Although you likely prefer wearing different outfits from one workout to the next, all you need is a light, breathable technical running top, a pair of running shorts and one or two sports bras. Bring one pair of running shoes that can double as your casual shoes and be worn at the airport. Your workout clothes should be quick drying so that after your morning run you can wash them in the shower and have them 100 percent dry and stink-free by evening. As a result, you’ll be much more inclined to make a trip to the gym. If you are traveling for an extended period of time, consider using FedEx to send your sweaty workout clothes back home so you don’t have to deal with them in your suitcase. The bottom line? Keep your suitcase as streamlined as possible.
As told to Breanne George