The Business Traveler's Guide to Staying Fit While Traveling
A suit, tie, and busy schedule should not prevent you from taking care of your fitness while you travel.
The lifestyle of frequent travel can be glamorous. Seeing different cities, flying first class and staying in luxurious hotels make for great Instagram material. As great as this may actually be, it shouldn't cost you your health.
I've lived the business travel life and know how crazy it can be. You're short on time. You're tired from a hectic schedule. The last thing you want to do is exercise.
The good news is that you don't need as much time to squeeze in a workout as you might think.
Why Are Many Business Travelers Unhealthy?
Research has shown that frequent travelers have a higher body mass index, higher blood pressure and are generally in worse shape than light travelers. So while you're enjoying the jet set lifestyle, you might be doing some serious damage to your body and your physical appearance.
Frequent business travelers cite a lack of time and motivation to exercise as the number one reason they skip workouts. Combine this with a poor diet and increased alcohol intake and you have a disaster in the making.
There are ways to combat this issue. By maintaining just a basic fitness routine while you travel and making smarter food choices, you can stay fit and healthy while traveling for work.
Embrace Bodyweight Workouts
Many hotels do not have a legitimate gym. Combine this with the tight schedule of a business traveler and it's easy to see why many skip workouts all together. The solution to this problem is as simple as exercise gets.
Bodyweight workouts with little to no equipment are actually the best way to build muscle and burn fat in a time-efficient way. All you need is the floor space in your hotel room and you're set. If you have limited time due to your schedule, perform your bodyweight workout in a high-intensity circuit. Limit your rest time between sets and rounds. Time yourself every workout and always aim to get better.
Try this bodyweight circuit in your hotel room:
Warm up with 1-2 minutes of jumping jacks. Then complete as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of the below in 20 minutes:
- 15 Squats
- 15 Push-Ups
- 15 Sit-Ups
You don't need more than 20 minutes of high-intensity exercise to get amazing results. Do this workout 3-4 times a week. If you want to switch it up and try a different workout, check out our Travel Workouts.
Bodyweight exercises are all you need to stay in great shape. They're perfect for while you travel because you can do them anywhere. They will burn a ton of calories, build muscle and improve your flexibility, strength and overall health. Keep progressing by performing workouts faster and try new variations of exercises to continue building strength and muscle.
Watch What You Eat
If you travel more than a few days a month, your chances of being overweight climb faster than your flight taking off.
Airport fast food, lounges with free alcohol, large dinners paid for by the company, limited gym access and no time to exercise all combine for a health disaster. Even if you rarely fly, driving long distances is not much better. Prolonged sitting in the car means inactivity and an increased risk of a number of diseases. Of course the familiar foe of fast food lurks along highways and roads as well, providing you with surplus calories that you don't need.
Your best bet for improving your diet on the road comes from planning ahead and packing healthy snacks. Consume them strategically throughout your day to mitigate your appetite for large unhealthy meals. Try trail mix, fruit and protein bars (with minimal ingredients) for great travel snack options. Staying hydrated by drinking a lot of water also keeps you feeling satiated and less likely to eat too much.
Are you looking for way to get really lean?
Try skipping breakfast or pushing it back a few hours. This eating pattern is known as intermittent fasting and it cycles between eating and fasting. If you eat your last meal at 8 PM and then don't eat again until 11 AM the next day, you have fasted for 15 hours. Do this on a daily basis and you will only be eating between 11 AM and 8 PM, a 9 hour window.
Research has shown that following this pattern forces your body to burn fat stores for energy. The fasting period, however, is not long enough for your body to do the same to muscle. In fact, you can actually gain muscle while following this eating strategy, as long as you're exercising. This will allow you to drop the right pounds, giving you a lean, muscular appearance rather than a skinny, malnourished one.
During your fasting period, drink plenty of water. This will help to keep you feeling full and less likely to feel hungry. You can also drink black coffee or green tea. These will help to fight the hunger pangs.
Here are some intermittent fasting FAQs answered by John Romaniello.
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Cover Photo Credit: Crossfit.com