After the first year of many years of business traveling, I found myself needing to extend my healthy lifestyle onto my travels. I seemed to always have a hard time finding the hotel gym (even though it’s generally near the lobby) but could easily find the unhealthiest meal outside of the hotel. This started to feel problematic for me. Here are a few tips I found to be successful in sustaining my healthy lifestyle while on the road:
- Eat right. We all know it’s not a good idea to skip meals. It leaves us feeling foggy and forces our bodies to run on reserves to get us through the day ahead. When I was not skipping breakfast altogether, I was a sucker for coffee (or as some would call it “cream and sweetener with coffee, please”) and a chocolate chip cookie to start off my day. It’s what I used to call “Breakfast of Champions” but boy was I wrong about that.
In order to stay healthy, you have to make smart decisions about the kinds of food you put into your body. Hotels will general have fruits and healthy choices available to kick start your day and promote energy instead of a sugar crash. For lunch and dinner try to find a ready-made choice at a grocery store instead of a fast food joint. At a grocery store, you’ll find the same options you make at home keeping you on track of a healthy lifestyle. Grocery stores also have great snacks like protein bars, almonds, and fruit which are great replacements for whatever you’ll find at a rest stop on the side of the road.
- Drink lots of water. Drinking a lot of water in general is good for your body for many reasons – hydration, mental clarity, strong muscles and joints. Water also serves as a deterrent to mindless snacking, all the while keeping you hydrated and ready to go.
- Work out - Even if it’s in your hotel room.
Along with eating well, working out is crucial to maintaining overall health while on the road – where you may spend most of your time sitting in a car, a meeting room, or the hotel lobby preparing for your day. It’s hard to find a place on the road to work out unless you belong to a gym with locations all over the country. The trick I’ve found to be the most helpful is using apps that let you customize your workout based on which area of your body you want to focus on. If you can’t use apps, many newer smart phones have a step tracker and health app. When in a pinch, taking a long walk will not only help clear your mind, but serve as a great way to get some exercise.
- Listen to an Audiobook or Podcast while you exercise. You may find this to be an easy way to get your mind off the workout and learn something new. In fact, studies have shown that running is the best time for the brain to receive new information. I’m currently listening to the book “The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath but there are plenty of audiobooks out there from your favorite retailers and even your local library.
- Set goals and be rewarded. A lot of apps used for tracking steps and other measurements will show your goals and other actions you’ve achieved throughout the day. What motivated me to keep going was beating a goal and being rewarded for it. Treat yourself with whatever makes sense for you. New running shoes, a pair of great headphones, or maybe even that chocolate chip cookie.
Continuing the healthy lifestyle off of the road will make you a better prepared person for what you’re trying to accomplish. When your body and mind are in sync, it makes for the best presentation of you. Find something that works with your habits and schedule and stick to it. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.