Business trips can be jam-packed with presentations, meetings, buffet lunches and lots of sitting around. Even though the days begin early and you have a full workload, don’t neglect your commitment to fitness. Not only will you physically feel better, you will be more mentally focused.
If you’ve been on a fitness plan at home, there’s no reason not to keep with it while you’re out of town.
“Continuing your wellness regimen including exercise and nutrition during business trips is critical for maintaining healthy habits you’ve developed,” says Andrea Levine, an ACE-certified group fitness instructor and Mayo Clinic-trained wellness coach, who teach classes at Equinox and New York Health & Racquet Club in New York City. “Often the biggest pitfall in losing or maintaining weight is stopping and then trying to start again; the more second nature a behavior is, the easier it is to stick with it. Further, if you travel frequently for work, unhealthy behaviors, particularly with nutrition, can sabotage the great work you’re doing at home to improve your health.”
We’ve rounded up tips for from fitness gurus who share how you can put a jump in your step with a little bit of effort the next time you’re on a business trip.
Make sure you pack what you need
Plan ahead and pack sneakers, work-out clothing, some portable, lightweight equipment or a yoga mat. Even though you’re probably packing by carry-on, these items are important to keep your commitment to fitness.
Run if you’re a runner
Levine suggests asking the concierge for a map of the area and recommended running routes. “This is a great way to see the city before or after meetings while doing something good for yourself,” she says. Be sure to be careful where you are going and to bring a cell phone for emergencies. Even better, bring a work friend to run with.
Book a hotel with a gym or pool
Most hotels have a fitness center. The center doesn’t have to be fancy, and will usually have some cardio equipment to get you through a basic work-out. Consider going early in the morning or if you get a chance to get back to the hotel mid-day, take a swim to burn the carbs from lunch.
Bring your own small gear for an in-room workout
Levine says to consider purchasing resistance bands or booty bands for a lightweight, compact piece of equipment you can carry anywhere. Opt for high-intensity interval training to get that heart rate up and boost your metabolic rate for the remainder of the day, she says. To do this, work for short periods of time at 75-85% of your maximum heart rate (or what feels like an 8 out of 10 on a scale of difficulty) followed by recovery.
“My go-to circuit is eight exercises, working 40 seconds on followed by 20 seconds of recovery,” she says. Another option is to perform Tabata intervals, working 20 seconds on with 10 seconds of recovery for 4 minutes.
“These circuits can be done with any combination of plyometric exercises e.g., jump squats, burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers) and strength exercises e.g., push-ups, kettlebell swings, shoulder presses,” she adds.
If nothing else, follow the sage advice of adding in more steps however you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further from the entrance of everywhere you go, pace the room while on the phone or even during an in-person meeting, if that’s an option, says Levine.
Take a walk around the place you’re visiting if the weather permits or if there’s an indoor mall nearby consider a stroll not only to exercise but to clear your head.
Use anything you can in your hotel room
Tadeo Arnold, a celebrity fitness trainer in Los Angeles, says don’t fret if you don’t have gym supplies in your luggage or a gym at your reach. Use what you do have at your disposal and multitask.
“You can also watch the morning news or listen to the radio while you’re getting in your exercises,” he says. And the best part all equipment free in your hotel room. Here are some ideas for a generic desk chair.
Start with dips. “Place both hands on the seat of the chair (facing away from the chair) and dip your body down and up to work your triceps,” he says.
Next, try split squats. “Put one leg on the chair (facing the chair) and do a split squat down and up to work your upper legs,” he says. Follow those with push-ups. “Prop both feet on top of a chair (or a couch for easier resistance) and push up and down working your full upper body,” Arnold explains.
Go one step further and do chair squats. “Squat down until your bum hits the chair, then jump up,” he adds. This mini work-out can do done in minutes before breakfast packed with healthy protein for energy to tackle your day of meetings.
Try a flexible gym subscription service
One idea is ClassPass, a monthly subscription service providing access to a large network of small fitness studios and gyms. Class options include dance, yoga, indoor cycling and Pilates and others. With thousands of classes at more than 8,500 locations in 40 major cities in the United States, it’s easy to catch a class while on a business trip. An app makes sign-up for classes quick and convenient. They are also user reviews to help you choose a class.
“This usually results in lower costs than purchasing individual classes or services directly. While it is a monthly subscription plan, members can cancel any time before the next cycle is charged,” says Levine.