When I was younger, I always thought it would be so cool to be one of those career women who are always traveling from state to state for meetings, conferences, shows or any professional gatherings.
Now that I’ve become one of those traveling career ladies, I still think it’s “cool” to see a lot of places, but I’ve also realized it’s hard to stay healthy when you’re always on the road.
A lot of your meetings are based around food, like dinner meetings or networking luncheons. And the effort of traveling and busy schedule makes it hard to squeeze in a workout.
But the reality is, staying healthy on the road is critical to your work performance. I know if I don’t workout or if I eat unhealthily, I’ll be slower, groggy and not be on top of my game.
Here are some tips I’ve found that help me keep my health in check while traveling:
1- Bring snacks
Don’t wait until your dinner meeting to eat. It’s better to eat little snacks throughout the day to keep your metabolism up and you won’t feel so hungry at dinner. My favorite snack that keeps me full is Luna Protein Bars (the cookie dough flavor, duh). Other good options are almonds or anything with protein that will coat your stomach. I also bring oatmeal packs so I get my fiber in the morning!
2- Use AthleticMindedTraveler.com
This site is a great resource to find hotels with the best gyms or pools. Or finding healthy restaurants or running paths near your hotel. Basically, it’s your go-to tool for healthy options in hundreds of different cities. It’s $19.95 per year, but definitely worth it if you’re a traveler.
3- Stay at a Westin Hotel
Westin Hotels now offer New Balance gear to borrow. For me, I try to pack light and it’s hard to make room for my sneakers and workout gear. Therefore, rentals are a lifesaver. Westin also offers complimentary group runs. Need I say more?
4- Bring a resistance band
If you’re really crunched for time and can’t hit the gym, at least do some resistance band training for 10-20 minutes after you wake up. Resistance bands are easy to pack and have a ton of different exercises you can do with them. The Xfinity Fitness Band ($30 at sportsauthority.com) comes with workout DVDs. If you really want to get in some good resistance training (and are willing to pay $200), get TRX bands (trxtraining.com) that hook onto a doorway. They’re pricy but you’ll feel it in muscles you didn’t know you had!
5- Get a guest pass to a gym
Most gyms offer some sort of guest pass for a day or a week depending on the gym. Some are free and some are a small fee (like $5-10). Usually hotel gyms are limited, so try to get to a real gym on your trip. Don’t waste your time just on the elliptical for an hour, get in some weights and interval training to wake up your metabolism.
6- Don’t beat yourself up
Relax. It’s very hard to stick 100% to your normal fitness and meal plan while on the road. If you get mad at yourself for eating that cookie at the luncheon, you’re only going to put yourself in a bad mood and lose focus of your professional goals (which is the reason for the trip in the first place, right?). Talk to yourself like you’d talk to your good friend. Don’t raise your voice, breathe in breathe out, and make healthy choices at the next opportunity. Also remember that indulging in your cravings can be a good thing. If you want a cookie, eat one and be done! Depriving yourself of cravings can lead to binging. More importantly, you deserve to treat yourself in moderation. So go for it!
Jess Ekstrom is the 22-year-old founder of Headbands of Hope . For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
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