As you pack your case to jet off on another work trip, your mind might be on whether you have your passport, what the hotel is going to be like and if you’re prepared for your meeting. What we often forget to think about though, is our fitness. Around 42 percent of men and 32 percent of women are now overweight say the NHS with 1 in 4 being obese. And the suggestion is that business travellers are one of the most unhealthy, obese groups in the population. Combining travelling for work with fitness, particularly if you do so regularly, can be difficult. Here are our tips for making your work trips as healthy as possible.
The holiday mentality
One of the first stumbling blocks, and the one that most people make, is to see a business trip as a holiday from daily life when all of the usual rules don’t apply. Over a quarter of business travellers say they drink excessively whilst on holiday, and even those who regularly train at home might see travelling for work as an excuse to ditch the exercise. Being fit is all about consistency, and just two weeks away from your training programme can see you lose essential fitness and muscle mass- meaning it’s even harder to get back to where you were before the break. When a work trip is in the offing, change your mind-set so that the trip becomes just another part of your routine, and you will avoid those destructive patterns of behaviour that could quickly unravel all the hard work you’ve put in and make you feel pretty lousy too.
Don’t be sedentary
When we’re in an unfamiliar city, the temptation can be to go from hotel room to office, office to hotel room with very little walking going on at all. A sedentary lifestyle is actually one of the biggest risks to our health. Even if we work out once or twice a week, the effect of sitting down for the majority of the day means that we are still at risk of heart disease, diabetes and premature ageing. Use business travel as your chance to mix up your training with some walking or jogging. Ask local colleagues or clients for their recommendations for places to run or walk, they may even join you meaning that you get to develop business relationships whilst working on your fitness and seeing a little more of a new place.
Carry on fitness
Often, when we’re travelling we’ll subconsciously give ourselves reasons not to train and the classic one is that you don’t have your gear with you. Make packing your trainers and gym gear an essential part of your planning, and you’ll almost always have room to pop in a few others fitness essentials too. Resistance bands can be rolled up to the size of a pen and you can use them for all manner of strength exercises without the need for weights, like lateral raises, shoulder presses and upright rows. Chances are you’ll always have your phone with you, so download a fitness app that can track your activity as well as other wellbeing related activities like how much sleep you get, you’ll be surprised by how motivating the simple action of monitoring your own lifestyle has on you.
It’s been proven, the more people you eat with the more calories you consume, meaning that all those business lunches and networking evenings could well take a toll on your waistline. When we travel, we’re also more reliant on the food that others provide for us, such as with airline meals, hotel room service or corporate entertainment with a number of courses. The trick is to be proactive in your planning, ordering a low fat airline meal for example, opting for the healthier choices when given pre-set menus to select from, or when dining out. Time differences mean we can often be left feeling ravenous at anti-social hours, so to avoid making food choices that are severely lacking in nutritional value, have snacks ready like nuts and seeds to keep you going until your next meal.
Sometimes, even if a hotel has its own gym, training in it might not fit in with your business itinerary or your inclinations. After a long day of meetings, the peace and tranquillity that your own room offers can be very appealing. But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo your workout. Hilton have recently introduced Five Feet to Fitness, where over eleven different pieces of fitness equipment and accessories can be found right in your hotel room including an indoor Wattbike and a Fitness Kiosk preloaded with guided workout routines. Other hotel groups like InterContinental Hotels Group are said to be introducing similar services within their rooms, and whilst there is usually an additional charge for this type of room, it is something to consider if you prefer to train in the comfort of your own space.
The in-room workout
If you’re not lucky enough to be able to bag a room with its own fitness equipment, there is still a lot you can do in a standard hotel room to give your body a workout. Try Tabata, a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training) involving an intense four minute workout where you perform an exercise like burpees hard for twenty seconds, before resting for ten seconds and carrying on like that for the full four minute Tabata. Researchers in Tokyo found that this high intensity, short duration exercise had a stronger impact on both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Do five sets of four minutes with a minute gap in-between and you’ll have given your body a good workout all in just 20 minutes. As well as burpees, try jumping jacks and squats. If you have your iPad you can also follow workouts online that utilise your own body weight, or ask your personal trainer to devise a workout for you that will travel with you.