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Taking Fitness on the Road

Don't forget the workout wear!

The start of this new work week marks one that will include my first business trip of 2012. As anyone who travels for work knows, there’s no way I’d classify this as “luxurious” getaway. I’ll fly to Dallas Tuesday afternoon, pick up a rental car at the airport, drive to the hotel, eat dinner, prep for the shoot we’re producing for SC Johnson and then try to get some sleep before Wednesday morning’s early wake up call for a drive to a suburb called Flower Mound. (What in the world did we do before GPS?)

Tonight, as I pack my bag, there are a couple of things I’ll be sure not to leave behind: the notes for my shoot and my workout wear. While working out is obviously part of my routine during a normal week when I’m grounded here in New York City, getting some exercise is sometimes even more therapeutic when I’m on a business trip.  Breaking a sweat helps shake off the stiffness from sitting on an airplane. It also helps circulate that stale airplane air out of the lungs.

Chances are the gym at my hotel won’t have all the equipment I’m surrounded by at New York Sports Clubs. However, I’m pretty confident there will be an elliptical machine, treadmill or recumbent bike for some cardio and at least a handful of free weights or some kind of weight machine set up. If I’m lucky, there may even be a stability ball tucked in a corner. If you do get stuck in a hotel that doesn’t have even a tiny fitness center, here are some exercises you can do in your room that require no equipment at all:

As far as taking my healthy eating habits on the road, my rule of thumb is I simply do my best. Luckily, more airports are starting to offer healthier quick-grab items like salads and fruit for you to take on the flight or eat while you’re waiting for your connection.

Here are a couple of additional healthy-eating tips for my fellow business travelers:

  • Pack healthy snacks. Even on overnight trips, I keep raw almonds and a couple of Fiber One bars in my bag. If I can’t eat for a while because I’m wrapped up in the project, or if the food options aren’t optimal, at least I have a satisfying snack to hold me over for a bit.
  • Monitor portions. If meals are brought in for meetings or you’re going out for lunch or dinner (or both!), watch your portion sizes and perhaps choose to have a cocktail, but skip dessert; or skip an appetizer and a drink but indulge in something sweet after your meal.

The bottom line is there’s no reason to turn traveling for work into an excuse not to take care of yourself. No one cares if you break a sweat in a wrinkled t-shirt. So roll up those workout clothes and toss them into your overnight bag along with a couple of healthy snacks. With a little planning, your next business trip doesn’t have to take you on an unwanted detour from your journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

A Healthy Business Trip

L-R: Tom Brown, Wheelchair Games Co-Founder; Trish LaBar, U.S. Army Veteran; Doug Beckley, U.S. Navy Veteran

I just wrapped up one of the best business trips I’ve been on in quite a while. I had the privilege of producing a satellite media tour for the Paralyzed Veterans of America and helped them promote the 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games going on this week in Pittsburgh. It is the largest annual wheelchair sports event in the world and is co-presented by PVA and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

This year, there are more than 600 American veteran heroes with physical disabilities participating in 17 medal events including archery, power soccer, quad rugby, basketball and swimming. Each participant competes with athleticism and a true strength of spirit many of us will never achieve. I was proud to be a part of today’s media outreach efforts for the Games as I believe there will never be enough we can do for those who have sacrificed so much for the rest of us.

While the trip to Pittsburgh proved good for my spirits, it wasn’t too bad for my physical well-being either. Airports aren’t known for their healthy food options, but luckily, the JetBlue terminal at JFK offers more than burgers and pizza. I was able to find salad and even fresh strawberries for lunch.  Last night, our Pittsburgh studio liaison treated me to a fabulous dinner, where I was enjoyed sea bass with fresh spinach. (I did have one glass of Pinot Noir.)  I even managed to squeeze in 30 minutes on the elliptical, three sets of push ups (20 reps) and some core work on a yoga ball at the hotel’s fitness center.

So, for my fellow business travelers, here’s what I do to try to stay healthy on the road:

  • Pack healthy snacks. Even on overnight trips, I keep raw almonds and a couple of Fiber One bars in my bag. If I can’t eat for a while because I’m wrapped up in the project, or if the food options aren’t optimal, at least I have a satisfying snack to hold me over for a bit.
  • Pack workout gear.  If I find 30 minutes to spare, there’s no excuse not to go for a run, walk or quick workout in the hotel’s fitness center. (Breaking a good sweat feels especially good after sitting on a plane or train.)
  • Monitor portions. If meals are brought in for meetings or you’re going out for dinner, watch your portion sizes and perhaps choose to have a drink, but skip dessert or skip an appetizer and a drink but indulge in something sweet after your meal.

Pittsburgh Skyline

The key is to find what works for you. If you’re lucky enough to get a “natural high” from being involved in a project as rewarding as what I was a part of today, you’ll get the extra bonus of knowing you can be working and still have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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