How to fit in a workout when you’re traveling for work

Let’s talk about consultant life.  Recently, I’ve been traveling a ton for work and even though I find it professionally fulfilling, I can’t deny that my workouts suffer for it.

I wrote a post two years ago with tips on how to incorporate fitness into your life while traveling, but traveling for work is not the same as traveling as a tourist. The challenges are totally different. You’re not free to explore. More likely, you’re attached to a laptop in a new city trying to multi-task across timezones.

I won’t claim to have perfected the art of the “work travel workout,” but I have learned from my mistakes, of which there are many, and created a list of ways you can stay on target while traveling.

Here’s are 6 tips on how not to become a total sloth just because you’re on a work trip.

Have anything to add? I would love your advice.

1. Be flexible on the “when.” I typically work out in the morning, but it’s common when I travel for work to have an early breakfast meeting or a late night flight that leaves me needing some extra morning sleep.  Be open to working out when you have the time, even if off your usual schedule. Sometimes pre-dinner is the best moment, and sometimes its super early before the day starts. Look for opportunities and grab them.

3 miles at the hotel gym killed me. am I really running a half this weekend? #airbnbbkhalf @nyrr @finishlinept

A post shared by Nicole Haber (Cuckoolemon) (@colehaber) on

2. Plan ahead. If you know your days will be full, find a running route near your hotel before you leave home. Having a plan will make your workout easier to execute when you’re on the ground.

3. Do a portable, online workout. At home, I rarely use workout videos. I respond better to in-person motivation. But I find these programs can be a great option when traveling. My two favorites are Physique57 On Demand (a website) and Nike Training Club (a free app). Both offer a great filtering tool so you can find the right workout for the amount of time you have and the body part you’d like to use. On a trip last week I did an excellent NTC workout and was sore the next day. Ideal.

hotel gym workout

hotel gym workout

4. Pick a hotel with a gym. It’s not always possible to choose your hotel when traveling for work, but if you can, pick one with a gym, or near a running trail. When I travel to DC,  I try to pick a hotel near the National Mall or a studio I know I like (I used to live in DC, so it’s not uncharted territory) so that an early morning fitness session is doable. I know I won’t do it if it’s not easy.

5. Remember that something is better than nothing. Even if you can’t do a workout of the same intensity or length you’d do at home, don’t give up and eat minibar Pringles in your bed. (I speak from experience, having done this.) Whether it’s a 10-minute yoga sequence or a 1-mile run, it’s better than nothing. Your smart, not tired self knows this. Plus it will be easier to bounce back when you get home if you haven’t hibernated entirely.

Amtrak breakfast

Amtrak breakfast

6. Watch what you eat. I eat the same salad for lunch 80% of the days I work from the NYC office. It’s the Roasted Turkey Health Cobb from Just Salad, if you’re wondering. Not thinking about choosing lunch works for me.  Just Salad is in spitting distance from my office (if you’re a good spitter, gross) so it’s an easy thing for me to procure.  When I travel for work, I have to re-invent the lunch wheel.  Auto-pilot is turned off. I’m often limited in my knowledge of an area and short on time, so I tend to eat whatever is easy. I get it. So my tip here is simple:  Don’t let yourself get hangry. If you’re not unreasonably hungry, you’re more likely to order with your brain, and not your gut.  I stave off hunger by packing apples or protein bars.

Any other tips? Does anyone else struggle with this?

7 Comments

  1. healthyhappierbear
    July 18, 2016 / 3:32 pm

    Great tips here and so important! I definitely travel for both pleasure and business frequently and try my best to utilize all of these tips. The only other idea I would suggest is possibly also leveraging the local cities workout classes if possible. I love trying new things when traveling and it helps motivate me to get out and sweat!

    • July 18, 2016 / 4:43 pm

      yes i love that too. and CP is great for that

  2. July 28, 2016 / 8:32 am

    Interesting Article and i used to workout daily and i know the value of it.

    Thank You

  3. August 30, 2016 / 2:40 am

    This is really nice blog and yah we used to go work like 5 days in a week and have only one day to gym but this is really helpful blog. thank you for sharing

  4. September 16, 2016 / 2:07 am

    Hey… I’m a fitness freak and love doing workout. Besides prefer to eat what is healthy. thank you for sharing .

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