How to Stay Fit While You’re Away on a Business Trip

Sports routine business trip running colleagues city lacing shoes © iStock

When you’re traveling on business, it can be easy to let your usual fitness routine slide. You may be short of time, coping with jet lag and different time zones, or you may not have your usual equipment to hand. 

But according to personal trainer Elliott Upton from Ultimate Performance, there’s no need to let any of these things stand in your way. Here are some tips.

What to Take?

‘If luggage space isn’t an issue, the ideal is to take a pair of cross training shoes as opposed to running shoes - these will be fine for everything from running to working out at the gym,’ Elliott said.

‘If you’re traveling with hand luggage only or simply don’t have much space, take a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. These are so compact and flexible they will fit in your pocket and work for just about anything you’re likely to do – you’ll just need to be careful not to drop any weights on your toes!’

Pair cross training shoes flexible © Traininn

‘Training clothes tend to pack down quite small so are less of an issue and you can probably just take your usual gear. Bear in mind that if you are only washing it out in your hotel room sink it’s going to start to smell more quickly than usual, so take good quality clothes rather than cheap polyester ones.

And think about the climate of wherever you’re going – if it’s very hot or cold you might need to adjust your usual gear accordingly.’

Where to Train?

‘I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a hotel which doesn’t have some kind of gym equipment, or a gym within about half a mile,’ Elliott said, ‘So you can pretty much always train if you want to. Admittedly, your hotel gym may be much more limited equipment-wise than you are used to, so you may have to adapt your routine accordingly.’

How to Train?

‘Aim to keep your routines short – no longer than an hour – and do total body-training each time rather than working on, say, arms one day, abs the next. The reason for this is even though you think you might go every day, while you’re away on business things might come up and you may not end up getting to the gym as much as you planned – full body sessions will give you the biggest bang for your buck.’

And Apart From the Gym…

Going for a run can be a great use of time especially if you are in an unfamiliar city – you get to explore somewhere new as well as burning some calories. You could also rent a bike and explore that way.

Many hotels have pools and some have equipped yoga/fitness studios. Some larger hotels even offer complimentary yoga or exercise classes – check the website or ask at reception to see what’s available.

Watch What You Eat

‘Be aware that while you are away from home, it can be easy to eat much more than usual – as well as eating less healthy food,’ Elliott added. ‘Huge breakfast buffets which include things like waffles and bacon can be very tempting. Many hotels offer a ‘healthy option’ corner now at breakfast – think about what you would normally eat at home and try to have something similar.

On the upside, there is usually plenty of choice. And if you are eating out with colleagues, choose your dishes carefully. Skip the bread, pick salad over fries, opt for fruit instead of dessert – and walk back to the hotel if you can instead of taking a taxi. Then walk up the stairs to your room instead of using the lift. All these little things add up!’
Strawberries raspberries ice cream desser © Photo by courtesy of Elliott Upton

Make Use of Your Surroundings

At a conference out in the countryside? Maybe go for a morning or evening hike. And if you’re in the mountains in the winter, even if the ski lifts are closed by the time your meetings are finished, in the Spring it will still be light for a few hours so, with a bit of luck, you could go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Any of these offer a great way to clear your head after a long day.

Personal trainer Elliott Upton snow winter © Photo by courtesy of Elliott Upton

And if you have extra time to spare before going back and are at the coast... why not consider a surf lesson? Surfing is great for your core muscles. Near a lake? How about stand-up paddle boarding?

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

‘It can be tricky to keep your training routine going when you’re away and working long hours,’ Elliott concluded, ‘So don’t feel bad if you’re doing a bit less than usual. Do what you can, use your time spent training carefully, be as generally active as you can and watch what you eat. It’s pretty simple.’


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