Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
“Business or pleasure?” Anyone who has flown across international borders has been asked some form of this question countless times at airport customs. If only the answer could always be “Pleasure!” Unfortunately, international vacations don’t pay for themselves and most of us need some form of gainful employment to finance our fantastic adventures. For many people, myself included, this gainful employment involves traveling.
There is a fine art to traveling for work, and an even finer art to traveling for work while maintaining your best self, mind and body. For those of you who jetset for business as well as pleasure, below are my two cardinal rules for work travel and several tips and resources for working out while traveling to help you continue to cultivate your own well being while on-the road for business.
1. Maintain the “Work Mindset”.
Traveling for work isn’t your relaxing, indulgent “Mai Tai on the beach” kind of travel. This is structured, professional travel for a specific business purpose. Although you’re in a different place, think of the days/weeks like any other workday or week, you just happened to take a plane to work instead of the bus or your car. Treating work travel like vacation travel tends to result in overindulgence in food, reduced exercise and reduced sleep, all of which leave you feeling exhausted, unhealthy and sub-prime. To feel like your best self while traveling for work, avoid “vacation mindset” and go about your days as you would any day at home. .
2. Stick to your routine.
Do what you would normally do on any other day at home. I typically get home from work around 7pm and go straight to the gym, so when I travel for work, I book flights that allow me to get to my hotel by 6:30pm so I can do my workout, eat dinner and stay on my schedule. This means that if you wouldn’t normally go for drinks and late night food on a Tuesday at home, you probably shouldn’t do it while traveling for work either. Keeping to your regular schedule reduces mental and physical stress, allowing you to feel your best, healthy self while on the road.
Fitness and relaxation resources:
After sitting on a plane for hours, sitting in an office for hours and possibly sitting in business lunches for hours, you’ve been doing a lot of sitting! Making sure you create time to get a workout in will help you keep your blood flowing, energy up and body feeling good so you can perform your best in work and feel your best while traveling. Not sure where/how to workout in a new city? That’s what I’m here for! Check out the resources and tips below.
1. Hotel gym
When you’re traveling for work, chances are you’re staying in a large chain hotel rather than a boutique inn or hostel. Downside, not a lot of character or charm. Upside, most of these are built for nomadic professionals and offer decent gyms. Even if it’s not as comprehensive as your gym at home, there’s most likely enough there for you to get in an amended workout that will leave you feeling exerted and revived.
2. Talk to the concierge.
With the health craze and rising awareness about fitness and well-being, many hotel concierges are now prepped to provide guests with information about local running trails and fitness studios. I always ask the concierge to recommend best running routes when I’m at a new hotel, as they know the best, and safest paths to follow in the surrounding neighborhood.
Your apartment and local gym may not have a pool, but most big hotels do. Use this as an opportunity to get in some cross training and swim laps.
4. Do yoga in your room.
When traveling for work, simple is best, so venturing out to find a new, and good, yoga studio that fits your practice and style probably isn’t on the agenda. Download the yoga app linked here that provides 10-60 minute classes you can do in your hotel room.
5. Download the Headspace App.
I’m big on meditation for stress reduction and maintaining a sense of well being, balance and connection with myself, however with frequent travel, for work and otherwise, it’s hard to stick to a local class schedule. With meditation consistency and repetition are key ingredients so constantly skipping days makes the practice less effective. HeadSpace offers fantastic meditations from 5-60 minutes, guided and unguided, and numerous series that focus on different goals (anxiety reduction and positivity are my two favorite so far.) I downloaded HeadSpace about 5 months ago, and while a bit expensive for an app ($75) it’s an investment I love and a resource I use daily. Added bonus, Andy who leads each session has a soothingly cheerful British accent.
6. Traveling to L.A. for work?
Check out my article on best workouts while working in Century City.
Do you have any tips on work travel? Let us know in the comments.