I’m very fortunate to work for an organization that puts great value in professional development. It is amazing to get out of the office for a few days, bounce ideas off my peers and learn the latest and greatest. Plus, it is just plain fun to jet-set to a new city and experience all it has to offer.
Today, I’m flying out to Boulder, Colorado for a really fantastic conference for interaction designers. I attended this one last year and came back refreshed, energized and really, really excited about what I do!
But it is always a struggle to keep up a healthy lifestyle on business trips. Usually you are with your colleagues who might not quite see eye-to-eye with your healthy choices. The schedule can be jam-packed. The food choices can leave something to be desired. And you can easily get swept up in the “what happens in Vegas” mentality and chuck your entire healthy plan out the window (something I am WAY guilty of).
So here are my tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on a business trip.
1. Pack healthy snacks.
You may feel really silly cramming your luggage with food (I used to), but this is the single most important item on this list! Healthy snacks can help so much. They can keep you from grabbing a donut from the food table. They can sub in for a quick breakfast in lieu of the hotel buffet. They can hold you over until you find a healthy restaurant.
I like to bring granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix, some sort of chippy thing and a sturdy fruit. I’ve even been known to pack instant oatmeal for a quick breakfast. I pack all of these in freezer bags and wedge them in between my clothes.
Also, don’t forget to pack snack baggies to transport small amounts of your snacks. I made these cuties. Reusable, cute and not plastic!
Each morning of the conference, I’ll pack up some snacks and throw them in my bag. They have more than once saved me from extreme tummy-grumbling embarrassment! Most of these conferences work on a food schedule that doesn’t match mine, so it’s nice to have some tummy-tamers.
2. Stay Hydrated
Traveling can be incredibly dehydrating. Flying is a particularly bad culprit. Take your water bottle, dump it out right before airport security and fill it up as soon as you lace your shoes back up. Keep it close at all times.
Business trips can be so haphazard that it is easy to forget the simple things in life. Just by keeping your normal hydration levels you’ll have more energy, sleep better, think better and…stay regular. Being dehydrated is a key culprit to just not feeling like yourself. Drink!
3. Find your crowd.
Obviously, you don’t always get to choose who you travel with for business trips, but if you do (and can at very least choose who spend the majority of your time with), choose the people who will urge you to make the right decisions.
I am very fortunate to be traveling with my friend/colleague, Heather (hi Heather!), who has the same food and fitness philosophy I do. It is much easier to get up and go for walk after dinner when you have someone who wants to go with you. Find your crowd and go in search of the best healthy, fresh restaurant you can find (we found an awesome one last year).
If you find like-minded people, healthy choices will come naturally in the group. In fact, the next tip is from Heather’s genius mind.
4. Request a room near the hotel fitness center.
When I was in Philadelphia, we happened to get a room across from the fitness center and it was perfect! Each time we walked out our door, we were reminded of the gym. No out of sight, out of mind.
This time, we are specifically requesting a room by the fitness center. Guilt yourself into a workout! Hey, whatever works, right?
You are in a different city. Go explore! Get out and walk. See the sights. Park the rental car (or don’t even get one) and go see your locale on foot. You’ll get some much-needed activity AND get to see the sights.
I like to walk everywhere when I’m out-of-town. Even if you don’t make it to the gym, walking between sessions, to different restaurants and through town can really, really help keep you on track. Plus, like I said, one of the nice parts about business trips is the change of scenery. Get out and enjoy it!
6. Balance out your fun.
There was an incident with pot pie and a sampler of beer at lunch when we were in Philadelphia. Which is fun and fine! But it is important to balance out the fun. Plan on having an extravagant dinner? Go for it! But make sure you have a fresh and light breakfast and lunch.
It is silly to deny yourself some fun food, but you can make sure you don’t come back with an extra 10 pounds on your frame. Make sure you get to sample the local delicacies! Have fun with your food, but don’t throw everything out the window.
See you soon, Rocky Mountains!