You can travel for vacation/work this summer and still not miss a workout. What if you could also manage to get in the best shape of your life at the same time? This time of year, many people ask some variation of the following questions:
“Coach Cory, I’ve been working out consistently all year, but not I’m getting ready to go on my summer vacation. I don’t want to lose all the hard work I’ve put in these past months.” <OR> “Coach Cory, I travel a lot for work and that makes it hard to workout and stay on a healthy program like yours.”
In other venues in the past, I’ve written about healthy living on the road. I think it’s time to revisit this topic again. Working professionals who travel a lot and people traveling on extended vacations share the same challenges when trying to stay healthy.
First off, YES, it is absolutely possible to make great progress while traveling. I have one client who managed to lose 30 pounds in his first year working with me, while at the same time traveling for work. He was on the road for 2 weeks every month that year!
So whether you are a road warrior or just a travel junkie, if you spend more time in an airport than at home or the office, my Bodies That Work System for Optimum Living can work for you, too!
Let’s Get Started
The biggest challenge for people who travel a lot is having the right mental attitude. For those of you who travel, we start with the Mind-Set before anything else. Don’t worry about how you are going to eat healthy or find a gym. Your first step is to get your head in the game. Once you’ve worked on creating that positive mental attitude, we’ll be able to build the rest of your program quickly and easily.
Most people worry about missing workouts and eating only fast food. Instead, I want you to focus on how you’re going to get fit no matter your location. Before you head out the door and begin your trip, convince yourself that health, fitness, and vitality are inevitable, even when we’re in unfamiliar surroundings.
Before you get going, here are 3 simple rules that will make your traveling better…
- Make a Commitment to Yourself. If you know you’re going to be traveling a lot, instead of telling yourself “I won’t have time to exercise,” tell yourself, “I WILL NOT MISS A WORKOUT!” This may mean that you’ll have to workout very early in the morning, very late at night, or cram a workout in halfway through the day. That means you’ll find space in a gym if you can. Otherwise you can use parks, playgrounds, hotel rooms, etc. The idea that “I don’t have time,” is a big fat lie.
- Make Exercise Your One Constant. Traveling to new or different environments can be full of uncertainties. By making exercise into a “constant,” you’ll be more grounded. This will make you calmer and more confident, which can come in handy when you find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings or you have a big presentation in front of a new client. Life is more controlled when you can rely on familiar routines, like eating right and working out.
- Never Miss 2 Workouts/Healthy Meals in a Row. I know everyone’s life is busy. I know that “stuff happens.” I wasn’t born yesterday and I’ve had my share of traveling for work, too. By added this rule however, you can stay on track both personally and professionally, despite a hectic lifestyle.
I apply rule #3 even at home. What do I do when the holidays roll around, the summer barbecue season kicks off, or when ComicCon comes to town? Holidays, seasons, and civic events can interfere with your routine whether you join in or not. Things like these can be a bit too much fun. If you like to party, you’ll find yourself exhausted, with no voice, and very little extra time. What I’ve learned is that if I miss even one day of my workout program, then skipping another day gets even easier. If I eat too much at one event, I just get back to my eating program by the next meal.
So, when traveling for work, going on vacation, or attending a local civic event, I NEVER miss 2 in a row from my regular schedule.
Here’s just 2 good examples to illustrate this point and really bring it home for you…
- When traveling for business, I usually fly out on a Monday. That’s also an important workout day. Now due to my travel schedule, I’ll have to miss it. My program is flexible enough that I can workout on Sunday, then again on Tuesday.
- When traveling to a new place and I’m not sure if I can follow my eating plan and may have to eat fast food, then my NEXT meal that same day suddenly becomes the most important meal of my life, and it has to be healthy. Thanks to the Internet, you can do a quick search and be back on track in no time.
When you get ready for a trip, do you have a checklist?
- Toiletries/shaving kit/cosmetics
- Socks and underwear
- Business attire/casual wear/dress and casual shoes
- Computer/tablet, notes, and files
Can you guess what’s missing from this list? It’s just a couple more things and won’t take much space, plus will not hold you up at security checkpoints…
When traveling anywhere, take along at least one sturdy exercise band, like the ones shown here with some example exercises. I know I can get a good workout whether or not I can find a gym. Bodyweight exercises, plus a band when I need extra resistance, and I’m good to go. With a resistance band, you too can complete 99% of your regular workout that you perform when not traveling away from home.
Those casual clothes on your checklist should include workout clothes as well as casual street wear. Don’t let an “Oops, I’m out of workout shirts,” be an excuse to not work out. Not having the proper attire and/or equipment is never justified, it’s just an excuse.
Next, add all your workouts into your Calendar—I use a Google Calendar. Make them complete with reminders of the days and times you need to exercise. Research—and personal experience with clients—has found that making appointments with yourself on your Official Calendar for good habits will add 50% to the probability of actually completing each item. According to an article I read in the Wall Street Journal, all successful business people have this habit of scheduling everything, including personal time. Do yourself a favor and follow what other successful people do.
I do the best I can to plan ahead on my meals. If I know I’m going to be spending all day in an airport, or on an 8—10 hour road trip, I see if there’s a way I can bring a healthy snack along with me so that I can tread water (and maintain momentum) until a healthier option presents itself. On the other hand, ANYTHING is better than nothing.
Whenever my schedule is so hectic that I only have 20—30 minutes to work out, I pare it down to just the essentials. A warm up is always called for, then I can follow it up with a 10-minute bodywork program I developed years ago for just such situations, then I’m out of there! The point is no matter where you are or how much time you have, there is always a few minutes available to so SOMETHING. Of course, planning ahead requires some thought. Just remember, that planning ahead also puts you in a better position to succeed.
Just remember the 3 key rules:
- Priorities. You can stay healthy and get stronger while on the road. Keep your priorities front and center. Eating healthy is a choice. Going to the gym is a choice. I don’t accept excuses—neither should you.
- Plan Ahead. Put your personal time, like eating healthy and working out in your calendar.
- Never Miss 2 in a Row. Whatever happens, whether at home or on the road, don’t let one mistake become two.
This concludes taking care of your Mind-Set when it comes to traveling for business and/or pleasure. Next time we’ll look at eating right when on the road, followed by the logistics of working out away from your home territory.
What are your biggest obstacles/challenges while on the road? What are your personal strategies to be happy and stay healthy while traveling? Let us know!