The Traveling Professional’s Guide to Staying Fit on the Road

  • Copy by: Kelly Beam

Let’s chat careers: do you have a new gig requiring travel so you’re struggling with keeping your 10k training plan on course? Has your boss asked you to travel for a weeklong conference across the country? Or are you a professional who frequents trains, planes, and automobiles and the miles you’ve logged for work far outweigh the miles you’ve logged for your own heath?

Traveling for business can be long, rigorous, and stressful; no matter how much effort you put into staying the course, outside circumstances (bad weather, a client’s disposition), the regulars of traveling, changing time zones, and flight delays can affect how you stay fit on the road. The goal is to have a plan (a loose one at least!) to help guide you throughout the rigors of your travel schedule. Try these four tips to stay fit as a busy, traveling professional.

Drink plenty of water
Traveling by air, long road trips, and staying in hotels result in dehydration. Exposing your body to germs, different temperatures, and changing elevations take a toll on your skin and overall body water levels. Bring a refillable water bottle (like the Sportline Hydracoach) to carry with you onboard, in cabs, to meetings, and to have handy when thirst kicks in. Tip: Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up every morning on days you travel to start your day of with a daily dose of hydration.

Pack healthy snacks
This will help avoid indulging on less healthy options when hunger strikes. Munching on almonds, an apple, or grabbing a banana with your pre-flight coffee at Starbucks will help ensure you are eating healthy. Tip: When you eat a salad on the road, rather than using the salad dressing provided squeeze a lemon over the greens to lose the unnecessary sugar and calories.

Prioritize working out
Check ahead and inquire if your hotel has a gym. If not, there are many options to completing quick, fat–burning workout in your hotel room. Wake up, workout, shower, and hit the road for the day. If it’s not winter (and you have extra time in the morning) take advantage of exploring a new city! Throw on your running shoes and get out for a quick run. You can find great running routes for local cities with MapMyRun. Tip: Try the Nike Training Club app that provides free workouts with music and images. Remember, regardless of where you work out, the quality of your workout is what matter most.

Order wisely
When you sit down for dinner at a restaurant, take a moment to think before you choose. Say no to bread and butter; order dressing and sauces on the side; hold the butter; skip the extras like bacon and cheese; replace fries with a side salad or grilled vegetables; skip soda and stick with water; eat only what you are hungry for, and ask the server to clear your place as soon as you are finished. Dining out and making good meal choices is in your control!

Remember, staying healthy on the road can be done; stay mindful of your goals, and for optimum results use the above tips even when you aren’t traveling.

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  • monicawelburn

    Great article Kelly! I always pay extra attention to my health when travelling, especially between time zones. I tend to take my own food on a plane (as plan food tends to be salty), drink LOTS of water and skip alcohol altogether. I also eat light, and again abstain from alcohol, for the duration of my trip – it really helps with my energy levels and feeling alert even when jet lag hits.

    Also, running, or working out first thing in the morning is a great way to get your energy up when travelling. When I made the trip to NYC last year (I live in the UK) I made an effort to head into central park every day – it was an amazing way to explore such an iconic part of the city!

    Monica x

    • Kelly

      Thanks Monica! I really appreciate it.

  • Excellent article! I’m an ex-management consultant who used to be on the road 4-5 days a week , and the hardest thing is not indulging at work dinners + finding the time to prioritize a workout.

    I find when I make the time early in the morning, my day would just go better and I had much more energy!

    • Kelly

      Thanks Encircled. I can absolutely relate. 🙂

  • Kiki32803

    Thanks for the reminder. Inspires me to try harder…

  • Hi! I know that I’m a little late to the party but I wanted to tell you that I loved this post! I’m on the road all the time and I really appreciate the tips. I just wrote my own post about this exact same topic. I loved your post so much I included a link to it at the bottom of my post. Hope that’s OK?

    • Kelly

      Thanks Maria – I appreciate it! Feel free to also follow my IG: @kschult3 as I highlight lots of ways to incorporate healthy living and lifestyles – Kelly

  • Marvin M. Hendricks

    When I travel, I like to explore on foot. I go off the beaten path and find neighborhoods where people are living and working that aren’t the normal touristy sites. Last year, instead of taking a 15-minute cab ride from my hotel in Madrid to the city center, I decided to make the trek on foot.

    [email protected]

    • Kelly

      Agree Marvin – on foot is ALWAYS a great way to explore and get fresh air and the lungs pumping!

  • Christine

    I agree, Kelly, it’s so important to keep yourself healthy, hydrated, and your body moving, even (nay, especially!) when you’re doing so much traveling. Your tips are an essential part of any traveler’s strategies for wellness! I’ve compiled my own list of tips to help keep yourself fit, healthy, and happy while on a road trip, whether that trip may be for work or for pleasure. Happy reading, and thanks for the excellent article!