I feel like one of those shitty friends who calls after letting days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months with zero contact. Thankfully I haven’t been MIA because something bad happened, I’ve just been busy adulting over here. Work demands have monopolized quite a bit of my time these days – but I’ve also been busy spending time with friends and the boyfriend, too! Things have been so hectic, in fact, that I’m writing this to you from 35,000 feet. Which brings me to my next thought…
I know I’m not alone in saying it’s hard to balance a hectic life with a healthy life. You feel me?!
Maybe you’re like me and fly more days in a month than some fly in a year – or maybe you haven’t stepped foot in an airport since you could picked loved ones up at the gate (ah, the good ol days). Maybe you’re busy juggling work, family demands, squeezing in your workouts all while trying to keep up with all your other obligations. Either way – it’s trickery I tell ya, trickery!
So how do I make time for working out while ensuring I’m eating nutritious food on the road? With over 11 years of business travel under my belt, I’ve developed a few tips and tricks I’d love to share:
1) Don’t let yourself get hangry. How many times have you rushed out of the house and thought, “I’ll just grab something when I get to airport”? Your intentions may be good. Perhaps you’ll scour the terminal for a grilled chicken salad or search for a freshly prepared acai bowl – but chances are, you won’t. I’m not being Negative Nelly over here, I’m simply being realistic. Far too many times we run out of the house without eating, fully intending upon “grabbing something” once we get past security and settle in at the terminal before take-off. Chances are by this point, we’re hangry and reach for the first thing we see. And let’s be honest, healthy choices at the airport are not aplenty. This morning I witnessed it firsthand – folks grabbing McDonalds and candy before boarding our 10:30am flight. While I could’ve easily done the same (or bought my ultimate favorite airport indulgence – I mean really, how good are Twizzlers?!?!) – I didn’t. Instead I bought a tall Cold Brew at Starbucks and drank it alongside a baggie of celery and grapes I packed from home. Knowing I’d need a protein boost, I also tossed an RX Bar in my bag (if you haven’t heard of them – go check em out!! They are made with minimal ingredients and are essentially a protein-packed version of a LaraBar). The lesson here is just as the old adage goes – “Fail to plan and plan to fail.” Maybe it’s the night before, or maybe if you’re like me it’s the 5 minutes before your Uber driver arrives - but go ahead and pack those healthy snacks so whether you’re stuck at the gate or trying to get through a long flight, you’ll have healthy, notoriously dense sustenance to keep you going!
2) Schedule your workouts in advance. I may not be as avid of a CrossFitter as I once was but one of the things I’ve always loved about CrossFit was the community. Whether you’re walking into your neighborhood box or one on the road, you’ll generally always be welcomed with friendly, smiling faces. In fact, “dropping in” on a local CF box has been a longtime favorite of mine – whether I’m traveling for business or pleasure. When I know I have an upcoming trip, I’ll look at boxes close to my meetings or to my hotel – and I’ll reserve a spot for myself. Paying in advance ensures I stay accountable and follow through with my commitment. This way if my coworkers try to convince me to join for happy hour or drinks after dinner, it makes it easier to pass knowing come 6am the next day, I must be ready to lift my little heart out. Which brings me to my next point…
3) Limit the booze. Gosh, when I think back to my rookie business travel days at 21, I had NO clue how to do it the healthy way. I’d be on my feet in the production studio working 12+ hours days, followed by indulging in a heavy steakhouse meal with my team (I mean, it was FREE!), coupled with copious amounts of wine, followed by “just one drink” at the hotel bar… just to go upstairs, catch a whopping 5 hours of sleep and do it all over again. Not surprisingly, I quickly burnt out and began to dread business travel. Nowadays, my trips look a whole lot different. I never drink alcohol on flights anymore and if I do join colleagues for happy hour or dinner, I limit myself to 1-2 drinks no matter what. Getting in the gym by 5-6 am, followed by brainstorming in a boardroom for 10 hours (or more) leaves me exhausted come the end of the workday. These days the idea of drinking at a bar has zero (maybe less than zero) appeal. I’d rather go back to my room, unwind, talk to my loved ones and hit the hay. And if I’m going to expend the calories on drinks, I’d rather wait until I get home and share a bottle of wine with the boyf anyway J
4) Bring the comforts of home. In my bag right now (aside from work attire) are my resistance bands, workout clothes, running sneakers, dry shampoo, BCCAs, vitamins, and protein. Sure it’s a pain in the ass to pack it all – but it ensures that even when I’m staying in an unfamiliar place, I still have just some of the comforts of home. And while this isn’t fitness related, I even bring all of my favorite skincare products. Did you know Sephora gives out free samples of any product they sell?? And have you ever asked your facialist or dermatologist for samples of the products they use? This way even if you’re bringing a small carry-on like me, you can still have all your guilty pleasures right at your fingertips!
I could go on and on but the flight attendant just informed me we’re on our final approach and I must shut down the laptop. I hope some (if not all!) of these tips helped you – whether you’re running yourself around the country for business or simply running around your hometown juggling the endless demands of life!