For most of us, hopping on a plane means throwing caution to the wind and enjoying a destination we’ve been looking forward to for some time. Indulgence is par for the course on these trips. We buy things we wouldn’t normally buy, eat things we wouldn’t usually eat, and skip the 45-minute workout we are so dedicated to in our normal routines. We get away with it because we are on vacation, and thus it is a rarity.
By Julianne Hale
Business travelers do not have the luxury of indulgence. Travel is their reality. If they were to treat every business trip like most of us treat our vacations, their health, as well as their waistlines, would pay a serious price. How do business travelers manage their fitness regimens? Is it possible to eat out every meal, five days a week, and still stay fit? Two Chattanooga fitness experts share their tips for keeping fit on the road.
Perhaps the greatest and most overlooked contributing factor to overall physical fitness is a good night’s sleep. Experts recommend getting seven to eight hours per night. Constant travel can take a toll on a person’s sleep patterns. Taking the red eye once or twice a week isn’t exactly conducive to maintaining good sleep habits. How concerned should business travelers be about the amount of sleep they get during the week? According to Kyle Johnston, manager of Fitness Together on Frazier Avenue, they should be very concerned. Johnston explains, “The way we focus on being healthy and fit is balancing a synergy between resistance training, cardiovascular training, nutrition, and recovery. Sleep is a very important component to recovery because it allows your body to heal.” Johnston, whose clients include many business professionals, suggests that a good night’s rest be placed close to the top of a traveler’s priority list. He says, “Business travelers should try to stay focused and make sleep a priority. Have a specific time to be in with lights out and stick to it.”
We all struggle with sticking to a healthy diet. This problem becomes even more difficult for someone who eats out at every meal and must attempt to make healthy choices from a variety of different restaurants. Jack Silberman, owner of Jack Silberman’s Fitness Center and well-known local fitness guru, has some advice for business travelers, many of whom are his clients. He says, “It’s very difficult to get out of your usual routine. All you can do is know what your good choices are for carbohydrates, protein, and fat and make the best decision with each meal.” Silberman encourages his clients to eat five to six times per day and carry a healthy snack with them. Silberman has an innovative tip for avoiding overeating at a restaurant. He explains, “As soon as you sit down, ask the waitress to bring you a to-go box and put half of your meal into the box to save as a snack for later.” Silberman encourages his clients to set a specific time in the evenings and make an agreement not to eat past that time. This is a simple step that anyone can take to control the tendency to overeat.
How about exercising on the go? It’s hard enough to stick to an exercise program at home, how can business travelers get the exercise they need while staying in hotel rooms and attending endless rounds of meetings? Kyle Johnston is a firm believer in resistance training, and he insists that all you need is your own body weight. Johnston explains, “There are a lot of different exercises you can do using your own body weight. Packing some resistance bands is one way to do it, or you can just do body weight exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and planks. Do a specific number of each exercise, and then pyramid down. See how many you can do in 20 minutes.” Johnston goes on to explain what he does for his business clients: “At Fitness Together, we accommodate business professionals and create specific exercise routines for their travel. We give them two, typed routines that they can easily do in their hotel rooms.”
Jack Silberman believes that one of the keys to fitness success while travelling is incorporating the workout into the first part of your day. He says, “One of the best things you can do is workout first thing in the morning. You’ll not only burn calories on an empty stomach, but you will also ensure that no matter what happens during the day, nothing can interfere with your workout. It’s already done.” Silberman also encourages his clients to take time to plan. He advises, “Write out a plan before you go. Make a schedule for yourself and pack the appropriate clothes. Plan your workouts before you leave as well as your food choices. The more preplanning you do, the more successful you are.” For the business traveler with unlimited financial resources, Silberman has some advice, “Take your trainer with you! You’ll come back in better shape than when you left!” If you can’t afford the extra plane fare, fret not. Just take the advice of these fitness experts, and you’ll be on your way to excellent physical fitness on the road.