Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tips for staying active while on the road

My friend Gillian offered to share a few tips from her recent experiences in travelling for work.  She is an awesome triathlete and is currently training for the Boston Marathon in April! You'll learn more about her next week during her "interview session," but I wanted to share these tips of hers right away.  While these are awesome for people who travel for work, many are also applicable to those of us who have busy schedules at home with many different demands on our time. 

Thanks for sharing Gilly!


I experienced a major shift in my life this past fall when I started travelling to Calgary on a weekly basis for work. I jumped on the opportunity for a chance to explore a new city and progress my career, both which have proven to be extremely rewarding! However, there is a less glamorous side to business travel, such as late nights at the office, the absence of home cooked meals, jet lag, and above all, difficulty staying fit. Throughout my time travelling, I have developed a few key tips to help keep me active and healthy while on the road. I hope you find them useful!

1.      Schedule your workouts. When you’re travelling, it’s all about the schedule. You schedule your flights, meetings, hotels….so why not schedule your workouts? Set a reminder on your phone an hour before your planned workout to get you out of the office and thinking about your run, swim or bike. Your ability to actually complete a workout if it is planned ahead of time is much more likely than if it’s on an ad-hoc basis.

2.      Get your workouts done in the morning. Of course this is not always possible; however, it is not uncommon for colleagues, especially others who are travelling, to go for a drink or food after work, or to work late. These things can easily overrule your evening workout. It is unlikely that out-of-towners will be in the office early, but it is extremely common that they will stay late.

3.      Explore a new city by running. One of the first things I do when I’m in a new city is Google common running routes. Touring the city on a run is a wonderful way to explore a new place while getting a fun workout in! I’ve found great new coffee shops, explored beautiful parks and scenery, and noted some amazing architecture while out running! I would strongly recommend you speak with the concierge before you go to make sure you’ve picked the best and safest route for your run.

4.      Be creative! I have seen many different types of hotel gyms - ones that will blow you away, and ones that barely have a working treadmill. If you can’t get outside to run and have limited resources at your hotel, I would suggest learning a few at home strength exercises that you can virtually do anywhere (such as the OTC 10!). This way you always have a workout up your sleeve despite what equipment is available.

5.      Find out what’s going on in the community. A simple Google search can provide you a massive amount of information in the local community such as nightly runs by the Running Room, local gyms and classes, nearby yoga studios, and even community races. Take a look at what’s available, you may be surprised with what you find!

6.      Watch what you eat…and drink! I have always been one to make healthy choices, but when you eat all three meals out every day, it’s impossible not to slip a little. However, I do have a few recommendations to keep your waist line manageable.

a.       Breakfast – think filling and simple, and try to stay away from free hotel breakfasts. Although it is tempting to load up on the eggs, sausages and croissants at the free hotel breakfast, unless your hotel has healthy choices, I strongly recommend avoiding it all together. As an alternative, almost everywhere you go now offers oatmeal which is a healthy, tasty and filling alternative to sugary croissants and muffins. Add a few nuts and some honey and you’re good to go!

b.      Lunch – Find a salad bar or a place with fresh creations. My rule of thumb is to always try to find a place where the food is fresh and prepared on site. It’s easy to pick up a pre-packaged sandwich at Starbucks, but the sodium content is enough for the rest of the week! I tend to seek out salad bars or sandwich places with fresh toppings.

c.       Dinner – Stay aware. – This one is tricky. I will admit to ordering room service quite often or grabbing a bite to eat with a colleague at the pub. The main advice I have is to consider your portions when ordering dinner, and try whenever possible to limit your salt and deep fried content.

d.      Beverages – limit your consumption and don’t forget to drink water! – As mentioned before, it’s common for colleagues to grab a drink after work, but make sure you are cautious of how much you are drinking and how often. Likewise, between airports, late nights and time zones, it’s easy to lose track of the amount of coffee you’re drinking. Try carrying a water bottle around with you to substitute your need for caffeine and keep you hydrated.

7.      Be realistic & stay healthy. In all of this, the number one thing is your health. Between germs at airports, jet lag, hotel rooms and many other factors, it may not always be possible to achieve the same fitness goals as before. In the end you must be realistic with your goals, ensure you get enough sleep, and stay healthy.


  1. Great tips! I love going for runs in new cities. it is the best way to see the city!! :)

  2. These are great ideas, Gillian! Making time for exercise and fitness while traveling is SO important - it can make me feel normal and energized. I am going to be doing a lot of traveling in the next six months and a lot of these tips will come in handy... plan, be creative, and explore!!!