Business Traveling: Don’t Forget to Sweat

Planes, trains and automobiles.  London one day, Chicago the next…  Expensive client dinners, late nights out on the town.  That’s why you make the big bucks, right?

Of course, I’m talking to you corporate executives, sales reps, pilots and flight attendants, and anyone else whose job requires frequent travel.

Staying fit under these circumstances takes some creative planning.  High stress, alcohol and hectic schedules can spike your blood pressure and your waste line, while your muscles slowly waste away.  Living in this hyper-successful area we call North Texas, I’ve heard this scenario many times.

Here are my recommendations:

First off, if you have an administrative assistant that handles your schedule, instruct him or her to block 30 to 60 minutes of time every day for fitness.

No assistant?  No problem. Do it yourself.

It doesn’t matter what time of day you set for this.  If you have to get up earlier, do it.  If it means staying up a little later, again, do it.  Your scheduled fitness time will enhance everything else you do.  And I do mean everything. 

Once your blocked time is set, let’s make certain you use this time wisely.  We’ll do that by concentrating on compound body movements. In your hotel room, or hotel gym, or wherever else you find yourself, begin by warming up your joints.  Try 25 jumping jacks, or jogging in place for two minutes.  Two minutes of fast squats or walking lunges are other good warm-ups.

Once you’re warm, try my “Crazy 8s” workout. This simple regimen is about keeping your muscles firing and raising your heart rate to boost your energy and metabolism while you’re working. 

Go through the following eight motions with eight reps apiece for as much time as you have. Whether it’s two circuits or ten, you’ll be hitting all your muscle groups.  (It should go without saying by now, but remember: Always check with your doctor before starting any fitness program.)

The following movements can be modified to any level – from beginners to elite athletes.

Prisoner squats
Tricep dips
Reverse lunges
Shoulder presses (using water bottles as weights, if dumb bells aren’t available)
Pull-ups or bicep curls
Lying back extensions
Crisscross/scissor abs

If you have the time, add 15 to 30 minutes of walking or stair climbing.  Yes, cardio is important, too.

If you have computer access and time for a gym workout, visit for other traveling workout programs and tips.

Now that you’ve got the workout down, let’s address those fancy business dinners.  My first suggestion is to skip the appetizers; but if that proves difficult, order whatever you can that’s grilled.  Avoid the bread basket at all costs.  Order your salad with the dressing on the side, so you control how much goes on it.  For your entrée, it’s very easy to order healthy at most upscale restaurants.  Steak, fish, chicken, all ordered dry or “hold the butter.” Order vegetables; but again, no butter.  Avoid potatoes and pasta, if possible.  If not, just take a couple of bites.  Skip dessert and order coffee.

What about the spirits, you ask? Again, in a perfect world, avoid alcohol.  But if you decide to indulge, sip; don’t gulp.  Stretch out each drink as long as possible.  Order it with a blue dolphin chaser (aka “water”).  That makes for good conversation.  You have to keep your wits about you anyway, so water is your best friend. And while alcohol is loaded with calories, the bigger problem is it can dehydrate you for tomorrow’s business, fog your mental capacity, and affect your emotions when making decisions. Drink responsibly, or avoid it all together.

Now get out there and knock their socks off! 

Chani Overstreet is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and co-owner of Strada Fitness & Wellness Center with her husband, Luke.  Strada is a state-of-the-art fitness studio located at 3041 Churchill Drive, Suite 100, in Flower Mound, across from Lifetime Fitness.  Call 972.330.4300 or visit for more information.

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