If there is anything required for peak physical conditioning it is this one thing: consistency. There is the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they laid bricks every day.” Any fitness coach will tell you that fitness is a daily journey, and that daily consistency is the key to building and maintaining a physically fit body.
But for the traveling professional, their lives are anything but consistent. Every day, every week, and every quarter looks different, based on the demands of the company. Damn your body, your emotions, and your family life, those sales targets must be hit. So how are you, the busy professional supposed to find any consistency in your routine, let alone, the level of consistency required to have above-average fitness? Here are ten ideas. You don’t have to implement them all, but maybe just one of them will provide the daily consistency your body needs to make progress on your fitness goals.
1. Count Your Calories
What you eat is more important than how much your work out. As you hop from business lunch to business supper, you aren’t going to be handed nutritional facts by the wait staff. The best you can do is estimate your caloric intake. However, just by recording your caloric estimates, you will be paying attention to what goes into your mouth. and this Conscious awareness is all you need to begin taking control. Knowing that you are going to have to log that candy bar in your food journal is often all it takes to avoid the junk food.
2. Be Rude
In American culture, it is almost a requirement that you “clean your plate.” From a young age, most of us are told to “finish our food” and “clean our plates.” Our parents often reminded us that children in other countries are going hungry. As a result of this worldwide hunger, we are instructed to gorge ourselves in appreciation for the food we have. This training might have been ok when it was mom and Grandma trying to get you to finish your peas.
However, restaurant portion sizes are way too large, caloric dense and unkind to our bodies. If you try to finish your plate, you will, without question, overeat. Don’t hesitate to walk away from a half-finished plate of food. It might not be culturally approved, but the culture doesn’t have to live with your body — you do.
3. Order Ahead
Most restaurants now have menus online where you can check what they have to offer. If you know what restaurant you will be eating it, you can help control your calorie count by planning what you will order. Ordering ahead of time means that you aren’t choosing your meal at the peak of your hunger. This proactiveness puts you in control of your impulses. Also, these online menus tend to have calorie counts so you can keep a more accurate assessment of how many calories you are eating. The upside of planning is that you’ll always know what you want with nothing more than a cursory glance at the menu.
4. Don’t Meet Over Food
In American culture, we like to meet over food. Try to find places to that serve coffee and tea, or meet in places like libraries and or in a rented conference room where food is not a significant focus of the meeting.
5. Shake It Up
Protein is a proven ingredient for weight loss. People who eat a high-protein diet tend to have the best of luck in losing weight. Low-sugar protein shakes can be a great way to boost your protein intake and prevent those cravings.
If you know you are going to be someplace with high carbs like pastries, try protecting yourself by going protein-heavy. Try eating protein-rich foods such as eggs, cottage cheese or a low-sugar protein shake an hour before attending these events. You’ll find that you stay more in control and able to keep the unhealthy calories out!
6. Hotel Gyms
If you can stay in a hotel with a gym, you can try to keep your routine intact. The trick is to find time before or after your meetings to get some alone time in the gym. These moments can be hard to carve out when you have a limited amount of time to get your work done. As you plan your itinerary, call ahead to the hotel and find out the gym hours and then schedule 30 minutes in your calendar for some “me” time.
7. Bring Your Equipment With You
You have to be mindful of FAA rules when packing your bags, but rubber bands and pushup bars usually pack nicely. With 20 minutes of time, you can quickly rep out your own custom workout. For those of you who drive from location to location, you can add some dumbells to your repertoire. Semi truck drivers often carry small sets of dumbells or a bicycle with them for working out at the truck stop.
Dave Henly (from davescheapbikes.com) has helped a few truck drivers pick out their bike. “They want something they can strap behind the cab. Normally a cheap mountain bike does the trick just fine.”
8. Leverage On Demand or Youtube
Workout videos are a great way to create consistency. Not only can you play them on any screen, but they also tend to move through a progression. This progression means that as long as you “press play” every day, you’ll be moving the needle forward on your health progress.
Youtube has an extensive library of workout channels from which to choose. A great place to find the ideal online workout coach is our article on the top 10 online coaches you should be following.
If you aren’t finding what you like on Youtube, Beach Body — home of P90x — now offers Beach Body On Demand where you can watch their complete library for a small monthly fee. Fitness is just a couple of clicks away.
9. Be Aggressive About Sleep
Studies have shown that when you sleep in a location that is not your home, your brain has a hard time going into deep sleep. This means that part of your brain stays “awake” as a defense mechanism. Because of this, it is a little-known fact that you need more sleep — not less — when you are traveling. When you become sleep deprived your cortisol levels increase, causing you to be more hungry. Additionally, higher cortisol levels translate into higher insulin levels meaning that your body tends to hold onto the fat once it begins to gather.
Set hard deadlines on your night out and make sure to get the full 8 or 9 hours of sleep each night. Adequate sleep will put you on the top of the game, and help you keep from sabotaging your fitness goals.
10. Go For A Walk
You may be on the go, but it is likely that you will do a lot of sitting. Board meetings and conferences don’t tend to require a lot of walking. Skipping the complimentary golf cart shuttle and walking to your destination is one way to make sure to get in an adequate level of activity. Setting a timer and making sure to stand or walk every hour is another way to keep your activity level high. Five minutes of walking every hour can make all of the difference when it comes to keeping your activity level high.