Business Travel – How to Stay on track & maintain your goals wherever you are
Business travel can throw a lot off when it comes to fitness. Long hours, travels, limited fitness facilities, business dinners, there’s a lot of curve balls. But, staying fit and healthy while traveling and trying to stay in shape while slammed with work is something I’ve had to become a pro at as I travel a lot for work.
I put out questionnaire recently on Facebook and Instagram asking what you wanted me to write about. One response was from a lady who asked me how I travel healthily and stay in shape while I do so much business travel.
It’s definitely not easy to stay in peak health and fitness and keep your weight in check when you’re constantly traveling for business. Especially if you’re traveling with someone else who has different priorities but it is possible.
Living not depriving yourself
I just finished my 9 weeks of back to back travel for work and yes, I did gain 3 lbs but considering we ate out every meal, everyday, I’m not stressing over it. Especially as a lot of it could be water retention from salt, flying and stress as well as cortisol and lack of sleep.
But I also had fun! We tried a lot of fantastic restaurants (which I shared as I went on Instagram) and felt like I was treating myself and not deprived in any way. Mainly because I wasn’t, there wasn’t anything I didn’t eat.
I didn’t manage to quite tackle everything in this podcast episode such as portion size and control, workouts, or hotel choices but I’ll get to them next time.
There’s a couple of blog posts already on here about how to stay in shape and making traveling healthy but they’re more about at the airport or making healthy choices at happy hour . I wanted to go a little bit deeper into traveling as healthily as possible here and staying in shape while you’re away.
On a side note, I don’t do this on vacation because on vacation I eat whatever I want, whenever I want. As it’s about having fun but when you’re away a lot for work you have to pull the reins in and find balance.
Business Travel | How to stay in shape when traveling for work
Listen to the Glamour & Gains Podcast for all of the details on how to stay in shape, maintain your health and fitness when traveling for business.
Realistic advice and tips:
Food and Supplement Business Travel Packing List
Protein powder and a protein scoop. I always double bag it as it’s opened in my case before and the last thing you want is protein powder all over your clothes.
Supplements. I always take multi-vitamins with me because when you’re away you can’t always get the same same nutrients as you would at home or as many vegetables as you normally would.
I also like taking a probiotic, just to help with my digestive digestive system and keep everything moving and keep me regular. As well as my hair vitamins as I’m really trying to keep my hair healthy and long.
Snacks. I always have some kind of snack on me as I get hangry and that’s no fun for anyone! I pack Quest bars because they satisfy my sweet tooth between lunch and dinner and and keep my sugar level constant throughout the day.
Liquid Stevia. Because the powder just isn’t the same. I use it in my eggs and oats and coffee.
Old fashioned oats. For breakfast mixed with my protein powder
Business Travel | Healthy Breakfast Options On The Road and At Airports
Starbucks spinach and egg white wrap is my go-to. It has 280 calories and balanced protein, carbohydrates, and fat that actually tastes good. Super quick and easy to grab in the morning with my black Americano. I always have a Quest Bar or 2 in my bag if I’m in a rush or there’s not a Starbucks.
Worse case scenario and I never thought I’d be mentioning McDonald’s on a health and fitness blog but one of the best choices at McDonald’s is their Egg White Delight. It has 260 calories, 16g protein, 29g carbs and 8g fat. You can pull off the muffin if you prefer less carbs or get rid of these cheese and bacon if you want less fat and cholesterol.
McDonald’s fruit N yoghurt parfait has less calories (210 calories) but it also has less protein (6g) and almost double the carbs (40g) and I’m all about the protein.
Nutritional Information: McDonald’s
Healthy Hotel Breakfast Options
If there’s a hotel breakfast buffet, I’ll grab 5 hard boiled eggs and pull out the egg yolks (sorry, I know that might seem wasteful) and just eat the egg whites. Along with a little bit of fruit and maybe a teaspoon of a nut butter or a tiny bit of granola (1/4 of a cup). The granola’s not healthy but just so I have some carbs in the morning and it’s healthier than waffles or pancakes.
Or I grab hot water from the hotel lobby and mix in my oats and protein powder. If my room has a kitchen like at Marriott Residence Inn, I’ll make my usual egg whites and oats like I’d have at home.
Tips on Making Eating Lunch Out Healthy
I do a lot of research on restaurants and I’ve got this list I’ve been keeping for the last 10 years of traveling. It has all of the restaurants that we like to go to on the road and what l I like to eat at them.
We try to make 1 of my meals a day a salad to get our vegetables in, whether that’s at lunch or dinner and will look at the restaurants for the day to try and plan that ahead.
I basically look for a meal that’s unprocessed protein and vegetable centric and then one of those meals has to include some kind of carb. That might be french fries as I don’t like many types of bread, rice, or pasta but I’m not talking about eating a whole portion. I’m talking about probably 10 of them just so I have the carbs. It’s not perfect, but at least my macros are someone in alignment.
Try to find places that offer more than just processed meats and sandwich meats or search for a Poke Bowl or Salad place. I love building my own salads without the bacon, cheese, croutons and high calorie, non nutritious stuff or ordering poke bowls on top of a salad instead of rice.
I’m not a huge dressing fan so usually add a bit of balsamic vinegar or light soy sauce, although I do have a weakness for mayo mixed with ketchup, it’s an English thing.
If you’re ordering a sandwich or burger order it protein style if you’ve already had enough carbs for the day or only eat half of the bread and not only of it and not bread and fries, pick 1 carb.
A few things to look for on the menu to stay healthy
- Non-fried foods (that includes batter or how it’s cooked)
- Tomato based not cream based sauces
- A low ratio of carbohydrates and fat to the protein and vegetables
- Vegetables steamed and not covered in butter
- Order protein style, without the ingredients you know you’re better without e.g. cheese, bacon, croutons.
If you have any places you’re going to, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @evedawes and I’m happy to answer your questions if I’ve been there and give you my restaurant recommendations.
Every year I do new research on everywhere we’re going because new places open up all of the time. I love supporting their local farm-to-table restaurants rather than chain restaurants whenever I can.
Business Travel | On The Go Healthy Snacks
I’m snack queen, my husband and parents take the mickey out of me as I always take a bite or 2 out of something in the cupboard and then put the rest back for later. On the road, it’s different but I still can’t go long between meals without my stomach getting mad.
Protein shakes are easier than you think. Don’t make it in advance as it tends to make the container smell but add water from your camel/hydro flask when you’re ready to drink it or even better for the mid afternoon slump, mix it with coffee.
Most gas stations carry lots of pre made ones now too if you don’t want to carry around protein powder.
Quest Bars are my normal go to as I find them more filling than drinking my calories. It also doesn’t matter if they get hot or squished in your bag, they still taste good.
Other options that do well lasting are raw unsalted nuts, dried fruit, rice cakes (put on the top of your bag, and oat cakes.
During Business Travel Healthy Dinner Choices
If I haven’t had a salad at lunch time, I will have a salad in the evening or vegetables with some kind of protein. If it’s a burger, I will order it protein style.
I’m not talking about from a fast food restaurants, I’m not being snobby but I just don’t believe in the ingredients, preparation, and it’s not conducive to my health, but that’s me.
If I’m doing it protein style I might have a few fries on the side or sweet potato fries. I I’m doing it with the bun I will do a salad or steamed vegetables on the side because I don’t need carbs and carbs. Sorry, macaroni or potato salad does not count as salad or your vegetables!
Really try to think about what’s on your plate. You can still enjoy everything but it’s about finding the balance. So maybe that’s a burger but without the bacon, cheese, mushrooms, and fried onions. Because that’s a ton of calories right there and then you’re left with protein and less calories and fat.
To Skip Dessert or to Have it?
I have the sweetest tooth and normally make a sleepy time tea before bed with stevia to try and help curb it but once or twice a week we love a good dessert. If you’re going to treat yourself you have to find a balance with your energy output too.
You can’t expect to eat everything and stop working out because you’re busy. You have to schedule. I still train six times a week on the road (5 at the minimum and that’s usually the days I have a super early flight or don’t get to the hotel until midnight).
Fasted cardio is my go-to as it keeps my metabolism and digestion going. As well as a post workout stretch from the long hours in the van, on the plane, and basically sitting in general.
How to stay in shape is all about trying to find those balances. If you’re going to indulge you have to find a way of getting rid of those calories to find that balance. I try and keep everything on track, when I do nothing, I just feel bloated and tired.
Business Travel | Thoughts on Alcohol
No one loves a glass of wine more than me and we love having a glass of wine to unwind with dinner or sometimes with lunch. It’s normally either rose or white wine. I try to avoid cocktails just because it’s so many more calories, unless you’re doing soda water as a mixer.
I normally have minimal carbs as food at dinner time as there’s enough in the wine.
Healthy Eating Options at Airports
How to stay in shape with airport food? Thankfully, Airports are getting so much better. Even places like Peet’s Coffee have salads with the dressing on the side so you can grab and go. I’ve sussed out what I like in different airports, such as at San Francisco, where I’ll go to Yankee Pier Restaurant.
I’ll order their crab salad with no dressing. It’s just lettuce, avocado, grated egg and crab. That way I get my healthy fats, protein and some vegetables and it’s super quick so if I’m running from gate-to-gate and haven’t got long it’s perfect.
I can also order my coffee from the Briggo coffee app and collect it from the machine outside of Yankee Pier to take with me. Also, if you have the Priority Pass card you get $28 off of your bill/check here.
Finding the Healthy Living Balance
My main take away from all of this when it comes to how to stay in shape while working is that you have to find the balance that works for you and that’s different for everyone. In my WBFF days I’d take all of my food with me (packed on dry ice) and take scales and so many more supplements. Nowadays I’m a lot more laid back.
It might take a little figuring out and playing around with on how to stay in shape but don’t stress over it. Stress will only spike your cortisol levels and make things worse.
How to stay in shape & make staying healthy traveling easier
Choosing a hotel with a good gym
I’ll get into this in another blog but if you’re a part of Marriotts Reward Program; Marriott Bonvoy like we are, Residence Inn is great if you’re going to be there longer than a day. That way you can at least make your own breakfast.
I’ll dig into this in another blog as there’s a decent amount to cover but for now think moderation.
When it comes to how to stay in shape you can’t forget about working out. I have a few super quick, no equipment travel friendly workouts you can do in your hotel room.
Eve Dawes is a Blogger, Podcaster, Mrs. England World 2020, a WBFF Pro Diva, SAG-AFTRA actress, NASM certified Personal Trainer, Founder of Dawes Custom Cosmetics and GlamourandGains.com. Eve's also the host of BFF (beauty, fitness & fashion) segment on Spill The Tea Live! The show for British Expats. Eve has over 15 years experience in the fashion world, is an avid traveller and cruelty-free beauty advocate.