Author Topic: Staying in shape during business travel.  (Read 7666 times)

wealthviahealth

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Staying in shape during business travel.
« on: March 03, 2015, 01:33:49 PM »
I have been traveling to a lot of cool places for work recently and though I am grateful for these experiences,
 it has been difficult to keep the lbs off on these frequent trips.

The majority of my past traveling has been vacation so I am fine accepting some of the obligatory extra luggage that you tend to come back with but cant justify doing the same for work trips.

I am now traveling about 1-2 times a month usually for 4 days- 1.5 weeks so this is ALOT of eating out for some one who is pretty militant about cooking all of my own meals/ practicing healthy eating habits. 

Perhaps the biggest challenge for me has been the feeling that I cant just get a " boring salad" since I am in a brand new city with all sorts of highly recommended restaurants. This doesn't sound to bad on paper but these meals add up for me and I have been gaining a bit of weight each trip which takes a lot of extra work back on the home front to work off.
* I remain diligent about exercise on these trips but for whatever reason that is still not cutting it.

Since I am a rookie at this; I would love to hear how some of the more seasoned vets handle this on here.
What has worked for you and how do you balance the desire to try cool new dishes/restaurants with your other wise healthy eating habits?

Exflyboy

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2015, 01:37:16 PM »
Oh man this is tough!

For me it was when I had my Lipid panel done.. I like crazy high cholesterol.. like triglycerides were at 541!!!!

No more steak, that was not too hard

But working out while on the road is very difficult I find.

sandandsun

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2015, 02:13:08 PM »
If a free gym pass isn't included (which is the case sometimes), run outside - or stairwell if too cold.  I have also joined all loyalty programs and you can sometimes get a free gym pass with those... often free fruit in the fitness clubs...
I bring cereal bars, etc. for breakfast (much more convenient than trying to find breakfast in a strange place anyway) and snacks/food depending on how long I will be there.
Take a soft cooler as your carry-on and you can buy milk/other cold items from local grocery when you get there...  We even do this on non-work trips as a family...
Took my family on a 2 week trip by air last year and we ate out for dinner about 4 times... rest of the time/meals we ate from local grocery store or leftovers from dinner... honestly, with kids, its so much easier to have food in your room and be able to eat when you want/take food along without finding a restaurant...

eae550

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2015, 02:29:19 PM »
my biggest tip would be to not waste calories on things you could live without...similar to the frugal money philosophy...spend when it matters, but otherwise stay conservative. Also, if this is a new thing the novelty of the expense account restaurants may wear off.

If you are in an airport and the crappy quiznos turkey sandwich is likely 1600 mg of sodium and bad for you anyway, get the burger that's going to at least be delicious. My dad travels all the time for work and regularly orders a room service fruit plate with cottage cheese and eats a 350 calorie dinner if he's had a 3 course lunch. For example, the pastries at the hotel breakfast buffets are pretty nasty considering the calorie splurge, so eat a healthy breakfast and then find the best cafe in your city to get a croissant.

Tyler

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2015, 02:35:34 PM »
I am now traveling about 1-2 times a month usually for 4 days- 1.5 weeks so this is ALOT of eating out for some one who is pretty militant about cooking all of my own meals/ practicing healthy eating habits. 

Perhaps the biggest challenge for me has been the feeling that I cant just get a " boring salad" since I am in a brand new city with all sorts of highly recommended restaurants. This doesn't sound to bad on paper but these meals add up for me and I have been gaining a bit of weight each trip which takes a lot of extra work back on the home front to work off.
* I remain diligent about exercise on these trips but for whatever reason that is still not cutting it.

For a few years I had a ridiculous amount of foreign travel.  Like 30% or more.  For me, I enjoyed the nice restaurants at first but after a while all the restaurant food became depressing.  I'd go out when I was with other people, but the eating-out experience became hollow.  Eventually I started doing things like going to the hotel buffet and just picking the 2-3 random things that looked good, sometimes combining ingredients into my own creations.  And I'd frequent small local restaurants and food stands and eat like a local rather than a gluttonous foreigner.  For long trips I'd identify the closest grocery store.  You haven't actually experienced the food of a new culture until you ditch the restaurants and browse what normal people eat.

In the US, staying at a hotel that offers suites with in-room kitchens is very easy and inexpensive.  Just find a local grocery store and stock up for the week. 

lise

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2015, 02:38:29 PM »
I used to travel a lot for work.

1. Eat healthy/normal for breakfast and lunch (boring salad ok) and then explore in the evening finding interesting local places to eat - normally you can find interesting meals that aren't heavy. 

2. I walked as a form of fitness.   Either treadmill at the gym or outside at the area around the hotel, or even drove to neighborhoods that were interesting in the city I was and then took a walk around, e.g., when in LA I would drive to Santa Monica, walk for 30 mins/1 hour then find a place for dinner, same with Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Koreatown, etc. 

oldmannickels

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2015, 02:46:00 PM »
air squats...like every chance you get

pka222

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2015, 02:50:04 PM »
Think of the per diem as income.  That is my trick. Last month I was gone for 8 days- I got 1800USD to spend, I crashed at a colleague's house, ate boring food from the market and when out twice for dinner- to be social not just cuz. I netted over 1000USD for the week.. it's like a side hustle where I get paid for eating normal food and staying with friends.
Also- jogging is free, as is swimming in the ocean, body weight exercises - etc.
be bad ass -
good luck

JLee

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2015, 02:51:52 PM »
Think of the per diem as income.  That is my trick. Last month I was gone for 8 days- I got 1800USD to spend, I crashed at a colleague's house, ate boring food from the market and when out twice for dinner- to be social not just cuz. I netted over 1000USD for the week.. it's like a side hustle where I get paid for eating normal food and staying with friends.
Also- jogging is free, as is swimming in the ocean, body weight exercises - etc.
be bad ass -
good luck

My per diem doesn't work that way - if I don't use it, it's gone. :(

lizzzi

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2015, 02:52:28 PM »
My ex-husband has been a commercial pilot flying executive jets since 1987.  He is not a foodie--not much interested in food other than as a way to stay alive. But at least he has kept his weight down all these years to what it used to be when he was in the Air Force. He's never gained, and says it is simple: Breakfast-cold cereal. Lunch-a sandwich with two pieces of bread, some kind of cold cuts, lettuce and pickle. Small bag of chips. Supper--always in restaurants: Piece of fish, vegetable, starch, one glass of wine. Done.

I don't know what he does for exercise--he always used to do the usual things people do in gyms. Was never a jock, but kept in reasonable shape.

I travel once a month, and have not got my travel food intake down to a science yet. But I'm doing great with exercising by using Convict Conditioning. I switched to it after doing light weight routines for years. But I can't cart those weights around when I travel. I really like Convict Conditioning--it is effective and you can do it anywhere. I started very slowly, as the author recommends--felt a little silly because it was so easy at first…but I think the slow start has really paid off.

MrsK

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2015, 03:32:35 PM »
I am writing this from an airport restaurant on my second business trip in 2 weeks.  I travel a lot for work and have for years.  I also do not get a per diem so gain nothing financially by brining my own food.  I haven't gained weight I think because I never eat fast food.

I never go to Starbucks, but usually get a room service breakfast.  Always coffee and last week there was a nice oatmeal and fresh fruit, and then a yogurt parfait and on my last day a toasted bagel and lox.  These kept me going until dinner.

One rookie mistake I used to make--sushi.  Sushi can add the pounds if you have it too often.  Italian is great as they have nice salads and a few bites of anything is very satisfying.  Ditto the steak houses.  This is how I learned that you really only need 1/3 of a steak so at home we get one piece of meat for 3 people.

Drink lots of water, bring tea bags for the plane (soda + altitude will make you feel awful) and do some stretches in your room in the morning to Pandora.  I have never been a work out person, but if the weather is good I try to get some walking in.

starbuck

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2015, 05:52:44 PM »
I am now traveling about 1-2 times a month usually for 4 days- 1.5 weeks so this is ALOT of eating out for some one who is pretty militant about cooking all of my own meals/ practicing healthy eating habits. 

Perhaps the biggest challenge for me has been the feeling that I cant just get a " boring salad" since I am in a brand new city with all sorts of highly recommended restaurants.

When I travel, it's mostly solo and I get to keep the leftover per diem, so that colors my choices. But in general, I bring leftovers for my travel day to have for lunch like I would any work day, and always ALWAYS carry a reusable water bottle. Especially because I travel by myself, eating in restaurants gets very lonely. I typically eat one restaurant meal per day, either lunch or dinner. In almost every instance, I find the portion size to be large enough to be dinner that night, or lunch the next day. I also plan out the restaurants I go to very deliberately to make sure I'm not 'wasting' a meal on shitty food. I eat breakfast at the hotel, and snack on homemade trail mix during the day, or fruit.

If I was going to be in one spot for more than a couple of days, I would absolutely be getting some food from a grocery store. What I would buy depends on the amenities of the hotel room. The shine of restaurant eating will probably wear off if you keep traveling, especially if you enjoy being at a healthy weight. :)

zinnie

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2015, 06:03:40 PM »
Some things that work for me when traveling:
-Only have one "fancy" meal a day and stick to just focusing on nurtition for the other two. Nice meals taste better when you are hungry!
-You're in a new place. Walk as much as humanly possible, and run in the morning to explore the surroundings.
-It isn't impossible to eat healthy at nice restaurants--portions tend to be smaller, so a lot is going to be about what you choose from the menu. Fish and small pieces of leaner meat with veggies are usually good choices.
-Consider hedonic adaptation and maybe only have one truly gluttonous meal per trip; will you remember many more than one in the long-term anyways?

These principles generally work for me when going to Italy and want to try as much local food as possible. The walking is a huge part of it for me.

olivia

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2015, 07:18:01 AM »
Do burpees-fantastic exercise and they can be down in small spaces.  Burpees are actually what Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame) does to exercise and he's in damn good shape.

DagobertDuck

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2015, 07:26:48 AM »
Perhaps the biggest challenge for me has been the feeling that I cant just get a " boring salad" since I am in a brand new city with all sorts of highly recommended restaurants. This doesn't sound to bad on paper but these meals add up for me and I have been gaining a bit of weight each trip which takes a lot of extra work back on the home front to work off.
Go low-carb for dinner.
Get the fancy steak, but ditch the fries / fried potatoes, bread and soda.
It's pretty normal to ask for an extra bowl of vegetables instead of fries.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2015, 08:31:31 AM »
I have ripped workout videos that I do at home onto my phone, so I do the same workouts when I am traveling as when I am at home.  Just can't do heavy weight training unless there is a hotel gym.

I eat light meals and try to explore the city in a way other than food.  Sadly, that means business travel is expensive for me- because the company pays for food, but not adventures.  (I do not get a per diem like the one poster does where it can be saved as income.  Use it or lose it reimbursement of certain expenses only.)
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 08:38:07 AM by iowajes »

lise

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2015, 09:02:11 AM »
I also tried to do the NY times 7 minute workout which you can easily do in your hotel room.  For some reason I couldn't keep it up (boredom?) even though I did feel good after each time I did it.  I think I got bored but you may have better luck. 

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/for-a-7-minute-workout-download-our-new-app/?_r=0

boarder42

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2015, 09:08:15 AM »
SO SO HARD

Hard to turn down awesome food and beer etc.

I have been fighting this for almost 5 years now.  When with other people it just makes it harder.  I eat Meat beans and veggies on my diet.  So guess what you can get that alot of places.  Chipotle being my favorite for lunch if alone.  bowl no rice no sour creme or cheese add guac and as much of the other goodies you want.  I eat at steak houses and eat their steaks but get sides that arent potatoes. or eat the chicken (this is harder to prepare than steak) you can also find some cool places that are more nutrition based and pretty cool to eat at.  but regardless this is an extremely difficult endeavor.  add people to it ... it gets worse.  add the fact that sometimes i'm at meetings with lunch and its pizza or sandwiches etc. 

I just make sure i have beef jerky or something in my bag and hope i can resist the temptation.  but oh so hard.

wealthviahealth

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2015, 10:15:37 AM »
SO SO HARD

Hard to turn down awesome food and beer etc.

I have been fighting this for almost 5 years now.  When with other people it just makes it harder.  I eat Meat beans and veggies on my diet.  So guess what you can get that alot of places.  Chipotle being my favorite for lunch if alone.  bowl no rice no sour creme or cheese add guac and as much of the other goodies you want.  I eat at steak houses and eat their steaks but get sides that arent potatoes. or eat the chicken (this is harder to prepare than steak) you can also find some cool places that are more nutrition based and pretty cool to eat at.  but regardless this is an extremely difficult endeavor.  add people to it ... it gets worse.  add the fact that sometimes i'm at meetings with lunch and its pizza or sandwiches etc. 

I just make sure i have beef jerky or something in my bag and hope i can resist the temptation.  but oh so hard.

Hahaha you totally get me. Thanks for all of the great tips/ insight everyone.
Its almost even embarrassing for me to admit to this problem since I am such an avid healthy eater/ fitness enthusiast but
when you add in the elements of being out of your normal routines, being in a new city with awesome places to eat, a per diem, and a busy schedule its just a completely different ball game.


My goal for this trip right now is to only do 1 "non boring" meal a day, most likely an early dinner, and to keep the other meals as clean/ lower cal as possible. Staying extra busy with work and being away from food during the day will also hopefully be of great help. Also going to try and really stick with a mandatory power walk after dinner, no matter how late or inconvenient this might be.

RunHappy

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2015, 10:24:58 AM »
Professional road warrior here who gained 13 lbs within the first year.

When I'm traveling I eat a salad a day.  Notice I didn't say "try to eat".  Sometimes it is lunch and sometimes it is dinner, but I always get a salad a day (no cheese, light dressing, tons of veg).

It can be tempting to hit some of the more fancier restaurants because someone else is paying, but after a while, all the menus start to look alike.  For me, I've found that going to one nice dinner a week satisfied my craving for a higher end meal.  For the other days, I hit the grocery store and stock up on fruits and veggies to keep in my room.

As far as working out, I suck at this.  I'm inconsistent, but I found I worked out best in my hotel room.  I have several Beachbody* videos (Insanity, P90X3, PiYo, TurboFire) that I ripped to MP3.  I love these because the majority can be done using your own body weight and you get a fantastic work out.  I keep these on my laptop and just pick and choose.

*I am not a Beachbody rep, I just like their workouts.

boarder42

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2015, 10:27:06 AM »
Next week i go on my first business trip of the year after being gone 50% of last yaer.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the will power holds up.  Going to make special requests to the places hosting the meetings for some high protein dish for myself.  And going to try to reign in my eating and drinking out.  Luckily the diet i'm on allows wine.  YAY.  so i have actually started to like it more than beer so i can drink dry red wine on the road now. and not hurt my diet.

yandz

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2015, 12:12:00 PM »
You already have some great tips but here are mine (some overlap).
-One "nice" meal a day, for the others do whatever it takes to be healthy (i.e. hit the grocery stores)
-Portions are most of the battle so pay attention
-Think about what is unique to the city vs. you just splurging because you are "traveling" (can you really not get a yummy burger at home?)
-Keep your booze in check. When I am out with co-workers eating richer food than usual, adding wine on top of those calories is not great. Stick to one glass or consider not drinking.
-Limit transport and walk whenever possible (including in the airports waiting for your plane; get to your gate so you know where it is then pace the terminal while you catch up on calls).

Good luck!

rocketman48097

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2015, 01:44:44 PM »
You need to go to the hotel fitness center, daily, no exceptions.  Only then are you allowed to eat a nice meal.

Eventually, the newness of the food will wear off, and then you can go back to salads or grilled chicken sandwiches.  However, you are not allowed to skip working out on the road, ever, for any reason.

Understood?

I'm a red panda

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2015, 02:27:40 PM »
-Think about what is unique to the city vs. you just splurging because you are "traveling" (can you really not get a yummy burger at home?)


This is a little difficult, because while there is good food local to me, I'm cheap and do not go out to eat, almost ever.  When I travel, it isn't my money.  (Plus, it can be really difficult to go to the grocery store if your hotel doesn't have a microwave/fridge combo. I don't choose my hotels.)

But it's a battle I fight, trying not to eat all the yummy expensive things, because health is important.

RapmasterD

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2015, 02:44:50 PM »
Do burpees-fantastic exercise and they can be down in small spaces.  Burpees are actually what Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame) does to exercise and he's in damn good shape.

+1

They're awful and could kill you. And that's why I do them every Monday morning.

Tabata routine:
(20 seconds ON doing as many burpees as you can + 10 seconds rest) * 8 = 4 minutes

I do two of these I use a Tabata app that makes loud noises and flashes green or red to signal going or resting.

Perfect for a hotel room or hallway, if you want to tick off your floormates.

wealthviahealth

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2015, 08:57:39 AM »
I utilized many of these strategies on the week long trip I returned from and am happy to report that
I didn't end up gaining any weight on my return.

I was pleased about this but it certainly came with A LOT of cardio and working out.
Hopefully I will get better at this whole thing with each trip but I did come to a realization during this past week;
eating out does lose its excitement pretty quickly and I think it would be much more worth it to order a healthy
salad via room service and feel great than to "explore a new place" via eating out at a restaurant.

 It would be much more rewarding to do this and to pick one night to go out to a top rated restaurant and have a fun meal.
As someone mentioned on this thread- all of the meals do tend to blend together as far as memory goes so you might as well just have one amazing meal. 

Bob W

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2015, 09:46:19 AM »
You might do some reading on HIT (high intensity training).   You could do some wind sprints 2 times per week (do not over do it!)   Maybe some heavy lifting once per week.   Then be sure to get plenty of sun light in the eyes everyday.  Take some walks.   

The two issues are 1.  Testosterone -- travel kills it so you need HIT to offset that.  (consider Vitamins D supplements as well)  2.  Diet -  about 85-90% of weight gain is due to diet.   So be sure to eat/drink lots of veggies and healthy fats with moderate proteins.    And drink tons of water!

You might read Primal Fitness and the 4 Hour Body.   

The hard part is sticking to  it.  That is why I suggest HIT.  Even if you are on the road 5 days a week, you can slip in 1 30 minute session of warm up, HIT,  cool down. 

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mm1970

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2015, 11:11:22 AM »
You say you are good about exercise, it's just the food.

It is really hard to eat out and keep trim. 

Can you sometimes shop at the grocery store instead of eating out?  You know, have one meal a day be from the salad bar at the store, or be fruit/yogurt/nuts.

I know you want to try all these great restaurants, but maybe limit an "awesome meal" to once per trip.

I simply cannot eat out much anymore without gaining weight.  So I don't.  When I do, I almost always get salad.

Well, that's not totally true.  If I'm in a period where I am eating out once a month, I eat whatever I want.
If I'm eating out once a week, I loosen up a bit.
If I'm eating out a few times a week (like on a trip), I always get salad.

But it depends on the restaurant.  Either salad OR paleo OR vegan.  These seem to be the best ways I've found to keep the calories down (note that generally all these options are veggie-heavy).

boarder42

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Re: Staying in shape during business travel.
« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2015, 06:47:21 PM »
I utilized many of these strategies on the week long trip I returned from and am happy to report that
I didn't end up gaining any weight on my return.

I was pleased about this but it certainly came with A LOT of cardio and working out.
Hopefully I will get better at this whole thing with each trip but I did come to a realization during this past week;
eating out does lose its excitement pretty quickly and I think it would be much more worth it to order a healthy
salad via room service and feel great than to "explore a new place" via eating out at a restaurant.

 It would be much more rewarding to do this and to pick one night to go out to a top rated restaurant and have a fun meal.
As someone mentioned on this thread- all of the meals do tend to blend together as far as memory goes so you might as well just have one amazing meal.

I dunno i'm on the road right now and i just had an ahi tuna tower with 2 glasses of wine and a 40 day aged ribeye with broccoli.. Oh wait i didnt break my diet at all ... long live 4 hour body.