Photo: Frankie Shlain
It’s 6:00 a.m. and I’m at the airport, waiting to board another 737. The incredible smell of a bacon, egg and cheese bagel wafts from the fast food spot in my terminal. It entices me, but I know better these days.
As my 9 to 5 job, I work in travel public relations, which means that I’m frequently on the road, packing and unpacking in hotels – sometimes in exotic locales. But just because I’m in a tropical destination, doesn’t meant that I have to sip an umbrella drink! During my first few business trips, I found myself indulging in fried appetizers and super-sweet cocktails when meeting with clients. When I was just starting out, that was okay because these trips were once or twice a year. But now that I’m at a more senior level, I travel closer to once or twice a month. With these multiple courses and back-to-back meetings that don’t allow much time to hit the gym, I found my clothes getting tighter. I learned to make some changes.
When traveling for business, meetings are often strategically planned over meals. To keep yourself in check, at the start of each meal, weigh your options. Choose to indulge in bread, wine, or dessert – but not all of them. If the bread basket is calling your name, enjoy a whole-grain roll, but just a spoonful of a shared dessert later in the meal. If wine is flowing freely, skip the bread, savor a glass and rotate sips with a sparkling water. It’s all about balance.
Always pack small bags of almonds, dried fruit or Larabars in your purse to help when hunger hits you in between these large meals. And don’t forget water! Hydration is key for fighting jet lag and keeping up your energy during long days of being “on.”
Cocktail parties also add up. When given the choice of alcohol, select liquor with a zero-calorie mixer such as diet soda or seltzer, or a simple glass of wine. Skip the fried passed appetizers and enjoy light starters such as shrimp cocktail or crudités.
While the precious space in your carry-on suitcase may not include room for sneakers, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a great workout in. Forget a 60-minute gym workout – that’s unrealistic on the road, when free time is so scarce. The key to working out when traveling is short, yet effective exercises that can be done in a hotel room with no equipment. Try intervals of bicycle crunches, push-ups, lunges, squats and cardio moves like jumping jacks or mountain climbers. Just 15 minutes of intense movement when you can sneak it in (right after waking up and/or before showering for dinner) can make a major difference.
As for the breakfast sandwich at the airport, it’s still difficult to pass up. But I know that it will just make me feel sluggish on the plane and in my forthcoming meetings. Instead, I opt for a Greek yogurt and protein bar or fruit salad from the refrigerator section of the “to go” stand. Airport options have greatly improved in the past few years – you just have to seek them out!