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Don't let business travel ruin your exercise routine or your health

Business travel can be devastating for those trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and workout program. Most evenings during work trips are spent in restaurants serving decadent and calorie-laden food and drink where it’s easy to carelessly binge. Poor choices made at happy hour can lead to a dangerous path of actions that make it easy to blow off a routine morning workout. When the usual option is a fitness center that has been designed by a hotel manager who has no experience putting together a functional gym, hitting snooze and rolling over for an extra hour of sleep is a very desirable alternative. Finding ways to make it just as fun to stay healthy as it is to be bad, can lead to feeling better, getting more out of your host city and most importantly being at your best when you actually get down to work! Luckily, there are fitness professionals around the country who are happy to help you keep on track with your fitness needs. Combining the workouts with some local sightseeing makes it all the more efficient, enjoyable and fun! 


Do plan a schedule of workouts before you get on the plane

If you have a set routine at home, keep to that schedule on the days you’re in a new city. For example, if you like to do cardio 3 days per week and strength training 2 other days when at home, stick with similar style workouts when away. Most hotels have some sort of fitness center that has a treadmill or stationary bike. If you can’t get outside to enjoy the local scenery it’s a viable option. Worst case scenario, do a plank in your hotel room for a total of 5 minutes. Break it up into as many segments as needed, and throw in 30 second sets of jumping jacks in between, but make sure the total time in plank position adds up to 5 minutes and make it entertaining by watching the hotel channel as they mention local attractions.

Do find a good walking tour map and do your homework

If you’re a runner, you probably already know the distance you’re comfortable with running within the time you’ve carved out for your workout. Even if it’s as little as 30 minutes, you can get a good sweat in. Adding in a few stops along the route is a great opportunity to throw in some additional exercises while taking in the view. A few options that use your bodyweight and don’t require special equipment are push-ups, jumping jacks, planks, squats and lunges. While your co-workers are nursing hangovers and drinking lots of coffee to feel better, you’ll feel energized and ready to take on the day ahead. Bonus impression points if you happen to bump into your boss as you’re coming back from a good workout.

Do ask your hotel concierge or front desk person for guidance

Odds are they have access to trainers who regularly work with guests or host outdoor workouts. Even if they aren’t tour focused, outdoor workouts with a professional trainer are more fun and should include proper warm-up and cool down stretches as well as total body conditioning superior to trying to figure it out on your own in a strange gym with limited and unfamiliar equipment.

Do search online for locally based companies that offer “fit tours”

The plight of the traveling fitness enthusiast has been answered! At long last there’s a budding trend of tour companies focused specifically on fitness. They help to kill two birds with one stone by guiding guests through comprehensive workouts all while showing the best parts of their host city. For example, in NYC, there are companies that lead workouts in and throughout beautiful Central Park. Most should offer workouts at times that fit your schedule and can be done in time for you to get work. It’s the best option to ensure that you get a good workout, don’t get lost and are finished safely in time to start the rest of your day. An added bonus is the opportunity to network with other like minded people who may also be on your fit tour. For many, it’s the highlight of any business trip and certainly the best fitness experience available in the towns where they are available.


Do not look at your business trip as a vacation

Most business trips have a specific goal that your boss wants to achieve. For this reason alone you shouldn’t view your trip as a paid holiday, and especially not a vacation from your decision to get healthy. As much as possible, stick to the healthy routine you’ve established at home. Most restaurants, especially in New York, have delicious, healthy options to choose from, and don’t be afraid to ask your waiter for chicken or fish that is simply grilled. Throw in some mixed vegetables as a side and you will feel satisfied and happy about your decision to stay committed.

Do not make excuses about lack of time

Hands down the most popular excuse for not working out is “I don’t have the time.” Plain and simple, there’s always time. If you know what you’re itinerary consists of before you arrive or even when you first check in, take a look to see when you can make time to sweat. Early mornings are often the most viable option, and if you lock it into your schedule that you have a workout every morning then it will be easier to say no to another drink, second helping of buttery mashed potatoes, or calorie-loaded dessert. Find free time in your schedule and book it for yourself.

Do not give in to peer pressure

It may sound like high school, but we all know how easy it is to slip into a martini after a long day of meetings and seminars. You would likely be joining co-workers who are looking to blow off some steam in unhealthy ways that can easily sabotage your own efforts to lose weight. As difficult as it is to say no, just remember that the sting of regret is a much heavier weight to bear than the effort to stay disciplined.

Do not let yourself get too tired to workout

The best way to shake the fatigue you may feel, especially if you let yourself indulge at night is to get in a good sweat. Sugar and caffeine in the morning may be a quick fix but will only temporarily stave off the inevitable crash. Trying to pay attention during an all day seminar will be near impossible and you will certainly be less than productive if you haven’t done something to kick-start your day. Force yourself to get up and get your heart pumping and all day long you’ll be glad you did.

Jumping cartoon

Sticking to a workout program is tough as it is without the interruption of work travel. Finding ways to view working out as a reward as opposed to a punishment is often all you need to stay on track. Active sightseeing on your own, with co-workers or with fitness focused tour companies can do just that. Upon returning home to loved ones asking how your trip was, being able to tell them how you were able to stick to your workouts and also see the best parts of the town is immeasurably better than answering with “The conference room was nice and the hotel room was small,” and it’s filled with much less guilt.

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Photo Credits: © Maridav -; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas -

Mike RiordanFounder

Mike is a born and raised New Yorker and has been a certified Personal Trainer for 10 years. He started Fit Tours NYC when he realized that most of his clients who traveled for business had similar complaints upon returning from work trips. They...

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