As young professionals or entrepreneurs, our lives may sometimes be consumed with conferences, networking events, or other activities that require a lot of traveling. I understand the feeling of being tired and hopping off a plane, into a hotel room, and then moving straight into consecutive conferences day after day. This means that time is limited for a gym session, especially if you are arriving back to your hotel room slightly late from a long day. This also means that you’re about to lose balance in terms of healthy habits very soon, and the week has only begun! If you take care of yourself better than usual when you are busier than usual, the adverse effects of any form of stress do not get to you as easily as they would if you had let your healthy habits slide. What I propose is to write down a few acts of self-love and care that you may use during your most busy seasons, yes, I mean during the seasons during which you feel you have no time for yourself.
Personally, what I do is that I schedule a workout in to the morning immediately after waking up, otherwise, it simply won’t happen and a bunch of other activities will pop up during the day. Additionally to scheduling a morning workout, I walk around the block as much as I can during lunch breaks and I walk to my next destination as much as I can, instead of cabbing.
Why work out in the morning, or at all? We all have different reasons for fitness regimes, but I work out for reasons in addition to the superficial ones of toning ass(ets), for example. I work out for optimal cognitive function, heart health, and mind-body-soul harmony. I am one of those people who simply cannot get much done if I do not work out almost every single day, okay, yes, I can still get stuff done –but my potential is limited if I do not implement rigid self-care strategies and stick to them.
How do you work out when you are in and out of your hotel room and have a bunch of work events to attend?
Assuming you’re staying in a hotel room… no matter the size of your hotel room, or access to equipment, all you need for the below exercises is your own body weight:
The below routine is a recommendation that works for me and solely based on personal experience, but please rely on your own body to tell you what you need in terms of reps and exercises in order to feel energetic for the rest of the day, and not to overextend yourself either in terms of physical strain. If exercising and changing your diet is something you have recently started, I recommend that you consult a professional (doctor, naturopath, and nutritionist) before making changes to your fitness or diet regime as it is extremely important to find a plan that suits your particular needs uniquely.
Always stretch your body before you exercising, rest for 30-60 seconds between each set of reps, and take deep breaths throughout your exercising routine (do not forget to breathe!):
Bicep dips (using the edge of your bed, a chair or a couch) (2 reps of 40)
Arm circles (2 reps of 20)
Jumping Jacks (2 reps of 15)
Leg lifts (15 for each leg)
Air punches – these definitely alleviate stress (60 seconds)
Bridges (2 reps of 40)
Lunges (2 reps of 15)
Deep squats (2 reps of 40)
Push ups (2 reps of 15)
Plank (20-30 seconds)
* Note that workouts should be fun, if there is an exercise you particularly dislike or cannot do due to muscle tension, soreness or other injuries, simply double up on the reps of an exercise that is more suitable for your particular needs, there is no one-size-fits-all-solution.
Now that you’ve seen a list of possible exercises that require no equipment, I cannot stress this enough: a quick work out is better than no work out at all. Walking between your daily activities and getting some fresh air to collect your thoughts and just breathe, even just for five minutes here and there, is so important and makes a huge difference as well.
Exercising is important, but so is eating well, and I know how difficult it can be to plan meals while away on travel. If you are able to map out nearby restaurants to your hotel and choose healthier options by looking at menus beforehand, that is a small step that helps. That said, even pubs have salads and grilled chicken on the menu, for example. Another aspect to note is that just because it is not on the menu, does not mean the restaurant cannot make it. If a restaurant serves chicken or shrimp saturated in heavy cream sauces, perhaps you could ask for an option with sauce on the side, which saves you the feeling of being weighed down after your meal.
If you are on a cheat meal, enjoy yourself, but I recommend to drink water along with your cheat meal, so that you do not feel weighed down by any sugars or unhealthy fats. This goes under my – match quantity of cheat meal with water – as it keeps the negative side effects of cheating on a healthy lifestyle at bay, not to mention, my skin won’t break out after a huge desert if I do this. Here is an example, if you are having fries and Pepsi or Coca Cola at a pub, when you get to the hotel room – drink a water bottle before bed. Often times, those of us who have been eating mostly organic and whole foods for a long time become easily bloated or have developed allergies or aversions to refined foods, in order to enjoy those foods once in a while, supportive measures like water drinking need to be put in place so that our bodies get enjoyment from the cheat, and not be feeling disgusting after the cheat treat. The – match quantity of cheat meal with water – rule also helps your skin from not breaking out and looking fresh and fabulous in the morning! Everything you put in your body reflects on your appearance, I use my skin as a guide to tell me if I have been eating enough nutrients. That said, your appearance is beyond the superficial coating we so often dismiss it as, your skin, hair and nails are a true compass to determine if you have any form of nutritional deficiency, so try and tune into that compass a bit more often and see how miraculously easy it will be to check if you are out of balance or in balance in the diet, exercise and sleep departments (the best medicine after all!). It is no surprise that my hair grows faster when I exercise, and that its growth seems to slow down if I stop exercising.
Another little tip is if you are going to ”cheat” – do it on a day that you did work out, instead of on a rest day. I find for myself, the ”bad fat” from the fast food I eat on days I do work out does not stick to me, whereas when I eat junk on rest days… that is a whole other story. Fat will stick when your metabolism is not as high, and so if you wish to cheat, I suggest you do it when you know your metabolism is on high gear. Everyone’s body works differently, but if you tune into your metabolism better, you’ll be able to cheat wisely and do it in a smart way as well.
Briefly, do not forget your fitness habits when you are traveling or on the go, that is when your body needs it the most. Show your body the love it deserves, your body will thank you, because your health is your best asset after all.
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