I have travelled extensively through my almost 20 year professional career, first as an auditor…then as a senior finance executive, and now as an entrepreneur. On average, I was away from home about 33% of the nights during this period….but some years I was away 75% of the time! Yet, throughout my life, particularly over the past 20 years, I have maintained myself in good physical health. I can still bench over 300 lbs., have a 10+ inch measurement differential between my chest and waist, and I can run a pretty respectable clip in the one minute mile.
Staying in shape can be a challenge while travelling, but it certainly is very doable. I have learned the following tricks to keep me motivated and on track regarding my exercise and diet plan while on the road…I hope they help you too:
- Invest in a heart rate monitor! This is my favorite workout “toy” and I am rarely without it. You can program the watch so that it very precisely tracks your heart rate…and whether you are in your target range…and the number of calories you burn per workout/per week/per month, etc. Having the heart rate monitor on you as you exercise also enables you to track your time while exercising…it keeps my resting and mindless chatting to a minimum, though I am one to usually say hello and smile at friendly faces (especially for those beautiful women I see)! Heart rate monitors are wonderful tracking and incentivizing tools!
- Schedule your workouts first thing in the morning! When you exercise before breakfast, the calories that you’re burning are coming straight from your stored fat! If you need some energy, invest in a non-caloric fat burner drink or supplement to further fuel your intensity and calorie burning. Remember to always check with your physician before using any calorie-burning supplement. Thermogenic formulas will definitely keep your intensity up for a great early morning workout! Also…wait at least an hour after your workout before eating as this furthers your fat burning furnace!
- Balance your workouts between cardio/strength training/core (abs/lower back area)/stretching. This may seem like a lot to do, but if you are focused, you can get such a workout in within 40 minutes. For instance, yesterday, I worked my legs out for 20 minutes. In between sets, I alternated stretching and working my abs. I then did a super intense 20 minutes on the stair climber. I burned 750 calories in 40 minutes, and I felt great, though I am paying for it in soreness today! I do my best to structure each workout so session that the time is allocated as follows: 40% strength training, 40% cardio, and 20% core training/stretching.
- If you are not an expert, consider hiring a personal trainer for 3-6 months. The trainer will show you how to maintain excellent form and structure your workouts for maximal effectiveness and efficiency. Also, consider purchasing reputable monthly health and fitness magazines.
- Skip the booze and late dinners, whenever possible. If I am on the road for a week, for instance, I will go out with the team at most twice during the trip to encourage team building and sharing. When you explain to your colleagues that you reserve the evenings to relax, speak with your family and get to bed early for your early workout…they almost always understand. I found this also often motivates one or more of them to follow the routine you initiate, so it turns out to be a great health move for them too!
- If you have a hard time sleeping while on the road, try an herbal sleep aid. My favorite…and I must admit it I am biased because I created this one with my brother, who is an MD board certified in sleep medicine and neurology, is “Tranquilo” (www.tranquiloonline.com). We created Tranquilo at first to cure my own awful insomnia…I was working as a CFO in Mexico City away from my family and in a very different culture and stressful work environment….and I could never sleep! Over the course of a year, my brother and I tried stand alone and mixed combinations of virtually every sleep aid on and off the market. Our customers are thrilled with our end product even more than I am….it will get you to high quality sleep fast, with no next morning hangover feeling.
- Invest in purchasing “The Skinny Rules” book by Bob Harper, training star from the hit show “The Biggest Loser.” This is one of the best diet and nutrition books that I have ever read. Bob keeps it simple by providing only 20 “Skinny Rules” that are easy to follow (particularly with his delicious recipes that he provides in the book), even while on the road!
- Lastly…one of your first trips when you land should be to a healthy grocery store to stock up on fruits, veggies, protein drinks and some of the other wonderful ingredients that Bob Harper describes in his book.
Wishing you a happy and healthy trip!
Mark Maraist is a CPA licensed in the state of Florida, is an entrepreneur, an experienced corporate finance executive, and has been an active exercise enthusiast since his early teens. He has held several senior positions with both multi-billion international companies such as Tyco International and Compass Group PLC as well as entrepreneurial businesses such as Bravo Brands. He has extensive food/beverage and health food supplement experience. Mark, a native Floridian, enjoys his time as a father and is passionate about exercising, particularly weight lifting. He obtained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Florida. He has maintained intensive physical shape through the years, runs a very respectable mile and can bench well over 300 lbs.