10 Ways to Work Out on a Business Trip

Even though it’s not technically on my 2019 Plans list, like everyone else I want to recommit to regular activity in the new year. But the time! The effort! And on a work trip where you’re working, entertaining clients, flying, and driving for 20 hours straight, the idea of strapping on my sneakers and being active just sounds exhausting.

Annoyingly, everything they say about exercise is true–once you get past the first few minutes you feel way better. And the next day. And the day after. So here are some tips for squeezing in a work out on a business trip.

    1. Do it in the morning–it’s the one time of day you can control. You may have to get up a little bit earlier, but it’s worth it to feel better all day.
    2. Pack smart. Bring shorts and shirts that can be rinsed in the bathroom sink and will dry quickly, or that can be worn more than once without washing. For colder climates choose workout clothes that do double duty, like leggings and a long sleeve shirt.
    3. Multitask. Sure, it would be great to focus exclusively on your body’s movement but that’s not always possible. I have responded to emails, dictated blog posts, and listened to conference calls on walks. If you are running low on time, multitasking can be a great way to squeeze in some exercise.
    4. Motivation. Do what it takes to get yourself motivated to stick to your program. This could be a race, an upcoming event, time alone, stress reduction, or something else. (One one of my shallow motivations: cute workout clothes!)
    5. No gear? No problem. I would love to get back into the habit of visiting yoga studios when I travel, but when needed I do a no-equipment-required exercise routine: 5 push-ups, 10 crunches, 15 squats, then 5 lunges on each side, 10 reverse crunches, and a 15 second plank. If I’m feeling extra fit I do it twice.
    6. Choose your activity wisely. Some activities require more gear than is practical for a trip, like basketball or weightlifting. There are plenty of ways to work out that are easily portable. Some examples:
    7. On the other hand, you can plan for specific activity needs. For example, if you are training for a bike race or are traveling on leg day, choose a hotel that has a quality exercise room or has a nearby gym. Hotels will sometimes be able to facilitate a bike rental or recommend a route. Some employers will pay for a gym day pass or class pass.
    8. Schedule it. When I’m traveling anything that is not on my calendar doesn’t happen. I’m too busy and my brain just can’t remember it all anymore! Whether it’s dinner, a phone call, answering emails, or a workout, everything gets an Outlook planner. If you need more tips for finding time to work out on a business trip check out this post I wrote a few years ago.
    9. Squeeze it in. If you’re trying to be more active in general, but don’t necessarily have enough time for a full on workout, fit in small bursts of activity when you can. Tricks readers use: take the stairs, park farther away, don’t use moving walkways. I’ve also started wearing simple black sneakers when I travel so it’s easier to walk around.
    10. Bring your own gear. Sometimes we travel to tiny towns with no workout facilities whatsoever. In that case, bring some resistance bands and a yoga mat and create your own workout. Another option is to download a podcast that tells you exactly what to do (my preference). Here are a few suggestions from readers for their favorite workout podcasts and videos:

Readers, what are your favorite workouts to do during a business trip?

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