Tips for Staying Fit on Business Trips

iStock_000001428391_ExtraSmall“I feel like I finally am in the groove of this fitness plan,” Steve told me during the warm-up. “Everything really seems to be coming together.”

Inwardly, I found myself cheering and wondering what other strategies we might have to put in place in order to keep thing going long term.

“I’ll be in Vegas for a conference the next two weeks, meetings all day most days, entertaining clients at dinners in the evening, back on the weekends, so workouts will be limited to the weekends.”

Steve is one of my many clients who struggle to balance a demanding career, their family and their health. And at that moment, all his hard work was about to go down the drain.

When it comes to business travel, most of my clients have the same challenge. They have spent quite a bit of effort and energy into combining daily fitness habits with their demanding career. It’s taken a lot of strategizing and some coaching, but they can finally meet all their weekly fitness goals.

And then the inevitable happens… the regular trips to cities all over the world take them totally out of their routine, take away all momentum, and puts them back, sometimes even destroying all the progress they have worked so hard to make! Upon their return, clients are often at 50 percent of their previous conditioning level and most, if not all of their nutrition habits have disappeared.

From my perspective, these setbacks are understandable. Most individuals who have long term fitness success do so by making it part of their weekly routine and having goals they shoot for each week. People who are successful in fitness do it by making it a lifestyle.

If you’ve noticed the demands of business travel are a becoming a road block to your fitness progress, you can implement some (or all) of these 10 solid tips when you travel. The key to using them successfully is not in regimenting yourself to strictly follow each one, but to stay in the right frame of mind (focused on your goals) and draw positive feelings from knowing you are still implementing your plan while on a business trip.

Instead of giving up and having no drive to exercise or eat right when you get home, you’ll be proud of yourself for doing what you could do and feel motivated to get yourself back to where you were when you started.

10 Tips for to Stay Fit on Business Trips

1. Airport layovers: If you have a layover for any length of time, you must stay moving. Walk the corridors of the airport.

2. Catered business lunches and meetings: Most of my clients have a terrible time choosing healthy foods from this type of setting… usually because there aren’t any available. That is why you must plan ahead! Bring things like CLIF bars and granola bars to supplement those unhealthy options.

*For Business dinners: Plan ahead for these as well. Choose not to drink soda if having an alcoholic beverage. Skip the bread at the beginning of dinner or have half a piece. If you have been eating junk all day and been sitting in meetings, DO NOT give yourself a huge dinner as your reward. Instead choose a light meal and make a commitment to walk at the hotel fitness center or walk home after dinner.

3. Down time: Find a gym, wake up early and exercise before meetings begin.

4. Nutrition: Pack healthy snack options for the plane ride and for breakfast. For breakfast try hard boiled eggs (usually on the breakfast bar at most hotels) and you can even pack dry cereal and get milk from the hotel kitchen.

5. Eating on the go: Find the “fast food options” that work. Subway has tons of low-calorie choices that are fairly healthy, Starbucks now carries steel cut oats and spinach wraps, and even McDonald’s carries oatmeal and a yogurt parfait.

6. Stress: Refuse to allow stress to ruin all your hard work. Even though business trips tend to be stressful, do your best to control stress eating and drinking habits.

7. Long drives to visit clients: Bring snacks on long drives. Sometimes clients have to drive four to six hours for a meeting. Once they arrive, they are tired and want to reward themselves with a huge dinner. Mitigate your hunger by bringing snacks such as apples and pears or trail mix. When you arrive you won’t be starving and you’ll have more energy as well!

8. Start the day right: Eat breakfast (in your room if necessary) and stay hydrated by drinking water all day. If there is absolutely nothing healthy to eat, choose the healthiest thing you can and eat half of the normal amount you normally would.

9. Health food options: Find a grocery store in the area or near your hotel so your room has healthy options readily available.

10. Mental approach: Instead of looking at a business trip as a roadblock which causes impossible obstacles to maintaining what you’ve achieved, find ways to stay on your plan! Refuse to get swept up in the stress of business meetings and dinner plans, find pockets of time to walk and keep moving, drink water instead of pop, bring and utilize the snacks when you have the opportunity.

If you want to succeed, you must keep the attitude of forward progress even if you take baby steps! That way all momentum is not lost and you have something to build on when you get home.

5 Tips for Calorie Control

DietNo matter how hard or how long you work out, if you want to lose weight you have got to get the calories right.  We all know too many calories means weight gain… but did you know the wrong type of calories and even too few can also make you fatter?  Use these 5 tips as a guideline to finding the caloric range that works for you.

1) Calculate RMR
RMR stands for resting metabolic rate and it’s the number of calories your body needs to perform basic functions.  Combine your RMR with your daily activity level and that’s the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight.  Knowing your RMR +daily activity total will help you stop eating once you’ve hit your calories for the day because you will KNOW FOR SURE that you are getting fat if you eat that next piece of cake!

2) Don’t slash calories~ gradual, consistent deficits get results
Once you know your RMR + daily expenditure, you can create a caloric deficit to lose weight.  If you are creating a deficit…BEWARE, too large a deficit can cause your metabolic rate to go way down and will prevent you from losing weight.  I recommend a 350 -500 calorie deficit each day.  Allow the weight to come off over time instead of trying to create dramatic changes all at once.

3) Learn nutrient breakdowns
Learning the different food categories (protein, carbohydrate, fat) will help you create healthy, balanced meals.  Balanced meals promote healthy digestion, more even blood sugar levels, and ensures you are getting the proper foods for your needs.  Knowing your nutrient breakdowns keeps you from eating too many bad fats and too much sugar (the dreaded enemy of weight loss!).

4) Eat 5 times a day
Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day helps keep your blood sugar levels stable, gives you energy throughout the day, and stimulates your metabolism.  It also prevents you from eating a huge meal (that will be stored as fat!) because your starving from trying not to eat (impossible for healthy adults).

5) Track your food
Conveniently forgetting about that huge Chipotle burrito you ate with a side of chips last night… you’re right that would never make you gain weight… NOT!!!!!  Use one of the many calorie tracking apps to see your eating patterns on paper.  This opens the door for you to analyze where you are falling short and see what the real problem is.  You can develop new strategies for success once you know the truth about your eating habits.  I recommend MY FITNESS PAL to my clients.

Need more help with nutrition planning?  Send me an email at jes@jesreynolds.com and maybe we can set up a month of nutritional coaching!

 

References:
1.  Web MD Link:  http://www.webmd.com/diet/calc-bmi-plus

2.  Use Your Brain to Change Your Age: Dr. Amen

3.  CalorieCount.About.com: http://caloriecount.about.com/forums/weight-loss/bmr-vs-rmr

Maintaining Fitness Goals During Business Travel

When it comes to business travel, most of my clients have the same challenge.  They’ve spent quite a bit of effort and energy into combining daily fitness habits with their demanding career.  It’s been a stretch, but they can finally meet all their weekly fitness goals.  And then the inevitable happens…the regular trips to cities all over the world take them totally out of their routine, take away all momentum, and puts them back…sometimes even destroying all the progress they have worked so hard to make!

From my perspective, the loss of motivation is totally understandable.  Most individuals who have long term fitness success do so by making it part of their weekly routine and having goals they shoot for each week.  Then BAM!!!! a business trip comes, and sucks away your motivation and willpower to stay going in the right direction.

If you feel overwhelmed by the stress and strain of business travel or just the strain of a really demanding career, you can implement some (or all) of these 10 solid tips when you travel.  The key to using them successfully is not in regimenting yourself to strictly follow each one, but to stay in the right frame of mind (focused on your goals) & draw positive feelings from knowing you are still implementing your plan while on a business trip.  Instead of giving up and having no drive to exercise or eat right when you get home, you’ll be proud of yourself for doing what you could do and feel motivated to get yourself back to where you were when you started.

Ten Tips for Travel

  1. Airport Layovers:  If you have a layover for any length of time, you must stay moving.  Walk the corridors of the airport.
  2. Catered business lunches & meetings:  Most of my clients have a terrible time choosing healthy foods from this type of setting…usually because there aren’t any available!  That is why you must plan ahead!  Bring things like Cliff bars & granola bars to supplement those unhealthy options.
  3. Business dinners:  Plan ahead for these as well.  Choose not to drink soda, if having an alcoholic beverage, skip the bread at the beginning of dinner or have ½ a piece.  If you’ve been eating junk all day and been sitting in meetings, DO NOT give yourself a huge dinner as your reward.  Instead choose a light meal and make a commitment to walk at the hotel fitness center or walk home after dinner
  4. Find a gym, wake up early and exercise before meetings begin
  5. Pack healthy snack options for the plane ride and for breakfast.  For breakfast try hard boiled eggs (usually on the breakfast bar at most hotels) and you can even pack dry cereal and get milk from the hotel kitchen.
  6. Find the “fast food options” that work.  Subway has tons of low calorie choices that are fairly healthy and even Mcdonalds has somewhat healthy options.  Choose the oatmeal or the yogurt parfait
  7. Refuse to allow stress to ruin all your hard work.  Even though business trips tend to be stressful, do your best to control stress eating & drinking habits.
  8. Bring snacks on long drives.  Sometimes clients have to drive 4-6 hours for a meeting.  Once they arrive, they are tired and want to reward themselves with a huge dinner.   Mitigate your hunger by bringing snacks such as apples and pears or trail mix.  When you arrive you won’t be starving and you’ll have more energy as well!
  9. Eat breakfast (in your room if necessary) & stay hydrated by drinking water all day.  If there is absolutely nothing to eat, choose the healthiest thing you can and eat ½ of the normal amount you normally would.
  10. Find a grocery store in the area or near your hotel so your room has healthy options readily available.

Instead of looking at a business trip as a roadblock which causes impossible obstacles to maintaining what you’ve achieved, find ways to stay on your plan!  Refuse to get swept up in the stress of business meetings and dinner plans, find pockets of time to walk and keep moving, drink water instead of pop, bring and utilize the snacks when you have the opportunity.  No matter what, you must keep the attitude of forward progress even if you take baby steps!  That way all momentum is not lost and you have something to build on when you get home.

Foam Roller Magic for the IT Band

“My knee has been bugging me” is what he kept telling me…”Everytime I do my basketball drills and layups..my knee feels really inflamed and it hurts”.  So we tried a lot of things to correct it….everything from new shoes, motrin, stretching, ice, and even an evaluation by an orthopedic specialist.  Still, the knee pain came back each time and I think it got a little bit more sensitive over time, now even flaring up after running.

Then one day I was thinking about it and it hit me.  I mentioned to Shree the IT band stretch and also suggested he use the foam roller to really release the tension in the tissue.  He tried it a few times and wah lah!  No more knee pain and lots more fun basketball drills.  I wish I would’ve realized it sooner!

Having a tight IT band can be the cause of injury and inflammation when moderately tight or it can even lead to slight scoliosis or leg length differences if it’s severely tight.  Stretching or rolling the IT can be helpful to those who:

  • are very active
  • are regular runners
  • do a lot of squatting and jumping
  • are over 30
  • have “un diagnosed” knee pain

IT BAND SUMMARY

What:  The IT band is a band of connective tissue similar in structure to ligaments and tendons.

Where:  The IT band originates at the top of the femur, is connected to both a small muscle on the outside of the hip called the tensor facia latae and the gluteus maximus.  From the top of the hip, it continues down the side of your leg, crosses the knee joint and its insertion point is at the top of the tibia.

Why:  The IT band assissts in hip movement and rotation as well as playing a role in stabilizing the hip, pelvis, and knee.

The IT band is very hard to stretch.  But, if you have access to a foam roller, it’s a wise thing to learn how to use it effectively on the IT.  I’ve included a video and some resources below so you know how to roll and stretch it out.  Try it and Let me know if you notice a difference!

3 Keys to Achieving Fitness Goals

Sometimes achieving fitness goals can seem like a challenge that never really ends.  When working with clients I often find they have tried any number of different methods for losing weight, but to no avail, only to put all the weight and sometimes more back on again.  Although weight loss is a common goal, yours might be injury prevention, improved mobility or improved strength and speed.  Regardless of what a clients goal may be, the continual challenge they face is having a workable and realistic method that produces real fitness results.

Having a workable method requires organization and structure.  As I start blogging regularly again, one of my intentions is to help you (clients, friends and readers) to look at fitness goals with more objectivity.  I would like to help you analyze the problem (if you aren’t reaching your goals) and apply workable solutions that take you in the right direction.

The first step in doing this is to break down health and fitness related goals into three categories:

  1. Psychological
    • This is more than just wondering.. “am I bipolar”.  The psychological aspect ranges anywhere from being depressed to having a stressful and demanding career which constantly leaves you feeling tired and overwhelmed.
  2. Nutrition
    • I’m not talking about a diet.  When it comes to nutrition each person has to learn a healthy way of life which includes a method of eating that produces sustainable results over time.
  3. Exercise
    • While finding time to workout can seem impossible, doing the basics is a necessity for general health and longevity.  Once you have the basics, you can build on that and reach any level of fitness you want.

Working directly with a trainer should cause you to find clarity and understanding in each of these categories.  When I work one on one with clients we give structure and strategies to overcome obstacles in all three categories and I hope to do the same by sharing strategies on this blog.  As a jumpstart, I’ve included 10 basic nutrition tips to help you get started in the right direction.

Stay tuned for more info as I reach my goal of posting EVERY WEEK!  (using the same organizational and structure strategies I teach in fitness).

How To Get Fitness Results – Step 3

In my previous posts, I addressed the first two of three crucial components to health, fitness, or athletic success: mental preparation and nutrition planning.  In this post I want to focus on the third component, which is exercise.  In order to achieve fitness goals, especially those related to athletic performance, you should incorporate a both resistance training and cardiovascular exercise into your plan. 


 A well designed fitness plan recognizes that exercise is a systematic method of applying stress to the body.  Your body responds to that stress during the recovery process by adapting, and adaptation prepares you for the next workout.  In order to achieve a goal, you should plan to increase or change the type of stress applied to the body during workouts (in both cardio and resistance training) by changing number of reps, increasing amount of weight, limiting rest periods, or changing the type cardio you do.

Remember, the body adapts during the recovery period, not during stress.  If you neglect to include recovery time in your workout plan, it may inhibit your ability to progress and improve at the rate you desire (psst…aka recovery is crucial).

Including progressive exercise in your plan and evaluating yourself from a weekly, monthly, and yearly perspective will prevent you from becoming discouraged about poor performance such as a bad game or a disappointing workout.  As you use this theory you’ll begin to appreciate the times when you’re at your best and encourage yourself through times when your motivation is low or the business of life takes time away from your training schedule.

Progression in the form of cardio, strength, and endurance is one of my favorite things to teach and do in the gym.  It’s how you measure success and progress on the way to achievement.  It’s also an excellent concept to remember when recovering from injury or any type of surgical procedure (with the correct guidance of course).