Last year was a heavy business travel year for me and it could have easily wrecked my fitness goals if I didn’t have a plan to succeed.
You may be surprised to hear me say that traveling for business (or pleasure) can be your greatest weight loss opportunity. Keep reading and I’ll tell you how.
Whether you are preparing to travel for a conference, a work meeting, an extended stay assignment, or any other travel, here are my best tips & tricks.
A little research and planning ahead will make all the difference
In order to stay on track, you will have to put a little effort into your food planning on the front end. Luckily everything you need to know to devise a food plan can be learned from your phone.
There are 3 searches that you want to complete:
- Restaurants in your departure airport (i.e. “restaurants in LAX”)
- Grocery stores near your hotel
- Restaurants in your arrival airport
By finding your go-to food stops and selecting your meals ahead of time, you will not be tempted to eat whatever you feel like in the moment. Some of my favorite airport food stops are Chick-fil-a, Vino Volo, Modmarket, Starbucks, and Chipotle.
Go online and check their menus ahead of time so that you know exactly what you are going to order.
Once you arrive at your hotel, you will want to find a grocery store to get your fresh snacks, water, and any dinners that will not be provided by your company. Some of my favorite grocery stores are Trader Joe’s and Target.
Here is a typical grocery list for a full week of travel for me.
- Fresh fruit like strawberries, clementines, or grapes
- Carrots and individually packaged hummus, avocado dip, or peanut butter
- Almond or Coconut milk – ½ gallon
- Evol Egg White Breakfast Sandwiches (I usually find these at Target)
- Alkaline water
- Perrier flavored carbonated mineral water
- Prepackaged salads for any nights you are not going out for dinner
- Emerald Cocoa Roasted Almonds – 100 calorie packs
Now you are ready to get back to your room and food prep!
Meal prep for the week at your hotel
Make sure you pack a small lunch bag, some sandwich sized Ziploc bags and a small ice pack, you will use them in this step…(no worries, ice packs are TSA approved items for travel)
Divide up your fruit evenly into the number of days you will be in your conference or meeting. Then place them into your Ziploc bags and store them in your refrigerator. Do the same with your carrots, or alternative vegetables. If you have pre-packaged single serving size nuts that’s great, but if not, divide those out into your bags as well.
Travel Tip #1: If your room doesn’t have a refrigerator or freezer, you can take your lunch bag, ice pack, and frozen breakfast sandwiches to the front desk and they will store it in their freezer for you. I learned this trick as a nursing mother on business travel when I had to bring home my breastmilk for the week without a room refrigerator!
Travel Tip #2: If you have forgotten your ice pack, no worries, in the morning, you can just add ice from the machine to some Ziploc bags and that should keep your food cold for the day.
My “6 meals eating plan” to losing weight during travel
You can certainly swap out foods and everyone has different caloric needs so this is just a guide to give you a sense of how I stay on track and continue to lose weight. A typical eating plan day for me while on business is as follows:
- Breakfast ~ Evol Breakfast Sandwich (Chicken Apple Sausage Egg White with Cheddar is my personal favorite)
- Morning Snack ~ Carrots and Hummus
- Lunch ~ 300 calories of the provided lunch (load up on veggies to fill your stomach)
- Afternoon Snack ~ Strawberries and Cocoa Roasted Almonds
- Dinner ~ 300 calorie Salad previously purchased – or 300 calories max if dining out
- Late Snack ~ Shakeology mixed with your almond or coconut milk
Use your technology to keep you on track
Some of my favorite tech gear is my Polar A370 fitness tracker and the app My Fitness Pal. The Polar A370 lets you know how many calories you burn each day. I find that when I’m traveling I tend to burn fewer calories than a typical workday. (probably because I’m sitting in a conference or long meetings) I use this information from the Polar to provide extra motivation to ensure I maintain a caloric deficit each day.
My other technology essential is the My Fitness Pal app. I like to log my food to ensure I stay at around 1500 calories intake per day. Remember, what gets measured, gets managed! This app makes it super easy to manage your food intake. There are so many restaurants and brands already preloaded into the app that I never struggle to calculate my calories.
Pack your essential fitness gear; sneakers and a sports bra
Most every hotel has a gym so don’t miss out on using it. Just 30 minutes on the elliptical is all you need to keep your metabolism up for the day. This is your time without family obligations, so use it wisely and hit the gym!
Travel Tip #3: If you forget your sports bra, don’t let that be an excuse, head to the nearest department store and purchase one. If you are on a tight budget, the pain you will feel from having to buy one will make you never forget again!
Travel Tip #4: If you forget your sneakers, no problem! I have made this mistake too, so I have curated a 22 min workout of commonly known exercises that you can do in your room, without shoes. All you need now is your phone and the timer app so you can ensure you are working through the exercises for the full time allotted.
22 Minute Hotel Room Workout
- Warmup ~ 2 mins of jumping jacks and stretches
- 1 min of planking followed by 30 seconds of rest
- 1 min of burpees followed by 30 seconds of rest
- 1 min of running in place with high knees followed by 30 seconds of rest
- Repeat three more times for a total of 4 reps
- Cooldown ~ 2 mins of stretching
And there you have it! My tricks and tips for making no excuses and continuing to be successful in your weight loss journey while traveling for work. I find that I actually lose more weight when I am traveling since I don’t have to cook for my family and I have more time for me. When I don’t have to see the food that they are eating, I am not tempted to eat it. When my day is over in the office, I am free to hit the gym so I never miss that opportunity.