I had a client named Sarah who traveled a lot for work.
At least once a month. Oftentimes more.
Yet, she still built tons of definition in her arms, her butt got bigger, and she had more muscle tone overall, which is awesome because those were her goals. She crushed it.
Oh yeah, she also had a toddler. Side note: Her kid was freakin’ adorable and one time came in and started trying to copy her mom doing deadbugs. Super adorbz. But I digress. Point is, she had a lot of responsibilities.
So how did she do it? How did she reach her goals with so much going on?
I’m going to tell you how she did it. Then I’m going to give you additional tools to balance your goals with a crazy work/travel life.
For starters, she didn’t let perfect be the enemy of pretty good. She didn’t let an All or Nothing Mentality dictate her actions.
Even though she was used to lifting weights during our sessions, she would settle for a set or two of bodyweight glute bridges and dead bugs in the hotel room. Something is always better than nothing.
At work dinners she’d order whatever had the most veggies in it. Now, there were times where she’d order something not as healthy or have a bit more wine than is productive for getting lean. However, she never threw in the towel or lost focus.
It’s all about momentum, about doing what you can, when you can. And not sweating things you can’t control. Being adaptable to new, unforeseen circumstances, and staying mindful and patient through all of it.
Admittedly, this kind of work life has unique challenges. Fortunately, there are aspects you control. There are strategies and mindset practices that, if you’re diligent, will help you build a healthier, fitter, awesomer version of yourself.
Below I’ll give you the recipe for dealing with the obstacles my client dealt with: Unpredictable work life, lots of traveling, lots of wining and dining, and little free time.
Focus, Focus, Focus
There will be new distractions every trip. Keep your eye on the ball.
Whether that means setting alarms in your phone reminding you why you want to reach your goal, or writing it down on a piece of paper, stay focused.
You’re sailing through a habit hurricane -- your surroundings are different so your habits will be different as well. Rather than letting your surroundings decide your fate, take charge and hoist your own sails. Don’t let yourself be subject to the whim of the storm.
You must stay focused on your goal. You can’t let, “I’m on a trip, I’ll just wait ‘til I get back home to get fit” throw you off your game.
Taking a food journal religiously can help you stay mindful because it serves as a reminder not just of your decisions, but your goals in general.
“What’s this little notebook in my pocket? Oh yeah that’s my food log. Why the hell am I taking a food log? Right. Because I want to lose 20 lbs so I can fit into my favorite dress again”.
Focus comes first.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
Your work obligations for this trip required tons of preparation i.e. I know you can plan ahead and anticipate obstacles.
What restaurants will you be eating at?
Check out the menu before hand and decide what you’re going to get. Then stick to that decision. Volunteer to order first. It sucks ordering a chicken salad when everyone else just ordered burgers and fries. If you order a salad you’ll find whoever orders next will probz order a healthier option as well.
Does your hotel have a gym?
If it doesn’t, looks like you’re working out in your hotel room or at a park ;)
Plan your workout in advance.
What exercises will you do? When will you workout? Put your workout into your google calendar and treat it like any other work obligation.
And by the way, you absolutely have enough time. My client's travel workouts were often no more than 15 minutes.
Have a plan. Then have a backup plan. Then have a backup plan for your backup plan. You get the idea.
Find the consistencies
While work trips seem to do nothing but shake up your routine, there are consistencies you can use to build steady, mindful, and healthy behaviors to improve your fitness.
Look for the habits, the behaviors that stick with you even when you’re in a new environment.
For example, when you’re traveling you probably still:
- Brush your teeth
- Wake up (fdnsjncdslkfnskjnfdSHAKEUP)
- Eat 3ish meals
- Go on facebook
Your current habits provide a sweet launch pad for new habits.
For example, “I will do 5 squats (new habit) when I brush my teeth in the morning(old habit) for the next 7 days” is a great way to stay active and build momentum.
Leverage healthy behaviors off old habits because this will set you up for success no matter what happens.
Practice a culture of ownership
Own your actions. All of them.
Whether good or bad. Whether circumstances are ideal or not. Own everything you do.
Because no one else is responsible for this except you. The world will certainly keep spinning whether your lose those 20 lbs or not. Life is indifferent to all that.
Yes, you have unique obstacles. But that doesn’t negate the fact that you and you alone can conquer them.
Keep waiting for ideal conditions and you’ll never get there. You’ll just get frustrated.
Every single decision “counts”. Every single decision adds up to influence your physique. So you need to stay focused and brutally honest with yourself.
Traveling for work is the norm, not the exception. Because your work trips aren’t roadblocks sidelining you from your path, they ARE the path.
You need to build fitness around your work life because this is your reality. This is your obstacle you need to conquer. And you can.