If you fail to plan you plan to fail!

Travelling and Training

I will never forget this saying as it really does ring true not only in relation to staying in shape whilst travelling but in all walks of life. Ironically, I really can’t remember for the life of me who said it… I guess that shows the message was more important than the delivery.

Planning you’re training before you go on a business trip really is key! If you have a rough idea of what you want to do before you start your trip you are much more likely to stick to it as opposed to making it up as you go along.

How do I do this? In F1 we have the luxury of mostly going back to the same hotels year after year so I know exactly what facilities are or aren’t available in any given destination. This is the first part of deciding what I’ll do when there. If there is a pool maybe I’ll plan to use it. If there is a gym I have several go to work outs of the moment that I’ll use or if the gym is pants or non-existent I’ll find somewhere good to run outside or somewhere with a decent staircase close by that I can run, jump and hop up. Alternatively I might keep it simple and train in the room.

The great thing is there is always an option!

The other part of my travel plan that is fairly set is the schedule over any given race weekend. For example, Friday is the earliest start and the latest finish of the weekend for me so this would be my first option for a rest day. Saturday and Sunday are a slightly later starts so both are good options for a morning workout while I know Thursdays work better in the evening. Knowing this in advance helps me create a framework for what I want to do.

From there I just need to fill in the blanks of what type of training I want to do. This might depend on what I have been doing before the trip or be completely independent of it. I sometimes train with my girlfriend who has this insane fascination with running up mountains. If I’ve been training with her I’m definitely not going to be running as part of the programme. But I try to mix it up a bit. I want to make sure that in the three work outs I might be doing I give everything a bit of a workout. I tend to stick to either HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions in the room or gym with maybe some band work thrown in and aim for either a run or a swim for the other day. I plan on 30 minutes total for the HIIT sessions and 45 mins to an hour for the run. Everyone is different but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter where you are in your “programme” or if you’re just looking to balance out those heavy client dinners, just fitting something in is a lot better than doing nothing.

The important thing is to know is what time you have available and how to efficiently use that time. What I have found talking to business travellers is time is normally the main issue (or excuse) for not being able to train. In this case if we look at a 4 day business trip, just doing two HIIT workouts in the hotel room might be the best option. Two 20 – 30 minute sessions without leaving the hotel room, is that too much to fit in? The nice thing about the HIIT option is it tends to work everything in a short space of time and you can change the exercises regularly for variety. You’ll soon come to realise once you get better at this type of training that going down to the gym isn’t so intimidating if you’re not so used to it and all you really need is a small space in the corner.

So, look at your next business trip and try and identify what times might be available to you and see if this helps create a more structured approach. At the end of the day you have to want to work out.

Another area most business travellers struggle with is related to food and drink. After a workout having something “high carb” that at most other times would be considered “best avoided” if you’re looking to shed a bit of excess weight is actually the best thing to eat as the carbs will help spike insulin levels which in turn will help shuttle required nutrients into the muscles to start the repair and rebuild process as opposed to the belly for storage! This can all be part of your plan, aim to train before a client dinner or before breakfast in the morning and give yourself more freedom to add the toast or the pasta to your meal.

Happy planning!

1 comment

One Reply to “If you fail to plan you plan to fail!”

  1. Great read, Mark, and it seems I did a lot as you are prescribing in my travel/work years as a long haul pilot. Although, on the nutrition side, I did a lot wrong. I should have been aware of your tips when I was in and out hotels and planes. Keep up the good work. And if you have a tip for an 18 day trek trip in the Himalayas, let me know. 😉 April will be the month.

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