Going to a work conference, in my opinion, is one of the most draining things to your health there is. You know, one of the deals where you stay in a hotel, where laminated name cards, and don’t see the light of day for 2-5 days.
Generally, the food offers plenty of chances to eat more sugar and processed carbohydrates than vegetables and nutrients. Additionally, you sit for 8+ hours a day, which you hear is worse than smoking. And then there is the late nights + alcohol consumption that feels mandatory.
Now that’s not to say these conferences aren’t incredibly valuable for one’s career/professional advancement et al. It’s just a challenge to not feel like complete crap by the end.
Here are the things I have found help me:
– Plan on working out first thing in the morning. Waiting to workout after cocktail hour at the end of the night is basically a death sentence to your exercise plan. And there is nothing wrong with skipping a workout here or there, but if you are marathon training, it’s a priority.
– Bring your own snacks. Don’t count on the hotel or conference to provide food that’s going to make you feel good between meals. There always seems to be a 3pm cookie and soda break. Skipping the snack and not eating between mealtimes if you are hungry can lead to overeating when lunch finally rolls around, so have options.
– At mealtimes, assess the offering and choose wisely. You aren’t going to be able to eat exactly how you want to when someone else is providing a preset menu. Let go of feeling like you have to be perfect and just do your best. Get things you know will fill you up and satiate you and manage what you can. For example, yesterday the offering for lunch was premade sandwiches (thankfully not with mayo or mustard already on them), salad and chips. I took the cheese & bacon off the turkey sandwich, skipped the chips and got extra salad.
– If you have a break, take the stairs to go use the restrooms, or walk around the block with a coworker. Moving around will help keep you awake anyway.
– Bring a water bottle and keep drinking water like it’s your job. I used to try to not drink water because I didn’t want to be THAT PERSON always using the restroom. But you just feel so much better!!
– Drinking a lot and staying out until 2am is not mandatory. Your career will not suffer from skipping that. If it’s something you want to do, by all means, go for it. For me, I can’t drink like that and don’t want to. Plus it compromises my ability to get up in the morning and run. I used to feel SO uncomfortable saying no or bowing out of those outings. One of the best things about getting older is that I have learned to have the confidence to do what is right for me and PEACE OUT. I have learned that I can enjoy a glass of wine – or not – and leave once the party winds down. I don’t have to do the after party every time. Or ever.
Another couple of things that help me is bringing a resistance band, my R8 from RollRecovery and RunGum. The resistance band can be used for almost any exercise, the R8 is easy to pack and saves my legs – especially when running and wearing heels, and the RunGum is much easier than packing powdered preworkout and a water bottle to mix it in.
What are your tricks while traveling for work?