On the road – simple tips how to stay fit during business travel

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I used to travel a lot back at the time, staying several weeks in hotels and commuting between offices and airports. I always found very difficult to find a healthy balance and stay fit next to all the travel. There were just way to many uncontrollable factors (at least this is how I felt). For example the food in the airplane, local food in the country I visited, regular company dinners, breakfast buffet, long office hours and no adequate canteen. Eating out and not being able to prepare food for myself was the real issue. I also could not keep the regular exercise routine anymore. It was just too hard to stick to a fix schedule with all the appointments.

During my most busiest time of traveling I started putting on weight, little by little added up. I was really frustrated about it and did not know what to do until I changed my job and stopped travelling. Of course this is not always an option, it must be some other solution to make business travel more healthy. This week I was back on the road again. When I was packing my luggage I was keep telling myself that I will do everything this time not to fall back to the old routine.

I started to think about these uncontrollable factors and how I can take them out of the way. Let’s just go through the list what makes business travel so unhealthy and find a way to deal with it:

Airplane food: dependent on the time of travel have your proper meal before the flight and skip the food entirely. Take the water to get properly hydrated. If it is not a practical choice (which in my case was not an option due to flight times) take the time to order a healthier option. Airline firms offer nowadays many food options to choose from especially in long haul flight. I have  a vegetarian in my profile which works for me.

Business lounge: while it is really practical to spend your waiting time in the lounge, do not get tempted by all the free food just to pass the time until boarding. Instead take a good book with you or do a rehearsal of your presentation and stay with your refreshing water.

Wending machines: you have been traveling and had a lot of meeting, no time for lunch? Do not grab sweets from the wending machine. Instead bring your apple and nuts with you to fight your hunger until you can bite into something better. It is generally a good idea to take with you your favourite healthy bar too for traveling.

Business dinner: it is almost inevitable to go for dinner with your clients or colleagues and no question networking is key for your business. However think it through and organise it according to your schedule. Do not skip your gym time entirely to have a bite, keep some evenings empty for yourself. Also, when you eat out remember the 7 simple food rules, they also apply when you are not at home!!

Lack of sport: sport is a must while traveling therefore pick your hotel wisely. Do some research before you book, a nice and inviting gym can support your motivation. Go there on the morning before breakfast to make sure your workout does not get skipped in case you have obligation in the evening. You can also do some exercises in your room directly, you only need your body weight and a towel, perfect for planking, jumping jacks, burpee, squads or crunches. Walk the streets, great start of the day to collect your thoughts before you arrive to the office or meet your client.

Challenge is up! Let’s go girls!

What does it mean to you being FIT?

How often did you hear that people say “I have to exercise more to get fit, but I’m so busy”? What is the first picture which comes into your mind about doing exercises? If you ask me, I picture a gym full of big guys lifting weights. This is exactly what we were always been told “if you want to get fit lift as many weights as you can” or “do as many crunches as possible”. Can you picture it? How do you feel about it? While I do not oppose the concept working out, it is really not a way how I imagine getting fit.

Now, I would like to take away this picture and replace it with this one:

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This is what it means to me being fit. Living a healthy lifestyle with full of action. Always on a move…run up to stairs, having long strolls in the city, go for a great hike in the mountains, swim in a lake or simply play games with friends in a park.

Changing your perception what it means to you being fit should also change the way you make your choices day by day. Do not wait until the opportunity arises for you to go the the gym. Being fit and feeling fit should follow you in every STEP you make!

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I really mean it!

You can very easily just take the stairs every day at work, instead of waiting for the elevator. You can climb up the stairs in the train station in your ever day commute instead of taking the escalator. You can skip a couple of stop with the tram, just to walk through the city or take your bicycle for a change.  Take your time during your lunch break to have a walk instead of having your sandwich in front of your computer. Meet up with your friends after work to play some badminton in the park or take your family for a nice swim.

Following this spirit I installed a new step counter app on my phone. I want to track how much I really move outside of the gym and my regular running sessions to remind myself that being fit continues outside of the fitness club and part of my every day life.

It all starts with the first STEP…


Thanks for the great pictures:

 

 

Climbing flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Life is a Cocktail flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Walking flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Running in the Tall Grass flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Late for children's day! flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Dance flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Yosemite Hiking flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Kubb flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Get your running shoes ready – time to get serious

 

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The time has come and we all have to get serious about the goals we want to achieve before the summer comes. It is always good to set goals which you can follow, it keeps you focused and motivated. Be sure though that these targets are realistic so you do not get discouraged during the way.

My personal goal is to run the half-marathon this year. Hey, of course you do not need to start with the half-marathon right away. If you are not a runner at all do not get discouraged there are plenty of other options to get your cardio exercise for weight loss (e.g. Nordic walking, spinning, swimming).

Whichever exercise you choose you have to make sure you can fit it into your daily schedule, so ask yourself these questions:

  1. When am I more active in the morning or evening?
  2. Can I motivate myself after work to get my exercise done?
  3. Can I get off work in time to do my exercise or my evenings are unpredictable?
  4. How important for me the flexibility?
  5. How important for me the group experience?
  6. Do I need a trainer to motivate me?

Think about this way, the day has 24 hours and you must find a 30 minutes time for yourself every other day to exercise, it can’t be so hard.

PicMonkey Collage

My choice of cardiovascular exercise is running. I will do my trainings after work as I’m really not a morning person. I will set meetings in my business calendar to make sure I force myself out of the office in time. I will go directly home, change and go running to avoid any disturbance or temptations (yes, we all know about the inviting atmosphere of the nice cosy sofa). I downloaded my training schedule from a specialised runner website which offer free programs for various levels (beginners welcome). I will follow this plan the next 10 weeks to prepare for the half-marathon, which will require me to run every second day so I really have to get myself organised. I will hang the plan up right above my fridge so I can see every single day what I have to achieve and keep myself motivated.


Now it is your turn,

I want you to take a piece of paper and write down what you will exactly do and when, no excuses.

POST IT! I would like to hear about what is YOUR personal goal! It will make you do it even more!!! You do it for all of us girls!!!


Some goodies for future runners at Zurich region, Switzerland

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My favourite places to fit your mood:

  • Limmat river bank – starting from Werdinsel (run through a picturesque village, passing the Kloster Fahr)
  • Sihl river bank – starting from Saalsporthalle (nice green fields with forest belts, lovely)
  • Lakeside – Zurich lake, Greifensee (must do)
  • Forest running pathways “Finnenbahn” and “Vitaparcour” (link to sites)
  • Open for public athletic fields (link to sites)
  • Jogging communities (city running)

Oh mighty food – eating good is half of the job

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Once my personal trainer told me that weight loss is a very easy formula, you burn more calories than you take in. Simple… So why is it so difficult to lose weight? There are bunch of books written on different theories and kick-ass diets.

Ok, I admit that I have tried couple of these diets but my problem was sticking to them long term. One of my success was the metabolic balance but going around with the list of things I can and can’t eat, measuring each gram of food I take in just made me tired. Also, I tend to stick to the diet during less stressful times and skip it during the stress phases.

There are many cool apps out there where you can record the food intake and it shows the number of calories consumed per meal.  If you belong to the group who says: “It can’t be that I gained weight again, I hardly ate something”, I really encourage you to try one of these apps (count calories apps) because weigh loss starts with the realisation. My personal favourite is MyFitnessPal free application. While I find really good to make myself aware how much I ate and how much I burned doing sport, I still have difficulty to find time to update it on a consistent basis.

Therefore I decided to put my energy into finding simple rules which I can stick to long term, basically changing my habits which influences my choices to strike a healthy 80/20 balance in a consistent way.


7 simple food rules to follow for sustainable weight control:

  1. Drinking, drinking, drinking but only water and tea – no additional sugar intake with drinks. Sorry to say but smoothies are also out, they just contain way to many calories. Smoothies should be integrated into the meal plans, replacing fruits or vegetables.
  2. Take a portion of fruit after every meal. I will come back to what it means a portion.
  3. Eat a meal 3 times a day, do not skip breakfast. After a long time finally I started taking my time in a morning to have breakfast. Even though I’m not very hungry in the mornings, it helps me to bridge the time until lunch. I feel much less hungry and makes it easier to take the right choice.
  4. Keep dinner slim, in case you have family try to eat in time and have a light lunch. During the years, I have noticed that my weight loss is directly linked to what and how much I ate for dinner. If I wanted to drop a few kilos before an important event, I started to cut back on my dinner. It really works…
  5. Portion control, in fact it should be at the first place of this list. This is the heart of every diet and weight loss effort. You might be eating healthy food, lots of fruits and vegetables but this might be a problem “a lot”. I had a same feeling before I started metabolic balance, this program really gave me a lesson about the power of portions. Without going into the details as this topic deserves a dedicated post, I would like to raise your awareness with the following comparison: 1 cup blueberries 11o kcal – 1 hour walking 195 kcal burned / 1 cup grapes 115 kcal – 1 hour moderate breast swimming 236 kcal burned / 1 apple 100 kcal – 1 hour aerobic 384 kcal burned. 
  6. Leave the bread aside, this is a bad habit of mine to take the complementary bread placed in front of my nose in the restaurants. I really do not need to fill my stomach with refined carbohydrates. In fact I stopped buying bread for home completely. I replace it with healthy options like oat, quinoa or bulgur. They keep me going the whole day.
  7. Cut back the sweets, this is personally one of the hardest rule to follow. I love sweets, I live in Switzerland where every corner a delicious treat is waiting for you. Therefore I do not keep any sweets at home, they would not be safe. Only exceptions are dark chocolates with over 70% cacao content. I also keep unsalted and unsweetened nuts like almond and walnuts, they do the trick when I crave for sweets. Lastly, keeping the 80/20 rule in mind, I allow myself time to time a small treat of my most loved one.

Try these simple rules for the next two weeks to change your eating habits and let us know how you feel. Share with all of us if you have a secret weapon against craving, we want to hear all!

Fruits & VegetablesAli Karimian on flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Welcome to my blog – how it all starts

Profile_The DesiredMe_about meI started to write this blog to inspire all women living a busy life, strive to achieve more but fail to strike the right balance between career, family, friends and personal well-being. You know the feeling of the vicious circle, long hours at work, duties at home and suddenly your day is over and you have not done anything good for yourself. You are telling “Nevermind! I will catch up with my work-out routine later”, or “Tomorrow I will eat much healthier it was just an exception”, or “Cute pants I will be able to wear them again by the summer, I have plenty of time to get in shape”. Nice lies you are telling yourself, comforting aren’t they?

I’m in this vicious circle myself. Despite all my good intentions e.g. I have gone through different dietary plans, personal training sessions, I had several gym memberships and subscriptions to health magazines, I even ran a marathon last year just to mention a few, still I could not make a break through. Sure, a short while I had some success but when the next hurdle came into my life my good habits and intentions were out of the window. Why is it so hard not to bounce back to your old routine?

Then it stroke me, all these years all this hard work and dedication desperately trying to stay on the right path cost me so much energy, energy I lost on a daily basis by being used up at work. How can I regain this energy? Energy comes from people and people are more approachable than ever. You do not need to look out for people in your nearest surrounding anymore to bundle up with, you can get your missing daily portion of energy and motivation right here through the support of your fellow girl companions!

Ladies that’s right, join me to embark on a journey of self discovery and let’s find together your own DesiredMe!

Power up girls!

Truly Yours,

Brigi