Strategy for Conferences

Conferences.  Love ’em or hate ’em, chances are they’re a part of any road warrior’s year.  While full of networking events and meetings, they can also be a minefield of long days and crappy food.  Next week Weds-Fri I’m attending a regional industry conference in Fort Worth, TX. Here are some of my strategies for success.
Comfy Shoes
Comfy Shoes
Conferences involve a TON of walking.  Often there’s a hike from your hotel to the civic center, not to mention the miles walking the expo floor visiting all the booths.  Wearing shoes that are comfortable for all that walking is key.  Of course, it’s tough to find shoes that are both professional and comfortable (at least if you’re a girl – men have it a bit easier).  In the past I’ve worn Naturalizer brand shoes, which are dressy but have a cushy sole.  This conference I might see if my black on black Toms are inconspicuous enough to be considered professional.  Biggest advice – don’t wear heels unless you’re going out for dinner or a special event.
Pack Snacks
Healthy Snacks
My company usually chooses Hilton brand hotels for travel, which have great breakfasts available.  During conferences we’ll often pick a different hotel brand that is cheaper or closer to the venue and sometimes these off-brands don’t have breakfast available (or the selection is sub-par).  For this reason I like to have some snacks packed for a healthy breakfast.  Also when you’re on the convention floor it is never a guarantee that you’ll be able to stop for lunch, so having something to stave off hunger is key.  I like RX bars, carrots or nuts. Even having a protein shake on hand is great for a breakfast choice.
Make Some Goals
Make some Goals
Whenever I have something tough for work like an on-site meeting or a conference I plan a few easy, but achievable goals for the week.  In January I had a week-long company meeting at our corporate office where I knew that lunches and dinners would all be out to eat and free time would be tight.  I made it my goal to achieve two simple things: 1) I would get my 3 workouts in that week, and 2) I would eat a vegetable at every meal.  That’s it.  They did take some planning and thinking to achieve, but they weren’t impossible.
For my workouts that week I planned 2 of them in the AM before our meetings and one on Saturday morning.  During lunches and dinners I wouldn’t deprive myself, but I would always get at least a side of vegetables (side salad, broccoli) with my meals.  For instance, one night we went to Red Robin and I got a burger, but had steamed veggies as my side.  And I snuck some fries from one of my coworker’s endless baskets. It worked! Making the goal kept me thinking healthy and felt awesome when I achieved it.
What are your conference survival strategies? Let me know in the comments below!

Routines are Key

Traveling is stressful!

Sure, that’s probably not the best way to start a healthy travel blog. However, that’s the reality so we might as well face it at the start. No matter if you’re traveling regularly for work or occasionally for fun (or both!), when going gets tough it is often difficult for us as humans to keep up with our good intentions of being healthy. And that in turn stresses us out even more!

The goal of this blog is for me to share with you, the reader, my tips and tricks for staying healthy while you’re away from home. Before I dive into details, let’s start with some of my tenants for healthy travel.

Create & Follow a Routine

Create a Routine
Prior to September 2013 I traveled for work occasionally (less than once per month) and during those trips it was no big sweat to get off of my routine for a few days. I would eat whatever I wanted when I was out with customers, I would not visit the hotel gym and I would use the hotel soap and shampoo. When I returned, it was just right back into my normal routine like nothing happened.

One of the first thing I learned 2+ years ago when I started traveling full time for work is that creating a routine is key. When I get to a hotel room, no matter what hour, I always go through the same procedure of unpacking my bag and setting the items out that I will need for that segment of the trip. Same thing with my health and fitness routines when I am on the road. After I get settled in the hotel room, I always head out and visit a local grocery store to stock up on dinners and breakfasts for the week. A future goal I have is to start a routine of getting up early to visit the hotel gym every morning.

Establishing a routine based on common things you do every day no matter where you are is so important. Traveling is your new normal now (or at least for the next few days) so set yourself up for success! It does take a bit more time for you to figure out what those normal, recurring events are, but when you do you can set those events up to trigger your healthy activities.

Make time for healthy habits

Make time for health

Tied to establishing a routine, you need to schedule time to execute on your routine. When I started traveling I had so many weeks where I would get to Friday and I hadn’t completed a workout or eaten a breakfast that wasn’t hurried. It seems obvious, but setting aside some time in your day for healthy habits makes all the difference in actually getting those tasks accomplished.

I currently try to workout 3 times per week, with a session in my home gym Mon AM and Fri PM leaving one mid-week workout in the hotel gym. Knowing that I have to get one in while I’m gone I often investigate my schedule when the travel is planned and make sure I find the right day for appointment and put it in my calendar. I also like to wake up early enough in my day that I have time to make my coffee and enjoy my breakfast. If I have more time I can make healthy choices and not be rushed into the easy option.

Sometimes when you’re traveling for work, it feels really difficult to carve out time for yourself. I often feel like my job is able to control every hour of my life when I’m not at home. And the same thing can be said of your vacation – you always want to squeeze all the relaxation time you can out of your trip. However, I go into either of these situations saying that my workouts are non-negotiable. My company and my family both benefit if I stay healthy and active.

Make Room for Healthy Accessories

Make Room for Health
Another factor in your healthy routine includes the material items you bring with you. While this isn’t absolutely necessary, it does create your best chance for success. You’ll be much more likely to adhere to a routine if you have the same stuff packed to help you do it!

For instance, I carry a bag filled with paper plates, plastic silverware, salt and pepper so that I can get groceries while I travel and I don’t have to worry about finding those things when it is time to eat. I always pack workout clothes and shoes with me, even if the trip is just for one night. You never know when you’ll find time for a workout! For me, there is something comforting about having my own personal toiletry bag with the same products when I travel from place to place. That alone is worth the extra baggage fees.

We all know that doing the thing that is best for you can be more challenging than doing the easy thing. Having the right tools on hand make it so much easier to make the healthy choice.


These three tips have really made my travel for work and play much more enjoyable and healthy. Not all of these things are very obvious though and it took me some time, internet scouring and trial & error to find what worked. I’m hoping my tips help you out and get you there a bit faster.