Staying in Shape whilst Travelling, by Carolyn Pearson

Staying in shape is enduring enough and trying to do it whilst on business travel presents its own challenges but with a bit of planning we can make use of those often wasted hours holed up in a hotel room to keep up with a fitness regime.

Of course it goes without saying that booking a hotel with on-site leisure facilities is a great incentive to keep fit.  My worst nightmare though is those hotels with limited space that convert a hotel room into a mini-gym with a couple of running machines and free weights, unless I am desperate and the room is deserted I avoid these at all costs.

I prefer the anonymity of a bigger space and without the obligatory macho-competitive man panting and perspiring and running full pelt in such close-proximity!  My own personal favourite is to find a hotel that has yoga or pilates classes or a nice swimming pool so that I don’t need to pack my heavy trainers and a post-work sauna is a great way to unwind.

We asked our members what they do to stay in shape whilst travelling.  Ana from Oxford  likes nothing more than to get out and about and explore her new surroundings on foot or bicycle, a healthier and better way to get acquainted with a place than in the back of a taxi.  Bally from Birmingham agrees, and uses her favourite smart-phone apps such as Runkeeper to calculate her miles per minute.  Simona from Brussels and Chrissie from Leeds both pack their running shoes, sports bras, shorts and t-shirt and ask the hotel for a local running map.

“There’s really no excuse not to get some kind of exercise” says Chrissie “Getting out and trotting/running the streets is a great way to see a new city. And yes, when I get back to my room there’s plenty of space for sit-ups and press-ups. Lack of gym facilities doesn’t negate the opportunity to exercise, it actually encourages exploration and taking advantage of seeing and experiencing the city you’re visiting”.  Many hotels with a good fitness suite will have personal trainer who you can ‘borrow’ to take you for a spin around the local running places.

The more zen Donna from Geneva, hates the idea of having to pack her bulky running shoes opting instead for some quiet time and in-room yoga.  “My tried and tested solution is my travel yoga mat which folds down into a VERY small square, works on carpet and wooden floors and I have yet to find a hotel room too small to roll it out in. This combined with free Yoga Journal or Blissology yoga class podcasts on the iphone is a fantastic way to recover from a long flight or too much work.

Many hotels provide in-room yoga mats and London’s Metropolitan hotel has its own in-room yoga TV channel and can provide private yoga and pilates classes on demand.

Geerte from Amsterdam is more concerned about watching her diet whilst away on business, when the combination of eating rich food later in the evening can play havoc with your eating patterns.  We launched our own independent research into what women really want from room service and the results were startling; hotels really are falling short of delighting us.

So what do the experts say?  

Louise Goddard; Personal Coach and Nutritionist (Associate of the Royal Society of Medicine), agrees with the exercise ideas that our travellers have already mentioned… other food for thought: is to call the restaurant/bars where you will be eating or look online at their menus and plan ahead what you will order, so that you are not swept along with the other diners’ calorie laden choices.

Perhaps you could order a starter as a main, have a salad with steak instead of chips, don’t be afraid to order off menu or to ask for smaller portions, or maybe call the restaurant to ask for something to be in especially for you. Olives (maybe shared with another diner) would be a better choice of starter, but only eat until you are full rather than finishing what is on the table, try to drink water between alcoholic drinks to help rehydrate and flush toxins away.  Perhaps share a dessert if you really have to have one, or ask for fresh fruit!

Be prepared for limited food choices or unhealthy food as snacks, take a mix of dried fruit and nuts with you in your luggage and drink plenty of water whilst travelling, often we eat something, thinking we are hungry, when in reality we could just be thirsty.  Ask the hotel for a fresh fruit basket in your room if you have a longer stay.  Try to replace one or two of your teas and coffees with herbal teas or just water, these will help you stay calm and help de-stress after a busy day.  Chocolate, alcohol, teas and coffees are all stimulants and are a factor in preventing weight loss, they could also stop you from getting a restful nights sleep.

Exercise: If you visit the same location often, it may be worth looking at offers the local gym has, or contact a local walking, running, cycling group which meets weekly, there are lots of women only running groups in the UK now and would welcome both beginners and experienced runners.

Seek out a local pool and do a pyramid session… a few lengths warm up, then 2 lengths as fast as you can, have a minutes rest, 3 lengths as fast as you can, have 1 min rest, then 4 lengths, 1 min rest, then 3, then 2, with  a minutes recovery in between. That way you are doing something more interesting than just going up and down the pool and are using more energy (ie: calories).  Look up other drills on the internet to make your swim more exciting.

If you travel in a car for meetings then consider a fold up bike in the boot and explore the area that you are staying in via the safety of a bike.  If you require more information or regular reminders of healthy foods then ‘like’ the Eat Clean Nutrition page on facebook where I post my daily food diary and other nutrition/exercise tips. If you require a more personal nutrition/exercise service then email me via facebook or call +44 79000 11164 and I will be happy to book some sessions, either in person or using Skype, email, etc

And finally before venturing out into a new city, check with the hotel concierge that it is safe to do so, which areas to avoid and stick to well-lit populated areas and exercise caution if you are running with earphones in.  Read more travel safety tips here

Here are our recommended female friendly hotels, many with onsite swimming pools and leisure facilities.

Carolyn headshot6Carolyn Pearson, Founder of


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