How to stay fit and healthy while travelling for work according to the experts

On the road for work and feeling fed-up, fatigued and fat, after too many long days in the office plus late nights with clients and super-sized servings of bacon and eggs from the breakfast buffet? Keeping it together, mentally and physically, while you're away can be a challenge, particularly for those who are new to the business travel game.

Some international hotel chains are making it easier to do so, courtesy of a slew of clean living options, including vegan menus, healthy vending machines and work-out equipment supplied in-room.

Closer to home, the likes of Sydney beachside hotel QT Bondi offer unlimited yoga passes, freshly pressed green garden juices and complimentary water to help busy bizzoid guests decompress and de-stress between meetings.

Honing healthy habits

Other folk for whom the QANTAS lounge has become a second home have their own formulae for staying bright-eyed and bushy tailed while they clock up air miles and overnight stays.

For Ben Handler, co-founder of property agency Cohen Handler, it's about adhering to his uber-healthy home habits while on interstate and overseas trips.

He choses hotels based on their proximity to yoga studios so he can keep up his six-mornings-a-week stretching habit, packs his trainers and meditates for a few minutes each evening.

BYO blender

Handler also lugs a NutriBullet to blend his morning cuppa – a bulletproof coffee-style brew, based on roasted Mayan seeds – and buys fresh fruit and vegetables which he eats raw or boils in his room.

"When I go overseas or interstate if I change my diet substantially or significantly, it has an impact on my energy levels and that can affect my productivity and also put me out of balance," he says.

"I try to implement the exact same routine that I follow at home…I just try to be consistent all year round, irrespective of whether I'm travelling or not.


"I wouldn't be able to do it, without [those rituals]. I wouldn't function the same way without looking after my body like that and my mind."

Fresh food strategy

Fashion-tech entrepreneur Jodie Fox is a fellow fan of the BYO blender strategy. She's racked up thousands of air miles and laid her hat in dozens of cities since founding online footwear venture Shoes of Prey in 2009.

After relocating her operation to the US in 2015, she spent several months shuttling across the continent and realised she needed a strategy to ensure she got the fresh food she needed to keep up the pace.

"I knew I would be spending a large chunk of that year on the road for Shoes of Prey and so I remember thinking 'Oh my god, how am I going to eat well?' because it's so easy to not eat well on the road," Fox says.

"I carried [a NutriBullet] with me for the whole year and whenever I landed somewhere I would just buy a few ingredients like spinach, coconut water, avocado, pineapple, banana.

"That way whenever I was stuck in hotels that don't have a great kitchen or somewhere very convenient, at least…I always knew I could have something healthy."

Fox meditates morning and evening and says booking the sessions into her calendar helps combat the urge to work every waking hour when she's away from home.

Change your thinking

Staying zen while you're on the road and under the pump is all about mindset, according to vitality coach Nikki Fogden-Moore.

"I think when you realise the importance of the work/life blend then you integrate some healthy habits and rituals in your travel, when you travel as part of your job," she says.

"Once your mind is based around the fact that travel is your work and it's an extension of your work day you stop using it as an excuse [to not look after yourself] – it actually becomes part of your performance.

"You need to be in the driver's seat when you're travelling and not actually just feel you're a victim of circumstance. And when you manage that time like it's your business you start to actually utilise those moments well, you start to nourish your body well."

Go with the flow

Your mind and body will both thank you if you don't get het up about the hiccups that are part and parcel of business travel, adds Pip Marlow, Suncorp CEO for strategic innovation and former managing director of Microsoft Australia.

The last few years have seen her spending around 100 nights a year away from home, both interstate and abroad.

Prepare yourself well – think permanently packed travel bag, flights that land in the morning so there's time for a stroll in the sun after you disembark and booking hotels with a decent gym – and then be prepared to go with the flow, Marlow says.

"Things don't always go to plan – plane doesn't go, a storm has happened, something gets cancelled, the room's not what you want," she says.

"You've just got to say, you know what, make it all an adventure, do not turn those things into stress moments…I don't want to stress or sweat the small stuff, I really, really don't."

How do you maintain a healthy balance while travelling for work? Share your tips in the comments section below.