Keeping fit on Business Trips- Chicago Pt. 2

When travelling on business, chances are you are going to have very little time for yourself. Long days of meetings, training sessions, conference calls, e-mails and travelling between locations transitions into nights of dinner meetings, drinks and schmoozing.

Bag that up with jet lag and it is utterly exhausting.

Now, my Momma didn’t raise no complainers, so to be clear, I ain’t doing none of that. I am however saying that in order to be in peak mental condition, I need to maintain my physical condition as well. And I’m guessing you all know what that means…

Time to hit the gym.

Finding time to squeeze in a workout during business trips can be tough but with the right planning, preparation, and good old fashioned will-power, you too can stay Fit, Fun & Free while working your tail off away from home.

The modest (but effective!) fitness centre at Hotel Felix, Chicago
The modest (but effective!) fitness centre at Hotel Felix, Chicago

1. Hotel with a fitness centre. I’m sure there is no surprise that this made the number one spot on my list. Booking a hotel with a fitness centre means it is significantly easier to sneak a sweat session in. For me, I am up at 5am to ensure that I am able to get in a solid session of cardio and strength training before gearing up for the day.

If you are not responsible for booking your own accommodation for work, what I would recommend is that you do some quick research. Find a few hotels in the area where you will be staying that has a fitness centre in and is within your budget. Contact the person responsible for booking your accommodation and ask if it would be possible to be placed in your location of choice.

You’ll never know if you don’t ask, right?

2. Local gyms, local deals. If your hotel (sadly) does not have a gym or if you are like me and crave a little bit more than your standard treadmill-and-dumbell set up, check to see if there are any local gyms in the area that you can pop into.

I had died and gone to gym heaven at the David Barton Gym at 600 Chicago Ave W. And this was only the legs area...
I had died and gone to gym heaven at the David Barton Gym at 600 Chicago Ave W. And this was only the legs area…

Most gyms offer some kind of free or very reduced pricing plan for prospective members and these are the types of deals you want to be keeping a peeper open for. For example, here in Chicago we have the behemoth ‘you-have-died-and-gone-to-gym-heaven’ DavidBartonGym in the lower level of my office building. They offer a one-day free pass which was perfect for when I wanted to squeeze in a longer and heavier legs session.

Other places such as GoodLife Fitness (which has 300+ locations across Canada) offers a 14-day pass for $14.00 CDN. Not a bad deal if you ask me! If you are in town for a few days, deals like this are definitely worth the dosh so be sure to check out what is available in the area you are in.

4. It’s getting hot in here. If you are short on time, resources (such as a gym) and creativity (hey, even the best of us get exercise block) then why not try a fitness class at a local studio. From hot yoga to body pump, fitness studios exist in cities everywhere and can offer a fun and exciting change to your routine.

Do a search of what options there are in the area and check out their webpages for the drop in rates. Most studios will charge between £10.00-£20.00/ $10.00-$20.00 (depending on location) for a single session while others might offer a buy 2 get one free type deal. While this is typically the pricier option of the lot, it can be a good way to expose yourself to a new way of training that you hadn’t previously considered. My top recommendations are Frame (with locations in Shoreditch and Queen’s Park, London, UK) and FlirtyGirl Fitness (with locations in Chicago, USA and Toronto, Canada)

3. Hit the road. Of course, if you are only in town for a night or two or if heading to the gym is not an option, then your fail safe should always be to pack up the ol’ running shoes and hit the road. Not only is running free (yay!) but it is also the perfect way to explore the city or town that you are in.

My morning run in Schaffhausen, Switzerland led me to the beautiful Rhine Falls
My morning run in Schaffhausen, Switzerland led me to the beautiful Rhine Falls

This is one of my favourite things to do and on every work trip (whether it is one night or a week) I try to head outside for a run at least once first thing in the morning. Not only do you get to experience the beautiful bliss of the dawn, but you also get to see the city from a perspective that many of your colleagues will not.

For example, this past June I was in Schaffhausen, Switzerland for a two-day work conference. Of course, I did my research and knew that the hotel didn’t have a gym and a local area one was off the cards. Thus, I packed up my shoes and headed for the great outdoors. I had the chance to take the most breathtaking run along the Rhine River all the way to Rhine Falls. The view that was waiting for me was excellent and well worth the early start, especially since the pics were the hot topic over that morning’s breakfast with colleagues.

To ensure a smooth trip, check to see if there are any running or walking trails in the area. Most cities have them from London’s Thames to Toronto’s Lakeshore.

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