Contributed by Greg Moon, Longwood University
Jobs that involve a lot of travel can take a tough toll on the body. In Admissions, there are days where you’re given an endless amount of food before a fair as well as opportunities in the late evening to “network” with colleagues. In my third year as Admissions Counselor at Longwood University, one of the best parts of the job is driving hundreds of miles developing new relationships with Guidance Counselors and students. With the spring travel season getting closer, many of us have made New Year’s resolutions committing more time to fitness or living a healthier lifestyle. I want to tell you that despite the demanding and stressful work schedule our jobs can bring, it is possible to be healthy and get fit.
The sad truth is that fitness takes a huge commitment. If you want to see your body change for the better, it takes continuous hard work. Talk to any personal trainer and you’ll learn that fitness is their lifestyle. Having a dedicated, healthy mindset is the first step before setting fitness goals.
When I travel, Longwood University is my first priority. I’m on their dime so they are top priority and I commit to completing every task they hand me. That being said, free time is incredibly important as well. Having a quick weightlifting session or a thirty minute treadmill run is a therapeutic way for me to clear my head. It helps me to reflect and think about how I can improve on the following day. When traveling, my head runs a million miles an hour but exercise is the one resource that gives me the meditative time I need to calm down and think about the ideas I can bring to the table. I truly believe that without my 30-60 minute workout five days a week, I would not be as motivated. If you can begin to see fitness as a means of therapy, your daily workout routine will become ten times easier.
I certainly understand committing to a fitness routine is one of the toughest things to do so here are some tips to help you get started. Use these if you struggle to find motivation:
Take Advantage of Your On Campus Gym
Travel season is long and rigorous, but many colleges will offer discounted gym memberships to employees. When working on campus, try out the different types of group classes offered or do a personal training session for an hour. This lets you to learn new exercises and connect with the different trainers at your school. I love talking to fitness experts and many times on the road I’ll text or email them asking about a specific exercise they taught. Trainers are also incredible motivators, connecting with them gives you a personal trainer to communicate with on the road.
Have a Goal Body
Despite what many of my guy friends think, I research and study many male celebrity’s workouts. These guys use the most expensive trainers and are willing to do whatever it takes to have a certain body because they get paid millions to do it. Find a celebrity that has a similar body type to you and make it your Goal Body. After much deliberation, I’m not ashamed to say that Zac Efron is my goal body but Channing Tatum was a close second!
Learn to Drink Coffee Black and Eliminate Soda
During travel season, my best friend is coffee and that’s what I drink most on the road. Without it my brain won’t function -- I’m sure many counselors can relate to this! The number of cups in a day for a counselor can add up fast, which means if you prefer a lot of sugar in your coffee, that can add up fast as well. It was hard for me at first, but I began to develop a taste for black coffee. Try it out for a week and if it doesn't work out, try to cut down on the amount of sugar you consume with your coffee. Eliminating the unnecessary calories from sugars in coffee and soda allows you to have a higher caloric intake. After college, I eliminated soda from my diet and drank my coffee black. I ended up losing 10 lbs. in a month during my first travel season. If you’re looking for quicker results, cut out the amount of sugar in all of the drinks you consume.
Be as Flexible With Your Schedule as Possible
Our schedules change every day. There have been times where I had an afternoon visit at a high school and was forced to run on their track afterwards so I could make a 5:30 p.m. fair that evening. Again, the school you work for comes first, but use a planner and see what 30-60 minute time frames you have available that day for a workout. Tentatively put that workout into your schedule and commit to working out at that time if nothing changes. Being available to do a workout at any given time is something I’ve grown accustomed to. For those of us who would rather exercise in their hotel room, here is an article on fitness activities you can do using only your body weight: http://www.buzzfeed.com/sallytamarkin/get-fit-bodyweight-exercises
Purchase an Activity Monitor
Many have already done, this but for those who are looking for a healthier lifestyle, I would urge you to consider buying an activity monitor. An activity monitor tracks the number of steps you take in a day and lets you see your progression over time. It really helps to motivate you when you can visually see the improvements you made throughout a week. A very popular activity monitor is the Fitbit but there are also options like the Nike FuelBand and Garmin’s Vivofit.
Create Two Separate Playlists
Honestly, how many people do you see in the gym without headphones? Nowadays, doing a workout with no music is like having a great conversation with a student at a college fair and not getting their inquiry card. A great strategy I’ve used is to create two playlists, one for travel and the other for a workout. Mix your favorite songs on both playlists and refuse to listen to the workout playlist unless you’re. This gives you the extra motivation you’ll need to get to the gym after sitting in a car for a few hours. Sometimes, I’m be so happy to finally have that one workout song that I’ll warm up by dancing in front of the mirror at the hotel gym. Having two separate playlists is a great way to stay motivated on the road and also to humor the hotel guests.
Use Social Media to your Advantage
On the road, much of our work is done through a computer. Try becoming a fan of a fitness page on Facebook or follow an exercise motivation Twitter page. One of my favorite Twitter pages is @Fitsperational. Sometimes these little reminders throughout the day can continue to keep us thinking about staying with our daily fitness routine.