Every industry has it. Those 3-4 months where it seems like every other week is a 3 day conference somehere. I am just coming to the end of mine now. Over the past 8 weeks I have been a featured speaker (by far the best way to experience conference life), an attendee (great way to learn and network with your peers), a business partner (yep..nice way to say ‘vendor’ and this is a grind) and finally, as a part of the host organization (this is just a butt whipping). Regardless of your role, there are three things you can be sure you will experience at every conference:
1) Long Days with Packed Schedules
2) Lots of Inactivity
3) Conference Food
As a RoadWarrior, I cringe just thinking about them. So what can we do to protect ourselves from the energy sucking vortex that is the very nature of a conference?
As Steven Covey would say, “Begin with the End In Mind”. We need to plan ahead.
Schedule: Don’t wait till you arrive to determine your schedule. Look up the schedule of the conference events on-line or download the mobile app built around the event. Plan your days but not just the sessions and client meetings, include your meals, your workouts and your quiet time. Remember, these trips are about productivity first and fitness second. If you see that day 2 of the conference is packed with good stuff starting at 8:00am and the only possible time to get a work out in is at 6:00am – forego the nightlife the night before and opt for dinner with a client rather than the partner party. Be realistic, if you are just going to ‘fit a workout in somewhere’– you won’t.
Lots of Inactivity: Now I am not going to tell you to get up in the middle of the keynote and do lunges down the aisle. That is just crazy talk (but wouldn’t it be hilarious?). I am going to ask you what have you made time for though?
- 20 minutes? Better plan on an in room body weight exercise plan.
- 40 minutes? Maybe a local run or weight routine in the gym. How does that hotel pool look?
- 60 minutes? Let’s get some lifting and cardio in or toss in the BeachBody DVD and get pumping.
Of course, being RoadWarriorFit means you have already done your homework and know what fitness equipment is available at the conference hotel. The good news there is most facilities hosting conferences also have decent fitness facilities.
Conference Food: Let’s start with the realization that just because it is served does not mean you have to eat it. You are not visiting someone’s home (where you should always eat what is being served), you are at a conference facility. The chef is not going to be offended that you opted to not dig into the pasta alfredo on the lunch buffet line. It’s your body, your health and your choice.
I always travel with my own stock of various snacks/bars/powder but I especially stock up on conference trips. If I know I am having a great dinner that evening, I can skip the Chicken Piccata swimming in oil and opt for a bar for lunch. Having a great lunch with a client? Probably won’t need to stock up on finger foods at the conference celebration party that night. The one meal I won’t do this with is usually breakfast. Even on a continental breakfast bar, you can usually put together a great tasting and great for you meal to last you till the next healthy option.
If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.
Maybe It is the Eagle Scout in me coming out but if you prepare correctly for any trip, you can maintain your fitness and more importantly your health. So get prepping, packing and I will see you at the keynote (I’ll be the one in the aisle doing lunges).