Business travel can break you down mentally and physically. Here are some CEO-tested tips to keep you healthy.
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Staying healthy as a CEO is not easy when you factor in the long hours, travel and late-night business meetings. But eating healthy and exercising is not only vital for your life — it’s also vital for your business.
A recent study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found the more time you spend on the road, the poorer your health. The research found business travelers were more likely to smoke, have trouble sleeping and show higher levels of anxiety and depression symptoms. Their researchers recommended that employers provide programs to help these business travelers better manage their stress and health.
I get it. As the CEO of a digital health company, I’m constantly traveling for work. In the last two months alone, I’ve spent time in Asia, California and New York. It’s not easy on the body, yet my health and weight have remained the same over the years.
Today, I weigh a healthy 165 pounds on a 5’9” frame. At 37 years old, I’m in better shape than I ever was in my twenties, mainly because of four travel hacks I apply on the road. Here’s a closer look at my regimine that I believe can help any business traveler stay healthier on the road.
1. Schedule “walk and talk” meetings
I try to schedule business calls after every meal. It gives me a chance to get in a 10-minute workout, while my body digests the meal. Rather than just sitting after a meal, my body is put to work with a brisk walk. This is a productive health hack for entrepreneurs or salespeople who are constantly on calls. The time is not only productive on your work schedule, but you’ll also find it’s productive for your body. Another quick hack: always make sure you have comfortable walking shoes with you. The fewer barriers in front of you, the more likely you’ll turn this hack into a habit.
2. Set a healthy sleep schedule
Lack of sleep wreaks havoc on the hormones that regulate hunger and appetite. In turn, this causes you to eat more throughout the day and night. When I’m traveling, I try to adjust my internal clock to the city before I arrive. For example, if I’m traveling from New York to Seoul and it’s night time in Korea, I’ll take melatonin on the flight to adjust my body clock in advance. I also like to travel on an empty stomach. I’ve discovered traveling on a full stomach tends to make it harder for my body to adjust to the local time of my destination.
3. Schedule workouts when others are sleeping
It’s easy to prioritize meetings over exercise, especially when you’re traveling on business. But if you schedule your workouts in the early morning, you’re more likely to complete the task. Of course, this hack isn’t easy. No one wants to get up at 6 am to exercise, but after a few weeks of practicing it, you’ll find it becomes a routine. And make sure you always sweat during these workouts. Busy entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of working out for 30 minutes and not breaking a sweat. I stick to interval training as it allows me to sweat in the shortest amount of time, whether at home or on the road.
4. Track calories and meals
Monitoring your calorie consumption is one of the most important health hacks you can do as an entrepreneur. It makes you more aware of the calories you are eating versus the calories you are burning. It will also make you more mindful of your food choices. My company Noom helps me keep track of my calories, exercise and food choices. The platform’s virtual health coach gives me continual feedback on my diet, while also motivating me when I feel weak at a business meeting. It’s a health hack that every entrepreneur needs, especially if you live an unpredictable schedule. And make sure you’re taking plenty of vitamins and staying hydrated. If you’re living on a plane, you can never have too much water.