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Tips on keeping fit on the road

Schedule exercise ahead of time.
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Biz Traveller

(CNN) -- U.S. fitness expert Lisa Wheeler gives a rundown on exercise for business travelers and the importance of an exercise routine and good diet on the road.

"When we travel, we have to plan our schedule, meetings, transportation and clothes ahead of time, and we really have to do the same with our fitness regimen," Wheeler says.

Call ahead and make sure your hotel has a good gym. Inquire about nearby fitness clubs that might offer classes you would like, or research local running routes.

And schedule exercise ahead of time, incorporating time into your itinerary so you will be more likely to actually do it when you arrive.

Packing running shoes is a big pet peeve. Stuff the shoes with underwear and socks -- use the space wisely.

Consider bringing old shoes that you can leave behind in the hotel room. Pack one pair of shorts and one T-shirt and wash them out in the room.

Exercise in the morning. Get it over with -- at the end of the day there are too many variables that may get in the way. Besides, if you work out in the morning, you will perform better all day.

Squeeze in what you can. Even 20 minutes of exercise is better than no minutes.

"I tell my clients that workouts on the road are about breaking even. Do not expect the workout of your lifetime when you travel, it's probably not a reality. Just try not to lose any ground on the good habits you've established at home," Wheeler explains.

If your schedule is too packed to get to the gym take the stairs. Do some sit-ups and push-ups in your room. Go for a walk on your break. Remember, you are just trying to "break even."

Never underestimate the pros of recharging on the road with a nap, a bath or a silly movie -- business travel is tough, do not feel guilty if you find a little time to relax.


Too many folks skip breakfast, which is never recommended, but particularly when you are traveling and you really need energy to lug luggage, stand in endless lines and negotiate confusing airports.

Eat before you leave. And if you are too rushed for a proper breakfast, then peanut butter on wheat toast is a great hit of carbohydrates and protein. Hard-boiled eggs, a banana, or an energy bar are other good choices for on-the-go travelers.

The easiest thing to eat when you are in a rush is typically the worst for you. Skip the bagels and the muffins that will ultimately slow you down.

If you are starving when you get to the airport, Wheeler says that you should disregard the first foods you see.

"We are assaulted in the airport with just about the worst of the worst of fast food. But if you look hard enough, you can eat healthy in the airports," Wheeler says.

"Smoothie stands are becoming more common which can be a great choice, and fruit, hard boiled eggs, yogurt and salads are all available if you search a bit."

Pack your own fuel and carry a stash of sports bars when you travel. But be sure to check out the calorie count and nutritional information because not all bars are created equal, and she cautions some are just candy bars in disguise.

Water, water, water. You cannot hydrate enough on the plane.

Call ahead to your airline and order vegetarian, local or kosher meals -- these tend to be the healthiest in-flight fare. If you do order your meal after takeoff, opt for protein heavy meals -- chicken, seafood, beef -- versus carbohydrate-heavy sandwiches or pasta.

Do not go crazy on the plane. "For those travelers lucky enough to fly business or first class, beware of the feeding frenzy," Wheeler says.

"Try to eat like you would at home. So if you do not tend to polish off a three-course meal with a giant hot fudge sundae at home, do not eat one on the plane. I guarantee it is not going to be the best hot fudge sundae you have ever had, so why blow it on a mediocre treat?" Wheeler says.

If you are traveling abroad, do not deny yourself local delicacies. Life is too short to skip pasta in Florence or cheese in Paris. Remember that portion sizes abroad are usually not super-sized like in the United States, so chances are you will still consume less calories even if you are indulging.

But do not look at travel as a free reign to eat. If you are going to pig out at dinner, back off a bit on your breakfast and lunch. Remember, the key to lifelong good eating habits is balance.

If you are going to splurge a little, make it count.

"Do not blow your diet on a chocolate bar or snacks walking through the airport -- hold out for really special treats in a fabulous environment," Wheeler says.

We have all been faced with a bread and pastry laden buffet in hotels. It is recommended that you order room service breakfast where you can control your meal.

If you are attending a cocktail party or night out on the town with clients, Wheeler recommends sticking to red wine.

"At least it is good for your heart! Have a few glasses of really good wine versus few too many mediocre drinks."

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