One of my favorite parts of being a business travel performance expert is receiving so many questions whether through surveys, assessment, research projects, emails, or just plain conversation on a flight or at a hotel bar.
Recently, I spoke at a consulting firm and was flooded with GREAT questions from high-performing road warrior consultants who wanted to not get by on the road but get better and leverage the road to do it.
As a result, I’ve chosen ten of the most often asked questions for this article.
10 Most Often Asked Questions Asked of Me About Road Life
This 1st question is by far the most asked question but it’s also the one that gets the most pushback.
1 – How do you eat healthy on the road?
I failed miserably at this for easily the first half of my road career which has been too many years.
I viewed my business trip as a vacation when I ate, not a vocation. My filter was, “oh, that looks good!” I could spend more on an appetizer or dessert or glass of wine than I would on my entire meal with my own money.
The result? Ballooning to over 40 pounds overweight due to business travel. I hated how I looked in that blasted hotel mirror and felt lousy.
Then I came to the point where my perspective on food changed. I wanted energy on the road to be my best and Food is Fuel and Fuel is Energy.
I embraced four letters – MTHC (Make the Healthiest Choice)
And part of MTHC is three parts:
1. Continually Hydrate – I have an Elite Road Warrior water bottle and drink a ton of water ALL DAY LONG
2. Clean and Green – every meal is the cleanest I can eat and I add as many greens as I can
3. Carry a Controlled Substance – I carry a snack bag with Tupperware that has healthy snacks so I’m never caught off guard and always have an energy kick available
I have choices of what I put in my mouth and need to consciously choose how I feel after whatever I’m about to eat.
I favor hotels with full kitchens, shop at Whole Foods and/or Trader Joes whenever possible, and request eating someplace “Clean and Green” when going out with others.
I recently even did hard-core Keto30 on the road which you can listen to on episode 25 of the podcast.
Key phrase: MTHC (Make the Healthiest Choice)
2 – How do you workout on the road?
Time is your biggest enemy on the road.
I believed the lie “if I can’t get in a full workout, what’s the point?” – Lies, nothing but lies!
I had to change my mindset to “Something, Anything is Better Than Nothing.”
Sometimes my 20-minute workout is better than an hour.
Sometimes, going 10 minutes hard in my hotel room with bodyweight and resistance bands is more than enough.
“But I’m too tired to workout” – lies, nothing but lies.
Movement creates energy.
How many times have you worked out in the morning after dragging yourself out of bed and by the end of the workout, you were ready to conquer your day?! That’s me – every… single… time.
I learned the Increase M4X Formula
1. Stand More – think up on your feet, not down on your butt
2. Walk More – think forward, not still
3. Run More – think cardio, get your heart rate up
4. Lift More – think strength training
- Stand More – stand at the gate / every 30 min on a flight / in meetings whenever possible / create stand up desks at the hotel (lobby or room)
- Walk More – park at the back of a parking lot / choose a higher floor at the hotel / take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator or walk the escalator
- Run More – do HIIT that gets my heart rate up – jog to run / burpees / stairs quickly
- Lift More – bodyweight / dumbbells / resistance bands
Key phrase: Something, Anything is Better Than Nothing
3 – How do you get a better night of sleep on the road?
Ah, sleep, the ultimate waste of time on the road, right? How can you get anything done if you’re in a coma?
I used to view sleep as a “necessary evil”
I had to learn to make the sleep I was getting, which was 6 hours or less, better before I started to add any more sleep because it wouldn’t be quality sleep.
1. Prioritize Bed Time
2. Create a Bed Time Ritual
3. Create an Ideal Sleep Environment
Bed Time Priority always depended on the type of my trip – was I by myself or with others? Was I doing training, speaking, and workshops, or at a conference or trade show? Once I knew, then I could realistically prioritize bedtime. That may mean leaving the event or bar earlier but nobody really cared the next morning. Regardless, getting to bed with the foresight of what time I needed to get up was a priority.
My Bed Time Ritual:
- Drop the Lights
- Drop the Temperature
- Change the Room Scent
- Comfy Clothes – under armor shorts / Hurley soft t-shirt or Dep Sleepwear
- Guided Meditation
Ideal Sleep Environment:
- Dark and I mean dark – towel over door crack/clip to keep the curtains shut
- Bose Sleep Buds
Key Phrase –“Improve Before Increase”
4 – What is your morning routine?
It has definitely evolved over time. In fact, I have an entire podcast episode on the First Hour of Your Road Day called the Energy Hour
My routine used to be checking social media, sports scores, texts, and emails while still in bed!
Once I opened up any of those, they owned my day and I rarely turned it around.
So, I needed to make sure I took care of ME first before everyone else’s agenda.
And what took care of me?
Four of the six energy habits:
4. Fuel – continually hydrate
My exact morning routine:
- Hydrate – my drink
- Develop – read my Bible / read something inspirational / pray and meditate
- Move – workout
- Connect with the Fam – I want them to hear from me first thing in the morning and I’ll talk about how in Q5
Key Phrase – “Hit the Four Before the Door”
5 – How do you stay connected with those you love back home?
This was an area where I was what you call, a Check-In Guy for WAY too long.
I just “checked in” when it was convenient for me with no regard to what was going on back home in the life of my wife and kids. It was selfish to be honest as I look back on it.
Staying connected, especially if you’ve been traveling for any length of time, can, well, get old and stale. And for me, I wasn’t checking in enough and it really affected my family and friends back home.
Eventually, I leveraged my creative side to “spice things up” to re-connect with everyone to become a Connect-In Guy.
It’s done in three ways:
- Connect Intentionally
- Connect Thoughtfully
- Connect Creatively – be memorable
How I Connect Now:
- Send an intentional and thoughtful text/audio or video recording often before they even wake up
- Flat Kiddos
- Connect Cards
- Not Forgotten Journal
Key Phrase -“Be a Connect-In Guy or Girl, not a Check-in Guy or Girl”
The next five questions are more vulnerable.
I’ve not arrived as you’ll hear in the following answers. But I truly desire to transform my work, health, and home life on the road to master the business travel life.
6 – What took you the longest to change and why?
Learning how to rest and pace myself on the road. I’ve always been a hard-driver, Type-A, energy guy.
If you’ve not heard my back story, which you can listen to on the podcast in episode 002, I went so hard for so long, my body shut down to the point of complete exhaustion and I became very, very sick. It took months and months to recover and I had to learn to change my ways if I was going back to Road Life.
I had to prioritize three areas:
- Sleep – improve then increase
- Breaks – move the body, rest the mind
- Downtime – time to be, not to be on
There was time for breaks and downtime – I just needed to take them and make them a priority – the payoff was beyond worth it.
I also had to learn to ask:
- When is my energy the highest each day on the road?
- Why is my energy low right now?
- Is there anything I can do to change my energy level?
- Can I match my energy with my tasks?
I had to become what I call an Energyologist (a Buckleyism) – the personal study of your own energy
Key Takeaway – You can have more energy on the road
7 – What do you regret the most on the road?
The answer is found in Energy Habit Six – Connect.
I regret not making my family a bigger priority especially when I first started traveling. I created some very bad habits in three areas:
- How I left – abrupt and not sensitive especially to my kids’ feelings
- When I was gone – When and how I contacted anyone back home revolved only around me and my schedule
- How I returned – I was always exhausted when I came home and it was always about me. I demanded the house be in perfect condition and life revolved around me. I wanted to be left alone to “transition back into civilian life” yet I was angry when everyone went on with their lives.
My family hung in there but I had done some damage that took years to repair and I regret it. Thankfully I was able to turn it around and it’s become one of my strengths.
Learn from my costly mistakes.
Key Takeaway – Prioritize Others Just as Much
8 – What do I still struggle with on the road?
Drinking too often and too much.
I don’t get drunk on the road or take it too far. I learned very early in my career to never “be that guy” but only see or hear about “that guy”.
I love good wine and craft beer but have learned to minimize it big time especially doing Keto on the road.
I’m a Vodka Tonic guy and too easily justify a drink or three (always a double) after a long day, customer dinner, or event.
Doing Keto30 of absolutely no drinking was a very good thing for me along with not drinking on any weeknights when I’m home.
This is a struggle and growth area for me.
My biggest change has been adding one glass of water with every alcoholic drink. I call it the 1:1 Water Match Program – and it’s absolutely free to join
Key Takeaway – Make Sure You’re In Control
9 – How do you handle it when you blow it on the road?
I’ve adopted the James Clear concept called “Avoid the 2nd Mistake” – If I have a bad meal, I don’t justify the day or even the rest of the business trip.
If I don’t work out the 1st day, it’s not a free pass for the rest of the trip.
If you watch baseball, the best closers have the essence of short-term memory. If they blow last night’s game, they need to come back out the next night like it never happened and “begin again.”
Depending on what “blowing it” was for me, in the early days there was some regret and guilt. I had a couple of close friends I could tell “the real story” for some confession and accountability. I wanted to monitor the heart.
Another phrase I use that is helpful to me is “Dip NOT Dive” – when I go “off-road” as I call it from the 6 Energy Habits, I need this to be a quick dip and get right back to what allows me to master the business travel life and avoid the downward spiral and the 2nd mistake.
Learn from it and move on.
Key Takeaway – Avoid the 2nd Mistake
10- What advice would you give for a newer business traveler?
- Learn and apply the Six Energy Habits immediately in your Road Career.
- If you have bad habits at home, road life will only expose them.
- Don’t worry about “what everyone else does or says”, you take care of yourself first and foremost.
Learn from my mistakes and others. You don’t have to do it the hard way with a brutal crashing and burning, 40 pounds overweight, burned out, stressed out, and disconnected from family and friends.
Key Takeaway – Own the Six Energy Habits right now!
I hope these questions and answers were helpful. They’ve been asked by a number of people, so here it was:
* The good
* The bad
* The ugly
I hope you gained some ideas and appreciated my honesty with the goal of helping you become an Elite Road Warrior.
If you want any more detail or further examples, you can find them in my book, ERW – 6EH to Master the Business Travel Life. It’s available on Amazon in the print version, Kindle digital version, and also on audiobook via Audible.
So, wherever you are on the road, do something, anything, just not nothing to master the business travel life. You Got This!