Many of us as business travelers are grounded, literally. It’s been weeks, now months since we’ve traveled due to the current health pandemic.
I’ve heard from many a business traveler who is just buying their time until they can get back to Road Life. But a common thread is sadly very few road warriors are using this time to their advantage to get them ready for Road Life.
This got me thinking and concerned. Are we missing an opportunity here? As I’ve mentioned often, my mentor and friend Jonathan Milligan asks often when things change that are out of our control: “What does this make possible?”
With this question, could we begin to leverage the here-and-now of home with the sole purpose of preparing us for the road?
Let me say that again. My Dad used to say, “Son, if I take the time to say it twice, it better be twice as important to you!”
Could we begin to leverage the here-and-now of home with the sole purpose of preparing us for the road?
This is a different mindset for most road warriors but it’s critically important to make the most of “this time,” ideal or not, in light of “when not if” we’re back on the road.
You and I will be back on the road. It may be an ease-in process and look different than we’re used to, but we will travel again. So, how do we make the most of right now?!
The focus of this episode is the 1st of our physical energy habits: MOVE.
Movement creates energy, and energy is what we need more than anything on the road to do our best work, but also to do our best work when we’re not on the road. Many of us are more exhausted by the battle of always being on a video call, and having everyone else home. It’s more tiring than we realize and energy is the one vital resource we’re lacking right now.
Three words you MUST remember with the energy habit MOVE. Movement Creates Energy!
Four Ways to MOVE More at Home to Prepare for the Road:
MOVEMENT ONE – Stand More
Key Phrase: Think Up On Your Feet Not Down On Your Butt
It’s just SO natural to sit, especially when we’re working in an office or even a home office. We’re going to use the context of working from home and ask, “How can you Stand More within your day?”
Many business travelers work from home when they’re not traveling, but not all. And right now, almost everybody is working from home, including possibly your significant other and kids.
So, you may have a designated work spot or maybe it’s been compromised or crashed by other people in your house for a time.
Stand More is looking for creative ways to add “being a stand-up guy or stand-up girl” into your workday.
Let me offer two suggestions:
Stand-up Desk – there are two main options – a standing desk that is just that, a standing desk. It stays in one place and that’s your only option. Secondly, you could create a stand-up desk with an existing desk or table.
Personally, I have a dining table I bought from IKEA years ago. It’s rectangular in size and a light birch color. When I was moving into the stand-up desk concept, I didn’t want to put a ton of money into something I wasn’t sure I would like or even use long-term, so I noticed the desk I was already using had legs that could be heightened or lowered. Brilliant! I moved it to fit my height at 6 foot and “voila!”, I have a stand-up desk.
But I also have other people in my house who want to use that location so I need to get creative in other places in my house to create a stand-up desk so I get creative using resources around the house to make a temporary stand-up desk. There are a ton of solutions on Amazon from full stand-up desks to stand-up desk converters that raise and lower on an existing desk. Prices mostly range from $100 – $300.
Find what’s best for you and factor in if this is a short-term or long-term solution for you working from home.
Standing Mat – Depending on your floor, standing for hours may be more difficult than you realize and hard on your feet and legs, or for me, my lower back. I found a standing mat that not only provides a cushion for my feet but also allows me to stretch my calves, massage my feet, etc.
The one I use is a CUBEFIT Terramat with the description of an Anti-Fatigue Mat and Standing Desk Mat with Built-in Massage Mounds, Acupuncture Balance Bar, and Power Wedge To Stretch, Support, and Stimulate Your Feet and Legs.
The point is finding something on the floor that encourages standing. For me, $70 was more than worth the investment since I’m working from home anyway when I’m not on the road.
Caution: Ease into becoming a Stand-up Guy or Stand-up Girl. It’s harder on your body than you realize, so ease into it. When I first started, I went “all in” and my back hurt for days. Alternate between sitting and standing at first and work your way from minutes to hours to half-day to a full day.
MOVEMENT TWO – Walk More
Key Phrase: Think Forward Not Just Still
Standing is good, but we also want to move the still motion to forward motion throughout the day.
And nothing is more motivating than a house full of people and noise to stimulate creativity and motivation to walk more!
Let me offer two suggestions:
Take Your Calls on a Walk – Every chance I can “exit stage left” and get outside, especially now that spring in Chicago is officially “a thing” – I’m out. Literally. My Fam knows if the phone rings, Dad will be outside and down the street in mere moments. My neighbors even know that if I’m walking during the day around the community, I’m on a call, so they’ll just wave and smile.
Take a Relational Walk – one of the gifts of this current “Stay at Home Act” is every night after dinner, the Buck Fam goes for a walk (of course the Buck dog, ironically named Bucky, is part of the relational walk). It’s no longer an option. The kids don’t have to go “the entire time” but once everyone is out and getting their “Walk On”, they’re glad they did. My wife loves this time to talk about the challenges of the day, what tomorrow looks like, etc.
Caution: Start small and experiment. I make sure I have my AirPods by my phone so I’m ready to go if I get an impromptu call, but most of the time my calls are at set times, so a minute or two before the call, I’m already outside and starting my walk. I also record my walk on my Apple Watch and BioStrap. I’m surprised how much ground I can cover (literally) in a 30-60 minute call.
MOVEMENT Three – Run More
Key Phrase: Think Get Your Heart Rate Up Often
This is the one that gets ignored the most and gets the most pushback.
Why? People misunderstand Run More and/or they just don’t like to get sweaty.
People claim they aren’t runners or they argue that the last time they ran they were in gym class in high school or were chased. It’s just “not them” anymore.
But we need to change how we look at Run More and the purpose here.
Remember the key phrase: Think Get Your Heart Rate Up Often
On the road, this could be as simple as choosing a higher floor at your hotel and taking the stairs.
But at home, we need to get creative.
Here are a couple of suggestions:
Turn a walk into a jog or a sprint – Now, I don’t suggest doing this during one of your work calls but any other walking time is ideal. My wife and I will do this on our walk after dinner.
The kids are usually on their bikes and love seeing the competition come out with my wife and me.
We’ll kick this gear in and walk until the next tree then sprint until the light pole then jog until the stop sign. You get the point. Remember the goal here is to get your heart rate up and you’ll have instant feedback when you meet this goal.
Try doing burpees – Come again, did you say a burpee? Some of us do burpees all the time – it’s called a belch.
We want an instant return-on-our-investment and there’s no better way than doing a good old fashioned burpee.
Caution: Start slow! If you don’t normally get your heart rate up, you’ll know it quickly. But that’s good! Instant feedback. Or you may just want to run in place with a light jog for 15 seconds then sprint for 15 seconds – this is how I started when it was cold outside. I then increased to 15 seconds of jog and 30 seconds of a sprint. Remember, no matter what the point of Run More is not what you do but that you get your heart rate up often.
MOVEMENT Four – Lift More
Key Phrase: Think Strength Training
This is one I had to re-adjust to big time with always being home. Why? On the road, I leverage the hotel fitness center or local gym, and at home, I leverage my local gym to workout and supplement what I do differently on the road.
But right now, neither are available. No traveling and all local gyms are closed.
So what do you do?
Well, between us girls, the 1st two weeks I used it as an excuse and did… absolutely nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
But once I knew I would be grounded by more than just my wife, I needed to make the best of what I had available to me.
Ironically, my biggest motivator was cleaning out the garage and finding my weight set – a bench with a barbell, pull-down machine, chin-up and dip machine, and leg press.
Here are some suggestions (and note, these are all suggestions I already do in a limited hotel fitness center):
Body Weight – It’s been a while since I’ve done pushups and I didn’t even have to wait until the next morning to feel the fruit of my labor. It’s amazing how much a simple pushup works on your body and you’ll feel body parts and almost muscles you didn’t remember you had.
You can also do leg squats, lunges, tricep dips with a chair. A simple YouTube search can bring up so many options for a home workout with body weight. Look for a style and length that’s of interest to you, then just try it. Get your MOVE on!
Dumbbells – I have dumbbells (along with some free weights) that I’ve pulled out and used most days now. If you have them, or even just a couple of them, find them, dust them off, and start using them. I use a large stability ball and work my chest, shoulders, back, arms, and legs. It’s a surprisingly good workout. If you have them, find them, and use them. If not, the 3rd option can do the trick for you…
Bands – I have resistance bands that I travel with and have chosen to incorporate them into my workout for variety. They’re great to implement, especially after using bodyweight or dumbbells.
The point of the bands is in the name: resistance. I can find the resistance I want and get in a good workout for strength training with the needed tension for my chest, shoulders, arms, back, and legs.
Here are the resistance bands I use.
Two other ideas to implement Run More and Lift More:
TV Workout Programs – I have road warrior friends who found their old P90X DVDs or Insanity DVDs from “back in the day” and are getting back in shape by using these programs. They’re using them as a kickstarter at home to gain some momentum for the road. Mad Kudos to them.
Others are leveraging Beach Body on Demand to find a workout program that is best for them that may either encompass just Run More (think cardio) or just Lift More (think strength training), but many offer both. Here’s a link to Beach Body on Demand in the show notes. Les Mills on Demand is another option and less expensive. Other similar on-demand workout programs are available, but this is just one idea.
Hiring a Virtual Coach – Some of us simply need accountability and someone pushing us. This is where hiring a virtual coach is key. Jeff McMahon, the subject matter expert for MOVE energy habit and on my ERW team, offers virtual coaching. I would highly encourage you to check out his packages.
Caution: No matter what you choose, start slow! If you’ve not done these types of workouts in a while, you’re going to feel it. The idea here is not destroying your body in one day and not being able to work out the rest of the week.
Our goal with MOVE is to prepare your body now for the road. And if you can gain some momentum now by building healthy MOVE energy habits, you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to carry them with you on the road.
Remember the 3 words for the energy MOVE: Movement Creates Energy!
So get your MOVE ON today.