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Five ways to stay fit on business trips

  • Story Highlights
  • Keep workout gear, toiletries packed for last-minute business trips
  • Work out early to jumpstart your day and ensure it fits into your hectic schedule
  • See if your home gym membership allows you to work out at affiliated gyms
  • Pack healthy foods to avoid stress-induced eating and unhealthy options
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(CNN) -- Squeezing regular workouts in between client meetings and business dinners can be a challenge, especially when you're operating out of a hotel in an unfamiliar city.

Exercise in Chicago

Squeezing early-morning workouts into a hectic business trip can help travelers stick to their fitness regimen.

"If it's not convenient, it's not going to happen," said Erin Kaese, co-founder of Athletic-Minded Traveler, a company that provides travelers and corporations with information about attractive places to stay, eat and work out on the road.

The company's Web site, http://www.athleticmindedtraveler.com/, offers subscribers information on more than 50 U.S. cities -- from running routes to health food stores. The site is expanding internationally, with fitness-minded information on Canadian cities coming soon.

Some of the information on the site is free, but most of the content requires a subscription that runs $2.95 a month or $19.95 a year.

CNN asked Kaese to share some tips to help business travelers stay fit away from home.

1. Keep your gear packed

You're less likely to work out on the road if you have to hit the mall when you arrive for a new set of gym clothes.

Many business travelers keep a bag partially packed with essential toiletries to avoid scrambling when a new trip pops up.

"I'd say do the same thing when it comes to your workout stuff," Kaese said. "Always have workout gear in the bag so you don't have to think twice about it."

A pair of gym shoes that can double as running shoes, a sports top, shorts and a light jacket will usually do the trick, Kaese said. Watch these tips for staying fit on business trips Video

2. Work out in the morning

An early workout gets you started with vigor and ensures that exercise makes it into your schedule, Kaese said.

"It's more apt to happen because you can't predict the client meeting going over, the sudden 'let's extend this into a business dinner,' all the different things that happen at the end of the day."

3. Find out about gym partnerships

Your home gym membership may allow you to work out at affiliated gyms across the country. YMCA members usually are welcome at other Ys, sometimes for free.

Even if your gym does not have branches in other regions, some health clubs will welcome members of other clubs that belong to the same professional organizations.

For example, if your home gym belongs to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, you may be able to work out at other affiliated gyms for a small fee, Kaese said.

Some hotels also partner with local gyms.

"A lot of hotels acknowledge that their on-site facility is a closet and they do have a deal with a nearby health club," Kaese said.

4. Pack emergency food

Avoid getting stranded with unhealthy vending machine options by packing a few things that will tide you over.

Kaese suggested eating healthy snacks such as energy bars, trail mix and turkey jerky.

"Reward yourself with a great healthy dinner. If the day is just crazy, know at the end of the day you're going to eat something that's good for you and that you're going to enjoy."

5. Don't let stress determine what you eat

"Travel is very stressful, and I think the first thing we do is we turn to something that's very comforting," Kaese said.

Resolve ahead of time to stick to your healthy routine -- working out early and packing healthy snacks will help.

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Then make healthier meal choices when you have a chance to slow down.

"Most restaurants do tend to have at least one or two options that are a lot more sensible than other options." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

This report first appeared on CNN.com in May 2006.

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