How would I rate as a corporate athlete? My tips for travel stamina.

November 21, 2019

As I stare down at my Delta app, inching closer to Diamond status with every flight, I realize that I have 140 qualified segments and at least 20 more on other airlines. You can see that I travel cost-effectively, but of course I appreciate the upgrades. People often ask me, “How do you do it while staying relatively healthy (I fight sinusitis) and not gaining a ton a weight?” After a recent marathon of business trips that included a panel on trust in the disinformation era in Reykjavik, Iceland, a keynote on the left brain/right brain paradigm at Praxis in Goa, India, a pitstop in Mumbai, client and team meetings in Shanghai and Hong Kong, I thought now would be as good a time as any to share a few of my favorite road warrior tips…

Corporate Athlete

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

When I step on a plane or prepare for a long flight, hydration is key. I take a bottle with me on board and make it a point to consume water frequently; I rarely drink alcohol inflight. Studies show that even mild dehydration can impair many aspects of brain function.

2. Stretching is key.

When sleeping in different beds and sitting on planes for hours upon hours, wake up to stretch, do some yoga or even twists, touch your toes and slide your back side-to-side on the wall – at 20,000 feet or ground level, stretching helps keep your body from tightening up.

3. “No-Jet-Lag” homeopathic pills.

They are not a client, but I would represent them any day. Adding them to my regular vitamin regimen has worked wonders for me personally.

4. Walk, walk, walk.

I have my phone with me most of the time and it shows an average of 7,470 steps a day. I try to get fresh air and walk wherever I can by convincing people to take walking meetings or by walking back from dinner meetings instead of taking a taxi. Pro-tip: I put my Good Feet orthotics in any shoes they fit in.

5. Sinus rinse.

My sinuses are most impacted by travel, so I have to work hard to keep them healthy. I carry a NeilMed sinus rinse bottle and nightly use the packets with some prescription medication added in. Air quality can vary wildly from country to country and city to city, so being well-prepared for any environment is key for me.

6. Meditation app.

We’ve all read the myriad health benefits associated with meditating. Admittedly, I am not very good at it, but I try to aim for 10 minutes while stretching in the morning. I use “Insight Timer,” but there are many great app options out there. They also help to maintain a relatively serene environment during even the most hectic train or plane rides.

7. Clear, TSA Precheck, Global Entry.

I have them all. They save me time and eliminate the stress of waiting in line. I still have my share of security checkpoint delays, but this probably cuts the wait time in half most days.

8. Eat somewhat healthy.

We all have our own definition, but I try to go light on caffeine, carbs and sweets. By opting for tequila or vodka over wine at dinner or events, I am able to more easily watch my consumption. My weight does go up and down by five or so pounds, but the key is to try not to stress about it. Those stretchy pants and skirts in style tend to help and travel without wrinkles.

9. Attitude.

I wrote this post after a long night at the airport, when I was supposed to arrive at 8 pm and was delayed to 2:30 am because of mechanical difficulties. I go in knowing that travel never goes completely according to plan, so I try to roll with it and use that unexpected waiting area time to accomplish other goals.

10. Enjoy the smells, tastes and cultures.

Everywhere I traveled, from Mumbai to Chicago, I experienced lots of clients’ and colleagues’ favorite restaurants, experimented with new foods, embraced new customs, and had a lot of laughs along the way. I also make sure some of my travel involves fun—like seeing Lady Gaga in Las Vegas, trying to climb Mt. Tremblant in Quebec with my daughter, or going into D.C. a night early to have a slumber party with my son.

I am always grateful for the warm welcomes I get along the way. Yes it is hard work, but I try to jump in with a positive attitude and find the fun in every day. There are classes on being a corporate athlete and I have taken their half-day course thanks to Omnicom. No surprise that I could use more sleep and steps, according to the experts.

What are your favorite road warrior tips? Connect with me here and share!

As President and CEO of Ketchum, a top-five, global communications consultancy, Barri Rafferty oversees Ketchum’s offices and affiliates in more than 70 countries.

Outside of Ketchum, she participates in a number of groups including the sustainability task-force for the World Economic Forum and is a member of Arthur W. Page Society Page Up program. Rafferty sits on the board of StepUp, an organization with the mission of empowering girls from under-resourced communities to become confident, college-bound, and career focused and she is also a member of the governing body of OmniWomen, Omnicom’s Leading Women’s Network, for which she holds quarterly panel discussions featuring prominent women. She is the recipient of the Plank Center Milestones in Mentoring Award.

Barri is a graduate of Boston University (M.A) and Tulane University and enjoys watching soccer, volleyball, and dance – especially when her son and daughter are involved! Connect with her on Twitter: @barrirafferty