Americans are traveling like never before. This summer saw historic increases in airfare purchases as cooped up adventurers made up for time and experience lost to the pandemic. In July, airplane ticket sales were 35% higher than they were in July of 2019, according to industry data. This seismic shift away from people purchasing goods in favor of purchasing services has given rise to a new term: revenge travel.
And while it certainly should be good for the soul, it’s not exactly good for the body. Weight gain is an unfortunate side effect of taking in those beautiful beachside sunsets—especially when there’s a piña colada in hand. In fact, even before they arrive at their Instagram-worthy destination, most vacationers have already let themselves go. One study shows that the average air passenger consumes around 3,700 calories while on a long haul flight.
For some this is simply part of the fun…You’re on vacation, after all. But as remote travel becomes more commonplace, many are making a life—and a livelihood—out of being out on the road. And maintaining a healthy routine here is quite the challenge. Steele Smiley knows what that’s like all too well. When I first caught up with the fast casual impresario and healthy living guru back in early 2021, he was busy crossing the country, building his Crisp & Green restaurant chain. Today the CEO oversees 200 stores across 20 states (they’ve opened a store every 6 days in 2022).
Now he’s launching a Mexican inspired fast casual called Paco & Lime. It’ll debut in Minneapolis this fall. In advance of that, the impresario sat down with Forbes to talk about how he stays healthy while on the road. Hint: you’re going to have to put down that Piña Colada and forget about the airplane food (a glass of wine or two during dinner is fine, and you should always pack your own nutritional fare for the flight). It’s not necessarily glamorous but it gets the job done. Read more of his tips below.
How often are you traveling for work?
Steele Smiley: “My parent company, Steele Brands, has over 250 stores either built or in development in 25 states, with more stores being added every week. So I travel extensively for work – looking at potential sites and meeting with franchisees. I also personally go to as many openings as I can. My personal time is my business time and vice versa.”
What are some key tips for travelers looking to stay healthy and fit while traveling?
SS: “Make each day the same – just adjust the hours for time zone changes. That means always making the time for exercise. I treat a travel day the same as a home day and keep the schedule regardless of location.”
How do you carve out the time for this while on the road?
SS: “Waking up earlier is key. I run every morning no matter the location and temperature; winter cold in Minnesota or summer heat in Florida. But the most important thing is to not fall off your home routine just because you’re away.”
And this applies to your diet as well?
SS: “Absolutely. It should come as no surprise that I eat what my restaurants sell: healthy nutritious food. But I also keep that largely identical while on the road and that includes the timing of my meals, as well: breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon and dinner. Stay true to your routine as much as you can.”
This is obviously no small task for most travelers. What are some ways to help maintain consistency?
SS: “I viscously monitory my activity through technology – from my Whoop band, to my Therabody leg sleeves to my Levels blood sugar monitoring – all play a very critical role in my performance to keep my schedule.”
So people don’t necessarily need to travel less in order to stay fit?
SS: “Definitely not. Travel is mandatory in the consumer multi-unit business. I need to be where my franchises are and be with my customers. My key is making each day the same. That may sound boring to some, but it’s the correct recipe for my body and my businesses.”
What’s the one key word that provides the secret sauce to your success?
SS: “Intensity. I place the same intensity on my exercise, nutrition and recovery as I do building my companies. Without that intensity I wouldn’t have the stamina to grow my businesses at such an aggressive pace.”