Behind the Bar To Your Health

5 Useful Tips to Help Bartenders Stay Healthy While Traveling

Stephanie Kubo

From managing sales territories and multiple bar locations to attending conferences and other professional events, bartenders and brand representatives are constantly on the move. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle is hard enough at home, it can be even more challenging when faced with all-day booze tastings, late nights entertaining clients and endless hours in transit.

These industry road warriors share their strategies for squeezing in workouts, taking advantage of technology, staying hydrated and maintaining other healthy habits while traveling.

1. Plan Strategically

Former St-Germain brand ambassador and founder of La Maison Wellness Camille Vidal says there was a point in her career when it would have been cheaper for her to live in a hotel than an apartment. As a result, she has become “efficient and organized” with travel planning. “Traveling for work is mentally, physically and emotionally challenging, so sometimes I fly out a day early to my destination so I can get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed before a 20-hour work day,” she says.

Jordan Zimmerman, a single-malt specialist for Whyte & Mackay and avid runner, chooses her accommodations strategically. “I’m OK booking a hotel that costs $30 to 40 more a night because it has a workout facility I can use or is safely within range of a running path,” she says.

A competitive swimmer and the founder and general manager of Catoctin Creek Distilling Co., Scott Harris looks for a hotel with a pool. If that’s not an option, he’ll opt for one with a fitness center with an elliptical or treadmill.

2. Make Time to Move, Even Just a Little

While Harris notes it’s nearly impossible to maintain his normal workout schedule while on the road, he suggests taking advantage of the industry’s slightly later working hours and squeezing in a morning workout. “Yes, I’m going to be out and doing tastings into the evening hours, but I make sure I go to bed at a decent time and get up at 6:30 or 7 a.m. to get a workout in, even if it’s just for an hour,” he says.

Vidal suggests being flexible and adjusting expectations about workouts when traveling. “It’s really hard to find an extra hour in a day when you have a jam-packed agenda and don’t have control of your schedule, so move away from the idea of your workout having to be a whole hour or having to get up at 5 a.m.,” she says. Instead, she suggests 15 minutes of yoga, a quick walk or even just a few stretches before a long day.

3. Take Advantage of Technology

Thanks to technology and a variety of fitness apps, workouts are often just a touch away, even in a different city or country. Vidal favors Alo Moves and Glo for in-room yoga workouts and uses the MindBody app to find classes when traveling. A self-described “religious step counter,” Harris uses AllTrails to find local walking trails, while Zimmerman often books a cycling class or uses the HighFive app to find a local CrossFit gym.

4. Pack Healthy Snacks

“For a long time, getting on a plane felt like going on holiday today me, so I would always buy candies and other treats to snack on,” says Vidal. These days, she skips the sugary treats and packs fruits, nuts and other healthy snacks and often shops at Whole Foods or another local health food store when traveling.

Zimmerman keeps stashes of prepackaged almonds and RXBars on hand for travel and packs oatmeal to make breakfast while on the road. “Because it’s not like I’m selling whiskey to vegan restaurants, I like to have one meal a day I’m in control of and that my body responds well to, and breakfast is the easiest option,” she says.

In addition to snacks, Alexa Delgado, the head bartender at Lightkeepers at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in Miami, packs her own lunches when traveling and, like Vidal, shops for healthy snacks upon arrival at her destination.

Delgado also suggests adding adaptogens like turmeric and ginger shots to your regime while traveling “to kick-start metabolism and ward off illnesses.” Cari Hah, the bar manager of Big Bar in Los Angeles, swears by her daily multivitamin as well as milk thistle to stay healthy.

5. Mind Your Consumption and Stay Hydrated

When work meetings are more likely to be in bars than boardrooms and tasting alcohol is part of the job, it’s easy to overconsume. “You don’t have to finish every drink that’s handled to you or even accept a drink if you don’t want to drink,” says Hah, while Harris recommends sticking to lighter options like highballs and Whiskey Sodas if you do choose to imbibe.

Delgado always carries a refillable water bottle and adds electrolyte packets like Liquid IV for additional hydration, and Vidal recommends using an app like Daily Water Tracker Reminder to stay on top of water consumption.

And ultimately, as Jennifer Sandella, the operations director and co-founder of Barter in Detroit, says, “It’s hard sticking to a healthy routine on the road, but the more prepared you are, the easier it gets.”