Do Not Let Business Travel Disrupt Your Fitness

You have your ticket, you are packed, and the airport van is picking you up for your next business trip. Leaving Sunday afternoon and returning Friday evening has become routine over the last couple of years. You ran your errands and spent time with the family. You managed a brief workout early Saturday morning so you could attend the kid’s soccer games and birthday parties. Business travel is difficult. Lately you are feeling your clothes tightening around your waste. It has not gotten to the point of buying new clothes, yet. Ask yourself if this sounds familiar. There are more and more business professionals challenged with stressful jobs compounded by stressful travel. Surely, this takes a toll on the family and personal life[1], but even more important it could be destroying your health. When your health is gone, your family and job is in jeopardy.Health and fitness for traveling business professionals is a serious concern, “But it is also a source of a variety of stresses, often overlooked or denied by both organizations and travelers themselves. The World Bank, studying its own travelers, discovered that both their physical and mental health-care claims were significantly greater than those of nontravelers.”[2] The typical executive travels 3-5 days per week. They eat ninety-five percent of their meals in airports, restaurants, or fast food establishments. They eat late while entertaining clients. Most of them do not exercise on the road even though gyms are available in hotels. In addition, most traveling business professionals do not get the deep sleep they need. Any medical professional, or fitness expert, will tell you this lifestyle is a recipe for disaster.There are several resources offering ways to eat right and workout while traveling.[3] Videos abound on exercises you can use while traveling.[4] Still with all this information available, the vast majority of business travelers fail to eat right and workout on the road. Why is this? The problem is more behavior than access to good food and workout facilities. The solution is more education about fitness, not more facilities, workouts, and supplements. People who understand “why” about anything tend to accept and change more than those who do not take the time to understand a subject. Think about this principal. Continuing education is designed to make you more proficient at your job. The more you know and experience the more valuable you become to your employer. Your self-worth and self-esteem increases. This is true when it comes to fitness. The difference is you are your own boss. Here lies the root cause of the problem. If fitness is not a priority in your life, you have too many irons in the fire, you are stretched thin, and now your travel time takes up twenty percent of your waking hours, then you will put fitness on the back burner. The next thing you know you are twenty-five pounds heavier, your body fat percent is nearing obesity, and you have little energy at the end of the workday. At this point, your doctor informs you that your blood pressure is elevating and recommends blood pressure medicine.A CEO who has all the distractions mentioned earlier recognizes the problem, does not drop everything, and still attacks the specific problem. They would contract a professional, e.g. lawyer, CPA, or consultant to help them filter through all the information and establish a good plan to attack the problem. These professionals allow the CEO to attack the problem while dealing with all the distractions, and still achieve his/her goals. The traveling businessperson should have the same approach to solving their fitness problem. Their professional is a private personal trainer, or fitness consultant.Private personal trainers have the ability to provide you the right amount of information you need at the time you need it without you spending large amounts of time researching nutrition or exercise routines. They have the ability to assess your current fitness level then design a nutritional and exercise program that works for you. In addition, they can continually assess you, and make changes that will allow you to progress. Good private personal trainers have the ability to council behavior as well as design programs. They hold their clients accountable the same way a CEO uses a consultant to help them maintain accountability for a strategy. In most cases, a private personal trainer is more expensive than a gym personal trainer, but offer services that are more customized and personal. They are normally much less expensive than business consultants. You should consider a private personal trainer as an investment not an expense, the same way a CEO considers a consultant as an investment. So if you are traveling how can a private personal trainer help? You sure are not going to pay them to travel with you. The good news is technology helps to solve this problem.Today private personal trainers have a wealth of technology available to them to help resolve the two biggest problems preventing fitness while traveling, i.e. education and accountability. Private personal trainers normally have their own web site. This web site provides the tools necessary to help their traveling client. Let us review a few tools that provide a near personal training experience on the road for a fraction of the cost.
You have access to articles, other web sites, and educational material on your personal trainer’s web site. Your personal trainer can provide information based on your level of fitness. In other words, they provide the right information at the right time. You are not wasting time.
Your personal trainer can provide a private login on their web site that has all your information, e.g. measurements, training schedule, exercise videos, meal programs, etc. This section of their web site is password protected for your privacy. Google documents offer great tools for this type of interface.
Accountability is available with the use of Google’s calendar and SMS notifications. SMS messages are pre-assigned via the Google calendar for clients. They receive alerts on their phone saying to snack, complete a workout, etc. Business travelers have the ability to respond through SMS text messaging, email, or a phone call letting the trainer know what they have eaten, or that they completed their workout routine. If not contacted the trainer will follow-up. This happens no matter where the business travelers, or the trainer, are in the world.
Clients can sign-up on http://www.fitday.com and enroll in their internet service. It is less than $10.00 per month and offers the ability to track and monitor nutrition, activities, journals, and moods. By providing their trainer access, the trainer can track all activity 24/7. This combines nutrition, exercise, and behavior extremely well. This provides the trainer the information needed to council clients through a variety of virtual techniques, e.g. SMS texting, web site response, email, phone call, or SKYPE.
Skype, Google Video Talk, and other video conferencing tools allow clients to schedule times with their trainer in order for the trainer to view the business traveler’s workout. This is convenient if they are working out in a hotel room.
Finally, it is important to meet at least once a week when possible with your personal trainer face-to-face to celebrate your progress, establish new measurements, and set new goals.

This type of professional and private personal training is available to travelers. One company providing this service is Strategy for Fitness(TM). Overcoming a lack of education and accountability will be a big step to improving your fitness level. These services are an investment in your life. You have someone who is interested in your health and wellness and can counsel you on an ongoing basis no matter where you are. Using technology reduces your overall cost for personal training. Accountability is a powerful motivator. Trainers can hold business travelers accountable through advanced technology services. Do not let excuses become a barrier to improving your fitness while you travel. There are no excuses.[1] Espino, C, Sundstrom S, Frick H, Jacobs M, Peters, M, “International Business Travel: impact on families and travelers”. Occupational and Environmental Med Medicine. January 11, 2010 .[2] James Striker, Lennart Dimberg, Bernhard H Liese, “Stress and business travel: Individual, managerial, and corporate concerns”. Journal of Organizational Excellence Vol. 20 Issue 1 pages 3-10. January 11, 2010[3] todaysengineer.org/2009/Jun/exercise.asp[4] ehow.com/videos-on_66_exercise-traveling.html

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How Do Timeshares Work? How’s Their Value Compared to a Travel Club?

My beautiful wife, Nancy, and I love to travel… a lot!!We’ve taken over 70 vacations & trips together in just over 8 years as a couple, which means we’ve got a little experience being tourists and in vacation mode.So over the years we had heard about timeshares many times and had been solicited to go to presentations for freebies but we never once bothered……not really sure why not?Maybe it was the thought of wasting several hours of our vacation getting pitched to spend lots of money, maybe it was the thought of it being too much money or that we didn’t want to keep traveling to one property all the time, etc.Whatever it was, we just simply never went to a presentation… wasn’t worth a free dinner or tickets to us.But over the past 18 weeks, as we’ve been traveling around to awesome places in Hawaii, California, Arizona & Florida, we’ve been staying at many great resorts through an International Travel Club that we’re members of and we’ve talked to many timeshare owners (there are lots of them) staying at the same places……and we’ve been chatting it up with some of these people trying to figure out why they bought, whether they liked it/disliked it, etc.Basically, we figured it was time for us to see if a timeshare could benefit us with all the traveling we do.So with that said, in Las Vegas a couple of months ago, we took the plunge and went to a presentation.(Side note: The $150 in dining vouchers we were offered to go to the presentation had nothing to do with us attending… we simply wanted to learn and would have seriously considered buying if it made sense.Tip: Our recommendation would be to never attend a Timeshare presentation for “the gift”… if you’re truly not interested, you’ll be wasting several hours of your vacation and you’ll be putting yourself in a high-pressure sales situation… we were there for 4 hours, even though they said 90 minutes max, and they said no pressure sales up front but let’s just say, that was not so)What was our experience like?To be honest, we’re still confused from the whole thing.As mentioned, we’ve traveled a ton over the years and I was a top-selling travel agent for years but pretty much the whole idea went way over our heads and we’re not really sure why billions of dollars of this gets sold every year.Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re an owner yourself we’re not knocking you for buying… if we didn’t know of a better alternative we may have considered.But when we logically looked at the #s, it just didn’t add up for us.Of course, like many purchases, we understand most people buy on emotions, not logic……travel is a powerful motivator… look at us, 18 weeks ago we sold all of our “stuff”, are now homeless, we travel full-time……and have never been happier in our lives!! LOLFor most people, that wouldn’t be a logical thing.So we get that many people buy emotionally to “lock” in an annual vacation and commit themselves to get away… and we’re huge promoters of that… our eBook we wrote is all about that.But logically, we couldn’t figure the whole timeshare thing out.They were going on about buying points and how many points you need depends on things like how many weeks you want, time of year you travel, resort you stay at, room type, your “status”, and on and on.But they wouldn’t give us real examples of what an amount of points would get us, what availability was like, how much ongoing maintenance fees would be, etc.We had to make a decision “there and then”, that was it… no info to take with us to evaluate or think about it because “no-one comes back and buys once they leave” we were told……it was actually a little insulting as we felt we were expected to make an immediate decision without doing any due diligence on a “points” system that felt like you needed a degree to understand with all the variables, exchange options, add ons, upgrades, etc.Being a couple that spent $40,000+/year on travel the last several years (and that’s before we started traveling full-time) we feel we were great prospects but unless we were willing to make a decision ‘on the spot” our business wasn’t wanted……very weird business practices!?When we initially joined an International Travel Club earlier this year, it wasn’t till 3 weeks after we first saw it we joined. That was AFTER we did a bunch of research and flew to Las Vegas to check out 7 of their properties, and they were happy to take our business.So we can now understand why many people who buy timeshares regret the hasty decision they made (Google timeshare and you’ll see owners selling them is a huge market) as they were so confused and pressured at the time they didn’t really understand what they were buying.Anyway, enough about our experience on that.What great thing came out of it though was that we feel better then ever about our decision to join a Travel Club rather then buy a timeshare… let’s compare the #s and see why that option made better sense to us.Regarding the timeshare we saw, depending on how many points we bought based on when we wanted to travel, we would have paid either $18,000 or $26,000 up front for 1 week per year… and if we financed that at their 15.99% rate over 10 years it would have doubled that #.On top of that you have monthly maintenance fees that you’re locked into for LIFE.They were $50-$70/month depending on the package we bought… let’s use $60 for our example.Over 30 years we’d pay our initial $18,000-$26,000 up front and $21,600 in maintenance fees. (Keep in mind maintenance fees ALWAYS go up… that’s the biggest complaint owners tell us… we talked to one who’s fees jumped to over $2000/year due to a hurricane and major repairs being done… for our example though, we won’t even factor in higher fees)So when you add it up for 30 years of JUST 1 week/year we’d pay $39,600-$47,600.And if you want more weeks you have to buy more points. (Which could double or triple or more the above #s depending what you want) And if you can’t travel due to illness you still pay maintenance fees, etc.It’s a HUGE commitment!!Now let’s look at the travel club option.For a typical, good quality Travel club, you’ll pay, approximately, a ONE-TIME $5000 fee for life-time access which allows you to book up to 10 weeks/year at the resorts for the price range of $298-$799/week.On average members pay around $550 for each week they stay at a resort.So in 30 years you’ll have paid $5000 up front and $16,500 for 1 week/year… $21,500 in total… that’s 46%-55% less then a basic timeshare.So you can see why being a member of a Travel Club, financially speaking, makes sense!And here are a few things to consider:1. You can book up to 9 more weeks per year in a Travel Club and just pay the $550 on average per week…. over 30 years you’ll pay $16,500 per extra week whereas an extra timeshare would be MUCH more… basically you’re saving over $20,000 for each extra week compared to a timeshare… the more you use your club the savings get ridiculous!2. You’ll have no maintenance fees, ever! If you can’t travel in any given year or ever again, no big deal, you’ll never pay another dime… no contract locking in ongoing fees.3. As mentioned, your up front cost will be around $5000, that’s it! Not $18,000-$26,000. Not sure about you but we don’t want to pay for years and years of vacations today… we have better things to do with our hard-earned dollars!4. All the above timeshare #s are based on a studio or one bedroom which is all you need if you’re a couple… if you have a bigger family though and need 2 rooms or heaven forbid 3 or 4 you’ll need a ton more points… your costs will sky-rocket. With a travel club, the $298-$799/week can be for 1-3 rooms, based on your needs and availability… they’re not penalizing you and charging double/triple for your large family.5. Most people don’t need to “finance” an upfront $5000 fee with a travel club… with the $20,000+ for a timeshare, many do… the high interest rates double your #s and really make a timeshare pricey.Alright, enough said about the whole timeshare vs travel club option… I could go on with lots more pros/cons but I’m pretty sure about anyone could look at the above and easily decide which one logically makes more sense and can at the same time get emotionally satisfied with the monetary savings.As I said at the beginning, this post isn’t about knocking timeshares or owners… Nancy & I love all industries that promote travel as we believe it’s so important and we know many of you love the “ownership” aspect of timeshares and that’s cool.But we know our readers & most travelers love to save money, like savvy travelers like us do, and we want to make sure you’re fully informed on the options……and in our experience, most people don’t necessarily want “Vacation Homes” or “Vacation Ownership”, they just simply want consistent vacations and in our expertise……being a member of a Travel Club vs owning a Timeshare is a much more economical and smart option… in this volatile economy…… or in any economy for that matter!I appreciate you.Shawn

You Can Save Your Business Money by Using VoIP Telephones

VoIP is quickly climbing to the top of the communications technology ladder, and rightfully so VoIP services are fast, easy and convenient. They allow people to connect in so many ways, both professionally and personally. A grandmother in Hong Kong can read her grandchildren in Maine a bedtime story; a CEO on vacation in Spain could direct his employees in Sydney. More and more businesses are using it and if yours isn’t, here’s why it should:VoIP telephone systems are much cheaper than regular phone systems. This includes long distance phone services because VoIP phone services use the Internet as their connection, they can charge the same rates for long distance calls as local calls. Think about it: it doesn’t cost anything to video-chat with someone three towns away; nor does it cost anything to video-chat with someone three states away. The same applies to VoIP business services.VoIP telephone service providers are also far more convenient, and you get a lot more options. With any company you can choose from a number of plans, many of which are customizable to fit your needs exactly plus you can choose from a variety of VoIP methods:IP phones, for example, look much like regular phones, but rather than land-based copper wires they’re run off internet connections. An ATA also looks much like a regular phone but the handset is hooked up directly to the computer. A computer-to-computer connection is exactly what it sounds like everything is done via a computer, and a headset is donned by the user.Now that you’re ready to sign up for a VoIP business phone system, here are a few tips to get the best deal possible:Find a company that doesn’t charge extra for features like 3-way calling, voicemail, call waiting and caller ID. These should be part of even the most basic business phone system package any company that thinks otherwise is a waste of time.Also, find a company that will allow you to keep using the office’s current equipment. Converting standard phone systems into VoIP isn’t difficult; they just need an adapter.Discuss a trade of goods or services. Do you work for a marketing company? See if you can exchange marketing services for a discounted VoIP business phone system.Did you ever think saving your business money could be so easy? Research the VoIP telephone service providers in your area and see who can offer you the best deal. And remember, once you’ve switched, you should be paying much less than before make sure you know (or at least sound like you know) what you’re talking about so salespeople won’t think you can be duped.