You are used to play soccer or basketball in a team? Chances are high, with your new job as a management consultant it will be much tougher to still participate. Traveling to your client every week and working long hours will rather raise the question whether you will be able to do sport at all.
Fitness as a consultant is possible
The good news is: Yes, getting to do some fitness or sport is possible as a management or strategy consultant. But it’s much more difficult. You will have to prioritize it and probably sacrifice a few hours of sleep. So how to do it?
The rule here is simple: Basically, every team sport will be difficult. I can guarantee you that you will never be able to regularly attend a mid-week training. Of course, you can look for teams that only train on weekends, but even that is often difficult, because you will also have other plans like doing weekend trips yourself. Most consultants stick with options that are flexible and don’t require any special equipment. To put it short: Running and gym/fitness exercises you can basically do in your hotel room.
A regular run will be a great option during your time on the client site. You just need to bring your running shoes and that’s basically it. I like to store my shoes at the hotel over the weekend, so I don’t need to worry about the limited capacity of my cabin luggage. If you are lucky, you will find a great route to run close to your hotel. It’s a great option to finally breath some fresh air after a busy day in the office.
Another great option are typical fitness exercises. Most hotels have a gym you can use for free. However, in my experience opening times are typically not ideal for consultants. Make sure to check that out before you plan to go to your hotel’s gym at 11pm. Therefore, many consultants simply do exercises in their hotel room. Nowadays, there are many great apps on the market, that will recommend pure body-weight exercises to you. Good examples are Freeletics or Asana Rebel. Make sure to ask your hotel for an extra set of towels so you don’t need to do the exercises directly on your hotel room’s carpet. Finally, if you really want to enjoy the comfort of a fully-equipped gym, you might want to consider flexible gym passes. For example, in Germany you have services like GYMPASS or URBANSPORTSCLUB that will give you flexible access to many fitness / sport options in the whole country – probably also somewhere close to your client.
That leaves us with the question of when it’s best to do sport. As a consultant, you will typically only have two options: Either you get up an hour earlier in the morning or you do sport in the evening after returning from the office. I think the ideal time is typically in the morning, as you can really make sure to get to do some sport that way. After returning from your client’s office, you will often still have a long todo list for the night and quickly get to the point of de-prioritizing sport. However, doing sport in the morning will require you an extra portion of discipline, as you will need to wake up an hour earlier which will quickly mean 5 instead of 6 hours of sleep. In the end, this is highly depending on your individual preferences and your project.
So, how often will you realistically be able to do sport every week? Honestly, if you get to do some sport once during your time on the client site between Monday and Thursday that’s good. Especially Mondays to Thursdays are typically super busy. Squeezing in 1-2 hours can be extremely hard on some projects. But it’s possible and just requires a good planning and self-management (more on that in our Masterclass). Also, your team will understand and accept that you want to do at least a little bit of sport every week. In the end, I typically try to do sport at least twice over the weekend and one time during my time at the client site. That leaves you with 3 sessions a week, which is of course not super much, but in my opinion enough to still feel healthy and fit.