There are times in a career when work travel sounds like so much fun. It’s exciting. It’s glamorous. It’s a different country with a different language, different food, drink and culture and all that the city has to offer. And it takes its toll.
When you are in demand, like Jim Meehan of Please Don’t Tell (PDT) bar in NYC, the reality of this aspect of work is that it can wreak havoc on your body. You’re in a different time zone, stuck in an airplane seat for hours, jumping straight into meetings or events without a moment to rest and it’s hard. It’s hard on the body, it’s hard on the mind, and it’s hard on the soul. But, you do it because it’s work and they want you all over the world. Which is a good problem to have.
The problem with this ‘glamorous’ lifestyle is that your body doesn’t really get a chance to rest. That means less chance of working out and keeping your body healthy. Your internal clock is all messed up, you’re exhausted and your body starts getting weaker. Not in the sense that you will break a bone with regular daily activity, but you might find that you wake up one morning and try to get out of bed, and throw your back out.
I met Jim Meehan through our mutual friend Wylie Dufresne, when the Wylie dog first came out at PDT for some amazing late night eats. Jim, fortunately and unfortunately became a friend and client because of his back. He had woken up one morning and tried to get ready for his day when his back blew out. I had to come see him in his apartment because he was in so much pain he could not leave the house!
Jim had just returned from a trip abroad, had gone straight to the bar to oversee things in his absence and admittedly was exhausted beyond words. And his body let him know it. He was crooked and stiff and in pain when I first saw him and it took him a few sessions to really recover. He still didn’t have time for a lot of exercise because work was waiting for him and he was in the middle of writing his book, The PDT Cocktail Book. That meant even more sitting.
Jim soon learned the importance of staying fit and strong so that his body could tolerate the stresses of travel and a continuous workload. His physical therapy exercises included strengthening and stability exercises for his core, flexibility exercises, and education on muscle imbalances and the toll of prolonged sitting and stress.
We worked on correcting his posture, activating his deep abdominals for lumbar stability and keeping mobile and strong and practicing good body mechanics with everyday activities.
We focused on functional exercises that required body weight and multiple muscle activation; things you can do in the comfort of our own home or hotel room. He could add Theraband resistance bands for increased load, or use free weights. With travel, Therabands work great since they are small and don’t weight much.
Jim is no longer is stuck behind the bar in tight quarters but is on the other side where he can stretch his legs. But, with the rise of his career, it added more and different demands so take it from Jim. Do some form of exercise to keep your body strong and flexible to reduce the chance of injury. Then, you can fly off to whatever part of the world, share your mixology secrets, continue your exercises and enjoy your time abroad!