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business traveller

TSN reporter Matthew Scianitti: ‘You have to pay attention to your body.’

Whether it was spending a week in Winnipeg for the 2015 Canadian Football League Grey Cup or following the Toronto Maple Leafs on a California road swing, Toronto-based TSN reporter Matthew Scianitti racked up more than 150 days on the road last year.

Since joining the sports broadcaster in 2013, the Toronto native has quickly come to learn the importance of finding time for exercise and good nutrition wherever he is to keep his mind sharp and allow him to feel comfortable in front of a camera.

"You have to pay attention to your body," he says. "The fact is, when you've got to fit into a suit and you've got to be on camera and you've got to look presentable, you have to take a lot more into consideration than just getting off the plane with a bag in hand."

While his schedule on the road can vary from a week away to 16-hour day trips to New England or Charlotte to interview the likes of National Football League quarterbacks Tom Brady or Cam Newton in the buildup to Super Bowl Sunday, holding his own in a scrum of American sports network cameras and on-air personalities isn't as easy as it sounds.

"People will look at one side of the job and they'll think just hair and teeth and a microphone and then you realize when you get into these scrums in big cities for big events it really is almost a workout in itself," he says.

On planes, particularly for short hops that don't serve meals, Mr. Scianitti ensures that when he gets to the airport he tracks down something nutritious to take on board with him, such as salads with lentils, chicken or some other form of protein, along with fruit – bananas are his go-to snack – and vegetables. And in unfamiliar cities, he tracks down the nearest grocery store to make sure he has the nutrition he needs.

"If you're eating bagels and coffee all the time you're not going to be mentally aware," he says. "It's important to me that I've got the right fruits and vegetables and everything that can fuel me properly to make sure that I'm aware and ready for my job."

As someone who typically works out six days a week in some capacity, Mr. Scianitti also scouts out the city he's travelling to ahead of time, and if workout facilities are lacking in the hotel where he is staying, he finds a nearby gym.

Planning ahead is important, according to Daniel Moylan, a strength and conditioning coach for Laylor Performance Systems in Toronto, which oversees the training of professional athletes such as Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, as well as business executives and anyone looking to improve their health.

"The biggest thing is when you're travelling, don't get caught up in the, 'I'm travelling … so I can do whatever I want to do,'" he says, noting that indulging in a hotel's continental breakfast and a burger, fries and Coke lunch is probably not the best course of action. "It really just comes down to choosing wisely and making sure that you're always working towards your goals."

When it comes to fitting in exercise, the main thing is to do something every day, Mr. Moylan advises. It's a guideline that Mr. Scianitti adheres to, even if it means getting up at 5:30 a.m. to fit in a workout before he has to head to the rink for hockey practice. He advises anyone new to life on the road to experiment, and to find a routine that works for them, rather than obsessing over the details of how far they ran or how many repetitions they did. "There should be a point where you just make it part of your day and it's automatic," he says. "As soon as that becomes part of your lifestyle it becomes a heck of a lot easier and you'll find the benefits are tenfold when it becomes as easy as breathing."

TIPS FROM A PRO

Daniel Moylan, a former soccer player in Spain and Germany, is a strength and conditioning coach for Laylor Performance Systems in Toronto. Here are his top tips for those who deal with the rigours of travel on a regular basis.

1. Do something everyday. Whether it's push-ups on the bathroom floor in the morning, or sit-ups and squats with just your body weight, don't discount the benefits of just doing body-weight exercises in your hotel room.

2. Don't throw your entire program out of the window because you missed one day. If you fall off the wagon, pick yourself up and get back on and continue from where you left off the next day, whether it's exercise or nutrition.

3. Plan ahead. If you prepare and find the facilities you can take advantage of, that will save you a lot of headaches when you first land, so you don't have to scramble.

4. Forgive yourself. Not every croissant or doughnut that you eat turns into 10 pounds unless you let it. It's about staying consistent, staying true to your goals and making sure you attack it every single day as if it's your first day.

5. Get support. If you're travelling all the time, you're not the only one. There are plenty of other business people who do so, so make friends with them and share your goals and challenges with them and you might even have a workout partner or somebody who would be willing to eat healthy instead of going to a fast-food chain.