Travel or sudden changes in your schedule can wreak havoc on your weight management and fitness plan. If you travel frequently and have trouble maintaining your fitness level on the go, here’s how you can stay fit while you’re away from home.
Airport food, unexpected travel delays and lost luggage are enough to make even the most disciplined health guru reach for a sugary treat. If you’re a frequent business traveler, or if you plan on seasonal traveling with your family, there are certain things you need to commit to in order to stay fit while traveling. For starters, you must understand what your body needs so you can stay balanced and be at your best—especially when you’re away from home.
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “It takes a long time to create healthy habits, but one bad day can throw off your rhythm for weeks.” I think this saying is quite accurate. So, in that light, here are my top tips to help you reinforce your fitness plan and stay balanced when traveling.
Don’t wait until the day of, or even the day before, you travel to pack your bag. Pack a few days in advance so you can save the day before you leave to squeeze in a workout. I find packing the most stressful part of business travel, so getting this out of the way a few days in advance means that I’m a little more relaxed on travel day.
Plan your week and adjust your workout routine so that your travel day becomes your scheduled rest day from exercise.
Stress is one of the main culprits that lead to poor eating and fitness disruption. My advice is to get organized to limit your stress. You know that getting through security at the airport is a stressful process, so ensure that all of your liquids are the right size and within easy reach. Keep your travel bag organized, and pack a few healthy snacks so that you aren’t tempted by all of the junk food available at airport terminals.
Arriving at your destination feeling relaxed is important if you want to get your workout routine up and running right away. Some travel essentials you should remember to pack are earplugs, eye mask, flight socks to help with blood circulation in your legs, a neck pillow and a warm sweater. These items may weigh you down a little, but trust me, traveling with some of your own comforts can provide pleasant relief from listening to loud conversations or not being able to rest because the light’s in your eyes. Not to mention that exercising will be the last thing on your mind if your neck is stiff when you land.
Always remember to pack your workout clothes and shoes so you can stay fit while you’re away. Sounds simple, but this is something that people often forget while traveling. In fact, you can keep a spare set of workout clothes in your carry-on bag. You never know when surprises like someone spilling a drink on you might occur. Workout clothes are lightweight and practical. Just think that if your checked bag goes missing, you won’t have an excuse for missing a workout.
Hydration is the most important thing to remember when you travel. Dehydration can affect your skin, your energy level, and it can lead to headaches and negatively impact your digestive system. The great news is that you can easily get water on the plane. If you have your own personal container, it will serve as a good reminder to keep sipping.
Good food while traveling is harder to come by. Given the risk of travel delays, you could ruin your healthy eating plan if you’re not prepared. Pack nutrient-rich snacks in your bag, such as nuts or protein bars, to help keep you full and away from unhealthy choices. With time changes, you’ll want to keep your body fueled throughout the day to avoid binging at meal times due to excessive hunger.
Fitting in some exercise during your trip may help you to sleep better and be more mentally alert in your activities. If going to the gym is not possible, simply commit to a quick 20-minute routine in your room at morning and a 10-minute stretch at night. If you make regular exercise a necessary part of your travel schedule, you’ll have a better chance of staying on track with your health and fitness goals.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).