Keeping on track with your nutrition and fitness goals is hard. Now throw in business trips, vacations, and wedding season, and it can feel completely overwhelming. As I prepare to take a trip to watch the Giants Spring Training in a few days, I’ve been thinking about how to make the most of my trip. I realized I don’t want to depend on ballpark food to survive my long weekend, and that I don’t want to give up my exercise schedule either. Try these suggestions on how to make your traveling agenda work for you.
· Hotel Gyms – these are the easiest resource available to you. If you have to pay an extra fee to use even the smallest of hotel exercise facilities, do it. Have your personal trainer write down a workout you can do using minimal equipment so that you have a plan no matter what is available. Or check out my Youtube video here for a workout that uses minimal equipment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs77jYXsE6M
· Pack for success – I never leave my house for 24 hours without at least one workout outfit and sneakers, and/or healthy snacks and food when appropriate. Wherever I am, on the road, parents house, outside the country, 90% of the time there has been an opportunity to fit in a workout, and I’m always grateful that I planned accordingly. On road trips I have googled nearby gyms to spend an hour in. I also pack as much food and snacks as I can when I travel, either in a cooler or a lunchbox. Your eating will not be perfect when you travel, but that’s not the point. Having things like fruit, popcorn, jerky, protein bars and shakes, and even prepared meals in Tupperware can be lifesavers, and will keep you from reaching for candy, chips, and fast food.
· Do your research – Take a few minutes prior to your trip to check out what’s happening in the area you’re traveling to. There might be a 5K the weekend you’re visiting a particular city, or a really famous hiking spot. Look up the neighborhood you’re staying in and see if there are healthy food options like farmer’s markets, Whole Foods, or restaurants that have options that appeal to you. Leaving things up to chance means you’re more likely to get lazy.
· Contact gyms and personal trainers in the area – Most gyms and personal trainers are happy to help you out, even if it’s just for a weekend. As long as you are currently active, there’s no reason that a personal trainer can’t create a suitable workout plan for you, even just for one session. Most gyms also have a daily rate, and you might end up finding a new activity that you enjoy.
· Get enough sleep – It’s not just in your head that your pants are tighter after a few days of sleep deprivation. Our bodies create a hormone called cortisol when we put it under constant stress, and not sleeping enough can activate this. Cortisol is like our bodie's panic system, and it causes our metabolism to slow down in an effort to conserve energy needed for more vital functions. While traveling it might be tempting to stay for an extra drink with your coworkers to network, or stay out late with friends you haven’t seen in a long time, but if you set a time for yourself to call it a night, your body will thank you.
· Keep hydrated – It’s so easy to reach for coffee, tea, soda, or alcohol when you’re out of your element, but traveling tends to dehydrate our bodies even more than a regular schedule would. Air conditioning on planes and in cars dry out your skin and body in just a couple of hours. Stow some water bottles in your bag and make sure to refill them often.
· Make a plan with a fitness app or your trainer – Using an app on your phone to track your calories and exercise, or checking in with your trainer by sending them updates will help hold you accountable while you’re away from home. It’s easy to snack mindlessly during business conferences or forget that you ate the peanuts and pretzels on the flight, but if you write it down right away, you’ll find it’s not that hard to stay in check.
· Work it into your agenda – I’m a planner, so I usually like to know exactly what my traveling schedule is while I’m away. Not everyone is like this, but if I write down or block off time that I’m supposed to be working out, I’m more likely to actually do it than if I tell myself I’ll fit it in somewhere along the trip.
Traveling can make reaching your goals harder, but with proper planning and some determination, you don’t have to let it get the best of you. Because I’ve spent a little extra time preparing for my mini vacation, I’ve already got a pole class and a crossfit workout reserved, as well as snacks to keep me away from the kettlecorn and nachos. Now I can enjoy my trip and not regret the choices I made next week!