For anyone on a fitness journey, consciously making an effort to eat cleaner and maintain a regular exercise regimen, it can be a bit daunting to be thrown off your routine while traveling.
The truth is, getting off track is nearly inevitable (at least if you want to enjoy your time – let’s be real).
You’ll likely be eating out, you might miss a few (or all of your workouts), and if you’re anything like me – a nice glass of wine at the end of day full of meetings goes down pretty damn well. Same with a beer on the beach, they go hand in hand; it’s just the facts.
That all being said, there are a few simple tricks you can implement throughout your day to help you stay on track while still enjoying yourself.
Here are my top five travel tips to help you stay on track on your next adventure:
1) Get Your Steps In.
By now, you’ve probably heard of the idea of getting 10,000 steps in per day (if not, read more about the benefits here.)
For a long time, I didn’t want to buy into the hype – 10,000 steps seemed like a silly, made up goal. But, after making it a goal for myself on my recent business trip, I realized that it may not be as silly as I thought – walking is no joke!
You have to be consciously making an effort to get these steps in, but you can get them fairly easily by deciding to walk to a nearby restaurant instead of getting an uber, walking on your breaks in between meetings, walking to the beach instead of taking a shuttle, etc.
Bonus if you shoot for a goal of 15,000-20,000 steps instead. Double bonus if you find time to get to the gym and lift some weights and do some yoga 😉.
2) Prioritize Protein
I’m not saying to avoid carbs and fats while you travel, that would be both extremely difficult and completely unnecessary. However, prioritizing your protein sources during continental breakfast, snacks/lunches at a conference, restaurants on a resort, etc. is going to help you from going too over-board.
For breakfast, go for things like fruit and oatmeal for your carbs, and eggs and yogurt for your protein and fats (these will all generally be available at a continental breakfast – if not, see tip 4).
For lunch, especially during a business conference where lunches offered are generally carb heavy, focus on the protein source offered (chicken, beef, seafood), and pair it with a side salad and a smaller serving of the carb-loaded dish (pasta, rice, potatoes).
For dinner where you’ll likely be eating out at a restaurant, order an entrée focused around a protein source.
Here are some ideas:
If you’re by fresh water, go for some fresh seafood! Shrimp salads or tacos, mahi mahi, salmon, crab legs, you name it. The carb source, again, should be secondary.
Indulging in some Mexican dishes? Shoot for something like fajitas where you can control the portion sizes and tortillas.
Eating Italian where the entrees generally revolve around pasta? Remove half of the pasta from your dish (assuming it will be topped with protein).
Or if you like to stick to the basics and prefer an American style restaurant , go for a steak or chicken breast and pair it with a side of veggies (lose the butter).
Catching my drift?
Here is a good article on the benefits of prioritizing protein.
3) Mix In A Water, Pal
Considering your body is made up of about 70% water (your brain being made up of 90% water), it’s not surprising that one of the best things you can do for your health is to stay hydrated. The benefits of drinking water are endless, but to name a few: it increases energy and relieves fatigue, it promotes weight loss, it flushes out toxins (a.k.a. the pizza you ate and the couple bottles of beer you drank last night), it maintains regularity in digestion, and it boosts your immune system (which is not to be overlooked while traveling!).
My best advice is to keep an empty bottle with you at all times and fill up as often as you can (especially in airports where a bottle of water costs an entire paycheck). Technically, you should be drinking at LEAST half of your body weight in ounces of water per day (i.e. a 150 pound person should drink 75 ounces of water per day – even more if said person is more active than normal).
Also, if you find yourself indulging in some alcoholic beverages, try following a 1:1 ratio of number of drinks to glasses of water – For every 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounce of liquor, drink one glass of water.
For one: this will help keep you hydrated and decrease the potential hangover, and two: you’ll be less likely to make a fool of yourself in front of your peers 😉.
4) Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
This is probably my favorite tip of them all – either bring healthy snacks from home with you (PSA did you know you can bring snacks into airports?! I didn’t), OR find the nearest convenience/grocery store when you arrive at your destination and stock up on some of your favorites.
Some of my go to’s are: fruit, protein bars, beef jerky, almonds, sparkling water, dark chocolate, veggies (with hummus dip if preferred), whole grain bread, and peanut butter (I’m an addict, it’s fine). Also, if you have access to a fridge in your hotel room, storing a few extra options like hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, cheese sticks, deli meat, etc. may be a good idea.
One thing I do regularly whether I’m traveling or not is keep a protein bar on hand (in my purse) in the case I can’t find a decent snack or meal option throughout the day. Click here to see my recent post on what to look for in a protein bar
5) Don’t Stress and Get Back To Your Routine When You Get Home
Most importantly – don’t stress about being perfect while traveling! As I mentioned initially, getting a bit off track is almost inevitable, and that’s okay! A few days or a week off from your usual routine isn’t going to make or break you.
Some things to consider about traveling:
a) Flying causes your body to retain extra water, leaving you feel swollen and bloated. Understand that this will subside.
b) Stress causes insulin and leptin resistance in your body, which can lead to fat retention/weight gain. So basically, stress less 😉.
c) Public transportation (flying, riding a bus, taxis, etc.) will expose you to a plethora of bacteria, so don’t be surprised if you catch a bug and/or don’t feel top notch. You can fight this by staying hydrated and keeping your hands clean.
d) Jet lag is real, so if you feel like you need a few days of rest when you get home – listen to your body and rest. Your routine will still be there in a day or two.
Get home, get back to your routine (when you’re ready), and you’ll be well on your way to your goals 😊.
Take these tips into consideration next time you travel and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised at your ability to maintain your progress when your hundreds or thousands of miles away from home.
Til’ Next Time,