Many people dread flying, not to mention all the waiting, sitting, and having nothing to do that comes along with going to and from. For me, I'm usually traveling cross country to NY or Chicago, so my flights last longer than four hours, and in this case, NY is a four-day pit stop for me on my way to Milan, Italy. (hey, there are no direct flights from LA to Milan, so I had no choice) Plus, an opportunity to see family and friends is always welcomed.
I'm currently on a three hour flight to Dallas from Los Angeles. From there, I'll have a layover for another three hours before finally boarding my flight to NY for (another a three-hour flight to New York. (more like 3.5, but who's counting?). I'll get in tonight at 9pm, barring any delays. Did I mention I was up at 5am this morning to get to the airport?
Luckily, I've traveled quite a bit, so I've learned how to maintain some healthy habits along the way despite the temptation to overspend and overindulge while traveling. Check out some of the ways that I stay on track when I'm traveling, maybe they can help you, too.
Boost the Bod
Schedule in exercise the day before you travel, and plan your fitness activities for when you arrive. Despite being super busy the days leading up to my three-week vacation, I scheduled in a 30-minute cardio session at the Santa Monica stairs the day before. Why? I knew the next day I'd be sitting for long periods of time, snacking throughout the day (possibly out of boredom), and that I would not have the chance to workout when I got to NY later that night. In addition, I researched gyms near where I would be staying in the city and had my ClassPass membership queued up in case that was a better option for me.
Kickstart your immune system with vitamins and a good night’s sleep before you leave. I know you have tons to think about before leaving, but it doesn’t take much to set some vitamins out on your bathroom counter and take them in the days leading up to your trip. In addition, focus on getting to bed on time (or even a little earlier) in the days leading up to your travels. I use melatonin to help me get to sleep a bit earlier as well as adjusting to changing time zones. Sleep is the bodies best method for healing and boosting the immune system, so make it a priority.
Maintains over Gains
It can be a total bummer to travel in the middle of a training or diet program in which you're making some serious gains (or weight loss). So instead of feeling obligated to stay on your program and continue forward progress when you may have a harder time getting to the gym, focus on maintaining with basic exercises you can easily do anywhere. For example, I’m bringing a resistance band to use along with stretching and body weight exercises to focus on endurance and strength training. I’ll also look for opportunities to add long walks or opt for the stairs in my day-to-day travels.
Pack travel snacks so you can save money and have your preferred foods on hand. I’ve often spent a pretty penny on lunch and snacks at the airport before I’ve even arrived to my destination. Between buying water, gum and a pack of almonds I'm already $15 in the hole, forget about adding in a salad and a protein bar. In addition, bringing along your own snacks or making your own lunch allows you to control what you're eating instead of being tempted by unhealthy food choices. While more and more airports are now offering healthier food options, they tend to lack nutritional value and are mostly processed foods.
Consider the content of your meals throughout the day. A lot of my time on vacation is spent eating out, whether that be with friends, family, or on my own. I've found that being aware of how "heavy" my meals will be throughout the day helps me plan better for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For example, if I know I'll be having dinner at my Zia Fernanda’s house in the evening--where the meal consists of Italian fare like pasta, meat and veggies--I'll opt for lighter breakfast and lunch. Or if I know I'm joining friends from a boozy brunch on Sunday, I probably won't have a full lunch or dinner later on in the day, especially if it haven't exercised. (But let's be honest, boozy brunch always leads to pizza at some point, so we may call that one a cheat day.)
Make an effort to include a salad or green vegetable with lunch and dinner. By adding a salad as as a meal itself or as a side you’ll be adding nutrients, vitamins and, water, which will help boost your immune system and hydrate you during your vacation. Also, when you make a conscious effort to add more greens in your diet, you’re allowing yourself to fill up on nutrient-dense foods that provide fiber and vitamins.