As a self-proclaimed wellness junkie, I rely heavily on habit and routine to help me stay disciplined with my training and nutrition; however, this becomes challenging with a deluge of work travel. Lately, I’ve been consuming many meals at restaurants and sleeping in hotels at least 2 nights each week. Here are some tips to help you stay on track during your business trips.
- Stick to your routine as best as possible.
Don’t think of travel as your free pass to make poor choices. This means waking up at the same time and getting to bed at the same time you would if you were at home. I try to stick with this same schedule even when I’m on the road and even during short stays in different time zones. This deters some of the travel-related grogginess, plus consistency makes it easy to readjust to my normal routine once I’m at home. Sometimes, it’s tempting to go out with coworkers at the end of the day, but I find this makes it harder for me to function the next day. If there is a company social, by all means go, but keep it in check and make an early departure. Your coworkers will fill you in on all the good stories the next day.Sticking to your usual routine also means sticking with your exercise and eating plan. More on both in just a minute.
- Eat clean.
Restaurant food is packed with sodium and who knows what else. It’s tough to make good, clean choices while dining out. This is why I pack as much as I can. Flying in the morning? Pack I keep several ziplock bags with my oatmeal mix (pre-measured oatmeal, protein powder, almonds, and cinnamon) plus a few single-serving cups of applesauce in a bag to toss in my carry-on. Mix that with hot water on the plane, or use a few ounces of milk from the breakfast spread at your hotel. Speaking of the hotel breakfast bar, I always grab an apple or banana and a few things of peanut butter for snacks later in the day. Consider packing your lunch and other snacks too. I always throw in pre-measured almonds, baby carrots, packs of Justin’s almond butter, wasa crackers, and Lara bars. Having snacks on hand will help you decline the cookies served on some flights and you’ll be thankful for these when you don’t have time to grab a meal at the airport.When traveling, restaurant meals are inevitable. Choose wisely. Look for meals with lots of veggies, good carbs like sweet potatoes or brown rice, and lean protein and don’t hesitate to ask how it will be prepared. If you’re ingesting it, you deserve to know. I pick something with as many veggies as possible, a lean protein such as fish, chicken, eggs, or black beans, and a good carb – usually rice or a sweet potato. If you are traveling solo, consider a grocery store salad bar for lunch or dinner.Eating on the company’s dime is not a good excuse to splurge on alcohol, appetizers, or dessert! Skip them! Just because everyone ordered an appetizer or dessert, doesn’t mean you need to as well. If I really (and I mean really) feel like I need dessert, I grab a piece of dark chocolate. It can be helpful to track calories using an app like MyFitnessPal. All those restaurant meals will add up quickly!I always keep a few bags of dandelion tea in my laptop bag too – it helps flush your system of all the extra sodium infused restaurant food you’ll inevitably eat during your trip.
- Stay Hydrated.
Take an empty bottle of water or two with you and fill it up every chance you get. Repeat continuously throughout your trip. When you pass a water fountain at the airport, fill it up. The hotel fitness room usually has filtered water – fill up your bottles every time you pass by. Take the bottle of water offered by the Uber driver. Drink up. In my “snack bag”, I also keep several packets of Emergen-C to guard against the germs and some Nuun for extra electrolytes, and have one serving every travel day.
- Don’t skip a workout.
I have become a morning workout person. In the midst of a marathon training cycle, I run 5 days a week and sprinkle in a plyometric workout the other days. Marathon training schedules don’t care about travel, so I must find a way to get the workout in and what’s worked for me is first thing in the morning – like usual. I find dreadmill running boring, so I run outside if the area is safe, otherwise I run on the dreadmill and keep my mind engaged by listening to an audiobook or by doing speedwork or tempo runs. Also on this note, if you have some time to kill in the airport, take a walk. Keep a pair of comfy shoes easily accessible in your carry-on so you can get some exercise in while you wait. Sneakers also come in hand when you must sprint to make your inbound flight. Always wear your sneakers when flying Delta through ATL.
- Wash your hands. Just like filling your water bottles, wash your hands as often as you can. This will prevent the spread of germs and contribute to your healthiness. Your immune system is weakened with travel – do your part to keep yourself healthy!
Hopefully with these tips, you’ll create some good travel habits and your wellness won’t take a hit just because you’re on the road.