You have your health and fitness regime down pat and healthy habits are instilled: you eat healthy, prepare most of your own meals, you take your fish oils and daily vitamins, you carry your water bottle around with you, you attend your three favourite fitness classes a week and you try to get in your 7-8 hours of beauty sleep a night. Your daily routine is mastered. You are seeing results, you are feeling confident about how you look and are proud of your commitment and adherence to being the highest version of yourself.
And now you have to go on a business trip or a family vacation where you are going to be outside your normal routine and environment, have less healthy meal choices, with no access to a kitchen and probably limited gym equipment (if your hotel/timeshare/your relatives’ place has a gym).
How do I make sure that this trip does not set me back from all the progress I have made?
Be adaptable. Stay flexible. Get creative.
Give yourself a margin of error.
Travelling and adventure are big themes in my life, and I enjoy the challenge of trying to stay on my game while thrown in a different environment:
- No hotel gym? I’ll run stairs and work out in my hotel room.
- The hotel only has three floors (i.e. running stairs isn’t worth it)? I’ll do burpees, or run/work out outside or find the nearest Crossfit/gym.
- Everyone is going to team dinner and I want to be participate in this team bonding event while I am in macro poverty? I order water, salad with protein and dressing on the side.
- Forgot my gym clothes/shoes? I will work out in my hotel room in my underwear/barefoot – that’s being adaptable, people.
On the contrary, some people see vacation as not only as a vacation from work but also their work out routine, and that is perfectly fine. To each their own. Working out is after all work, and if it better serves your mind and body to take the time off, then do it. If exploring a new city by walking your definition of working out while on vacation, then do it.
My Lifestyle Travel Tips
. 21. Make sure my hotel room has a fridge
This allows me to go to the nearest grocery store and pick up some fruit, vegetables, deli meat, cheese, yogurt, etc. that I can enjoy throughout my trip.
2. Pack dish soap and sandwich bags
Sounds strange, but have you ever tried washing your Tupperware container with bar soap? No? Just me. Okay, well let me tell you that it’s not ideal. I now bring dish soap with me, so if my hotel doesn’t have a kitchen, I can properly wash my container (that I use for my salad lunches, which I get from my stocked hotel fridge – see travel tip #1) with normal dish soap. Sandwich bags are for the veggies (baby carrots, cucumbers, peppers, etc.) I pack.
3. Carry a water bottle
Because paying for water is just silly. I bring my own water bottle with my everywhere I go and fill up when I can.
4. Protein (and ideally, vegetables) at every meal
I like buying pre-cooked, ready to eat sliced chicken breasts/turkey when I am travelling. Or, if that is not available at the grocery I am at, I’ll opt for deli meat and low fat sliced cheese. I don’t normally eat deli meat at home (because of the possible nitrates and the sodium), but I do buy them when I’m travelling if that is the only option. Beef jerky is also a treat I eat when travelling and it is low in fat and high in protein.
5. Bring an arsenal of protein bars/protein chips/protein powder
I use protein supplements daily when I’m at home because Quest Bars, Simply Protein bars and Trutein protein powder are delicious and taste like dessert. When I travel, I do the same. I try to bring the single-serving version of the protein powders for convenience, and I always bring more than I need because:
a) if there’s no protein at my hotel’s continental breakfast, I will use a protein supplement;
b) life gets busy and sometimes healthy options are not available;
c) sharing is caring
6. Take a magnesium supplement
Travelling can bring on stress, insomnia and constipation. Enter magnesium. I am a big fan of magnesium when I am at home; if I feel stressed, need muscle recovery from a hard workout, and/or want to ensure I am going to get a good night sleep, I take a teaspoon of Natural Calm. I recently discovered the single-serving packets which are convenient and less messy than using the normal sized container. Also, if you take normally take vitamins, take them with you on your trip as well.
7. Bring a night mask
I use a night mask when I sleep at home and I love it. It can make the difference between waking up prematurely versus having a well-rested night’s sleep. This is a non-negotiable for me when travelling. In fact, if I forget to pack mine, I will buy one at the airport.
8. Make movement a priority
Whether it is a long walk in the morning, a hard work out in the hotel gym, doing a 5-min AMRAP burpee challenge before I hop in the shower, or doing yoga in a confined hotel room, I always prioritize movement, especially in the morning. I exercise before my morning shower, as it ensures that I get my workout/movement in for the day. It calms my mind and invigorates my mood and body, which enhances my travel experience.
9. Choose and enjoy your indulgences
It is possible to have your cake and eat it too, while staying on track — just skip the bread basket and hold off on the alcohol. Going out for happy hour? Lower your carbs that day to make room in calorie/carb budget. Living a healthy lifestyle does not require eating perfectly 100% of the time and leaving no room for “fun” calories; fitness and a healthy lifestyle should enhance your life (and travel) experiences; so relax, try your best to adapt to your new environment and enjoy, because you will be back to your normal routine soon enough.
Over to you: What tips and strategies do you use when you travel to maintain your healthy and fitness lifestyle?