Travel or sudden changes in your schedule can wreak havoc on your weight management and fitness plan. If you travel frequently and have trouble maintaining your fitness level on the go, here’s how you can stay fit while you’re away from home.
Airport food, unexpected travel delays and lost luggage are enough to make even the most disciplined health guru reach for a sugary treat. If you’re a frequent business traveler, or if you plan on seasonal traveling with your family, there are certain things you need to commit to in order to stay fit while traveling. For starters, you must understand what your body needs so you can stay balanced and be at your best-especially when you’re away from home.
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, It takes a long time to create healthy habits, but one bad day can throw off your rhythm for weeks. I think this saying is quite accurate. So, in that light, here are my top tips to help you reinforce your fitness plan and stay balanced when traveling.
4 Tips to Stay Fit When You Travel
1. Pack early to squeeze in an extra workout
Don’t wait until the day of, or even the day before, you travel to pack your bag. Pack a few days in advance so you can save the day before you leave to squeeze in a workout. Plan your week and adjust your workout routine so that your travel day becomes your scheduled rest day from exercise.
2. Set yourself up for success
Always remember to pack your workout clothes and shoes so you can stay fit while you’re away. Sounds simple, but this is something that people often forget while traveling. In fact, you can keep a spare set of workout clothes in your carry-on bag. You never know when surprises like someone spilling a drink on you might occur. Workout clothes are lightweight and practical. Just think that if your checked bag goes missing, you won’t have an excuse for missing a workout.
3. Nutrition on the go
Hydration is the most important thing to remember when you travel. Dehydration can affect your skin, your energy level, and it can lead to headaches and negatively impact your digestive system. The great news is that you can easily get water on the plane. If you have your own personal container, it will serve as a good reminder to keep sipping.
Good food while traveling is harder to come by. Given the risk of travel delays, you could ruin your healthy eating plan if you’re not prepared. Pack nutrient-rich snacks in your bag, such as nuts or protein bars, to help keep you full and away from unhealthy choices. With time changes, you’ll want to keep your body fueled throughout the day to avoid binging at meal times due to excessive hunger.
4. Create an in-room workout
Fitting in some exercise during your trip may help you to sleep better and be more mentally alert in your activities. If going to the gym is not possible, simply commit to a quick 20-minute routine in your room at morning and a 10-minute stretch at night. If you make regular exercise a necessary part of your travel schedule, you’ll have a better chance of staying on track with your health and fitness goals. Below are 3 stretches that will help you alleviate soreness from sitting on a plane or in meetings for extended periods of time.
Stretch number 1: Supine knee hug (Stretches the glutes, hamstrings, hips and upper back)
Lie flat on your back, keeping your left leg extended on the floor. Brace your core, flex at the right knee and lift your right leg up to a 90 degree angle. Place your hands just below the knee joint and hug your knee into your chest. Repeat on the other side, then hug both knees at the same time.
Stretch number 2: Side lying quad stretch (Stretches the quads and hip flexors)
Lay down on your left side, ensuring you are aligned with a neutral spine (shoulders and hips in a straight line). Bend the top leg (right) by flexing at the knee joint and hold on to the top of your foot, gently pulling your heel toward your glute. You’ll feel the stretch down the front of your leg.. If you gently push the hips forward, the stretch will deepen at the hip flexors.
Stretch number 3: Figure 4 stretch (This stretch is a great deep hip and hamstring stretch)
Lie flat on your back, both knees bent with your feet on the floor. Lift your right leg and place the outside of your right foot on top of your left knee. Engage your core and raise both legs up off the floor, place your hands behind your left leg at the hamstring. At this point, the stretch is deep at the hip and external glute. You can then straighten out your left leg to feel the stretch in your left hamstring and your right hip. Repeat on the other side.
I encourage you to add two personal choice stretches so that you can focus on any individual tight spots that are troubling you. Spending 20-30 seconds holding each stretch will help loosen tight muscles, and may also help to improve your overall flexibility.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).