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How to Stay in Shape While Traveling

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Everybody travels.

Whether it’s for business, pleasure, vacation, or world domination, at some point in “peoples lives” we all depart from the comfort of our personal “Shire” to visit another location.

It might be a quick trip to the next town over for a business conference or a massive escapade halfway around the world for months at a time.

No matter what kind of trip it is, one thing is certain 😛 TAGEND

Our normal routines get wholly hurled out the window when traveling 😛 TAGEND

If you work out in a gym, suddenly you might not have access to any equipment. If you run around your neighborhood, suddenly you no longer have a familiar path to follow. If you usually prepare your own meals, suddenly you don’t have a kitchen or fridge. If you’re used to a good night’s sleep, suddenly you’re sleeping at odd hours in different time zones.

We are beings of habit- while working a normal day chore, we can stick to a routine pretty easily( wake up at the same time, eat all meals at the same time, work out at the same time, go to sleep at the same time ).

However, when we start traveling, absolutely nothing is familiar and the slightest speed bump can be enough to screw things up.

Luckily, there is hope!

It’s time to get you a specific action plan that you can take with you on your next trip.

This is the philosophy we teach to all of our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Clients. Many travel quite a bit, so having” worldwide accountability” and a specific plan for travel has been a game changer for these Rebels.

Are you trying to learn a new workout, lose weight, or build muscle, but find doing it on the road a challenge? Let us help you- click below to learn more.

Step 1: Make It Your Constant

If you are trying to get healthy but need to travel often, I am asking you to stimulate workout your constant.

I don’t know if you were a Lost fan, but my favorite episode,” The Constant ,” involved a character named Desmond who had to find the one “constant” in their own lives in order to stay sane.

Something Desmond could focus on as his mind traveled through time.

You had to be there.

I’ve traveled quite a bit over the years: sightseeing nations, sleeping on bus, exploring temples, and visiting a new township seemingly every other day.

During all this chaos: exercising became my constant.

I knew that without a doubt , no matter where I was or what I was doing, every other day I would find a way to work out- no excuses. I might have had to add in an extra day between workouts maybe a handful of times.

What I’m trying to say is this: if you are serious about prioritizing your health, even while traveling, then start treating exercise like YOUR constant.

Make it a dependable, consistent thing in your schedule , no matter where you are in the world.

No matter what.

Sound difficult? Start by asking yourself the following table 😛 TAGEND

” If I HAD to still get my workouts in, even though they are I am traveling or on vacation, how would I do it ?”

Most answers will be something like this 😛 TAGEND

” If I had to work out, it would mean that I need to wake up SUPER early tomorrow morning to reach the gym before the conference starts .” “If I had to get my run in, it would mean I was only able to go for a 20 minute run instead of my normal 60 minute operated .” “If I had to get my workout in, that would mean I need to actually PAY for a day pass at a real gym, because I know hotel gyms are crappy .”

This is the most important question you can ask yourself before your trip:” How do I make this work for me ?”

Then, structure your environment and schedule to make it happen 😛 TAGEND

Add it to your calendar. Situated up a text reminder. Plan your schedule around it. Have your coach or friend remind you. Research the nearest gym or park.

Again, ask yourself- what if you HAD setting out , no matter what. How would you get it done? What would you need to change?

And then do whatever you can to make it your constant.

” Steve, I can find the time. But What KIND of workout should I do while traveling ?”

It all counts, but if I had to pick one, I’d say strength training.

Studies consistently show that strength training is the best method for weight management- especially when traveling- when coupled with a proper diet( we’ll talk about eating healthy while traveling shortly ). [ 1 ]

If time is limited on the road, and you’re gonna plan on only one sort of exercising, plan for strength training.

You’ll get the most bang for your buck with strength educate, especially when compared to a similar amount of time spent doing cardio.

So, if you ONLY have 30 minutes, prioritize strength.

Need some assistance on starting a strength educate routine?

We have a free guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know, that will show you exactly how to start a practice to grow strong and build muscle. Plus, there’s a segment in there on develop without a gym, in case you there’s none in sight.

You can grab the guidebook for free when you join the Rebellion below 😛 TAGEND Download our comprehensive guide STRENGTH TRAINING 101!

Everything you need to know about getting strong.

Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight educate.

How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

I identify as a:

Woman

Man

Let’s talk some actionable steps exercising while traveling.

Step 2: Plan Your Workout Ahead of Schedule

Whenever I travel, my first mission- before I even leave- is to find a place for me to work out.

In some instances, this entails I pay $20 for a day pass at a real gym.

Yes, that is an absurd amount of money to expend for one day in a gym, especially considering I merely pay $30 a few months for my current gym membership!

However, I gladly pay this amount every time I travel, and prioritize it in my travel budget.

Because exercise is critical in my life right now.

Because NOT exercising isn’t an option( assure step 1 ).

Because I’m not just paying $20 to use a gym.

Because I’m really paying the $20 to KEEP my momentum going.

Everybody conflicts with getting back on track AFTER they come home from a trip.

I am no different.

So, by hitting the gym- even when traveling- I am maintaining momentum, which constructs getting back into rhythm when I get home super easy.

No gym anywhere in sight?

No problem, I once expended 8 months living out of a knapsack and never once set foot in a gym.

So my “gym” became anywhere with the following:

A pull-up bar or swing set A sturdy tree branch A house or bus stop overhang

I know that as long as I can find one of those three things, I could complete a full workout!

My workouts consist of 😛 TAGEND

A push exercising( push-ups or handstands ), A pull exercise( pull-ups or rows ), A leg exercise( lunges or squats ), A core exercise( planks or hanging knee tucks ).

You can check out our post” How to Build Your Own Workout Routine” for inspiration on creating a training practice in your nearby environment.

Even only one full-body strength training session per week( if you’re on a shorter trip) can often be enough to allow you to maintain your current levels and hit the ground running when you get back.

What’s that “youre telling”? Your hotel gym is TERRIBLE?

I know. They all are.

Which is why I work out in my hotel room instead( here’s a 20 -minute routine for you to try ).

Just remember, going ahead and construct exercise your “constant.”

STEP 3: Nutrition is Still the Most Important part of the Equation.

Despite what you read in Instagram captions, calories on vacation still count.

Every beer.

Every cookie.

Every french fry.

Armed with this information, you can do one of two things 😛 TAGEND

Path# 1: Lament the fact that your body still follows the laws of thermodynamics. Then, eat bad food and was terrible about yourself when you get home. Track# 2: Plan ahead, STILL eat unhealthy food while traveling, and don’t feel bad while doing so. Come home and not weigh any more than you did when you began your trip.

Everybody picks Path# 1.

We’re going to pick Path# 2.

I promise you it’s possible.

Personally, I know I am going to eat poorly while traveling. It generally means eating at a Chili’s at the airport, or Wendy’s on a road trip. Knowing that this happens literally every time I travel, I going ahead!

Here’s what I do specifically while traveling 😛 TAGEND

# 1) I skip dinners strategically. I know that if I skip breakfast, it entails I can eat a slightly larger lunch and have an extra drink with dinner and STILL come in under my daily calorie expenditure.

# 2) I prepare for bad meals. I love me a good steak dinner with a side of mac and cheese and sweet potato fries and dessert and a few whiskeys. When I’m on vacation or celebrating, that sounds like heaven to me.

However, I know if I always eat like that, I’m going to pack on a ton of weight.

So I plan ahead for a big meal so that I can enjoy it guilt-free, and not see the scale budge. I eat protein and veggies for lunch, strategically undereating so that I can overeat for dinner- and not gain weight in the long run.

# 3) I never eat 2 bad snacks in a row. We have a big” never two in a row” rule at Nerd Fitness. Believe it or not, even being healthy just 50% of the time carries with it the tremendous potential for weight loss and a healthier life. So, if you feed a bad lunch, follow it up with a healthy dinner. Eat fast food for dinner? Cool! Make your breakfast healthy.

This is NOT” 100% or nothing .” Every decision counts, every meal counts, so any decision where you are SLIIIIIGHTLY healthier than you would have been otherwise is a win in my book.

Curious on my default diet these days? You can read all about it right here. And here is the specific diet I followed- while traveling frequently- to lose 22 pounds sustainably.

Tips for Eating HEALTHY on THE ROAD

Since diet is everything, here are some tips-off for feeing nutritiously, airport to airport.

Ask for a mini-fridge. You’d be surprised at how many hotels will have a room with a mini-fridge waiting. You merely have to ask for it. Granted, it might be full of junk food they’re trying to peddle on you. Fill it with your own healthy snacks- only make sure they don’t charge you for taking out the other foods! Fruit, sliced veggies, and some deli meat will provide you with some sustenance until you can order a proper meal.

Here is a post with some ideas for healthy snacks you can buy and store in your room.

Travel with a cooler. If you know the hotel can’t accommodate a mini-fridge, or you’re on a road journey , no problem! Bring a mini-cooler or cooler container. If you use a container, it’ll fold up for easy packing.

Is it weird to travel with a cooler? Sure. But we embrace weird around these portions.

Bring non-perishable snacks with you. I’ve eaten almonds forgotten in a knapsack, months later, and lived to tell the tale.

Lots of dry food like nuts and jerky won’t spoiling anytime soon, so store some in your travel bag. It’s a good move to have snacks on you at all periods, because who knows when you’ll eat next. Munching some beef jerky is a much better idea than the pizza in the airport terminal. Here are some good almonds to purchase, and here’s some recommended beef jerky for you to try out.

Focus on protein and fiber. When preferring meals or snacks, make sure the foods you pick are full of protein and fiber.[ 2 ] This will help keep you full, so you’re not seduced to eat the donuts waiting for you at your work conference.

What are protein and fiber-rich foods? Hard-boiled eggs will store good, and is also available bought at many convenience store. That’s a good protein source. Deli meat, jerky, and nuts will also do the trick for your protein requirements.

Fiber-rich foods? Fruit and veggies for the win. Always bring an apple with you.

All is not lost if you order fast food. There’s a common notion amongst our coaching clients, that the moment you step foot in a fast food store, “youve lost”. You made a terrible decision by even strolling in. Might as well order whatever, because you already failed.

This is 100% not true. What you order will make all the difference. For example, I feed a chicken bowl from Chipotle almost every day. To the point that it’s weird.[ 3 ]

Why? Because it’s healthier than anything I’m realistically going to make at lunchtime, devoted my schedule.

Remember, what you order, is often more important than where you order.

Let’s dive into that last phase a little more.

HEALTHY EATING THROUGH FAST FOOD

Let’s outline an entire day’s worth of eating, provided by a drive-thru window.

Most of these can also be found at your median airport terminal.

BREAKFAST 😛 TAGEND

Location: Starbucks

Sous Vide Egg Bites, Bacon& Gruyere: A great protein source. Go ahead and order some black coffee with it too.

Calories: 310 Protein: 19 g Net Carbs: 9g Fat: 22 g

Location: Dunkin’ Donuts

Sausage Egg and Cheese Bagel( no bagel ): Sausage and egg are a breakfast staple. Plus, cheese!

Calories: 370 Protein: 16 g Net Carbs: 3g Fat: 33 g

LUNCH 😛 TAGEND

Location: McDonald’s

Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad( Use the Balsamic Vinaigrette ): It’s mostly greens, grilled chicken and a little bacon. No customization involved. Your salad comes in under 400 calories.

Calories: 320 Protein: 42 g Net Carbs: 6g Fat: 14 g

Location: Subway

Oven Roasted Chicken: Grab it with lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onion, green peppers, cucumbers, and olives, with petroleum and vinegar as dres. Also, feel free to add bacon and guacamole to increase your calories. Your nutrition info will look like this if ordered as above:

Calories: 490 Protein: 24 g Net Carbs: 11 g Fat: 35.5 g

DINNER 😛 TAGEND

Location: Boston Market

Three-Piece Dark: Lot’s of protein, decent fat, and no carbs.

Calories: 300 Protein: 37 g Net Carbs: 1g Fat: 16 g

Green Beans: Keep it simple.

Calories: 90 cals Protein: 1g Net Carbs: 4g Fat: 5g

Fresh Steamed Vegetables: Following our “simple” strategy.

Calories: 60 Protein: 2g Net Carbs: 4g Fat: 3.5 g

Location: Chipotle

Salad Bowl( with Carnitas ): order it with Fajita Vegetables, Fresh Tomato Salsa, Sour Cream, Cheese, and YES for Guacamole.

Calories: 710 Protein: 34 g Net Carbs: 12 Fat: 51 g

The above should help give you some notions on what to order when you’re depending on fast food.

Want some more notions? You got it.

HOW TO EAT HEALTHY AT THE CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST

So your room come here for a free complimentary breakfast.

Might as well take advantage of it!

Go ahead and load up on these 😛 TAGEND

Eggs. We mentioned earlier to prioritize protein with your meals. Simply about every hotel continental breakfast will have some eggs. The quality might be so-so, however. If they have some hot sauce around, this can stimulate just about any scramble tolerable.

Sausage. Continuing with our protein theme, if there is sausage at the buffet, grab some. Granted, it’ll often have some sugar in the form of maple syrup included. But we’re going with the best we can here.

Bacon. We love bacon around these components so much better, we wrote an entire post on it. The fat in bacon will help keep you full until you’re next meal. Plus, if the eggs are crappy( the eggs will probably be crappy ), you can mix in some bacon to bring up the tasty factor.

Fruit. It can’t all be about meat. Go ahead and grab some fruit for your plate. Apples are relatively high in fiber, which is why they’re my going to see. Bananas also have decent fiber, as well as vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium.

Are there berries available? Grab some for their antioxidant potential( we talk all about berries and antioxidants in this article ).

One final word about fruit. Fruit can be relatively high in sugar, so it’s important to eat some protein( eggs, sausage) with it to help prevent insulin spikes. You can check out this article for a deep diving into the subject.

Toast. I know, I know, we might be attracting the Carb Police on us for this one. But you can do a lot worse at a breakfast buffet than a little whole wheat toast. If you put some eggs and bacon on it, you have yourself a pretty decent breakfast sandwich with some fiber to help keep you full.

Alright, prioritize the above on your plate. Plus, bide clear of the following 😛 TAGEND

Juice. If I could give you one single piece of diet advice, it would be this: don’t drink your calories. There’s a lot of arguments on diets, but this advice is widely accepted.

An orange has plenty of vitamins in it, plus a lot of fiber to help balance out the sugar. OJ? Zero fiber, which means it’ll wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels.

Skip the juice and feed the whole fruit.

Pancakes/ Waffles. Don’t eat these. The batter itself will have sugar in it, plus it’s designed to have more sugar( maple syrup) poured on top.

Stick to toast.

Cereal. A breakfast food often packed full of sugar is cereal. For example, the third ingredient for Cheerios is “sugar.” And that’s Cheerios. Don’t even get me started on Fruit Loops or Frosted Flakes.

Again, stick to toast.

The above advice should get you started on loading up properly at a breakfast buffet.

Step 4: Stay Active. it All Counts.

Last but not least- stay active.

I don’t care if you’re walking laps in the airport while listening to Ke$ ha during a two-hour layover or jumping rope at a bus stop- if you can find a way to be active, you are winning.

It all counts!

I already told you that eating right will be 90% of your success or failure- that means you need to be ” on” with how you feed every day, even on days that you’re not strength training.

Go for a run around the town, go for a hike, toss a frisbee in the park, go swimming in the ocean, etc.

Whatever it is, do something!

Here’s why this is so crucial: on days when I exercise, I feed better.

Something activates in my brain when exerting that says” I’m trying to be healthy, so I’m going to eat healthy .”

On days when I don’t exert at all, I tend to say things like” meh, I’ll do it tomorrow” or’ it’s only one meal” or” it’s only 37 brews”( kidding, Mom ).

Want to keep things simple?

Go for a walking– try walking EVERYWHERE. In a big city? If it’s nice out walk instead of taking a cab! Go for a jog around your new surroundings…just stay active.

If you’re on a work journey, consider trying a” strolling meeting ,” attained famous by Steve Jobs. You know, that guy who is responsible for the device you’re probably reading this article on.

Step 5: Practice Antifragility.

Things are going to go wrong while you travel.

Your flight WILL get delayed.

Your merely options for food WILL be McDonald’s.

Your hotel gym WILL be crappy.

You’ll forget your kid at home.

It’s going to happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

So rather than getting flustered and lamenting the fact that things aren’t perfect, prepare for chaos!

What doesn’t kill you constructs you stronger.

And what doesn’t violate you attains you stronger too.

This is how we become antifragile.

If you know things will most likely get interrupted, then you won’t be bamboozled when it happens!

This is why I try to live out former president Teddy Roosevelt’s quote:” Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are .”

I know I’m going to eat fast food and get stuck doing a hotel room workout.

It’s better than nothing, right?

If I can’t get to a gym…I do a workout in a park.

If I can’t get to a park…I do a workout in my hotel room.

If I can’t do a full workout, I do half a workout.

If I can’t feed perfectly, I aim for “pretty good.”

50% compliance is still 50% better than nothing!

A NOTE ON SLEEP, JET LAG, AND HYDRATION

We need to address a few final points: sleep, jet lag, and hydration.

All of these are going to impact your ability to follow the steps above.

FIRST UP, SLEEP.

When I’m sleep deprived, I often don’t have the energy to exercise…when current realities is that workout is often the thing that will give me energy( foreshadowing ).

Also, if you’re lacking on shuteye, you’ll get hungrier.[ 4 ] When you’re sleep deprived, your brain sends signals for more energy, which means more calories. This is troublesome if you’re trying to hold out until you can order a nutritious chicken salad.

Prioritize sleep.

Two good tools to help with this are earplugs and an eye mask. Some hotels have a way of being bright and noisy.

DEALING WITH JET LAG.

Even being able to go to sleep, is going to assume you are not suffering terribly from “jet lag.”

Jet lag is the phenomenon of traveling from one time zone to another, but still being stuck in the former time.

For example, you fly from New York to London.

It was night when you left New York. It is now morning in London. You may or were not able to have slept on the plane.

What day is it?

Your body can have some serious trouble getting back on track, because our circadian rhythms( our biological clock) is thrown off from the geographic change.

My solution: work out( Step# 4 again ).

Studies have shown that a good perspiration can help change your circadian rhythm, which might help you adjust to the local time.[ 5 ]

If you’re able to, work out as soon as you get settled to help combat plane lag. I’ve personally find this to be super helpful in adjusting to the local hour.

FINALLY, HYDRATION.

Air travel dehydrates you.[ 5 ] The cabin’s air is environmentally controlled, with lower moisture than you find here on the ground.

Humidity on the good old fashioned Earth: 30 -6 0% Moisture in an average airplane: 10 -2 0%

Yeah…that 10 -2 0% is less than the Sahara desert.

On top of that, the pressurization of the cabin itself causes you to expel H2O.

Something something, physics. Something something, less water.

The low humidity and pressurise surrounding create a perfect scenario for you to lose lots of water.

And if you’re dehydrated, it can induce you tired, which can go back to that whole starvation and calories thing.

Drink water.

Travel WorkoutS and Healthy Eating Resources

I respect the road warrior, and I respect you for wanting to learn how to be healthy while you travel.

Here are some other Nerd Fitness resources you can check out if you want to dive deeper.

MY FAVORITE TRAVEL WORKOUTS 😛 TAGEND

The 20 -minute Hotel Room Workout The Playground Workout The Angry Birds Workout

RESOURCES FOR HEALTHY EATING WHILE TRAVELING:

Healthy Fast Food? Here are 8 Specific Alternative . The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting. The Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating.

Above all else, Preserve momentum!

Whatever you’re currently working on improving in your life, you can continue working on that while traveling.

You merely fall off the wagon if you resign yourself to the fact that it’s impossible to stay fit while traveling!

Why not have the opposite mindset, and ask” How do I make this work for me ?”

Millions of people manage to stay healthy despite a hectic traveling schedule, and I want the same for you.

Here are some final tips-off to assist you in while traveling:

Travel day? Pack some healthy snacks with you in your container- apples and almonds are my go-to.

Going out to dinner with your company? Find the restaurant online, scour the menu, and” pre-order your dinner” in your intellect so you know what to order when you get there. Order the” meat+ veggie+ potato” alternative on the menu, and ask for doubled veggies instead. Aim for something like steak tips, or grilled chicken, salmon, etc.

Traveling with your family? Let them know that you’re making a concerted effort to eat most effective and that you’d like their support.

Going out with friends? Let’s say you’re going out with buddies, and you have no choice but to eat fried food and drink tons of brew( I dislike when that happens ).

Compensate by being extra diligent on the days before and after- no drive-thru meals , no late-night vending machine stops , no bad snacks while at the convention.

Pick your battles. Plan ahead. Make eating a priority.

Alright, that should help get you started. Now, your turn 😛 TAGEND

Do you travel for work?

Do you have a big adventure coming up? An upcoming vacation the summer months?

What fights do you have while on the road? What kind of questions do you have about staying in shape and traveling?

Leave a question in the comments and I’ll help in any way that I can.

-Steve

PS- I want to again remind you of our Online Coaching Program. If you live from hotel room to hotel room, constantly on the go, there are still some things you can maintain constant: your coach-and-four!

They can be right there with you, from any parts of the world, helping you make sure you reached your fitness aims. Click on the image below to learn more 😛 TAGEND

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All photo citations can be read right here.[ 6 ]

Footnotes( returns to text)

You can check out this study, and this study, and this study on the benefits of strength training. You can check on this study on protein and satiation, and this one on fiber. Again, embracing it. Here’s a study on sleep and appetite for you to check out. You can check out this study on exerting and circadian rhythms. The LA Times has a great article on the subject. Backpacker, Decathlon, Good Party, Newtonmas, Apples, Model Train Display, Califonia Dreamin , Angry Hulk , Dirt Bike.

Read more: nerdfitness.com

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