Unleash Your Inner Warrior: Defeat Travel’s Health Hindrances and Emerge Stronger Than Ever

Wake up at 3:30 AM to catch a 5:30 AM flight. Multiple flights landing me in Montreal around 1 PM. One hour Uber ride to the hotel. Check in and drop bags off. Head to the conference center for the trade show around 2:30 PM. Explore the show for barely 30 minutes. Receive a call from the customer to meet up for drinks. 

That was the first day of my trip last week. For being a very regimented person about my healthy habits, this shot me in the foot. Actually, traveling for work with kids at home, this type of schedule seems the norm these days. Take the early flight out so that you get the full day before with them and see them off to bed. This has its toll on the body though.

I’m a workout in the early morning kind of person. But waking up at 2 AM is not my jam, so these type of travel days puts me on a different foot right from the start. Traveling the day of a meeting or event, I get thrown right into action coming off the plane, making the later in the day workout a challenge to squeeze in. Plus who has the energy after travel?!

I also deal with low back and hip discomfort/pain, so being seated on planes and taxis for extended periods leaves me hurting. I limped that trade show the first day because my hip was so out of wack after traveling. Keeping up with my mobility and stretching habits is a challenge with the constant demand of needing to be places.

Eating healthy, clean foods is my game when I’m at home. A day of travel throws this off, with airport food being the only options for half of the day. Plus the eating out with colleagues and customers brings out the worst in the old habits that I thought I had killed off!

And finally we’ve got the drinking that typically takes place on these business trips. Even if its not a lot, a little is enough to throw me off these days. And who wants to be the “anti-social” one opting for sleep over fun?!

I didn’t write this piece to complain about business travel. I enjoy it actually, despite how it throws off my routine. But that’s just it! It forces me to adapt, which builds flexibility into my approach, and in turn keeps my routine feeling great when I get back to it. In other words, it makes me feel spicy! So what are some of my secrets to dealing with the obvious challenges of keeping good habits, even if its done in a different way? Hint: these aren’t real secrets, and are easy to incorporate into your next travel.

  1. Workout before your travel the day of the trip if you can. This takes the stress out of trying to figure out how or when you will find time once you arrive at your destination.
  2. If you can’t get a workout in early (like me and my 5:30 flights), build a 20 minute workout that you can do in your hotel room. You will likely have 20 minutes of free time between all of the activity going on. Be determined to not sacrifice that time. And if you have more time after all, head down to the hotel gym and add on to that workout!
  3. Keeping loose, limber, and mobile while travel is important to me. If you workout before your trip, then you need to keep those worked muscles stretched out. If you are working out after landing, you need to be feeling limber if you need to jump into your limited 20 minute workout. How can you do that if cramped up in airports, planes, and taxis? While at the airport, make sure to utilize this time wisely. Don’t just sit, as that’s what you are doing on the plane. Walk the airport and find some new hidden treasure at each location. Also, don’t be afraid to stretch. If you’re self conscious, find a less traveled corner – you’ll find one in your walking adventure. I’m not saying you need to bust out the yoga mat and do a full on session. Just simple stretching will get you very little attention, and that’s probably just people admiring you for being active in your travels!
  4. Stretching on the plane is not easy either. There are plenty of “programs” for plane stretching, but honestly, if I’m not in the aisle, I have a hard time with my longer legs to do much else other then leave them where they are. That’s why I recommend an aisle seat if you can get it. It allows you to get up often and stretch out into the aisle. If you are drinking plenty of water, then you can get up often for a rest break, which gets the legs moving.
  5. Eating healthy in the airports is challenging. I have some counters to crappy for me airport food. The first is that I pack healthy snacks and even a wrap/sandwich from home. This reduces my reliance on healthy food from the airport. Also, remember me recommending to walk a bunch all over the airport? That’s a good way to scout out healthy food options. Some airports you will find your staple. For me at DTW, there is always Plum Market. It is healthy food, but not cheap. But I’m expensing it, so cheers!
  6. Healthy eats once at your destination can be hard to navigate as well, especially if traveling with others who aren’t as conscious about their food choices. I am a very big advocate of researching all restaurants nearby. You may not always get to choose, but you could always sneak out for an early “snack” so that when you’re at the other joint, you don’t gouge yourself on crap. I also love to find a Whole Foods in the city where I land. I’ll stock up on healthy options for the room so that I can fill myself up before meals. Actually, any grocery store can give you that option. If I can create a healthy hotel platter in Elko, NV, there’s no excuse for the rest of you!
  7. Drinking with colleagues and customers is a challenge to avoid. At least gracefully, or without ribbing! This was such an interesting topic to me, that I wrote a whole other post about it, that you can find here! Enjoy!

I hope I gave some tips that you can utilize on your next trip to keep you moving in the right direction on your health goals. Travel should never be an excuse for putting your health on hold. I’d love to expand on these topics some more, so if there are any of most interest, please leave me some shouts in the comments!

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