STAY IN SHAPE WHEN TRAVELLING
THE AIRPORT AND FLIGHT
The airport and the flight are about discipline – can you avoid having alcohol and a burger with chips before boarding? If you can’t then you’re going to struggle. It’s common to see people having a couple of beers while waiting for their flight, but a couple before can lead to a couple during the flight (or more). Being on a plane can easily dehydrate you, which will be made worse if you’re intoxicated. If you’re travelling purely for business, then you may well go straight from the airport to a meeting, so drinking alcohol before and during your flight won’t be the best idea either.
Because of the dehydration of flying, you want to try and aim for around 250ml of water for every hour you’re in the air. This will help you to stay feeling fresh whilst you’re flying and when you touch down too.
With regards to nutrition, we all know what airport and plane food is like. The majority of short haul flights have stopped serving in-flight meals, and only provide snacks (which are still unhealthy). Airports tend to have fast food chains, but some have started taking healthy restaurants and smoothie bars under their roof, which is a good thing. If you’re worried about your food options at the airport and on board, then pre-pack a healthy meal of your own.
You can always look online to see what restaurants are at the airports you’ll be travelling through.
Following on from what you eat before and on your flight, your next nutrition hurdle is what to eat when you’re at your destination.
My advice is to research before you even leave. Find out what your hotel is like, the food it serves and what restaurants are nearby. If your trip will involve evening entertaining (corporate dinners for example) then watching your calories in the morning, midday and afternoon is more important. Business dinners usually consist of ‘good food’ (higher calorie, higher fat, higher carbs) and alcohol, which very quickly bumps up your calorie intake.
It's common for ‘lifters’ to eat 5-6 times per day, which is totally fine when you have control over your nutrition. When travelling, your control considerably lowers, so it’s a good idea to drop your daily meals down to 3. Meals in hotels and restaurants will be higher calorie, so by dropping your meals to 3, will pretty much put 2 meals into one (instead of 6 per day, you’ll have 3 per day).
When it comes to alcohol, zero is best, but that’s not realistic. Depending on your job, you may be almost expected to join in with business drinks. You want to avoid beer/lager, and stick to clean and pure spirits. Not only will this avoid you becoming too intoxicated (which can be bad for business), it will avoid excess calorie consumption and hangovers (which can affect your morning workouts). Cocktails should not be on your drinking list, as they may well be very tasty, but some of them have a crazy number of calories hidden away.
Worrying about the fitness side of things when travelling will only apply if you’re away for a couple of days or more. If you’re flying for business and will return the same day, then there’s no point worrying about a workout. However, if you’re going to be away for a few days, then yes, getting some training in is vital.
Again, do your research – find a hotel with a gym (if you book your own hotel) or find the nearest gym to where you’re going to be staying. Being able to hit the gym after a few stressful meetings is a great way to relax your mind and get some much needed exercise in. It will also counteract the extra calories and possible alcohol consumption.
Many regular ‘fitness travelers’ tend to try and get a workout in as close to landing as possible, as it can help to alleviate the jetlag effect. If the majority of your business meetings and events are in the afternoon and evening, then try and wake up for a morning workout before your day begins.
If you have access to a gym, then fantastic, you can get your normal workouts in. If you can’t get to a gym, then a bodyweight workout in your hotel room, or even a run, is better than nothing.
Don’t let traveling be an excuse for going off track with your diet and fitness. It’s possible to carry on getting in shape, or staying in shape even if you travel a lot, it just takes discipline.