Travel Tips For Maintaining Fitness
Coming from a professional background where I have to travel for extended periods, I’ve had to contend with the hardships of maintaining strength & conditioning while away from home. Nothing seems conducive to staying fit while traveling – airport food sucks, the seats are cramped, and it’s hard to get sleep when everyone is hitting your shoulder as you’re sitting in the aisle section. Having now traveled abroad while trying to stay in decent shape for powerlifting, here are some general tips I can give you.
- STAY HYDRATED! Airlines are notorious for giving minimal amenities these days, and you’re on your own when it comes to staying nourished. Along with eating regular meals throughout a plane ride, always accept water from the flight attendant when asked. For long plane rides, tenured travelers will all tell you that drinking as much water as possible helps with fighting off jet lag, and feeling fresh after you’ve landed.
- Along with drinking water, get your electrolyte intake while you’re on the plane. The free peanuts & pretzels aren’t going to cut it. If you’re not watching your bodyweight too strictly, go ahead & bring a Powerade for the flight. Alternatively, pop some Nuun tabs with your water and do your best to aid in keeping your water weight.
- Do some form of exercise right after you’ve landed & checked in at your hotel. Case in point – when I traveled to the Philippines last year, I had to take a 14 hour flight from SFO that was a red eye. After landing in Manila and checking in, I was lucky enough to have a good gym within the hotel and did an upper body workout. Once I was done, I didn’t feel any semblance of jet lag for my trip and was able to do everything needed that day without a nap. You can fight off jet lag by flushing nutrients though your body, while keeping yourself hydrated throughout the process. I pretty much have to get rid of jet lag for a living, and working out soon after landing has never failed.
- If you know in advance that your hotel gym is shit and you won’t have access to any free weights, bring exercise bands with you. Get creative and you’ll be able to do some resistance exercises to help stay in shape. I personally prefer the EliteFTS bands and have used mine for 7 years without them tearing at all. If you can think of a way to hold down the band from a certain angle, you can do just about any isolation exercise.
- After you’ve finished your travels and have made it back home, you might notice the next morning that your weight has fluctuated a lot since you left – you’ve either lost a lot of weight, or you were Miss Piggy during dinner meals and you gained 5 pounds in 1 week. Realize that this is likely due to a shift in your water weight & sodium intake, more than anything else. Normalize your dietary intake once you’ve made it home and eat all your scheduled meals with no adjustments. After about a day or two, you’ll find your bodyweight pointing back towards where you started prior to traveling. Case in point, I was in Florida for 4 days last week. After arriving back home, I was 241 upon weighing myself in the morning – 3 pounds higher than when I started. Without doing anything fancy, I simply went back to my normal eating routine and today I’m back down to 238. Don’t panic if you see a crazy number on the scale and keep things simple to get yourself back to homeostasis.
Not all of us are able to actually prep meals for an extended time away from home, so eventually you’ll need to figure out how to survive abroad using what you have around you. I hope these tips help you in staying strong & minimizes your downtime from jet lag. Stick to the basics of keeping yourself hydrated & active, and you’ll be just fine.