Here’s how I survive work travel without completely falling of the fitness/nutrition wagon.
Airports: Try never to go to the airport hungry (the same goes for grocery shopping fyi). The food temptations are OVERWHELMING: Dunkin Donuts next to Pizza Hut Express, right down the gate from McDonalds and the list goes on and on. It’s easier (I didn’t say easy ) to resist if your stomach isn’t already growling. Hopefully there’s been time to eat a decent meal before I get to JFK but if not I try and locate a half decent salad somewhere, some low fat yoghurts/string cheese, some raw almonds.
Lots of water….you want to stay as hydrated as possible once on the plane and the Cabin Crew rarely hand around enough to do the trick. Have a couple of bottles with you…. Not only will it help prevent that puffy feeling in your face and legs, it will help curb the junk food cravings if you’re susceptible, which I am when tired, fed up and surrounded on all sides.
I mentioned raw almonds….I try to have some in my bag at all times (traveling or not), they’re a great source of clean protein, fiber, Vitamin E etc. Also, although I prefer to try and eat whole food as much as possible, I do often have a couple of GREENS Protein bars in my bag for flights. They’re cold processed, alkaline, raw food bars with none of the unpronounceable ingredients found in so many of the other food bars on the market. I personally never eat fruit before or during a plane journey. It bloats me beyond once I’m in the air and that’s an awful feeling to have on a long haul flight.
Hotel: I call ahead and ask them to empty the mini-bar before I even arrive. Too much temptation for lonely midnight munchies…I’m not THAT disciplined people . Often I ask for a bowl of apples and oranges (uncut) to be put in my room instead….it doesn’t cost nearly as much (for my wallet or waistline) as an impulse late night binge on mini-bar Twix bars and Pringles!! When I check in I ask if there’s a gym in the hotel or close by, and for any jogging/running maps of the area. A large number of hotels all around the world carry these now…they’re GENIUS. Some even have I-pods that you can borrow for the run (if you want to get down with some bizarre tastes in music ).
And no…I’m not kidding, I really do all of this and you might be surprised how normal it is for the hotel staff. They don’t bat an eyelid.
I’m a morning workout girl….especially when traveling because I get so tired and my work day is so unpredictable that if I wait until the evening it might never happen. So once I’ve got to my room I immediately check my schedule to find out how early I have to get up to get in my workout. Then before I have a chance to change my mind I call the front desk and set the Hotel Wake-Up Call 3 times. Yep, count them….1,2,3! Once for 10 minutes before I have to get up (if I’m jetlagged I need a little adjustment time), once on the dot of when I’m supposed to be up, and the third time just one minute after that. I also set my Blackberry alarm and put it on the other side of the room so I have to get up to turn it off. I hate my life for just a second when they all go off the next morning but once I’m up and on the move I’m always SO glad I made myself do it .
All the other workout tips apply here too…have your gym kit out and ready to go by the side of the bed, have a water bottle, a banana, or half a food bar right there. Sometimes it helps to write a big bold sign and stick it right by the bed….or on the hotel TV… something like….NO EXCUSES JESSICA (although if your name’s not Jessica that might be a little weird lol).
Jet-lag is not easy, getting out of bed is NOT easy but you know what? There’s nothing that gets my body clock adjusted and my brain feeling alive than a good sweaty workout. Because otherwise I’m headed to work still sleepy and befuddled and that’s not I how I like to do things . Another thing…tell everybody at the conference/managers meeting/photo shoot etc that you’re super disciplined and work out every morning (or evening if that’s more your thing). It’s really hard to skulk into work without having done it when they have such high expectations. People will actually ask me if I did it (like they can’t believe its possible!)….and often there’s at least one other person looking for some added motivation who’ll offer to get up early and workout with you. It happens A LOT believe me and really can help. I’ve worked out with salespeople, IT people and Dentists (there was a dental conference in the hotel…go figure!).
And I have to tell you…the hotel staff LOVE IT when they get these entertaining (to them) workout types. You might feel silly or embarrassed but if you’re nice and sweet to them, all it means is that they get to know you really quickly and are much happier to accommodate any random requests you might have (like ‘weird’ ie healthy food requests etc). But if you’re embarrassed to ask for modifications on your meal it’s often easier to say that you’re allergic to dairy (if you want no butter/cheese etc) than just saying “I don’t like it” there’s just much less resistance/raised eyebrows that way . I also ask the hotel if there are any healthy restaurants in the neighborhood that I can go to at night instead of being limited to the refined carb heavy hotel menus
Last but most certainly never least: How do Lacey and I manage to feel as though we still have a relationship even though we’re frequently separated by thousands of miles? Well we both have Macs so we have inbuilt I-chat. Either this or Skype (works on PC or Mac) is ESSENTIAL for frequent travelers and those who love us. Download the program now if you’re uninitiated. It’s free or very low cost wherever in the world you are and provided you have a decent Internet connection you can see and speak to your person or best friend or mom whenever you need to. I’m not going to lie, sometimes that gets me through a rough day on the road. We’ve even been known to both have our I-chat windows open while we’re working, reading or taking a bath…just so we can feel like we’re in the same place for a while. It helps. A lot.
I’ve been flying for 10 years and through trial and error I find that this is what works for me .
Anyone else out there got any tips, tricks or survival strategies?