I met Julie when she took my classes at the University of Pennsylvania's gym. She was a rock star participant, and now she's living her life in the windy city, or at least that's where she calls home. Her job often keeps her away from home, but she manages to keep up with her health and fitness by planning ahead and setting herself up to make smart choices. Thank you Julie for sharing these tips with us!
As we all know, being healthy while traveling is no easy task! Initially when I started traveling four days a week, I completely abandoned my healthy lifestyle. I went from cooking all my own healthy meals and frequenting Jillian’s classes to eating out every meal (we’re talking bread, appetizer, entrée and dessert here). I even considered the occasional treadmill walk/run a strenuous work out. Oh, and then there is the airport twice a week – I’d describe my old airport snacking as a tapas approach – hey, why not sample everything…
Plan for the airport
- Bring a few healthy snacks. Granola bars, single servings of nuts, fruits that aren’t easily destroyed in an overstuffed purse (e.g. apples) are always a good choice. This keeps me from hitting the snack shops when the plane is delayed.
- Grab a water bottle right away - this will keep you hydrated and ward off snacking. This may seem silly, but I make a point to grab one at the Starbucks instead of the airport convenience store. 6am flight = no self-restraint when it comes to junk food. Going where I have a healthy routine outside of the airport helps. If I want something more at Starbucks, I’ll grab the fruit cup or oatmeal – not a candy bar or snack mix. In general, identify where you’re likely to misstep and try to avoid the situation.
- Plan for airport meals. Something about being stuck in an airport really makes me want cheap chinese, soft pretzels and McFlurries. Do a quick search before you travel for what’s available in your airport and decide before hand that is where you will eat. I travel in and out of Chicago O’Hare each week. I know exactly where I will get breakfast (egg white omelet) or lunch/dinner (awesome salad with guacamole or sushi).
- Once again, plan ahead. If I know I’m going to a certain restaurant I’ll look up the menu before. This way I can make my healthy decision when I’m not hungry and independent of my colleagues’ sometimes less than healthy selections. Sure following through with the plan is sometimes hard but I’m still one step ahead and less likely to make that spontaneous appetizer order.
- Ordering tips:
Working out on the road
- Recognize what is reasonable and commit. I work really long hours some days so telling myself I’ll do over an hour in the gym makes it easy for me to opt out completely. However, if I commit to doing 25-30 minutes (usually either a T25 session or quick treadmill run), I’m less likely to stray from the plan.
- Hotel gym not ideal? Investigate all workout options. Personally, I do much better in a group exercise setting. On my last client, a few colleagues and I found a boot camp right across from the hotel. A lot of gyms have reasonable drop in rates for classes. I’ve also found many hotels have suggested running routes – just ask at the front desk.
- Don’t let bad travel habits become bad everyday habits. For example, as I mentioned, my travel workouts can be short. I really have to force myself not to let that continue on the weekend when I have access to my home gym and more time.
- Keep a few healthy items in the kitchen to tide you to the next grocery trip. I used to eat anything and everything after getting home late Thursday nights (chocolate chips, crackers, ice cream…). I now make sure there is a healthy meal waiting. When I cook, I try and make an extra serving or two to freeze. Sunday before I leave, I always make sure there are a few apples in the fridge or the ingredients for a healthy smoothie.
- Finally, accept you won’t be perfect while traveling! Especially, if you’re on vacation. Local specialty where you are not exactly healthy? Give into that dunkin’ donut at the airport? No problem, just don’t let it be the thing that derails the rest of your trip.