Whether you’re heading cross-country for a business conference or leaving the country for a vacation to explore an exotic destination, one thing is for sure: trips alter your regular routine in a way that can make it more challenging to stay healthy, fit, and on track toward your weight loss goals.
It may mean not having access to a gym like you usually do or having to eat out for most meals since you don’t have a kitchen or fridge. Regardless of the obstacles you face, there are ways to prevent massive food binges and missed workouts to stay on track of your fitness and health goals.
Here are 10 tips to stay healthy and fit while traveling my Boston personal trainer team and I have successfully used at our fitness center with our clients to keep them active and health conscious while away from home.
Avoid airport and airplane food. It’s not easy finding healthy food at the airport or on the airplane so fuel up at home before you hit the road. Whether it’s eating 2-3 scrambled eggs with avocado before a morning flight or enjoying an energizing super-smoothie any time of day, make sure you don’t have an empty stomach when you’re heading out of the house to prevent unhealthy food choices.
Pack healthy snacks. Having healthy foods readily available helps prevent low blood sugar and keeps you feeling energetic. Some of our favorite snacks to bring are macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut oil packets, antibiotic-free and hormone-free beef jerky, high-quality protein bars/powder, and canned sardines (boneless, skinless, and packed in extra virgin olive oil).
Bring workout clothes and a jump rope. Putting your gym clothes into your suitcase sends the message to your subconscious mind that you intend to exercise. This is especially important for people who aren’t in the habit of working out while traveling. And if you don’t have access to a gym where you’re staying, bringing a jump rope with you ensures that you can still get an AUMazing workout anywhere.
Start the day with movement. Before the day gets too busy, make it a priority to move. Schedule your workouts on your calendar for first thing in the morning before the day gets too busy. When you start the day by exercising, you will find that you feel better and you’ll be more likely to eat healthier meals.
Choose intensity over duration. HIIT training (which stands for high-intensity interval training) is one of the most effective AND efficient workouts you can do to lose weight and reach your fitness goals. The idea is simple: alternate intense bursts of movement with fixed periods of rest or active recovery. That might look like 30 seconds of squats followed by 1 minute of rest or a 1-minute bike sprint followed by 2-minute easy pedaling. The benefit: HIIT training elevates your heart rate fast, helps burn belly fat, and reduces your workout time in half since you boost your metabolism more than if you were to run at a steady-state on the treadmill for a more extended period! Less time = better results is a win in our book.
Train outside. Sometimes the last thing you want to do when you’re in a new place (especially on vacation) is spending time inside a gym. So mix things up by taking your training outdoors and explore the new surroundings. Schedule time for a hike or find a local playground where you can do bodyweight exercises like pushups, lunges, and chin-ups. Nothing refreshes your mind and body more than spending time in nature or in a new environment.
Begin meals with soup or salad. Starting your meals with soup or a salad will begin by filling you up and make it less likely that you overeat your main course. Enjoy a veggie soup or drizzle olive oil or add avocado to a salad as the fiber and healthy fats will reduce your appetite. And don’t forget to ask the waiter not to bring bread to the table. Out of sight, out of mind.
Be last in order to win. Aim to be the last person to finish your meal when eating out with others. It’s easy to overeat when you’re traveling, especially if you’re tired, in a different time zone, and with a group of people. Slow things down by making it a game (nobody has to know they’re playing). Finish your meal last, and you’ve won the challenge.
Intermittent fast before your treat meals. Numerous studies show that intermittent fasting (eating within a specific time window of the day) can be very effective for weight loss and overall health. It can be especially helpful when you’re traveling and more likely to enjoy extra indulgences. If you have a special treat in mind and you know you’ll be having it in the evening, then fast the initial portion of the day and delay your first meal until lunch-time. Or, if you’re going to indulge at breakfast, have an earlier dinner and fast for 14-16 hours until your first meal the following day. This strategy will reduce the number of calories you consume that day and help buffer the adverse effects of an unhealthy meal.
Eliminate the "all-or-nothing" mindset. If you indulge in something "unhealthy," enjoy it and don't feel guilty about it. It's called being human. There’s nothing wrong with having some treats but the key is not allowing it to become the norm the rest of the day and/or trip. Enjoy and then move on, getting right back to your normal healthy routine knowing that the 80/20 principle (80% healthy choices and 20% treats) leads to sustainable, long-term health and wellness.
If you’d like to learn more about how to lose weight and get fit, my Boston personal trainer team and I are here to help. We’ve helped hundreds of busy professionals and parents reach their weight loss goals with our holistic approach. Our private wellness center is conveniently located on Newbury St. in Boston. Schedule a complimentary strategy session today!