Thursday, January 10, 2013

Planes, Trains, & Sticking to your Goals

Both of us travel a fair amount for our jobs, so we're no strangers to the temptations to veer wildly off track with our health goals while traveling.  Seeing as though it's a new year and we're full of hope for the 2013 year, we thought it might be a nice idea to share some of our own travel tips to help you stay on task with your health goals while on the road!

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1. Drink water, skip "boredom snacks"

We know it sounds kind of silly, but when you're on the go, sitting in airports or train terminals, or in the car, it's easy to forget to drink enough aqua.  Further, the temptation to over-caffeinate or over-indulge with specialty drinks while waiting seems to be EVERYWHERE.  Don't let airport waiting turn you into a boredom drinker/eater. Make sure you get a bottle of water once you're through security, or bring an empty water bottle you can refill once you can find a (clean) bubbler.  Staying properly hydrated while traveling will help keep your energy level up once you reach your destination, and you're more likely to work out or go sight seeing once you arrive instead of face-planting into your bed.  If you absolutely need to get a snack at the terminal or at a rest stop, try and keep it healthy & portion-controlled.  Fresh fruit, 1 serving of nuts or pretzels, string cheese, natural granola bars and yogurt are usually all safe bets.  Just make sure to check the sugar & salt content before you buy it.

Hibiscus Turnberry Golf View
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2. Make room to sweat
When I'm traveling I always make sure to check the conference/meeting agenda or wedding weekend schedule of events well ahead of time.  More often than not, especially if it's a work trip, there is a LOT of sitting around in the cards.  Once I know what my schedule is going to look like, I try my hardest to plan a workout almost every day I'm away.  If I'm not going to get to go to the gym or for a run, I try to plan something active that day like a walking tour of the city I'm in, or something more adventurous, like hiking or asking the hotel staff for safe & scenic running routes in the area.  I also make extra room in my suitcase for workout clothes (these can double as pajamas the night before I wear them to sweat in) and always, always bring sneakers.  

3. Grab a friend/significant other or take a class
It's hard working out on a regular basis, but when you're not home on a normal schedule, its even harder.  Sometimes the best motivation is to become the motivator and get your coworker or significant other to the gym or for a run while you're away.  It will make you feel good to be the fitness team leader, and whomever you drag with you will most likely thank you for the extra nudge after its all over.  Alternatively, if you don't have time to do a full-fledged workout, try taking short walks around the hotel halls/staircases or outside during those 15 minute breaks between meeting sessions.  Just two 15 minute walks will get your heart rate pumping and you'll be less likely to get sleepy during those last couple of speaker panels.

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4. Get plenty of rest
This is tricky, especially when you're running to connect flights, attending day-long meetings and networking events or celebrations that go well into the night.  It's really hard to get your beauty rest, but the worst thing is returning from a trip feeling completely drained.  In order to stay on a semi-normal sleeping schedule, I try to wind down tv watching and computer time at the time I usually would at home, and read before bed.  I also bring ear-plugs and a face mask so that different room elements don't disturb my sleep.  When navigating social / networking events, I also keep my alcohol and food consumption at a normal level so that I'm not prone to be one of the colleagues shutting down the bar/reception.  

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5. Eat responsibly, but indulge a little
Most of these tips have emphasized normalcy, responsibility, and regulating over-indulgence.  However, you ARE on vacation, or traveling for work, so you do deserve a *little* wiggle room.  In order to make sure I don't get carried away, I scope out the offerings at buffet-type gatherings, and only eat the healthy options. If I successfully do this, than I get to have whatever I want for dessert.  If I'm doing a plated meal, I order the healthiest thing on the menu, or pick and choose what won't make me feel over-full if it's a 3+ course meal.  When ordering room service, I usually get a salad option with grilled chicken or fish, or a grilled chicken/fish entree with steamed vegetables.  I let myself get a small dessert OR a glass of wine, and always order everything made without oil or butter.  This is especially important when ordering breakfast via room service - beware - most hotels use CREAM and BUTTER to make their omelettes, scrambled eggs, etc.  Even if you order egg whites, make sure you tell the cooks to make it healthy so you don't blow your diet!

So, those are 5 of our healthy travel tips, anything we forgot?  Do you have tried and true healthy travel tips?

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