How To Maintain Healthy Habits When Traveling
When I learned that Jay White, the founder of Dumb Little Man, frequently travels in his sales career, this immediately brought back memories of my own business travels during my years in pharmaceutical sales. I was traveling 25% to 50% of my time on overnight trips, sometimes for an entire work week.
Although there are great health tips on this awesome blog, I’m sure that for those of you who travel on business and even for everyone else who has gone somewhere on vacatiomns, you will agree that it’s often quite a challenge to maintain healthy habits while away from home. Many people end up either gaining weight or losing weight after their trips and I’m not talking about desired weight changes either.
So here are some tips that I’ve learned to adopt during my travels to help you stay healthy while away from home.
Get Proper Nutrition
While it’s much easier to follow a healthy balanced diet with home cooking, it’s often very challenging if you have to eat out for all of you daily meals during travel. Here are some ideas that may seem obvious, but I'd challenge you to think back to your last business trip. How many of these did you really follow?
- Avoid hotel breakfasts loaded with fat and salt (sausages, bacon, pastries, fried potatoes)
- Start your day with fresh fruit, yogurt and cereals
- Definitely pass on fast food breakfasts but don’t skip a healthy one
- Stay with lighter fare lunches especially if attending conferences all day
- Find good salads and lower fat, whole-wheat sandwiches for lunch
- Don’t overeat at dinner, especially at buffets (or you’ll feel it back in your hotel room)
- Minimize the amount of fried, fatty foods at restaurants
- Drink lots of water with your meals and limit alcohol (hangovers during travel are no fun)
- Don’t overdo the trips to the coffee shops during the day
- Avoid junk snacks - pick up some fresh fruit at local grocers instead
- Pack enough multivitamins to last your entire trip as inexpensive diet insurance
As I remember all the big meetings and conferences I’ve attended, it’s incredible just how few travelers stay active on the road. With overeating and inactivity, it’s no wonder why many travelers end up gaining weight. So here are some tips to stay active on the road.
- Use the hotel/cruise ship gym as even 20 minutes on a cardio machine will help prevent travel weight gain
- Do laps in the hotel pool if there is one (always pack your swimwear)
- Use the hotel gym weights even if you have to modify some usual exercises
- If the neighborhood around the hotel is nice and safe (ask the concierge), take a brisk walk outside
- If no gym, do basic calisthenics plus low impact cardio inside your hotel room
- Although tempting to socialize into the wee hours, get adequate sleep
So it is indeed possible to keep healthy during your travels. Although you may have to take some extra efforts to get the proper nutrition and enough exercise in during your time away from home, much of the challenge comes from the fact that you have to do what most other travelers will not be doing. You will be among a minority who do eat healthy and take time in the gym. But don’t worry about what others are doing as it is your own health that matters.