When it comes to travel, the old adage holds: “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” While not inherently bad, travel is disruptive. One of the most important elements of any transformation is consistency and travel can make this difficult. Things like jet lag, loss of sleep, the lure of alcohol and fast food, and the absence of your regular gym facilities pose serious threats to derailing progress. Fortunately, these hurdles are not insurmountable. So before you travel, make a plan of attack. Matthew Leeb of UP Fitness shares his five rules to help reduce the impact of travel on your fitness goals.
Start as you mean to go on
Often, the travel indulgences begin before you’ve even arrived at your destination. If you’re flying, avoid alcohol, stay hydrated, and plan for what to eat—you’ll avoid the empty calories as well as the associated dehydration. Instead, consume water to remain hydrated in the low humidity aeroplane environment. Request the healthiest onboard option, or avoid aeroplane food altogether by packing your own meals. For shorter flights (less than four hours) or overnight ones, another suitable option is to fast or abstain from eating altogether.
Maintain a training schedule
Wherever you’re staying, make sure you maintain some kind of training schedule. Staying active on your trip is non-negotiable and at the bare minimum, be sure to hit a 10k+ step count daily. If you’re staying somewhere with a gym, turning your routine into a circuit is an effective way to maximize your time given the minimal equipment. Engage in outdoor or sporty activities, like watersport, hiking, or yoga where possible.
Conversely, if no gym is available, the following hotel room workout will leave you with no excuse not to train. Perform the following six exercises in a circuit fashion one after the other, rest 30-60 seconds, and repeat for as many rounds as time permits. Many luxury hotels also offer in-room yoga mats or weights, so ask when you book if it’s possible to have something in the room.
|Glute bridge||10-15||3 down, 1 up, 2 pause|
|Push-ups||10-15||2 up, 1 pause, 2 down, 1 pause|
|Squat||10-15||3 down, 1 pause, 3 up|
|Alternating lunges||10-15||2 down, 1 pause, 2 up|
|Plank||30-60sec||Visualize drawing your elbows and feet toward each other|
|Mountain climbers||30-60sec||Alternate drawing your knee into your chest, contracting your abdominals|
Skip the snacks
When you’re travelling, simplify your nutrition to help reduce the impact on your fitness goals. Stick to three daily meals to help you control calories. Within these meals, emphasise protein and green vegetables and if in doubt, eliminate starchy carbohydrates. If you’re eating out, don’t be afraid to make requests regarding your meals: ask for lean meats and ask for dressings or sauces on the side. If possible, consider staying somewhere with a kitchenette so that you can still prepare healthy meals or pack healthy snacks like protein bars and beef jerky for a convenient way to keep your protein intake high.
Plan for ‘cheat’ meals
Strategise your nutritional approach around any business or social events you have while travelling. On days you know you’ll have an event, reserve the bulk of your daily calories for that meal. For example, if you have a client event in the evening, make dinner your largest meal of the day. Events are also the time when you may be tempted with alcohol: stick to clean spirits if you must drink and always drink in moderation.
Pack your supplements
Whatever your training goals were at home, make sure you’re still taking your regular supplements when you travel.
- To prevent any disruption to digestion, take one UP Digestive Enzyme immediately prior to eating a meal, which helps restore proper food absorption by breaking down macronutrients in the gut.
- Overcome jet lag with 1-2 capsules UP Magnesium L-Threonate and 1 capsule UP Serotonin Support before bed. Magnesium Threonate is a form of magnesium most easily absorbed into the brain and UP Serotonin Support provides the substrate for serotonin production—a neurotransmitter which contributes to feelings of happiness. Both aid in relaxation and promote healthy sleep.
- For convenience in hitting your daily protein goal, be sure to pack whey or vegan protein, or protein bars. I recommend UP’s Chocotrients, which controls your appetite and contains countless phytonutrients.
For more information on meeting your weight and fitness goals or to learn more about Ultimate Performance, check out upfitness.com.hk.