After putting in long work hours all winter and squeezing in those extra bench presses, it’s finally time to take a break!
Whether you’re relaxing on the beach or exploring a new city, a time out from the normal routine can be a wonderful thing. But it can also make it tough to stay fit—all those meals out and indulging in a few (OK, a lot of) cocktails doesn’t exactly help either.
Whatever your reason for hitting the road, there’s one thing you can count on:
It’s hard enough to stay on track with your workouts and nutrition at home. But without a doubt, traveling takes that challenge to the next level.
- If you hit your workouts in the local gym, you may find yourself without the same equipment or no gym at all.
- If you cook most of your meals at home, you may find yourself without a kitchen or refrigerator.
- If you know exactly what healthy options to order at your local restaurant, you may find yourself stuck eating “airport food” or in new restaurants.
- If you’re used to sleeping in your own bed, you may find it difficult to sleep in an unfamiliar place or you may be jetlagged from traveling across time zones.
In fact, how to stay in shape while traveling is one of the most common questions I’ve been asked in my 18+ years of being in the health & fitness business.
And my clients who travel the most usually have the greatest challenge staying in shape.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’ve never had a tough time staying in shape on the road—and it’s not because of my genetics either. It’s because I have proven strategies that I employ every time I take a trip.
In this article, I’ll share with you my top strategies for staying in shape while traveling.
Make Staying In Shape A Priority
I can’t emphasize enough just how important it is that you have the right mental attitude when it comes to staying in shape on the road. Most people have a food free-for-all approach during travel—especially when the company is footing the bill.
Sure, you may not have paid for the food but you’ll be up a few pounds on the scale and you may feel like crap as well from your overindulgence in calorie-rich food and alcohol. It’s funny how many people feel like they need a vacation from their vacation.
Now, I want you to enjoy yourself. If you’re on vacation or the company’s annual retreat in Cancun, go ahead and have some fun.
However, since you’re reading or listening to Legendary Life, I know that your health is important to you. So I want you to make a commitment to yourself to use the strategies below so that you maximize your fun and minimize the damage to your body.
Realize that “living in the moment” and being healthy aren’t mutually exclusive. In reality, being healthy allows you to get much more out of your experiences!
Pack Your Workout Clothes
When my clients say that they’re not sure if they can make time for working out on their trip, I always say, “OK but pack your workout clothes anyway.”
Why? Because seeing your workout clothes might just be the motivation or reminder that you need to remember your commitment to stay on track during your travels.
I find that when my clients do this, they’re much more likely to at least get in a short bodyweight workout or walk. Personally, I never go on a trip without training sneakers and my workout shorts. Try it!
Stock Up On Healthy Travel Snacks
Airport food is usually awful. And if you’re driving, it’s not much better. So what I tell my clients to do is to stock up on healthy snacks so that they avoid the calorie-dense, preservative-laden processed junk that is ubiquitous on the road.
Instead, I have them buy high-protein snacks like:
- 0% Fat Plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt
These are perfect as they’re low-calorie and high in protein. They also come in convenient single-serving sizes
- Hard Boiled Eggs: Eating these on the plane might not make you any friends, but they’re a solid source of on-the-go protein.
- Preservative-Free Jerky: Jerky is very portable and high in protein. Just watch the sugar as some flavors will have a lot more than others.
- Vacuum Packed Tuna or Salmon Packets: Tuna or salmon packets are another very portable way to get your protein in. The pouches allow you to skip the can opener and subsequent mess.
- Low-Carbohydrate Protein Bars: Although they’re not my first recommendation, protein bars are an easy and convenient way to have a high-protein snack. Just watch the carbohydrate content as some bars have as much sugar as a candy bar.
- Roasted Edamame: Meat and dairy aren’t the only sources of protein. Try edamame for a great vegetarian source of protein.
- Protein Powder in a Ziploc Baggie: If you already have a ton of protein powder at your house, just measure out servings and put them in plastic baggies to portability and convenience.
Research Your Hotel And City
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
Instead of showing up with no idea of the gym options and nutrition options in the area you’re traveling to, do a little research ahead of time. This will help you avoid being caught off guard.
Call up your hotel and ask them about the gym and healthy dining options in the area. Also, ask your hotel concierge if they have passed for a local gym if they don’t have a gym on-site.
Do Quick Bodyweight Workouts
Sometimes you may not have time to workout in the hotel gym or to Uber it over to the local gym. That’s where body weight workouts can come in handy. No equipment needed and you can do them right in your hotel room.
In fact, I have designed several separate travel workouts for my clients and coaching groups because it’s such a typical issue.
First, understand that even doing a 5, 10 or 15-minute workout is better than doing nothing. Even a light workout will go a long way to help you burn calories while maintaining your fitness.
Here is a sample bodyweight routine you can do anywhere:
- 3 Sets of 15 Squats
- 3 Sets of 15 Push Ups
- 3 Sets of 10 Lunges (each leg)
- 3 Sets of 10 Tuck Crunches
- 3 Sets of 30-sec Side Planks
Make sure you rest 30-60-seconds between sets of each exercise. Or do them in circuit-fashion for a harder challenge (where you perform one exercise after another with little rest). Add sets, reps and or harder versions of these bodyweight exercises if you need more of a challenge.
Go On An Adventure
One of my favorite reasons for traveling is to have some adventure. Instead of being like most people who use their time at a hotel to drink more alcohol and eat more food, find fun adventures.
For example, you can:
- go sight seeing in Europe
- SCUBA diving in Tahiti
- ziplining in Costa Rica
- hiking in Peru
- snorkeling in the Florida Keys
…The list is endless!
Even if you’re not in an exotic locale, there is still some place to explore. When I was in Hershey, Pennsylvania giving my first keynote speech.
Do a little research on the area that you’re traveling to and find some activities. Go on a website like Tripadvisor.com and they’ll show you what’s available in that area along with the best prices.
Optimize Your Hotel Room For Sleep
These days, the majority of hotel rooms are setup for sleep. In every Marriot I’ve stayed at, they had blackout curtains and comfortable beds to help their customers get a great night’s of sleep while staying at their establishment.
There are, however, a few things you can do to tweak your hotel room to ensure the best quality sleep:
– Unplug all the digital devices that emit sleep-disrupting blue light.
– Bring some black electrical tape to cover all the little lights that you can’t unplug.
– Make sure you cool your room down before you go to bed. Somewhere around 69 degrees, F is where I like to keep the thermostat.
You may also want to bring some earplugs and a sleep mask just in case. I remember the time I stayed in a hotel in Atlanta for Style Con and had a train wake me up in the middle of the night. Not fun. I swore I’d never travel without earplugs again. Make sure you get soft foam earplugs if your ears are as sensitive as mine.
Have Protein and Vegetables at Every Meal
Although I’ve mentioned this numerous times in other articles, it bears repeating. Make sure you base the majority of your meals around lean sources of protein and fibrous vegetables.
You can never go wrong with this combination. Sure, you can have some starchy carbs like potatoes, bagels, etc. Just make sure you’re eating protein and fibrous vegetables in the majority of your meals and you’ll be able to keep your weight on track while you’re away.
Implement The “Never Eat Two” Rule
This is a simple yet powerful rule I’ve been teaching my clients for years. The “never eat two” rule means that you never have two “bad meals” in a row. While bad may be a bit subjective, I think most of us know when we’ve overdone it during a meal.
French toast, a mimosa and a large latte with sugar for breakfast.
A ribeye steak, a loaded baked potato, several cocktails and a crème brulee for dessert.
These types of meals tend to happen more often on vacation. And a simple rule to implement is to never have two of these meals in a row. So have you “bad meal” if you need to. But follow it up with a lighter and leaner meal.
Here are some examples:
- Egg white vegetable omelet
- Sirloin steak with grilled vegetables
- Salad with lean beef, fish or chicken and dressing on the side
It’s a simple rule but a powerful one—especially if you’re the type to have one calorie-loaded meal after another while on vacation.
Have A “Two-Drink Maximum” Rule
While we all know that going without drinking is the best thing to do, I realize that you may love a good scotch or glass of wine. That’s fine. Although I don’t drink much these days, I’ve been there many times in the past.
But realize that alcohol is a source of liquid calories that can add to an expanding waistline—particularly when you’re paying less attention to what you eat. And when a 5-ounce glass of red wine is 125 calories, it doesn’t take much to tip your scale in the wrong direction when you’re having 4 or 5 8-ounce glasses of wine.
So what I like to tell people is to have a two-drink maximum. (And that’s two-drink maximum per day, not a meal.)
Having this rule will keep you out of trouble on the alcohol end.
Stay Connected With Your Coach
One of the most powerful ways to stay on track, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, is having a coach.
Having workout and nutrition strategies for the road is only effective when you’re level of commitment is high.
Most people reading this right now (yes, that means you) will look over these strategies and think, “This is great. I should do some of these for my upcoming trip.” And then completely forget about them when the travel stress starts to set in.
I’ve even gone as far as doing workouts and/or consultations on Skype with my clients who were away and having trouble sticking with their plan. Having someone hold you accountable can be a powerful way to ensure you end up doing what you set out to do.
You can either hire a coach or join a group where you get the necessary knowledge and support so that you stay on track and make it through your vacations and business travel without sliding backward with your health.
If you’d like me to be your coach, check out Legendary Lean, my 90-day body transformation group and my 1-on-1 coaching service.
Finally, listen to your body. If you are tired, rest, relax and eat healthily to recharge and rejuvenate.
While you’re away, find workouts that seamlessly fit into your day. Also look for opportunities to explore your new environment – whether it’s cityscapes, seascapes or stunning landscapes!
Remember: regular short, quality exercise sessions also create lasting change. Health and fitness is a lifestyle and a daily practice no matter where you may be.
The good news is feeling healthy during and post-vacay is totally possible. Making just a few smart choices like the ones mentioned in this article will keep you active and energized and help you get the most out of that vacay—and looking forward to the next one.
Want to save this infographic in your phone? Click here to download.
There you have it: How to stay in shape while traveling (even if you’re busy).
Print out or save the infographic as a reminder when you are undoing all your hard work with some overindulgent vacation days.
And please share with a friend, client, or colleague who might be on vacation and could benefit from it.
Also, for a complete explanation of this infographic and personal insights, listen to our audio version on the top of this page.
How do you stay fit and healthy while on vacation? Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks for Listening
Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!
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Until next time!