In the past, this blog post would have been titled, “how I stay healthy and prevent weight gain while traveling a lot.” However, the more I’ve traveled and experienced amazing places, the less I’ve worried about this. I never want to be the person bringing my deli turkey and egg whites with me on vacation and always choosing those instead of experiencing the food in the place I’m at (there’s not anything wrong with that – its just not for me). As a self proclaimed foodie – experiencing the food is an important part of traveling for me.
With traveling for work – sometimes weekly, there’s definitely a balance here, because if I eat all the fun foods and none of the nutritious foods, then I feel like crap and stop enjoying myself. So I definitely do bring snacks that I like and add a little more protein into my day, just because its never fun to be the hangry person in a meeting. I like Perfect Bars, Siren Protein Bites (only the lemon flavor), jerky & sometimes Quest Bars are ok – but mostly I have burned myself out on those. Almonds are always good too.
I think the biggest thing for me is that I’m really consistent with eating well and exercising most of the time. So if I change up my routine and indulge here and there, even if I do gain a few pounds, once I get back to my routine, it will all go back to normal pretty quickly. I also think that having some of whatever it is that you are craving and want to try (all the time – not just when traveling) is a good thing and helps you stay more consistent more often.
This philosophy is different when I’m traveling for races. Then, I definitely stick to foods I know will work for me and then enjoy whatever I want after the race is over. But as far as regular life goes – here are some things I try to do –
- Run! It makes me so happy to start my day with a run. I also love getting to see a new place while I run. And sometimes when you are traveling for meetings, you aren’t getting outside a whole lot, so 30-60 mins in the morning really helps my mood. Sometimes I feel weird about not staying out late with coworkers so that I can get up and work out. But here’s what I’ve learned – no matter how much FOMO you have, nothing really good happens after 10pm lol. No one is really going to worry about you being gone. I will usually stay for one drink and then bounce.
- That being said, be flexible about your run. If you are feeling tired, don’t worry about pushing a workout back a day, or deciding to take it easy all together. If running before a flight is too early, consider changing your rest day, adding a rest day, or if you can sneak it in later, that’s great too. If you have a good coach, they will help you through this.
- Do a couple things that make you feel like you are home. I am cold in EVERY hotel room, so I almost always pack a sweatshirt. And if my hotel room has a fridge, I will try and stop by a nearby CVS/Walgreens and get a little thing of milk so that I can have my morning coffee before I run just the way I like it. I also always bring a lacrosse ball or mini foam roller of some kind so that I can roll out before bed. Even if it is just for 1 minute, it helps me sleep.
- Grab extra protein when you can, but don’t stress it. I do notice protein is a big thing that helps me feel recovered. That said – as I get older, I’m pretty sure that high stress is 1000x worse for me than not getting enough protein. So I really and truly don’t worry about it that much. However, if I an opportunity presents itself, I will get extra of a protein source that I enjoy.
- I learned to think outside the box when it comes to where I’m getting my food. If there is not something on the menu, ask for it. Look at google maps for places that are walkable or even a quick Uber/Lyft ride. Last week when I was traveling, all I was craving was a smoothie. So I walked to a gym down the street and got one instead of what the hotel breakfast offered.
- Don’t hoard calories. Is there something to be said for not having a donut and pizza and cake and beer all in the same day, every day? Sure. That’s pretty straight forward. But I would always take this to the extreme and and eat nothing but egg whites and spinach for breakfast, then I would be so hungry by lunch time that I couldn’t concentrate. Eat when you are hungry.
- Try to eat slowly and enjoy your food. This helps me feel like I’m not over eating. I usually eat SO FAST for almost every meal, so this is really hard! But it does help me enjoy my food more.
I’d be curious to know your tips!