Travelling with work is awesome, but sometimes super hectic which makes it tricky to stay on track with fitness and nutrition. Sometimes it just isn’t possible and we just have to accept that and adjust around it. However, the majority of times it can be easy to stay on plan with a little bit of prep. Here are a few of the key things I take with me which I find help.
Water / Coconut Water
Not only does flying dehydrate you, but it is super easy to get further dehydrated throughout the day when travelling. Not always having water on you, having to source bottled water sometimes, having a hotter than normal climate or being hectic in meetings and just forgetting to drink (plus nights out don’t help!) Not only do I try and carry water everywhere I go and drink a pint pre bed and first thing in the morning, I also take coconut water with me which contains electrolytes & potassium and can help rehydrate you.
Pre loaded iPad
A good hotel gym is sometimes hard to come by. Fed up of (a) working out next to colleagues in a 5m x 5m intimate space and (b) trying to operate the prehistoric machinery some of them hold, I started to prep a bit more. I will always look up the hotel before I am going to see what they have on offer. If the gym looks crap, I sack it off and opt for an in room HIIT session. Also a great way to save time if you are trying to maximise sleep as it can take as little at 20 minutes. With wifi sometimes being questionable for streaming, I make sure I have a couple of things downloaded on my iPad to follow or at least a couple of quick sessions in mind I can smash through first thing in the morning. I find, if I don’t do it then, it just doesn’t happen as down time is quite often a luxury you don’t get.
Generally, I find protein pretty hard to come by – not necessarily in the morning (as if time, hotel breakfasts have pretty good options) or in the evenings (especially if they involve dinner out) but more throughout the day. This is especially important if you are working on muscle gain as you need to ensure your protein intake is sufficient every 3 – 4 hours for muscle protein synthesis (MPS). From my experience, lunch is a bit of a luxury, grabbing something quick between meetings or having a lunch meeting with carb upon carb upon carb. I tend to take 2 things with me:
Great first thing, to supplement lunch or as a snack during the day. Literally mix with water and away you go. With a decent whey protein packing around 20g – 25g protein, it is a great filler to keep the stomach rumbles at bay during a meeting!
Again, just to keep me going rather than snacking on high carb, high sugar snacks. My preferred at the moment are Grenade Carb Killas (caramel chaos and white chocolate mocha are epic) but whatever works for you.
I find it really easy to get run down when on work trips. Your body is out of sync and sleep is sometimes a luxury (and when it does come is not always as good as it could be). Climate change and eating less nutritious foods than when back at home can also play a part. I always make sure I take my multivitamins with me to help keep things as balanced as possible.
Some spare calories
By carb waving (decreasing your calorie intake from carbs on a given day to allow you extra on another) the few days before and after, it means you can still enjoy your trip – lie in instead of gymming it, having that freshly baked almond croissant in Paris or slightly over indulging in the all expenses paid hotel bar – travel is fun and we should embrace it!
Breakfast back up
An early morning meeting looms that takes an hour to get to and the hotel breakfast buffet doesn’t open for another 30 minutes – familiar? I always take a back up with me – something I can have easily in my room to set me up for the day, give me some protein and make sure my brain is functioning as it should be! I find MOMA porridge sachets are awesome – literally add hot water. They are super filling and pack a healthy 11g of protein without any added sugar, add a latte and you are off to a good start. Plus they take up no space in your luggage so if you don’t use them, doesn’t matter.
A flexible attitude
Sometimes though, despite planning, things still might not go to plan and you will be unpacking your unused gym kit and protein bars you subbed for cookies when you return home – buy hey, that’s just life. We adjust if we can, if not, we just enjoy and get back to normality next week.
My approach as a personal trainer and nutrition coach is all about balance – you really can have it all and make it work, whether it’s a hectic work schedule, travel schedule, social schedule – whatever. Take a look at how it all works if you think you might be interested.