Eating healthy, exercising, and being productive at home is one thing. But once you introduce travel, you have an entirely different narrative. When you travel, you're out of your element, routine, and face more distractions (and the unpredictability of airports).
With all this said, this doesn't mean that you have to let your health and wellness suffer because of traveling. Whether you're on vacation or heading off on business trips, use these six key rules to fit exercise and healthy meals into your routine while still enjoying your trip.
1. Plan ahead
Taking time to look over your trip raises your chances of staying healthy and fit while away from home.
Are you staying at a hotel or an Airbnb? This is important because having a kitchen or not dictates your nutritional strategy. How long will you be at the airport? Do you have access to a gym?
By planning ahead, you're able to think about where you will be exercising and eating. After you look at the times where you're presenting or meeting with someone, pencil in your time for exercising and eating. This keeps you organized and proactive instead of reactive and ditching your fitness plan.
2. Pack your own gym
Don't let the lack of gym or equipment be an excuse. Long before Gold's Gym's and 24-Hour Fitness centers were on every corner, men and women were still exercising and staying healthy. Fitness centers are a luxury, not a necessity. Basic bodyweight exercises such as squats and pushups can provide great workouts when used in a challenging manner.
Pack a jump rope, resistance band, lacrosse ball, and a TRX (this one is optional). Not only are these tools great to exercise with, but they're also great for stretching and soft tissue work. For women who wear heels frequently, a lacrosse ball will be your best friend.
Lastly, use your phone, a FitBit, or other similar wearables to track your activity throughout the day.
3. Place a priority on whole foods
At airports, there will always be convenient and quick food choices such as chips, pretend-healthy energy bars, and many others but those foods are anything but ideal. The majority of those types of foods only lead to more hunger due to the salt, sugar, and other additives included that makes it so addicting to your taste buds.
If you must eat at the airport, seek foods that are calorically dense with nutrients. Meaning they satiate you while also providing a good amount of minerals and vitamins. Choose lean meats, fruits and vegetables due to their fiber content, and nuts because of their healthy fats.
4. Don't eat two "bad meals" in a row
I get it, you want to maximize your experience while away from home. Great experiences often revolve around food and enjoying the native dishes to that particular region.
While in Portugal for six weeks, I instituted the 'no two bad meals in a row' rule. This allowed me to enjoy the tasty pastries and foods while still maintaining my fitness.
Not eating two bad meals in a row is important because it maintains your healthy habits and mindset while allowing room to enjoy your new city. If you allow yourself to continuously indulge, it's harder to switch back into your healthy mentality.
5. Multitask your activities
Instead of going to the gym all the time while I was away in Portugal, I combined sightseeing with exercising. My method of choosing was to take extended walks around the city while getting my 10,000 steps in.
For you, this could be going for a 30-45 minute run early in the morning before business meetings or catching a sunset while sightseeing during your run after a day of business.
Running or walking provides a great way to see the city in a way that a car can't. Ask the locals, hotel staff, or your Airbnb host for some sights and landmarks to check out. If the destination is under a mile, make it a rule that you have to walk.
6. Remember the big picture
Whether you're on vacation or a business trip, you have an opportunity to take in new experiences. The worst thing you can do is to stress yourself over every little health decision.
Sticking to a fitness plan 100 percent of the time at home is a long shot and is unrealistic when on the road. Keep the big picture in mind and just take care of the big dominoes with your health. Some type of movement and healthy eating is better than none.