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On the Road: Staying Healthy While Traveling

There’s little as exciting as pulling out your suitcase and beginning to pack for a new adventure. No matter how many times I do it, I love the feeling of pulling up to the airport, baggage in tow, getting ready to explore a new city or place. It’s the wide-open sensation of possibility.

At the same time, traveling introduces its fair share of complexities. In just the next month, I’ll be up and down on a plane six times. It’s just a tad hectic! As someone who works from home and follows a pretty strenuous training schedule, it can be difficult, so here are my tips on how to manage things while you’re up in the air.

1. Keep your focus with meditation. Meditation is one of those things where it feels easiest to cut out of a busy schedule. Who has time to just sit and breath, right?

For me, creating time to meditate helps me prepare for the day. No matter how late I went to bed, how packed my schedule is, or how much I’d like to get five extra minutes of snoozing in, I meditate. Without it, I tend to feel unfocused and unprepared for the rest of the day.

My meditation routine is always a short one. Most days, I set aside only about four to five minutes for it. It’s a short time investment with a big reward. So as tempting as it can be to ditch the routine for a few days, I know the payoff is so much greater.

How to: Wake up five minutes early. Grab your phone. Find a comfortable seated position and set your phone’s timer for a few minutes. Then, breath in and out, focusing only on your breath. That’s it!

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2. Keep things organized with tools like Todoist or plan ol’ hand written to-do lists that you can carry with you throughout the day. Personally, I rely an absurd amount on iCalendar and Todoist to know what I need to do and when. It helps me make sure that I don’t have a bunch of little reminders floating around in my head, pulling my focus in a ton of different directions or, even worse, forgetting altogether.

Plus, timezone support is a lifesaver.

3. Eat your veggies and, if you’re a vegetarian like me, focus on protein. I eat to train and while my diet isn’t super strict, I do try to make sure that I’m getting enough protein and getting as many micronutrients as possible.

In the past, I tended to develop a very unhealthy diet while I was traveling with whatever was easiest or most convenient. While I’m far from opposed to junk food in general, it felt unsustainable as I started traveling more frequently. For me, that means, whenever possible, opting for as many veggies and protein sources as I can, just to keep my rough guidelines in place even when I don’t have access to a kitchen.

4. Check out new boxes or gyms while you’re away. I’ve gotten into the habit of checking for local Crossfit boxes I can drop into while traveling while staying at a hotel or Airbnb.

For me, it’s a great way to maintain my routine since I’m very much used to the stimulus of working out nearly every day. Without it, I tend to feel kind of bummed out and outside of myself. For boxes that have early morning classes, I’ll try to hit up the first class as much as my schedule allows for so I can get a good session in before the day starts. For me, it’s a really nice ego boost before entering a day full of meetings or conference sessions since I start my day off by accomplishing some really hard and impressive things. Once, I deadlifted over 200lbs beltless for the first time just before a conference!

When planning to drop into a box, I always email ahead of time to check on the daily rates and to let them know I’ll be popping in. In particular, it can be helpful for owners and coaches to know what your level of experience is so they know how much attention you do or don’t need and can adjust expectations accordingly.

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Four flights in less than two weeks? Yeah, it's time to stretch. I got inspired while I was in Puerto Rico this past week to film a quick little travel sequence you can do right in your hotel bed. ☀️ Begin by rolling out your head and neck for an upper back stretch. ☀️ In a seated position, move into cat/cow by inhaling as you arch your back and open your chest. Then exhale, rounding your spine and shoulders forward. ☀️ Raise both arms up, twisting first towards your right, then towards your left. ☀️ Bringing both feet straight out in front of you, fold forward, grabbing your toes with your hands or a small/thin towel. ☀️ Bend one leg, reaching over towards your outstretched leg for head to knee pose. You can take a variation here by bringing your arm up overhead and into a bind behind your back. ☀️ Through hands and knees pose, lift up into downward dog, slowly raising one leg at a time for a deeper hamstring stretch. ☀️ Come back down into hands and knees, ending in child's pose to relax. Happy trails! . . . . #yoga #yogaflow #crossfit #travel #nomadyogi #digitalnomad #health #fitness #lifestyle #balance #motivation #strongstrongfriends #feedmefightme #hyatt #barbellasana

A post shared by Erica | Lifting, Yoga, Travel (@ericavarlese) on

5. Prioritize your day. When traveling, some things simply can’t get done. You don’t have the same amount of control over your day, nor the same level of predictability. By definition, you’re outside of your routine.

That’s why it’s extra important to pinpoint the things that absolutely need to get done. For example, as important as my training is to me, an early morning workout is a obviously no-go if it means I’m going to be late for a meeting. As such, being flexible and knowing what you can and cannot compromise are critical.

In other words, practice good time management. There’s only 24-hours in a day, but you have to use them wisely – no matter where you may be.

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