I travel quite a bit with my job, and it can be very difficult to stick to your healthy lifestyle when you are on the road. However, if you want to really build muscle fast and meet your fitness goals, you have to stick with your program even when you travel. I have come up with a few tips that help me to get ripped when I am away from home.
One of the big problems for me on the road is my diet. When I am home, I normally try to eat every 2-3 hours to maintain my calories and keep from getting over hungry. When I am flying or meeting with clients, it is usually difficult for me to eat this often. My solution is to pack some healthy snacks such as P90X Protein bars, Nuts, dried fruit, or some jerky in my bag that I can go to in a pinch. This also helps me to avoid picking up an unhealthy snack at the airport or on the plane.
Another big challenge for the road warriors is eating out in restaurants. I could write a whole article about this topic alone, but the bottom line is to look for the types of foods you would eat at home. Grilled chicken or fish, steamed veggies, a sweet potato if you are lucky, and a side of cottage cheese. Stay away from fried foods, fast foods, or pasta dishes loaded with cheese or cream. If I can't find anything except fast food, I look for a sandwich shop where I can get a Turkey on whole wheat loaded with veggies.
Usually I stay in a hotel that provides some sort of Breakfast. This ranges anywhere from eggs and sausage to cold cereal and fruit. My favorite is when I can take the scrambled eggs with a couple of pieces of whole wheat toast and sausage to make an egg sandwich. If all else fails, I pick up a pint of milk and mix up a Shakeology with some Protein powder. I have a couple of shaker cups that I take for mixing up Shakeology or Recovery Drink. Zip Lock bags are a travelers best friend and are perfect to carry single serving portions of your Shakeology powder.
When I am traveling it can be very easy to lose track of my calories and/or my target carbs and proteins. I have come to depend on a great food diary application called My Fitness Pal. You can use this tool on your laptop or your smart phone and it keeps track of all your nutritional information. I have found that using this app also helps me to be more accountable when I am traveling and not be tempted by that chocolate cake for desert.
Don't forget to pack your vitamins and supplements, and most of all, drink LOTS of water! I ALWAYS seem to get dehydrated when I travel. My lips get chapped, my hands get dry, and I feel extremely tired. I carry an empty water bottle to the airport and then fill it up once I am inside the security area. Same goes for the hotel, fill that water bottle up at every opportunity and keep drinking... your workout will go much better if you are well hydrated.
I used to think that staying in a hotel meant that I had to skip my workout. However, I have found several good alternatives that allow me to get a great workout even away from home.
I always bring my P90X workout sheets when I travel and my first stop is to check-out the hotel gym. Many hotels that cater to business travelers have a decent workout facility that includes dumbbells. I felt a little strange doing "Shoulders and Arms" the first few times in a hotel gym, but once I got over my self consciousness it worked out great. For you Beachbody coaches out there, doing P90X in the hotel gym is a great way to strike up a conversation with other fitness minded people and introduce others to P90X.
Another option is to bring your bands and DVD's along and do your workout in the room. Sometimes I have to rearrange the furniture a little to get some space in the room, but it will certainly do for a few days. Make sure to lay one of the hotel towels down on the floor before trying Superman. You are never quite sure exactly how clean that carpet is and I don't really like putting my face in it.
Don't travel with a laptop? How about an iPhone. You can actually copy the contents of your workout DVD's onto your phone and use it in a pinch. Obviously the screen is quite small, but I can pretty much do the entire workout just based on the sound queues. There is a nice software application available called "Handbrake" that allows you to convert DVD files into video compatible on the iPhone.
Finally, some hotels are starting to provide the essentials for working out in your room. Hilton, does a great job with this. Just ask the front desk for a Stay Fit Kit and they will give you a bag that includes bands, yoga mat, and some light weights. This is enough to get a workout in with some minor modifications to your normal routine. When all else fails, sit-ups and push-ups are a great exercise that can be done anywhere.
Traveling does not give you an excuse to throw out your normal routine and lose ground on your fitness goals. With a little preparation and modification you can stay fit and healthy even away from home.