Rachel and Emma have recently traveled to the Bahamas for the WBFF Worlds Competition – congrats to Rachel on taking the crown and to Emma on absolutely killing it also! While the comp was obviously the ultimate challenge, traveling such distances while sticking to health and nutrition goals was a massive task on its own.
Today, we’ll cover travel tips, tricks and considerations that can be helpful when fitness and nutrition are on the go. Although the main focus today will be air travel, which presents the most challenges, the information below can be applied in a variety of situations, e.g. jobs with limited breaks/access to nutritious foods, experiencing time constraints, or trying to stick to your program in environments with very few plausible options available.
So, fasten your seatbelts – and let’s talk about all things nutrition and fitness en route!
When traveling, food choices readily available are often subpar – from stale sugary muffins in airport cafes to endless bags of salted peanuts on a plane, most of the time you know you could definitely do a bit better.
The solution? Pack a reasonable amount of your favourite healthy snacks to avoid the predicament! Rachel says:
“It was a long flight to Bahamas from Australia! We have been traveling for 24 hours – this is very challenging during comp prep. To stay on track, I prepped my meals and packed my scales just in case I need to weigh something. I also fasted for 12 hours (and got 8 hours of sleep) and was very strategic with the timing of my meals”.
If you want to pack some travel-friendly options, here are a few suggestions:
- Trail mix
- Protein powder in a shaker/bottle (can be mixed with water anywhere)
- Protein or granola bars
- Nutritious homemade muffins/bliss balls
- Dry cereal (it makes a delicious snack as is)
- Canned tuna and rice cakes
Just don’t bring anything that spoils quickly, for obvious safety reasons!
Pro tip: If you’re embarking on a long haul flight, be sure to check with your flight provider what menus they offer. Special meals often cater to dietary goals, such as Low Calorie, Low Fat or Fruit Platter – and you can usually find out the exact nutritional composition by contacting the airline!
Bonus: special meals are typically served before the main service, meaning you’ll be among the first to eat.
Say no to boredom munchies
Traveling can be boring and monotonous – however, filling the time with constant munching isn’t the best strategy! Your digestive system is actually challenged enough by changes in schedule, environment, eating patterns and sleep – so don’t load more into it than necessary. Treat this time as an opportunity to relax, reflect and practice mindfulness instead!
When traveling or just generally having a busy day, meeting your fluid requirements can be especially challenging. Don’t forget to bring a full, big bottle of water with you – and sip often! And if you need your bottle refilled and can’t refill it yourself (e.g. on a plane), don’t be shy and ask someone to help. Under-hydration can make you feel dizzy, sluggish and groggy, which is certainly not how you want to feel upon arrival. Rachel prefers drinking as much water as she can during the flight, adding up to around 5-6 L!
On the same token, try to avoid alcohol as it can dehydrate you even further, as well as disrupt sleeping patterns and cause fatigue. As much as it’s tempting to reach for that complimentary glass of red, it’s certainly not conducive to sticking to your health and fitness goals between destinations.
Staying sedentary over the entire commute is not the best idea! Of course, you’re unlikely to fit in a workout, however, movement is still important. Rachel says:
“Every few hours on the flight and during layovers, I would walk around to boost blood circulation! In addition, I always wear compression socks when flying, and try to keep my feet elevated when sitting, otherwise, my ankles really swell up”.
Whatever you do, try to move around every now and then! For example, if you’re traveling by car, take advantage of the fact that you can actually stop and walk around – do it every couple of hours.
Wearing makeup can be fun in many situations, but traveling is not one of them! Rachel reminds:
“Don’t forget to take off your makeup when flying and moisturise constantly throughout”.
Remember, you don’t require any makeup to look beautiful – so ditch it altogether, stick to nourishing skincare and relax without constantly thinking about touch-ups or dry skin.
Beat the jetlag
If you’re traveling between time zones, minimizing jetlag is very important to feel and look your best upon arrival, as well as restore your schedule as soon as possible once at your destination!
As it’s not only physically, but also mentally challenging to adjust, make sure to adjust your watch/phone to the destination time zone as soon and as practical as possible. This will help you mentally prepare and start to gently shift into a new schedule.
And once you get there, try living your day as ‘normally’ as possible according to local time. Struggling to stay awake? Rachel shares her jetlag-busting secret:
“As soon as we arrived, I hit the hotel gym for some cardio and core. This really helped get my body moving and work up a sweat, as well as staying awake!”
Use the tips above during your next trip to arrive fresh and get the most of your trip!
Liz and Team BBR xx