The most frustrating thing about travel is how it knocks us off our fitness wagons. We often return home having lost ground, either because of our schedule or destination prevented us from working out. After 85,000 air miles logged last year, I’ve learned how to survive the road, maintain fitness and preserve health along the way.
Treat travel day like race day : Get a good night’s sleep the night before you travel. The sleep two nights before any significant test—a race, a presentation at work—is more important than the sleep you bank the night before the big event. Once rested, download your airline’s mobile app for speedy check-in, boarding passes, and flight updates. This will reduce some of the last-minute panic that occurs when flights or gates inevitably change.
Feel free to move about the plane : Find some room and go through my mini in-air circuit: grab your foot and pull it toward your glutes. Switch legs. Next, bend over and touch your toes. Put your hands on hips and push them back and forth. Do sit-squats, bringing your bottom toward the floor. Do each exercise five to seven times and then repeat the entire circuit. When it comes time to refuel, skip the processed airplane fare. What you eat matters—it matters for how you feel now and influences the choices you make later in the day. And don’t forget to pound the water. You’ve heard it a million times before, but flying is extremely dehydrating.
Do your homework: Once settled into your home away from home, join your hotel’s premium benefits club and take advantage of preferred rooms and upgrades. Know your exercise options—preferably before you arrive. At your normal workout time, hit the local running trail, gym, or pool that you scouted prior to leaving. This will allow you to get out for a workout and stay consistent with your training. End the day by asking the concierge for healthy food options in your area or use your phone with key search words: healthy, organic, farm-to-table, food.
Plan your re-entry: Often I return from trips into scenes of complete chaos, dropping my bags to change a diaper or break up a fight between my two little girls. Sometimes it’s landing with major work deadlines looming. For a successful re-entry, give yourself a window to adjust if possible but no matter what make an effort to get back on the local schedule as soon as possible. Eat, workout and sleep at local/normal times. Jetlag increases one’s vulnerability to illness, so get plenty of sleep, exercise consistently, and put the right fuel in your body.