06 Mar How To Stay On Track While Traveling
I get asked this question so much, and with spring break and summer just around the corner, I figured this would be an excellent time to share some tips and tricks I have found useful while traveling.
First and foremost, it is important to ready yourself mentally. The last thing you want to do is spend the entire vacation mentally stressing about hitting your macros or getting in a workout. Realize that traveling is never going to be perfect. You will be presented with scenarios that are out of your control, and that’s ok! Learn to adapt, practice balance and moderation, and listen to cues from your body, so that you can enjoy a relaxing, stress free vacation with friends and loved ones.
“Dieting” can be stressful physically and mentally, so depending on your goals and what you’re trying to achieve, you may consider loosening the reigns a little and enjoying a break from your regime. I definitely do not mean going hog wild and tipping the balance scale in favor of a full on binge weekend! You can still maintain your healthy lifestyle by choosing lean meats, veggies, fruits, and limiting alcohol consumption, without having to carry the food scale around with you.
However, if you are prepping for a show, photo shoot, etc., you may consider taking more time in preparing for the trip and incorporating more of the tips and tricks below:
#1: Research the area
The first thing I always do before heading out on a trip is to research the area I will be staying. Does the hotel have a gym? Onsite restaurant? What are the amenities available to me in the room? Nearby grocery stores? Restaurants? I look everything up!
If you have control over the hotel you stay at, look for hotels with in room kitchenettes, or at the very least a mini fridge and microwave. I typically try to find a hotel with a gym as well.
If you are travelling for business, get a hold of your itinerary ahead of time and look up the menus of the places you will be dining. When choosing from a menu, look for grilled lean meats instead of “battered”, “fried”, “sautéed”, “breaded”, “creamy”, “cheesy”, or “smothered” options. with lots of veggies. Ask for dressings and sauces on the side and be sure to stay hydrated! Dehydration often disguises itself as hunger, so be sure to slow down and read the signals from your body.
#2: Incorporate exercise
Along with your research, check the area and calculate the distance from your engagements to the hotel. Can you walk it? Ditch the cab and get those steps in! It’s a great way to tour the area on foot and get in some cardio at the same time.
#3: Workout early
If the hotel has a gym, get up before that alarm and get in a good sweat session. You never know how the day will turn out and you don’t want to stress about not getting in some physical activity, so get up and get moving first thing in the AM. If you are traveling with others who may not follow your lifestyle, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to forgo yours! You never want to miss out on memories either because you “have” to go to the gym, so getting a good morning session in is a great way to ensure you get to experience it all.
#4 Maintain a calorie “allowance”
It is your responsibility to choose healthy options when traveling. You will undoubtedly be presented with lots of delicious options, so focus on balance. Indulging in some treats here an there is absolutely fine and actually encourage, but too much can throw you into a caloric surplus, which can lead to weight gain. Red velvet crepes with sweet cream for brunch? If you want it, go for it! Just be sure to balance it and choose a lean protein with fresh veggies and water with lemon for lunch.
#5 When Possible, Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast
One of the biggest pieces of advice I ever received was to start your day with a balanced meal of protein, healthy carbs and fats and lots of water. Sometimes starting your day with a “cheat” meal can generate a snowball affect as the day goes on. Too much sugar and simple carbs at breakfast can spike blood sugar, followed by a sugar crash and cravings for more. Your one treat meal turns into a day of processed, refined sugar and most likely a caloric surplus.
Lucky for us, breakfast is often the easiest meal to prep for when traveling. Throw some dry oats into a Ziploc and use the coffee maker in the room to heat up water and cook oatmeal in the morning. Bring along some protein powder to add to the oats to stick with you in the morning. If your hotel has a refrigerator, you can make overnight oats as well! Use the coffee maker hot water to hard boil eggs, or better yet, order room service egg whites when available!
Starting your day with a balanced breakfast prevents cravings and binges later on in the day.
#6: Pack easy travel snacks
We mentioned oats and protein powder above, which are personal staples on all of my trips! Adding to that list, try bringing almonds, packs of tuna and canned chicken, protein bars, fruits, sweet potatoes (can pierce with fork and microwave!); rice cakes, beef jerky, wraps, and hardboiled eggs.
#7: Limit the calories you drink
Spoiler alert: there ARE calories in alcohol. If you are going to drink, do so in moderation, and be sure to incorporate these into your daily calories. Alcohol doesn’t necessarily have protein, carbs, or fats, but it does have calories. These are therefore affectionately referred to as “empty” calories because the provide no nutrition value. However, we can count these sugar alcohols towards our daily carb intake as they are processed similar to simple sugars in the body.
When possible choose clear alcohols with club soda, water or tonic. Don’t add unnecessary sugars and calories by consuming pop and other sugary mixers.
If you are familiar with macros, try this simple math to determine the amount of carbohydrates in liquor.
Let’s say 1 ounce of Vodka has about 70 calories. We know that for every 1 gram of carbohydrate, there are 4 calories. So, by simply dividing 70 by 4, we get approximately 17g of carbs. For that shot of Vodka, you are consuming the equivalent of 17g of carbs. So you can see how alcohol can add up and FAST. Personally I would much rather eat 100g of sweet potatoes than 1 oz of vodka, but to each their own, right?!
If you are following a meal plan or tracking macros as part of a flexible dieting lifestyle, then you should already know what good choices to make while away. Before embarking on your trip, think to yourself how you are going to choose to spend your vacation, take the steps to research the area and plan ahead.
The important thing to remember is it is YOUR responsibility to make healthy choices. YOU are always in the driver’s seat when it comes to your goals. YOU have the power to make the decisions that will get you to your goals, and every decision has a consequence. If you choose to spend your vacation overeating and indulging, don’t be surprised at the affects it has your progress. Hold yourself accountable, be realistic and practice balance, and you will be just fineJ