One of the main excuses I hear when people are trying to explain themselves out of their negative lifestyle choices is “I travel too much to eat healthy or exercise” or “I am just too busy”.
The look that emits from my resting bitch face is not exactly… sympathetic. It says something more along the lines of “give me a freakin’ break….” … and don’t even get me started on “busy”.
You know all those 7 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts you Pinned on Pinterest?? USE ONE.
Listen, it’s simple. You either WANT to be healthy and active and you do what you need to do to make that happen OR you want to TALK about how you WANT to be healthy and active but you just don’t care enough to make the changes needed to get there. And you know what? Either way, is OK. I am not judging you for the choices you want to make for your life. …but don’t roll your eyes at mine either.
I choose health. Is it inconvenient at times? …Depends what you consider inconvenient I guess. Do I annoy people sometimes, you better believe it. BUT, I digress. I just don’t care. It isn’t their body, it is mine and they aren’t my mother. They don’t have my best interest at heart, but I do (and so does my Mother). My body or your body-it literally IS our temple. We only get one. It isn’t like a car, or a throw away piece of equipment you can trade in (or trade up…though wouldn’t that be nice?). You must take care of it like you want it to last a lifetime. Being fit and healthy doesn’t have to look like a long list of rules of things you can’t do, that is a fallacy that too many people fall for, but it does require some effort on your part. But just like anything else in life, you just have to TRY. Simply TRYING will serve you surprisingly well.
First step to trying? Asking. If you don’t know you should ask.
But on that same token be prepared to listen, learn and APPLY…. And I think I speak for most people in the fitness world, if you aren’t going to apply the advice (assuming it is SOUND advice that is…) that we are trying to give you would you PLEASE just tell us so we can save our breath? I personally am kind of tired of talking myself blue in the face only for the person that is asking me questions to take what I say and do the opposite…or nothing at all. I would rather you be honest and tell me you don’t want to listen! I’ve got other things I could be doing!
But for those that ARE interested….
I recently returned from a crazy busy non stop trip to the Europa Expo and IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Show in Dallas, TX. I decided this would be the perfect time to compile a list of the top things I do while traveling to stay fit, healthy and on plan.
The fact is, traveling or being busy isn’t a viable excuse anymore. Nearly every chain restaurant has somewhat jumped on the healthy..ier band wagon these days (thank God!) but pre planning and knowing how to go about your travels or navigate a busy day are critical components to a sound PLAN.
Pick one or pick them all, either way-rest assured that something is always better than nothing and excuses will get you nowhere.
- Have a plan.
So simple it might seem stupid but this is big. When we go out of town I spend quite a bit of time researching and building a plan. I pick the hotel based on 3 things: A workout room of some kind, a kitchenette in the room and free breakfast (don’t judge me). If I have those three things I will pretty much be set. I know that I will be able to do at LEAST some fast workouts, I can find a grocery store and pack a fridge plus cook meals in a kitchenette and I can steal things off the breakfast bar to work into meals or snacks for me and the family.
- Be flexible.
You ARE on vacation (usually). I suggest researching the location you will be at for close by restaurants and activities and be prepared to go a little off grid from your usual fare. What’s great is most places have menus online now and you can pre plan your choices even before hitting the door! But this also leads me to another point. Do NOT be afraid to ASK for specific things. I am very particular in how I order and I expect my requests to be honored to the best of the restaurants ability, I AM the customer and I am paying for the service. I want to be pleased and they should want to please me. I will warn you, be prepared to pay extra if you are asking for extra. Consider it a “fit tax”. It is always money well spent in my mind.
I also must say, if you KNOW a place is going to be a “no-go” for any possible healthy fair (even a salad), then don’t go there. Don’t put yourself in a situation to make a bad choice… unless you just want to make a bad choice and then give yourself some grace. While one good meal won’t make you fit, one bad meal won’t derail all your progress either. Especially if you time it around tip 3….
Even if it is only 20 minutes! Most people will say “I only have 20 minutes, I don’t have enough time to do anything productive”. You need to say “I have 20 minutes! I can do X, Y,Z!” Get in and get it done, stay focused and feel good knowing that SOMETHING is ALWAYS better than nothing. Even if it is just walking (or go back to those HIIT workouts on Pinterest again!)!
- Know the fast food places you can get a decent meal.
This might sound contradicting but if you know you will be on the road there are bound to be some fast food places in your future. Don’t panic and go back to point 1. Have “go-to” meals and “go-to” places. You can’t go 100 miles on any highway without running into a Subway in a gas station or a McDonalds or Ihop off the road. I have a set meal I get at all of these places. Are they perfect? No… but go back to point 2.
- Get everyone on board.
Nothing is more stressful than having a family that isn’t all on the same page. You and your family should have open communication about where you will be eating, activities you will be doing and things that will be ok and things that won’t. Nothing hurts a vacation more than lack of communication about expectations. If you want time to go to the gym every morning, you need to communicate that with your spouse or children or whoever it is traveling with you and don’t bend to their wishes. They want to do things and so do you. Remember it is OK to want time to do these things, they should respect that as you should respect their wishes to go and do things they want to (which hopefully is to get their time to go the gym 😉 )
- Pack a Sack.
Last but not least, pack a grocery bag with healthy snacks for the road and things that you know will be hard to find in a bind at your destination. You can pack shelf stable Almond Milk, canned chicken/tuna and even protein powder in checked luggage at an airport (as long as you are flying domestic). I personally cook up a couple pounds of chicken before we go anywhere and pack a cooler with that and frozen bags of microwavable veggie bags, the veggies work double time as a coolant and food for later. This way I always have a fall back and I never go hungry.
These tips aren’t hard, but they do require some effort. Once you do them a couple times you find that it is actually more convenient and you feel more prepared going into an unknown place. There is no better feeling that coming back from vacation or a trip to find that you have continued to lose weight or maintained your already reached goals!
Here are my go to meals at Subway, McDonalds and IHop (which is my personal favorite by the way)
- IHop- Fit Veggie Omelet, no fruit (no need for extra sugar)- Grilled dry with pam spray (just ASK for DRY grill), add chicken, extra spinach, NO cheese. Slice of dry wheat toast (in place of the fruit), 1 poached egg (yolk runny), sugar free syrup (ASK FOR IT, they have it!)
- McDonalds- Southwest Chicken Salad- no sauce on chicken (Just ASK for no sauce), no chips in salad, cheese on the side or none at all, Salsa for dressing (on the side)
- Subway- Veggie Salad with egg whites added (just ASK for them), spinach, green pepper, cucumbers, banana peppers, jalapeños, pickles, 2 tomato slices, pepper (lots of pepper), with mustard as the dressing. (you can add chicken if you like!). Ask for a lot of lettuce and spinach, do not be shy- the mark up on the salad is ridiculous anyway!
Another one of my favorite pack at home quick “go-to” on the road meals:
(everyone that watches me do this always comments how they had never thought about doing that, but it’s a great idea!)
1/4 cup dry oatmeal
1 packet stevia
Salt, to taste
I Mix that in a bag at home. Once on the road I grab a coffee cup at a gas station and use the hot coffee to cook the oatmeal in the cup (usually filled 1/2 to 3/4 of the way of the smallest size cup). Just stir the oatmeal in the cup and then let it sit for about 5 minutes. Once the oatmeal as cooked and cooled just a little bit I stir in one scoop of Nutrabio Dutch Chocolate Protein Powder.
You have the perfect meal for hitting the road, caffeine and all!
To Your Successful Healthy Travel!