Drew's Healthy Travel Tips
As a neuromonitoring technician, I have traveled from Utah to Idaho many times in my car and sometimes have fly to other states to cover surgeries and stay in hotels. This kind of schedule makes it challenging to stick to a meal plan and workout schedule. I have to fly to LA today for some meetings, which means I'll be in a hotel (hopefully they have a gym there) for 3 days. Here are some of my travel tips that help me stay as healthy as possible no matter what kind of work or traveling schedule you may have:
Rule #1: Go to a grocery store- The first place you go (after you get your luggage) is to the nearest grocery store. People often skip having 5 small meals a day when they are on vacation/business and this often leads to binge eating for the three meals you eat out. Be prepared by going to the store to get healthy snacks in advance (see rule #2 for details of what to buy).
Rule #2: Stock up on the healthy essentials- Buy plenty of water, nuts (almonds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, etc), protein bars (quality ones that are low in sugar and high in fiber like Quest Protein Bar), beef jerky, and a small amount of berries (blueberries, raspberries, etc.). *Also, sometimes my wife packs some of these snacks at our home (not the fruit though) and takes them with her in a checked bag to have when we get there.
Rule #3: Pack your protein- Pack your protein shaker cup and a small bag of powder protein (we use a heavy duty ziplock bag and then double bag it to make sure it doesn't spill in our suitcase). If you're going to try and fit in your workouts or if you want a healthy and quick way to get your protein then this will be a quick option and you'll be happy you packed it. I generally try to pack enough scoops to have one protein shake a day (if needed).
Rule #4: Try to stay in a hotel that has a fitness center/gym- Many hotels now have fitness centers or gyms so you may want to take the time to do a little research before you book your hotel and stay at one that has this accommodation. If not, then there are plenty of workouts that I've done in my hotel room without any equipment. I use my luggage as my weights. You can use it for bench press (chest), curls (biceps), behind the neck tricep extensions (triceps), side shoulder raises (shoulders), upright rows (shoulders), bent over rows (back), squats/lunges (legs). You can also use a chair for dips, burpees, step-ups, box jumps, and hand step-ups with plank and many other. Don't forget about jumping squats, jumping lunges, sprinting in place, jumping jacks, high knees, side to side jumps, etc. The point is that there's a LOT of exercises you can do in your hotel room.
Rule #5: Be wise in your food selections- There are plenty of places that you can eat healthy foods at. Most restaurants have at least a couple things on the menu that you can try. Here are some of the things I generally order: Chicken and vegetables, a fish and vegetables, any salad with an oil-based dressing on the side, or fajitas (though I skip the tortilla, guacamole, and sour cream and just eat the meat with all the toppings). If I have to hit up a fast food joint I try to get a sandwich on wheat bread with all the veggies they have and a little mustard (no mayo) and then take the top piece of bread off. A salad with an oil-based dressing is another great option that several fast food places now have.
I know these tips have helped me on many of my travels and I hope these tips help you make healthier decisions when you have to travel or when you're on vacation and hoping to come back without gaining 5 lbs!