Fit Travel: 5 strategies to help you stay fit on the road

Suitcases

I travel so often that I sometimes wonder why I even pay rent.

It’s not uncommon for me to unpacked suitcases from multiple trips, and random boarding passes stuffed into compartments of my purse. I rarely have a fully stocked fridge, and I’ve seen more airports and train stations in the last year than I have my entire life.

In the past 24 months alone, I’ve been to Thailand, Sweden, Denmark, Hawaii, Germany, Czech Republic, Boston, Orlando, Tampa, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Annapolis, Minneapolis, Asheville, San Francisco, Mexico, Costa Rica, Austin, Vegas, NYC, San Diego, Sedona, Palm Springs, and Toronto–and some of those cities were traveled to multiple times. Whew, I’m exhausted just typing that.

I’m a jet-setter at heart, and while I almost always come home craving the comfort of my own abode, I love traveling and learning about new places all over the world. I love the act of travel itself, as well as the life experiences that to generally offers. What I don’t love is constantly eating at restaurants and not being able to continue my workout regimen. You see, I don’t look at travel as an opportunity to go off the rails, stuffing my face and forgoing movement. This is a lifestyle for me–one that makes me feel fabulous from the inside out, and splurging to my hearts content simply because I’m in a different zip code isn’t something I’m interested in.

Think about it: how many times have you gone on vacation, eaten everything in your line of sight, skimped on exercise, and then came back feeling awful and sluggish? As far as I’m concerned, a pleasurable experience such as a splurge or a break from training should leave you feeling better, not worse. I’m interested in indulgences that I won’t regret, and travel that doesn’t leave me feeling as though I’ve been run over by a truck.

An important thing to consider is that travel isn’t a once a year occurrence for me. It’s not a special occasion or an excuse to over indulge; it’s a part of my life, meaning that I needed to find a way to make it serve my body rather than steal from it. Over the last few years I’ve figured out a variety of ways to stay fit and healthy, whether I’m on business in NYC or taking a family vacay to Oahu.

These fit travel strategies have proven invaluable for me, and as you embark on your Summer journeys, they’ll help you stay on track while still fully enjoying the adventure.

Bring your own snacks

This is probably the most beneficial thing you can do for your nutrition while traveling. I’ve been to a few pretty incredible terminals with organic fare and healthy options, but by and large, airport and airplane food is unpredictable at best. The last thing you want is to be starving on an airplane with nothing to much on but oreos, cheezits, and a questionable flight “meal.” I mean, how long has the food been there, really?

travel snacks

Plus, bringing your own snacks ensures that you have convenient food that you actually enjoy, limiting the amount of splurging you’ll do while at your destination. Who needs those mini bar pretzels when you’ve got a Paleo Krunch Bar or homemade grain-free granola? When I’m on the road, I take a selection of travel friendly convenience food to snack on throughout the day, leaving only the fate of my dinner the the restaurant gods. Sometimes I even pack my food in a collapsable cooler so that I can take fresh choices like veggies and organic turkey slices.

Convenience food is essentially food that travels well without a need for refrigeration, but that still helps support your physique goals. You wouldn’t want your entire diet to consist of convenience foods, because eating real food regularly is obviously superior, and nothing can replace that. But, it’s a good idea to have a stash of acceptable convenience foods on hand for those times when you’re only options are bad and worse.

When choosing your convenience food you’ll want to pick the items with the least ingredients, made from GOOD STUFF. There are so many protein bars and snacks out there that are complete junk , and in order to get the good stuff you’ll likely need to plan ahead. Make sure you do this either before traveling, or keep a stash in the house if you tend to travel often.

Some of my favorites include:

fresh raw veggies
homemade beet or kale chips
grass-fed beef jerky
Quest protein bars
Paleo Krunch bars
homemade grain-free granola 
nitrate free deli meat
hardboiled eggs (already shelled)
Epic bars
Justin’s Almond Butter squeeze packs
Biotrust protein cookies

 

In fact, I believe so strongly in bringing your own snacks on trips, that I filmed a video all about while on business in Las Vegas.

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Look at restaurant menus beforehand

You can find just about any restaurant menu online these days, which means that you can plan ahead–decreasing the chances that you’ll make a hunger-based-regret-it-later decision.

This is something I always do, whether I’m traveling or simply going out on a date night with my husband. It helps me make a clear decision on what I’m going to eat, without being swayed by the various sensory temptations at restaurants. Plus, if I know what I’m going to eat before I get to the restaurant, I’ve essentially committed to staying within those parameters, effectively keeping me on track with my nutrition.

Planning ahead is a crucial component of nutrition at all times, but especially so while traveling.

Choose your indulgences

My good friend Jill Coleman is ridiculously on point with her nutrition. She doesn’t restrict or binge, and in fact she regularly indulges and never feels deprived. Instead, she’s practiced what she calls intermittent sampling (in which she tastes a small amount of everything), and has mastered the skill or only consuming what she absolutely loves.

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Jill and me having laughs over mimosas

Last night Jill and I had dinner in Beverly Hills, and we each ordered a giant hunk of protein (Jill ordered the filet mignon, and I had the pork chop). We shared a large side of haricot vert, and a bottle of resiling. We didn’t have dessert and we skipped the bread basket–but we enjoyed every single heavenly sip of that vino! We have several things in common, but perhaps the most obvious of them is that we can be counted on to imbibe fermented grapes in various forms.

This is what it means to truly indulge–when you pick the thing that you don’t want to go without. Can you have french fries, 3 glasses of Malbec, and a slice of chocolate cake? Sure, but your physique won’t benefit and most likely neither will your mindset. By choosing an indulgence (such as wine OR dessert OR a dip in the bread basket) you set yourself up to never feel deprived, while staying in line with your intentions for your body.

Take your greens

I really can’t emphasize this enough. I take a greens supplement every day while I’m at home, but during travel it becomes even more integral that I do so. Chances are that no matter how well I try to eat, I probably won’t be nourishing my body as much as I would at home. Not to mention I’m most likely sleep deprived, which means that my body needs the nutrients, vitamins and minerals more than ever.

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My favorite greens supplement is Athletic Greens, made with whole foods, nutrient dense superfoods, digestive enzymes, and dairy-free probiotics. I highly recommend and stand behind this brand, although you can certainly get high a quality greens supplement at your local health food store.

When you travel, make sure to take enough of your greens supplement to ensure that you have one serving per every day that you’re away from home. This simple step alone will ensure that your body continues to perform and function optimally, regardless of your travel circumstances.

 

Have an arsenal of travel workouts

I remember a time when I was so rigid that I hated leaving the comfortable confines of my own gym. Today, after much self-exploration and several jaunts into the discomfort zone, I can confidently say that I can get a fabulous workout anywhere.

In fact, I’ve actually come to really enjoy hotel gyms; they’re always a new adventure, as you never know what to expect. Because I travel so often, hotel gyms have become a puzzle for me–a fun way to design a new workout based on what’s available. Now, I might not necessarily make strength or skill gains while on the road, but I will always make sure to get a good sweat sesh in, keeping my metabolism up, and more importantly, staying consistent with my fitness endeavors. After all, consistency really is the key to fitness success.

hotel gym

Surprise! Kettlebells at the hotel gym.

At times, I’ve gotten really lucky and happened upon kettlebells and pull-up bars. Other times I’ve been relegated to a pair of dumbbells, or perhaps a stability ball. Either way, there’s always something to work with. Rather than stress out about having access to a real gym, I’m comfortable with making due with the hotel facilities as it saves time (no need to spend your vacation driving to a gym), and, because of our human propensity for taking the path of least resistance, it ensures that I’ll actually get my sweat on.

If you’re concerned about what the hotel gym has to offer, you can always call ahead to find out, and plan accordingly. You can be extremely proactive and pack bands, a TRX, and whatever else you might have that’s travel friendly, and when all else fails, bodyweight circuits will serve you just fine. When I travel by car, I always strap a 16kg kettlebell into the back seat, along with a jump rope and a yoga mat.

Regardless, you’ll want to have an arsenal of quick, simple, travel workouts at your disposal. This is part of the reason why I started my quickie series on YouTube.  I really wanted to be able to show you that working out doesn’t always have to be long or complicated–sometimes it’s as simple as a 10 minute circuit or 5 minutes of major sweat inducing movements. I’ve even got a few bodyweight quickie variations that you can do in your hotel room, or even on the beach, in case you happen to have no equipment available to you. Be sure to utilize the quickies (and tag me on Instagram, #kbquickie!) while traveling and in any situation where time is limited.

The purpose of life

If you ask me what the purpose of life is, I’ll be quick to simply answer “the enjoyment of life.” That’s primarily why I travel, and why I also utilize these strategies while I’m traveling to enhance and cultivate a fit, happy lifestyle. At the end of the day, I want you to have fun, feel empowered, and never feel deprived. Have fun this Summer, and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me on Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any workouts, summer fun, and travel tips.

Now, tell me, what are you most looking forward to this summer? Do you have any travel strategies that really work for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

  • Fitzala

    Great tips! I always bring my own snacks when I travel. Who wants to be hungry on a 4 hr flight? Not me!

    I’ll have to look in to the Athletic Greens. I’ve contemplated taking one for a while!

    • Neghar Fonooni

      You won’t regret it!

  • http://www.pretty-does.com/ Jenny Fish

    Such great advice! Traveling and fitness are tough when there’s so much good food! I used to just check out for a week, but I’m starting to see that the two can totally coexist if you do a little planning.

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Yes they can! Love that you’re seeing how well you can live a healthy lifestyle AND enjoy yourself.

  • Heather Kelly

    I couldn’t agree more with all five of these strategies! I travel about 50 weeks out of the year, and have come to LOVE my bodyweight workouts and healthy travel snacks :) Thanks for the post Neghar!

    • Neghar Fonooni

      WOW! 50 weeks is insane!

  • http://thehonulife.com/ Carrie Jesse

    I love how these tips include planning ahead, it makes such a difference. And your take on the purpose of life is so true. Amen!

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Planning ahead is clutch :).

  • Beth Gratz Liechty

    Where do you buy your Athletic Greens? I’ve looked on Amazon for that brand and can’t find it. If I’m not able to buy it here (Utah) can you suggest another brand?

  • Michelle

    HI Neghar! I’m trying to look at your videos, however they do not run. Am I doping something wrong or do I need to do something before they will run? Thank-you

    • Neghar Fonooni

      They’re working for me! Must be a tech issue on your end.