The Challenges Of Traveling: How to Eat Clean and Train While On The Road

It can be extremely challenging to adhere to regular training and healthy eating habits while traveling. As if that wasn’t enough, the impending holiday season presents even more of a challenge because of the indulgent foods which emerge. That is why some die-hard fitness people are resistant to travel, and are almost terrified of the holidays. And while it is possible to stay on track with workouts and food while traveling, foraging for fitness resources like a gym to work out at and places which carry clean food selections can range from frustrating to impossible.

With a little determination, it is definitely possible to exercise regularly and eat clean when traveling. The guidelines listed here will give you a blueprint which you can use to manage and stay on track with your fitness goals.

WORKOUTS ON THE ROAD

A little creativity can go a long way in figuring out ways to get your daily workouts while on the road. Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of what is available to you when you are traveling.

1. Search for gyms in the area before you travel. Once you know your travel destination, you can do an online search of the area to find gyms and fitness centers. In some cases, hotels have very nice fitness centers which are fully equipped with free weights and exercise machines.

2. Try hotel room workouts. It is always possible to create intense workouts in any location by performing body weight exercises, exercises with resistance bands, and mat work. Resistance bands are lightweight and can easily be thrown into a suitcase.

3. Train outdoors. In most cases, you should be able to find a local park or school in which you can perform body weight exercises, plyometrics, calisthenics, stairclimbing, running, etc. You can use park benches or ledges for your workouts as well. Get creative, and keep up the intensity to get your body moving and the blood pumping!

FIT FOODS WHILE TRAVELING

Whether you are a seasoned competitor who is accustomed to following a strict meal plan, someone who wants to adopt healthier eating habits, or battling excess body weight, you may find it very difficult to pass up regular restaurant meals, fast foods, and holiday treats while on the road. The holidays can be especially brutal, since evil culinary temptations abound and threaten to sabotage any efforts at maintaining clean eating habits.

If you aren’t on prep, you can still indulge in small amounts of rich foods which are not considered clean as long as your other foods are healthy and clean. This means that your abs don’t have to hibernate during the holidays. However, if you compete and have competitions coming up, you can’t exactly throw caution to the wind and consume whatever you want. You will need to keep a tight rein on what you consume while traveling, a feat which is challenging, but which can be done.

Here are some tips to keep you in line with clean eating while traveling.

1. Invest in a great food cooler bag. A food cooler bag will enable you to enjoy your trip without having to worry about what you will eat throughout the day.

2. Make sure your meal plan is balanced. Don’t use traveling or the holidays as an excuse to rationalize bad food choices! Eat enough protein each day to keep you feeling full and fed so that hunger pangs are kept at bay, and drink plenty of water.

3. Prep your meals in advance. If you prep your own meals, you will have total control over ingredients, cooking method and portion sizes. Once you have prepared your food, store single serving sizes in individual containers or bags which are easy to pack. Freeze the food you will eat during your trip, and refrigerate the food which you will eat on the day you travel to your destination.

4. Ask the hotel for a refrigerator in your room. In most cases, hotels can supply a refrigerator upon request.

5. Consider a meal prep service. Meal prep services can be a blessing because they take the hassle of having to prep food out of the equation, and they can deliver directly to your destination.

6. Pack emergency fit foods. Non-perishable foods like protein powder, protein bars and nuts can be easily packed into your luggage and will ensure that you have backup food.

7. Consider staying in a room with a kitchenette. You can visit a local market, purchase fresh food, and prepare it in your hotel room.

8. Explore local produce and clean food selections in the area. Most countries tend to consume whole foods, so as long as you avoid sauces, you can often find clean dishes to eat.

9. Consume a small amount of lean protein right before you have a carb cheat. This will slow down digestion so that the carbs aren’t stored as readily.

10. Drink at least eight ounces of water before you indulge in a decadent treat. This will help to fill you up so you consume less food afterward.

11. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. If you have a holiday feast to attend, make sure to eat every 2-1/2 to 3 hours beforehand to ensure that you won’t be ravenous come party time.

12. Don’t cave in to peer pressure. Sometimes family and friends can sabotage clean meal plans by convincing others to eat forbidden foods. If you find yourself in such a situation, you need to ask yourself if it is worth unraveling your healthy eating habits in order to appease a relative or buddy.

Weightlifting And Aerial Arts: A Winning Combo

I am approaching the two year mark for my foray into aerial arts, and not only have I stuck with it, I have stepped up my game by taking classes several times weekly. After taking classes at a local aerial studio (www.PinkPoleParty.org) two to three days per week, I recently increased my frequency to four to five days weekly by adding other studios into the mix. Thanks to Classpass, I now have the opportunity to visit facilities all over the Los Angeles area and take classes with other instructors.

I have learned that my body prefers the rigidity of hardware, like lyra and aerial cube, over software like silks and hammocks, so I now confine my aerial activities to lyra, pole flight (a combination of silks and pole), and aerial cube. I am by no means an expert in any of my aerial activities, and I wish I had the incredible flexibility which I see in other aerialists. Yet I think I do decently well, and my upper body strength serves me well whenever I am up in the air.

I honestly think it’s a good idea to experience other studios and other instructors as a means to infuse variety into the regimen. Though I at times think I must be nuts to inflict such challenges on my poor joints and tendons, the overall physical and mental benefits of aerial movements make it all worthwhile. The conditioning aspects of aerial arts have enhanced the v-taper in my back, and have developed my delts nicely. My abdominal muscles are far stronger than they were before I began taking aerial classes, and I am also enjoying enhanced flexibility, balance and coordination from my airborne pursuits.

Weight training is still, and always will be, a staple for me. I faithfully hit the weights five to six days per week, and cannot imagine ever wavering from that schedule. At this point, I truly feel that weightlifting and aerial pursuits complement each other. Bodybuilding imparts strength, aids in preservation of muscle mass, guards against bone loss, and allows me to go into beast mode, while aerial arts provide an outlet for creative expression, challenge my body to become more elongated and flexible, and increase core strength.

If you are in a rut with weight training, why not consider adding aerial arts to your regimen? They are challenging, inspiring, and fun!

Why The Gym Is Essential For Me

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Though I consider myself blessed to have a full plate, my schedule requires me to move at a frenetic pace every single day, switching gears constantly, and trying to pack as much as I can into each day. My determination, organization and just plain stubbornness usually ensure that every single item on my to-do list gets done, and that certainly includes my workout regimen. I work out five to six days per week, and I also take 1 to 3 aerial classes each week. It’s downright challenging, fitting all of my workouts in, while also attending to my career, family, and personal responsibilities. So why not just abandon the crazy gym schedule? Not a chance!

When I go to the gym, I have a perfect opportunity to recharge my body. I push myself to train harder and heavier with each day, and I love getting to that point where I may question whether I have the energy or strength to complete the entire routine (I always do though). The time I spend in the gym is my personal time, ME time, and allows me to take care of myself without worrying about anyone or anything else in my life during that small pocket of time. It’s like putting the oxygen mask on myself to ensure that I will be able to help others. My daily workouts keep me on a consistent schedule and provide structure to my day.

Another wonderful benefit of training as hard as I do is that I get to beat the aging process. Instead of wishing for a magic pill to keep me young, I rely on regular exercise to do the job. One of the joke statements I often make is that I am aging like a fine wine. What amazes and inspires me is the fact that there are many people in the fitness industry who are doing the very same thing. The population may be aging, but the newer crop of people over 40 who have embraced clean eating and regular resistance training looks better than ever and enjoys better vitality and health than the over 40 crowd from previous decades. It can be quite a guessing game to accurately determine someone’s age by looks alone these days!

What Kind Of Body Do You Want This Summer?

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Summer is almost upon us, which means that more skin-baring outfits will appear, and the pressure to look as good as possible will be greater than ever. So what do you do if you’ve been cozily hiding under a layer of winter storage fat for the last few months or years? There isn’t much time to strip that away, but it definitely IS possible to reveal a trimmer, more toned you for the warmer weather that is right around the corner.

The first and most important thing to do in order to build a body transformation strategy for the summer is to define your goals. Make sure that they fit the SMART criteria: SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT and TIMELY. Let’s look at each aspect more closely.

SPECIFIC: The more specific you are in defining your summer transformation goals, the more likely you are to be successful in reaching them. A good specific goal could be losing body fat.

MEASURABLE: Let’s look more closely at the body fat reduction goal that I mentioned above. What if you set a goal of losing 5% of your body fat? By doing this, you have now made that goal measurable.

ACHIEVABLE: Make sure that you can actually reach the goals you put in front of you. For example, if you have an excessive amount of storage body fat, it would be unreasonable for you to try to lose 15% of body fat by the beginning of July. However, an achievable goal of 5% is much more reasonable and completely attainable.

RELEVANT: The goals you set should match up to your abilities and interests. For example, if you have been a complete couch potato for years, it would not be relevant to your lifestyle or skill set to aim to prep for an Ironman competition by July. A relevant goal that would still enable you to successfully reach a higher level of fitness would be to prep for a 5k walk/run in July.

TIMELY: In the above examples, I mentioned early July as a timeline marker. By setting a target date, you will establish a framework upon which you will build an action plan.

When I perform nutrition and fitness assessments, I always advise my clients and patients to follow the SMART acronym. Another thing I love to suggest is the development of a vision board. A vision board can be as simple as having a photo of a celebrity or other person who has the kind of physique that a client covets. In some cases, the photo may be of the client from earlier, leaner days. In either case, the photo serves as a perfect carrot to chase after. I always suggest placing the photo on a bathroom mirror or a refrigerator door. Another clever and very effective place for an inspiring photo is to use it as a computer or phone wallpaper design.

If you really want to get creative and inspired, you can create a larger vision board, either digitally or via old-school printed photos and inspiring quotes and messages. Just make sure that whatever you create, you believe 100% in what is on the board, and that you can attain it all.

You Know You Are A Die-Hard Competitor When…

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• You eat most of your meals out of plastic containers
• You avoid restaurants because it is too tough to find clean choices
• You will only travel somewhere if there is a gym nearby
• You think vascularity and sweat are sexy
• You gaze longingly at forbidden foods
• You know what a protein bomb is!
• The smell of tanning solution is very familiar to you
• If you are a lady, you know what it means to use a cup in the restroom
• You have a love-hate relationship with asparagus, fish, and/or chicken
• You walk around your house in clear heels and practice posing when showtime approaches
• You know what two-a-days are
• You are accustomed to using dark sheets and towels post-tan

Competitors, can you think of any others you would like to share here?