By Bobby Floyd, COO
Many of us at HHS spend much of our careers traveling. While I enjoy the time I get to visit with my teammates and customers in our accounts around the country, staying healthy while traveling frequently is no easy task. In honor of National Nutrition Month, I’d like to share a few of my favorite tips for staying healthy while traveling. We have many traveling leaders that do a great job at taking care of their bodies using different methods, but these are some of the “hacks” that I use. In the end, staying in shape while on the road all comes down to making good decisions while traveling.
A great tip is to bring your own reusable water bottle that you can fill up once you pass through security at the airport. Water is the absolute best thing to drink when traveling as the high altitudes and dry air can be very dehydrating, and sodas, juices, or alcohol only add to that. Skip the sodas and juices which are high in sugar completely, and moderate your alcohol consumption which can dehydrate you and also disrupt your sleep.
With so few healthy options offered in airports or on planes, bringing your own food is always a wise decision. Apples, berries, nuts, greek yogurt, or trail mix all make for great travel snacks. I don’t snack often, but when I do, I like to eat foods high in healthy fats and protein because they tend to curb my appetite for longer periods of time and provide great energy.
Get some sleep.
Staying on a sleep schedule as best as possible will help you fight jet lag, ward off colds and keep you feeling fresh and energized. Different people require different amounts of sleep to function at a high level, so it’s important to figure out how much time you need to rest, and then plan accordingly. Because hotels can be noisy places, I use an app on my phone that creates white noise to help me sleep at night by drowning out other sounds around me. Also, simple breathing exercises can help get you to REM sleep faster (see tip 7).
Stay away from fast food and processed foods.
The temptation to hit the drive-thru can arise when we’re constantly on the move, but it’s important to be disciplined and avoid fast food. Instead, find a place that has healthy options - I tend to lean towards Japanese restaurants for their steamed veggies, sushi, and grilled proteins, or diners where I can get pasture-raised eggs and smoked salmon or avocado. The good news is that these types of places can be found almost anywhere.
Try morning coffee with grass-fed butter and MCT or coconut oil.
This is a hack I picked up from a book I recommend called The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey. The quality fats from the butter and oil curbs my appetite while providing great mental energy. I bring a hand blender with me on the road to do this - it’s that important for starting my day right.
Make time for exercise.
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, it can be hard to get in your daily exercise. In order to stay on track with your personal goals and keep feeling good, it’s important to fit it in, even if just a small amount. Try walking from terminal to terminal at the airport rather than riding the shuttle, or simply stretching throughout the day to make sure you don’t tighten up after long flights and car rides. When you get back to your hotel, find a local gym (or use the hotel gym) and try doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for short periods of time. 15-20 min a day can have a major impact and there are tons of workouts available online (just Google “HIIT Workouts”). Exercise is something many travelers struggle with because they get behind on emails/phone calls throughout the day and skip the gym to catch-up. My advice is: The e-mails will still be there when you’re done - prioritize time to exercise!
Unwind / Unplug at the end of the day.
E-mails and calls can sometimes go late into the night, but it’s important to disconnect a bit to keep your mind sharp. For some, that means taking their mind off work by speaking or video-chatting with family or loved ones, or watching a movie. A great approach is to try yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises (check out the “Wim Hof Method” on YouTube). It’s good to take your mind off work before bed to relax and start the next day with a fresh mindset.
To learn more about the healthy options provided by our culinary teams in cafeterias around the country, please contact us.
Bobby Floyd is the Chief Operating Officer of HHS.