Travelling, particularly for athletes, can really mess up your fitness goals. Between the exhaustion from jet lag or bumpy car rides and the lack of a kitchen and pantry stocked with healthy options, your macros can end up falling by the wayside. But there are some ways to help yourself continue to meet your goals, even in the most unideal situations. This article will give you a few tips on how to keep your body properly fueled on the road.
1. Avoid the Snacks
A big pitfall for fitness enthusiasts on the road is the temptation to constantly snack. Whether you’re grabbing a bag of chips at a rest stop, or eating the whole bag of M&Ms in your hotel room, there are hundreds of little ways that you can consistently overshoot your carb and sugar consumption every day of your trip. A day or two of letting go won’t hurt in the long run, but if you’re an athlete trying to stay in shape for a fight, a week of this imbalanced diet will take its toll on your training and condition.
Particularly if you’re weighing in on the road, carbs can be a big problem. Try to pack your own macro-balanced snacks for the road, like some fruit with nut butter, or Greek yogurt with granola. There are even Smart Pantries or connected vending machines now that can find healthier options for you, so look out for those if you’re spending a lot of time in office buildings or fancier hotels.
2. Stock Up on the Good Stuff
If you aren’t able to pack your favorite barrel of protein powder, or if there won’t be anywhere for you to cook your chicken breast with rice, there are a few good things to have with you when you hit the road. While protein and power bars aren’t always a great staple for an every day diet, they can become invaluable for hitting your protein goals on the road. Brands such as Quest bars will also contain plenty of fiber, which will keep your digestion regulated during travel.
Other great things to pack are rice cakes, which can be smothered in peanut butter or protein icing (a combination of sugar-free icing and protein powder) for a tasty and macro balanced snack, canned fish that you can eat on its own or on crackers, and a higher protein jerky. Bring along your favorite hot sauce or some packets of ketchup or mayonnaise, and you can make some pretty good snacks on the go. Make sure to hit the grocery stores once you’ve reached the hotel for fresh foods like lean deli meats, berries, and greens to really keep your nutrition content high.
3. Plan Your Meals
While not everything on a trip can be predictable, there are ways to plan out your days so your meals are balanced and nutritious. For instance, if you have plans to go out with friends one night, you can factor in the food you’ll consume that night into the rest of the day. Even if you’re totally letting go and having that burger with fries, you can still balance the rest of the day to compensate for it. Just make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, and steer clear of the breadsticks. Mindless eating is a fast way to make yourself bloated and feeling too sick to train.
It’s also pretty easy to find nutrition information for chain restaurants in advance. You can have your entire day’s macros planned out before you even start the trip, it just requires a little forethought.
Hitting your macros on the road doesn’t have to mean powering down a scoop of dry protein powder or missing out on the group dinner. Travelling is often the exception to the rule, so a little wiggle room will always be necessary. Just do your best to put thought into what you’re eating every day, and you won’t have to sacrifice your gains.