Help! I'm Traveling-- How do I Eat Clean and Train Hard?

I don't do much traveling. I enjoy traveling sometimes, but I really enjoy being at home-- having my routine, planning workouts and meals for the week on Sundays. I travel for work only about once a year and go on a few short vacations. So, mostly travel doesn't affect my training. However, I just returned from a four day trip last week, and it really made me consider the challenge it brings to healthy eating and training. So, here's my advice for staying focused while traveling:

  1. Have a plan. Look, you're traveling-- you plan everything else about the trip. Why not plan your eating and exercise? If this is a vacation, it's ok NOT to workout. This summer, while on vacation, I took the entire week off (click here for that post). 
Actually, that's it. Everything that I was going to say falls under "Have a plan." Before you go:
  • Check out the hotel gym or gyms nearby. Check out local parks or map out areas where you can run safely. If you're not familiar with the area, call a local running store to ask about group runs or use social media (facebook groups or forums on to inquire about safe running routes. **NEVER give out specific information on where and when you will be outside alone!** 
  • Pack your gym! If your time or resources mentioned above are limited, pack your workout DVDs. Buy and pack exercise bands-- they can provide some great resistance for training. 
  • Pack your pantry! I took my carry on backpack full of food. Really. I embarrassed myself on this one. I had oatmeal packs, protein powder, a few apples, little packets of Justin's Almond butter, dried green beans, protein bars, almonds, beef jerky, green tea, and stevia packets. A little overkill, but on this trip, someone else planned the itinerary and the transportation. I had no idea ahead of time what and when meals would be. I could have survived the trip if they had locked me in a hotel room with my backpack. 
  • Use your time wisely. On the travel days, I planned workouts at home before and after leaving for the airport. For this trip, mandatory breakfast was at 7am. We were to arrive back at the hotel at 5pm, and depart for dinner at 6:30. I knew that if we were running late at all, a pre-dinner workout would be really short, so I made sure I was up early to run the first day and lift the second day day. As it turns out, all went as planned the first day, so while most of my traveling companions retired to their rooms for a nap or t.v. before dinner, I headed to the hotel gym for a lift. On the second day, we were running behind schedule, but once again instead of sitting in my room and reading, watching t.v. or napping, I hit the gym for some cardio. 
Traveling does not mean that you have to throw your healthy lifestyle out the window. It doesn't mean that you have to be perfect, either. Allow yourself a "cheat meal" or two, but balance that with continuing to train hard. Or take a few rest days, but balance that with clean eating. If you "have your cake and eat it too" you risk a slide back into unhealthy lifestyle patterns, and it's much harder to get yourself back on track.

How about you? What works for you when traveling?


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