Don’t Leave Your Diet at Baggage Claim
n the last Trip Fitness blog post, I talked about Diet Cheat Meals and Re-Feeds. I discussed the benefits of cheat meals and how to successfully implement a proper diet cheat meal or re-feed.
In this blog post, let’s talk a bit about air travel fitness. I recently took a flight from Chicago to Pensacola and recorded some of my thoughts and actions while at the airport and on the flight.
Your Choice… Fight or Flight!
You can choose to fight back to the cravings and temptations, or you can flight from your diet and join the rest of the crowd.
Just remember, what happens at the airport, doesn’t stay at the airport… It follows you home! (That includes crabs…) Kidding of course!
I prefer not to pick up any excess baggage, in the form of a double chin or love handles at the baggage claim!
The most common fitness related problems people run into at the airport are:
- Your typical schedule is disrupted.
- You’re in a captive area surrounded by unhealthy foods.
- You’re probably in a hurry.
- You try to pack as little items as possible for the trip.
- Your barbells and workout equipment are replaced by a suitcase or duffle bag.
These issues can cause huge problems when trying to stay healthy. If you are not careful, you will probably find yourself at the terminal bar snacking on chips and queso, guzzling down your favorite alcoholic drink and having a burger the size of your head with accompanying french fries.
Hurry Up and Wait!
This happens to me extremely often; I rush from one connection to another. Run through the airport, hurdle small children, put a spin move on an old man, only to find out that my connection is delayed… BY THREE HOURS!
The problem with waiting in the airport isn’t actually the waiting, it is everything that surrounds you. When you wait around, you probably get bored. When you get bored, you may decide that you want to eat. When you decide to eat, places like Nathans Hot Dogs, Cinnabon, Starbucks, Airport Bars, and other Fast Food joints are staring you in the face.
Hey, what’s wrong with Starbucks?
Don’t get me wrong, Starbucks is one of my favorite coffee shops, but you have to watch the pastry section carefully. You know that delicious slice of Banana Walnut Bread? 490 Calories, 20g Fat, 75g Carbs, and a measley 7g Protein. Follow that up with a Classic Cinnabon and you add 700 more calories. Those two stops alone just added almost 1200 extra calories to your daily calorie intake!
Steer clear of the White Chocolate Mocha’s of the coffee world (470 calories) and stick with coffee and espresso. My favorite is a Caffe Americano. For a quick snack or meal at Starbucks, their bistro boxes are a fair choice to grab and go.
Make your carry-on bag your mobile kitchen! Pack it full of snacks that won’t go bad during a week long trip. Here is a list of great choices to pack:
- Prepackaged StarKist Tuna
- Almonds or other nut mixes
- Beef Jerky
- Carb friendly meal replacement bars (choose one with at least 20g of protein and low carb content)
- Trail Mix
All of the above items can make it through security with no issues and make a great choice while in-flight.
Reflect back to my prior blog post on Healthy Fast Food Options and make choices similar to those that I have provided. Salads, grilled chicken, green veggies, etc…
Walk it Out!
If you are like me, you are probably lugging around a backpack filled with a laptop, notebooks, iPad, and other goodies. All of which add an additional 20+ pounds. Couple that with a duffle bag filled with clothes, shoes, and underwear, now you have an additional 30+ pounds of excess baggage!
This makes for a great work out opportunity!
I like to make a point to walk at a very fast pace and raise my heart rate. Obviously you don’t want to break a sweat in your traveling clothes, but try to make a point to walk briskly…
- Instead of taking the tram or moving walkway – Walk!
- Instead of taking the elevator or escalator – Climb the manual stairs!
- Instead of taking the shuttle to and from your car – Walk!
Sounds simple, right? It will all add up throughout the day. Walking and taking the stairs will boost your metabolisim and burn some extra calories.
Let’s Get High!
In Flight Tips…
It’s no secret that the airplane air is drier than the “tanning mom’s” leather-like skin. The relative humidity in flight is less than 10 percent, rivaling the Sahara Desert!
Dehydration due to airplane air is a major cause of fatigue. Fatigue gives you reasons to eat. Not usually a good reason…
I would recommend to drink 8 oz of water prior to your flight. I would also drink 12-16 oz of water for every two hours you will be in the air.
If you are going to snack while on the plane, choose one from your carry-on snack pack. If you forgot to bring snacks on the plane, request peanuts for a decent in-flight snack. Pretzles are a fair choice also, but pretzles tend to make me want to drink beer.
Try to pass on the in-flight alcoholic beverages. Beer and alcohol does a great job of dehydrating your body. Remember, the plane is already going to dehydrate you, there isn’t any assistance needed. However, if you are going to have a drink while on the plane, just try to have enough water to offset the dehyrdation.
I do not fly internationally for work, so I reached out to my friend, Adam Hodge. Adam travels internationally often for both business and pleasure. Adam is also the founder of an awesome website called, Sample The Culture. Sample the Culture’s goal is to share their experiences with new cultures with the hopes of providing inspiration, knowledge and appreciation of the differences the world has to offer.
Here’s what Adam said when I asked him about how he tries to maintain fitness and sanity while traveling on long international trips.
“I tried a handful of the leg exercises that a bunch of different sites suggested. Basically leg lifts, neck rolls, calf raises. In the end I really found that if I get up every few hours and do calf exercises while I wait for the bathroom, with maybe a few stretches, it helps the circulation. Otherwise my goal is to go into travel zone. Stay hydrated enough where I don’t have to pee every 10 minutes, but avoid dehydration and keep myself chilled enough to sleep as much as possible.”
Adam also posted a fantastic article at Sample The Culture which you can find on his website Fighting Air Sickness and Nausea on Long Flights. Check it out!
Keep Fit In-Flight
All in all, you can easily maintain your fitness while traveling by plane. Follow the guidelines I have provided here and you won’t have to bring home excess baggage with your travel baggage when you return home.
Until next time, stay fit my friends…
Please feel free to Contact Me if you have any questions at all!
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