Archive for April, 2014

Staying Fit on the Road

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

By Dr. Uche Odiatu, B.A., DMD, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer

woman deciding whether to eat apple or chocolate

Travel, whether it is for business or pleasure, does not necessarily mean throwing all of your hard work in the gym out the window. There are proactive steps that will ensure your trip takes you closer towards your health and fitness goals rather than farther away.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sail.  Explore, dream, discover.”

~Mark Twain

  • Affirm to yourself the importance of staying true to your nutritional goals before you leave. Remind yourself of the hard work and effort you have put into your training. Decide ahead if and when you will allow yourself to have a treat night. This will give you peace of mind and the strength to say no to the free airplane cookies.
  • Call the hotel and find out if they have coffee makers in the room. This will be very new for you. You can use this to prepare hot water for instant oatmeal, which you can easily bring in a Tupperware container (bring your own electric kettle if there is no coffee maker). Pack a plastic bowl and a spoon for easy in-room dining. This will save you time and money in the morning. Mix in some tasty chocolate whey protein powder and/or nuts for a great start to your day!
  • Call ahead and pre-order your airplane meals at the time of booking. You can request meals that are low in fat, kosher, vegetarian, or sodium-free to name a few. The bonus about special ordering is that you are often served before everyone else.
  • Pack healthy snacks in your carry-on luggage. Vegetables, fruit, rice whole wheat pitas, nuts, protein bars, and meal replacement shakes will come in handy if you are delayed. Don’t forget your “shaker bottle” for the protein shakes!
  • Drink plenty of water before you leave and remember to stay hydrated during the trip. A well-hydrated body is less prone to jet lag, headaches, and water retention. Avoid alcohol and coffee on the plane as they both can dehydrate you.
  • Don’t let boredom tempt your taste buds into mindless eating. Bring your laptop, a book, a journal, or a copy of your favourite dental or fitness magazine to keep you occupied. Did you know there are many inspirational books available for your Kindle or Kobo?
  • Hit the grocery store as soon as you arrive at your destination. Stock up on non-perishable food items for your hotel room. Excellent choices are bagels, apples, rice cakes, bananas, nuts, rye bread, tuna, and salmon (buy the cans with the pull-off lids if you forgot a can opener). This idea will save you from the late night “hotel vending- machine munchies”.
  • If you are travelling with people who have free license to eat and drink, ask for their support before you leave. Sharing your goals will get them on your side and will save you from the teasing as you reach for your filtered water and your fifth can of wild salmon or Greek yogurt.
  • Maintain your discipline at restaurants by asking for special food preparations. Ask for grilled or broiled meat, sauces and dressings on the side, egg white only omelettes, and steamed vegetables. Everyone will admire your willpower.
  • Make sure you are well rested on your trip. It is easy to make poor food choices when you are lacking energy. Like Vince Lombardi (famous football coach) said: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

There is more to travelling than wining and dining. Remember to have FUN and to create some lasting memories of your trip. Instead of focussing on food, try different activities, meet new people, and enjoy your surroundings. By keeping your self promises you will increase your focus and strengthen your commitment to your personal health goals. Everyone will be amazed and surprised when you return from your trip in better condition than when you left!


OdiatuDr U.Odiatu DMD is the author of The Miracle of Health and Fit for the LOVE of It! This busy dentist is also an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and a professional member of the American College of Sports  Medicine.