Fitness at 30,000 ft: How to feel your best when traveling

Since we’re getting close to the holiday season and many of you will be traveling, I’d like to share some helpful hints for staying fit and healthy while on the road!
I recently went to Japan for some martial arts training. With no time to waste feeling jet lagged, here’s how I stayed sharp physically and mentally with a 16+ hour flight.

1) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I can’t stress this enough. For every hour you’re in the air you lose about 1C water from your body. Combine this with forgetting to drink water on the plane and you’ve got a recipe for dehydration and feeling like garbage.
As soon as I went through airport security I bought 2 of the biggest water bottles I could find and proceeded to drink them throughout the flight (having a little extra right before landing).
I wasn’t shy about scooting past my neighbor to make multiple trips to the restroom. It’s a pain, but worth it to feel great on the first day of your vacation.
Drinking alcohol on the flight will make things worse. Even if it helps you fall asleep, it won’t be a restful sleep.

2) Bring your own food on the flight. Most of what you find in the airport and on the plane is fast food with questionable quality. Take some time the day before you leave to make a few easy to travel with meals. Choose simple, healthy foods that you are accustomed to digesting. There’s nothing like an upset tummy to put a damper on your travels. For this trip I brought a few containers with turkey burger patties, baked sweet potato and raw green beans.

3) Sleeping on the plane. This one can be tricky especially for those of you who have trouble sleeping while flying. There are a few things you can do to stack the deck in your favor.
Have a positive mindset. If you continually repeat “I can’t sleep on planes” you’ll prove yourself correct.
Get some earplugs to help combat the jet engines and crying babies you encounter
Use a sleep mask to block out excess light
Have a pillow or neck pillow handy to make the seats a little more accommodating.
Even if you can’t seem to doze off, close your eyes and try some deep breathing relaxation exercises. This alone with have you feeling more refreshed.

4) Boost brain chemistry. I got this tip here from Charles Poliquin who has plenty of frequent flier miles from lectures around the world. Around landing time have foods that will boost dopamine and acetylcholine. He suggests caviar and macadamia nuts. I opted for beef jerky and nuts (caviar was a bit out of my price range).

5) Exercise as soon as you get to your destination. As soon as I get to my hotel I exercise for about 15-30 min. I don’t know exactly why this works but it feels like I ‘reset’ my nervous system. Here’s what I did in my tiny Tokyo hotel room.
5 sets of 15 reps
Bodyweight squats
Ending with 7 or 8 min stretch

After all of that I showered and felt fantastic the rest of the afternoon! It also helped me adjust to Tokyo time quickly. In short, don’t waste precious vacation days feeling ‘blah’. A little planning will have you feeling fresh as a daisy!

Happy training!

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