It’s the lament of many; how do I maintain my fitness and stick to my routine when I’m travelling? Airport lounges, the endless waiting around, delays, airplane food, unhealthy snacks at conferences, the plentiful pastries over breakfast can scupper our good intentions and break our routine.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. There’s a lot you can do to stay active even in a tiny hotel room, and a bit of planning and preparation can help you stay on track with your nutrition. Here’s some of my top tips for staying healthy and active when you’re away from home.

Here’s some of my top tips for staying healthy and active when you’re away from home.

#1 – get a good workout in before you go

If you have a trip coming up, step up your exercise levels the week before. A long flight can be stressful if you’re antsy and fidgety but if your muscles are happily tired, it can become an opportunity to rest and recover, enjoy a movie or two and do some reading

#2 – have a good healthy meal before you leave the house

This might be the last healthy meal you have for a little while so make it count. Cook something you really enjoy, but that contains plenty of high-quality plant or animal protein combined with healthy fats and lots of vegetables.

#3 – plan your journey from front door to destination

Think about the journey and what snacks you’ll need to pack. A small bag of nuts and seeds, dried fruit or fruit can be packed into small disposable containers, and will provide you with a hit of energy when needed.

#4 – decide what you’ll compromise on and what you won’t

Travelling and eating away from home inevitably requires some compromise. You’ll be offered meals you wouldn’t normally eat, rich foods you might ordinarily avoid, 3 courses where 1 would do, and potentially more alcohol. Make a list of what you’ll allow yourself to have and what you definitely won’t.

#5 – make sure you’ve got healthy options once you arrive

Before you leave or failing that, when you arrive at your destination, google a health food shop or decent store in the area and buy more healthy snacks. You can take these to your meetings instead of the standard biscuits and pastries they provide

#6 – hack your hotel room for a good’s night’s sleep

Check if the curtains are blackout and if not try and minimise the light that comes in. Turn off the TV and clock radio before you sleep. Put a towel under the door to block out the light from the hallway, and move your mobile phone where you can’t reach it. Finally, pack some lavender oil to sprinkle on your pillow.

#7 – plan your exercise routine in advance

Look at your schedule to see where you could fit in a run. Take the stairs instead of lifts or escalators. Stand where you can. Here’s an example of a full body workout that you can do in a small hotel room in under 30 minutes:

  • 20 star jumps and 10 bodyweight squats to warm up
  • 10 press ups into 10 running squats (3-5- sets)
  • Burpees Tabata
  • Squats Tabata
  • Plank Tabata
  • Static stretching to cool-down

leanne spencer

Leanne Spencer

This article first appeared in the November 2016 issue of SE22 magazine.