As someone who travels overseas regularly for work, I know how tough it can be to stay healthy on the road. Generally speaking there’s only a limited amount of healthy goodness you can smuggle out of the country. Taping chicken breasts to your body is usually a signal things have gone too far, and trying to conceal a jar of coconut oil is only going to cause further embarrassment when it comes to the strip search.
When I’m away with work, I always do my research before I travel. For me the hotel has to have a gym that has weights. I’ve been stung a few times by hotels who advertise a fitness centre as an amenity only to be greeted by a store cupboard with an 80’s treadmill or bike. I always use the gym in the morning as it’s a lot easier to get up an hour earlier than get motivated when you’re back in your room after a long day. As soon as your butt hits the bed, it’s game over. Room service please!
If you’re not self catering, then you’re bound to be eating out or at the hotel. My days are often spent locked in meetings or travelling across an unfamiliar city, so breakfast is a time to get my fill. It’s usually my biggest meal of the day when I’m away as it’s post workout, and often I’m not sure when I’ll next get to eat.
Often I’ll ask for restaurant recommendations from staff at the hotel, as tracking down a decent restaurant can be tricky, but if all else fails, just head to a chain you’re familiar with…as long as it’s not a Maccy D’s or KFC of course. Once you’re in a restaurant, become nosey like me and people watch – or more accurately, plate-watch (good name for a TV show, and gets in on the ‘watch craze…Baywatch, Crimewatch, Autumnwatch, The Lion, the Watch, and the Wardrobe etc). It’s a good chance to scout out what the food looks like and what the portion sizes are like too.
A hugely important thing to do is to stay hydrated. I always head to a supermarket early on and stockpile water like there’s a nuclear holocaust. Then around town I grab water whenever I can. The supermarket trip is a chance to grab snacks too. My go to snacks are nuts, always easy to find, and I’ll try and get some fat free Greek yoghurt to stick in the fridge in the room. As a last resort, a head to a sports nutrition shop or pharmacy and pick up a protein bar.
Largely a lot of it comes down to willpower. I don’t blame anyone for going big on a hotel buffet, it can be hard not to when you’re surrounded by an embarrassment of food riches, and I’m guilty of doing it. But if you’re motivated to achieve a certain goal whether it be weight or body composition then the chances are you’ll need to skip that dessert at breakfast.
Howwwwwwever, with all that said, it’s important not to take travel for granted. You might ever only go somewhere once, so there’s no shame in trying as many local delicacies as possible. What’s that? My favourite? It’s Oum Ali if you’re asking.