Happy Thursday everyone!
This week, I’m traveling with my good friend Liam Cavanagh (@cavanagh42 on IG) to Manchester, New Hampshire to do a talk on student-athlete mental wellbeing at Southern New Hampshire University. For those of you interested in learning more about my (and Liam’s) work in the mental health community, head over to our website at www.nguradio.org for more information and to check out our podcasts, educational materials, and more. I really enjoy giving these talks to collegiate student-athletes because I remember what it was felt like to be in their shoes- excited, scared, anxious, and motivated all at the same time. There’s just so much to balance and a lot of student-athletes struggle to fit it all in to a 24-hour period. School, work-outs, relationships, social life, and family obligations can make the experience very stressful and without proper support, a lot of athletes suffer from mental health issues at one point or another. Add to this the undeniable stigma associated with mental health disorders and serious issues arise. So, when I get the chance to return to campuses and speak to athletes about the importance of maintaining balance, managing their time, and committing to their physical and mental health, it’s a really cool opportunity for me to do my part in ending this stigma and letting the athletes know that it’s okay to not be okay.
While the talks and experience is amazing, I am not a great traveler. It’s hard to eat healthy, maintain a fitness regimen, and stay in my normal day-to-day routine. That leads me to today’s topic for discussion- how can we maintain our health and fitness on the road? A few years ago, I had no idea. Luckily, I’ve gotten into a good routine since and now enjoy traveling much more. I’ve outlined some of the simple tips and tricks that I’ve found useful below and I hope you find them helpful!
Snacks- This is a big one as obtaining healthy meals can be difficult. Here are some go-to items of mine:
Almond Butter Packets- good source of high-quality, energy dense fats. Offers a mild amount of protein.
Hard-boiled eggs- probably my biggest go-to item. Great to have at hotels when you are trying to avoid hotel eggs (anyone smell rubber?!). High in protein, choline, and essential fatty acids.
Raw nuts- pistachios are my favorite, but I also travel with walnuts and pecans.
Epic Meat Bars- these things are awesome! I’m a big fan of the bison bar with bacon and cranberries. Also, I’ve seen these at airports, which is helpful for those of you who are flying.
Forager yogurt- I’ll take a few plain yogurts, grab some walnuts from the hotel breakfast bar and have a simple, healthy breakfast.
Protein powder single packs- easy for an on-the-go protein source.
Choosing Where to Eat- This can be challenging. The longer the trip, the harder this is, here’s my advice:
Depending on the length of the trip, research 1-2 restaurants that fit your needs and make reservations in advance.
Prep some items to store in the hotel fridge for easy lunches, breakfasts, etc. My go-to’s are grilled chicken or steak, hard-boiled eggs, and avocados.
If you don’t have time to meal-prep, research local health-food stores that may have healthier options. Just beware here because often times hot food bars contain suspicious ingredients.
**The key to this is planning beforehand. People make mistakes when they are forced to scramble.
Fitness- Let’s be clear, I am a firm believer that your body is all you need to get a good workout. The hotel gym offers all you need for the most part. Don't believe me? Hit a few rounds of dumbbell thrusters, pushups, and sprint intervals and you’ll be surprised. However, for those of you (like myself) who enjoy trying new gyms, here’s some things to look for and keep in mind:
Search gyms that offer a free first class- who doesn't like to save? This is most often the case at cycling and yoga studios.
If looking for a CrossFit box, do your research- not all gyms are created equal. Go to a facility with good coaches and programming.
Look for facilities with attractive environments- my favorite aspect of trying to gyms is meeting new people. There’s no point in paying for a class or session at a dark, cold, unfriendly gym.
I hope this information proves useful during your travels. Do you have any items that you find essential to maintaining your health and fitness on the road?