As featured in the April 2014 issue of BossFit Magazine.
Whether your job has you on-the-go weekly or on a more occasional basis, life on the road can be stressful.
Chronically high stress can lead to catecholamine resistance and catecholamines are one of two major fat-burning gas pedals of the metabolism. And so while stress may not have calories, its effects have been clearly established as a detriment to our fat loss efforts.
My Top 5 tips for healthy travel:
- Move early. With work to do, flights to catch and dinner meetings running late, your end time is unknown. Instead, set your alarm 30-minutes early and get moving! Take advantage of hotel amenities and get a quick lift in at the gym or a leisure walk on the treadmill. Or, complete a 20-minute bodyweight circuit in the comfort of your own room. If you find yourself in a pedestrian-friendly city, walk to a local coffee shop for your morning cup.
- Stay hydrated. Not only does it keep us hydrated, but water helps balance our fluids and prevents feelings of hunger between meals. Sodium and alcohol cause water retention and dining out, our intake of both is likely to be higher than at home. But the more [water] we drink, the more we shed. Be intentional. The pipeline of coffee being dripped into conference rooms doesn’t help either due to the mild diuretic effects of caffeine. Alternate with water every other cup. A workaround to airport security? Carry a reusable bottle with you and refill on the other side.
- Prioritize protein. The most filling of the macronutrients, protein has little impact on fat storing hormones and can help speed the metabolism. Its slow digestion helps to control cravings and balance blood sugar, preventing insulin spikes that can lead to fat storage. Comprised of amino acids, protein spares lean muscle so that the body burns fat for energy. It, too, can be used by the body for energy. Muscle is a major determinant of basal metabolic rate, which accounts for over two-thirds of calories burned at rest, and so maintaining it results in less rebound weight gain. Aim for protein at every meal.
- Be prepared. Time-permitting, prep travel-friendly snacks at home. Alternately, stock up upon your arrival using the Metabolic Effect Label Rule for anything with a label: total carbohydrate – fiber – sugar alcohols – protein should be <10, negative numbers are best. A few of my favorites? Protein bars, almonds, fruit, jerky, protein powder and sugar-free gum. If you have access to a mini-fridge, veggies, hard-boiled eggs, pre-cooked chicken breasts and plain Greek yogurt are quick and easy. Have something with youat all times. Do not resort to the hotel mini-bar: the in-room vending convenience that is anything but for your wallet and waistline. Hit up room service, or a hotel restaurant.
- The breakfast buffet (trap). Choose fat over carbohydrate, but not both. The combination is an atomic bomb for fat storage. Think egg white omelet with fibrous veggies and breakfast meat, or a serving of oatmeal with scrambled egg whites or protein powder. Prioritizing a protein-packed breakfast keeps hunger, energy and cravings balanced, which will set you up for success by enabling you to make better choices throughout the day.
What’s your biggest obstacle to staying healthy on the road? Let me know in the comments below!