A Health Lover's Guide to Holiday Travel

1970 Chevrolet Carryall Suburban and Holiday Travel Trailer

As the holidays sneak closer, many of you will find yourselves traveling in the weeks and months to come. You may choose a road trip, ferry, train ride, or as expensive as air fare is these days, you may opt for packing yourself in a box and having a loved one drop you off at your local UPS hub. In all seriousness, travel and vacations are ticking time bombs waiting to ruin your health and fitness program.

Excuses

You may have heard, “Hey, it’s vacation. I never do this” or “Here come the holidays; I’m going to be afraid to weigh myself come New Year’s.” But just as I wrote about in “Taking Control of Your Mornings and Your Weekends,” you have the ability to take control of your vacation, holidays and travel too! Be empowered!

Thanksgiving Dinner Danger

I used to work with a female trainer who told me that she eats salmon and salad every year for Thanksgiving dinner; to which I replied, “huh?” Thanksgiving is, and always has been, my favorite holiday. It is a day in which there is no pressure; no gifts to buy, no cards to give, no flowers… just gratitude and food (or as I like to call it, “grati-food”). Two of my favorite things! I encourage all of you to indulge and eat whatever appeals to you on this magical day. Focus on how blessed you are in every area of your life. Laugh with your friends and family. Eat like there’s no tomorrow.

Balance

I will never say people should not indulge during special times of relaxation – especially when it involves grati-food. The magic ingredient is to contain these indulgences to special occasions. Friday is officially not Thanksgiving. That means stop eating like a starved polar bear. It is far too easy for Thanksgiving indulgence to turn into Thanksgiving, Black Friday, plus weekend indulgence. And at that point you indulged 400% more than you were planning on.

Applying this self-control with the following tips will turn you into a full-fledged Healthy Holiday Ninja (copyright for HHN pending):

  • Bring lumbar support. My derriere has never graced a car or plane seat with good lumbar support. The companies that manufacture these seats obviously employ many fancy designers and absolutely no biomechanists. My articles on low back pain can give you a more in depth view of why your spinal alignment is of the utmost importance. For now, just take my word and invest in a good lumbar support if you take a road trip or travel by plane.
  • Adjust your exercise program. A very common excuse people use to give up on their exercise programs while traveling is that they cannot find the right equipment. They say, “I can’t possibly workout here; they don’t have a glute-ham raise or a donkey calf machine!” If you know you are going to be traveling, ditch the machines and rely on bodyweight exercise and learn to get creative with dumbbells – every hotel gym will have at least a few sets.
  • Ship your supplements. This tip is the golden nugget of the article. If you are flying, every pound you pack can end up costing you. Instead of stuffing your suitcase with protein, vitamins, raspberry ketones, and creatine, plan ahead and mail them. Distribute your powers and pills into serving size bags and ship them to your destination with a Blender Bottle.  A flat rate box from the post office should arrive in two business days, and you can ship a lot of supplements for around $8. I applied this tip with great success this summer when I spent a lot of time in Montana. If you are staying in a hotel, be sure to contact them ahead of time and make sure they will accept a package on your behalf and hold it for you.
  • Work out first. If you can slip away from your crew, try to get a short, intense workout in before eating your giant meal. Many people believe they should exercise after eating to “burn it off,” but it’s much more effective to ramp up your metabolism before eating. Short, intense exercise – HIIT, Tabata, circuit training, etc. – will put your body into a state where you will best utilize all of the amazing nutrients you are about to shovel down your gullet!

Above all, be grateful and cherish all the blessings in your life. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

Originally posted 2013-11-11 15:26:17.

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