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Six Ways to Fuel Well While Traveling

Tailoring your nutrition can be challenging enough when you have complete control of what’s in your plan. Whether the goal is improving performance or hitting a weight goal for the sake of performance, it’s nice to hone in on specific needs you have.

Travel significantly complicates that. To the point that I’ve seen most people mumble ‘why bother?!’ when they know they’re about to hit the road for a trip.

While it can make things more challenging, it’s not impossible. There are six very simple strategies ANYONE can execute to ensure they’re on take and on target with nutrition and their goals.

  1. Download our two free guides (linked here). These are designed to not only give you go-to options on the road, but to also lay out a theme of WHAT to order and bring with you when hitting the road.

  2. Consider going light early in the mornings to make room for larger meals with folks you’re traveling with later in the day…or vice-versa.

  3. Pack some staples.

  4. Find the local grocery store and make it your first stop.

Bonus tip: remember the goal isn’t to induce anxiety in trying to be perfect. It’s to have a big picture goal and strive for progress over perfection.

For those interested in a deeper dive into the topics, you can see where I expounded on each bullet point below.

For those interested in the basics- I hope these are a handful of nuggets to get you pointed in the right direction.

For ALL of us- it’s good to remember that though travel can add a layer of complexity, it doesn’t mean we have to give up the goal or desire we’ve got to see our performance improve. A few simple strategies can ensure our performance says up no matter where we’re at in the world.

Diving Deeper

Go light on earlier meals: This is generally easier than skipping later meals. We’re generally busy/in meetings in the morning, so don’t notice a bunch of hunger. By “banking” earlier calories, it creates room for more calories when eating out with clients/colleagues later on that evening. I’ll generally have something like a piece of fruit, boiled eggs, or a Greek yogurt with coffee in the morning in a scenarios like this (vs a full on breakfast).

Staples to take with you: Below is a list of 5-6 staples I always take with me. The guides linked above have a more comprehensive list.

  1. Mixed nuts/almonds.

  2. RX Bars (one of the best protein bars without a load of calories from other nutrients. I also don’t like candy bar flavor of most “protein bars”, so this fits the bill well).

  3. Packets of tuna and crackers.

  4. Cheesesticks

  5. Apples and oranges.

  6. Bags of jerky.

  7. Bags of oats with protein powder (for the hotel room).

By doing this, you know there’s always something to lean on that’s easy to track. You’re not left having to rely on (insert less than ideal option). It’s not like the latter can’t work if it’s the hand you’re dealt, but it may not be filling, etc.

Find a grocery store or gas station: Assuming you have a fridge and/or microwave, you can get a number of options here. But, even without those things, there’s a spot to restock the staples when you start running low. If I do have access to a fridge/microwave, I’ll generally pick up some bags of steamable rice, crackers, cheese, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, rotisserie chicken, etc. to have one hand for most of my meals.

It’s not that you have to eat here every night, but it may mean you can rely less on restaurants.

Choose the basics: If you are stuck eating out a ton, the more basic the meal choices from a menu, the easier to track, and closer to calories you’ll be. If this is true, there’s zero need to worry about progress- it’ll come. Guaranteed. Examples of this are things like steak, baked potato, and a salad vs chicken finger basket, ribs, and loaded potatoes. Any of that CAN fit, but it’ll be tougher to track the latter- making the kcal count very likely off and reduce chance of progress.

Use your tools: MFP, as stupid as it may be, will at the very least keep us where we’re at vs going backwards. No, you don’t have to take a scale to the restaurant, but most folks who have spent some time formally measuring food can look at a portion and know if we’re lying to ourselves or not when we estimate a portion size. The more you lean on these, the less ground you’ll have to make up when home again.

Progress > perfection and imperfect action. Traveling makes it tough, period. Don’t stress if the potatoes are 120kcal or 150kcal or if the shrimp was large or medium count- just try and move on with your life. Simply having a plan guarantees you better success than walking into it blind.

Be active- Finally, as much as you’re able- be active. Even if it’s walking. Something is going to be better than nothing at all. Remember, our targets (and your progress) have been based on activity too. We could lower the intake goal for the weeks you’re gone if you plan for this to be down, but I fear that’ll make it tough to stick to while working, etc.


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