The following is a guest post from Paul Austin. Enjoy!
It’s another wonderful Monday, and you’re headed to the office. Before grabbing a cup of coffee off the counter, you search wildly for your car keys, unable to recall their last location. After 5 minutes of flustered effort, you finally manage to find them. Unfortunately, you’re now: A) Late to work and B) Stressed out.
Hopping in the car, you suck down your cup of coffee while driving like a coked-out maniac, somehow making it work in record time. Sitting down to begin another week of corporate life, you spot the bowl of M&M’s across the room. “Sheesh,” you think to yourself “if only I wasn’t SO tempted by sweets every time I come to work. Being able to control my environment would make life so much easier!” Thankfully, your willpower “reserves” are still high, so you’re able to resist the temptation you normally give in to.
Fast-forward to lunchtime. Your co-workers want to swing by the nearest fast food place/lunch cafe/restaurant and ask you to come along. Due to a rushed morning, you didn’t pack a lunch. The horror! Since hunger signals are driving you up the wall, you weakly oblige to join your co-workers at the nearest fast food joint.
By time you get back from lunch, your body is screaming in quiet desperation to make sure you never eat the toxins in fast food again.
But at least you got out of your chair and did a bit of walking! And since you’re so swamped at work, you didn’t have another chance all day. Eight hours of sitting does wonders for a back (not). By the end of the day, stand-up desks sound like a gift straight from the heavens.
Thankfully most of your workdays end around 5. At this time, you hop back in the car to get home. You’re so glad to be back in a place of comfort and security where you can finally control all the aspects of wellness in your life.
Pastured meat and fresh vegetables in the fridge? Check.
Cute golden retriever puppy to walk? Check.
No need to set foot in a car for another 12 hours? Check.
Now that you’re home, you can finally live how YOU want to.
Definition of travel
I just described an example of what the average worker goes through while trying to live a healthy lifestyle within a society that emphasizes convenience and sickness.
If you can relate to this story in any way, shape, or form, I have good news.
You have hope!
First, ask yourself if you do any of the following: go to the grocery store, pick up your kids from school, go to zumba class, drive to work, drive to socialize, or leave your house to meet friends at the bar.
Since it’s likely that you do ONE of these things, I now “knight” you an experienced “traveler”.
Sure, you’re not jet-setting across the world to swim with dolphins and take tequila shots, nor are you summiting Mt. Everest or snorkeling the Great Barrier reef. But you’re still away from “home”, aren’t you?
And while you’re away from home, normal everyday things like eating, exercising, and sleeping become a challenge.
Ever try sleeping while driving a car? I hope not!
Or workout while having a drink with friends at the bar? That’d be awkward…
No matter where you go, routines carried out while at “home” are difficult to maintain while on the road.
No more travel trouble
So, now, do me a HUGE favor:
Imagine, if instead of “traveling” for 8 hours, you were “traveling” for a week straight…in another country…where no one knows your language.
Some major issues would present themselves. In order to circumvent these issues, you’d need to learn a few new hints and tricks.
That’s why I’m here. To help guide you through the hassle of staying – primal/paleo/healthy/invincible/whatever you want to call it – while away from home.
Although the following tips are tailored for those travelling across the state/country/globe, they can also be applied to more local “travel”.
Plan: The ONLY way to stay on top of your nutrition while on the road is to plan ahead. It doesn’t matter if you’re going across the state or across the world, planning is critical to setting yourself up for success. When traveling abroad, include a few items in your suitcase to help ease the initial adjustment. Items I recommend include coconut oil, dark chocolate and beef jerky. Check out my definitive guide to Backpacking Nutrition for more ideas.
Be Flexible (to a point): You may have to integrate part of your “20″ of the 80/20 Real Food/Indulgences balance while traveling. Hell, you might even have to go to “25″. That’s OK. Be flexible with yourself, throw out the bread (and any other empty calories), and eat as much Real Food as possible. If nothing else, you can always intermittent fast.
Try New Things: While traveling abroad, you’ll be faced with an array of new options to choose from. Keep your Primal/Paleo/Real Food principles in mind, but branch out and give new dishes a try. One of my favorite dishes in Turkey is Hamsi, which is whole anchovies dusted in corn flour and pan fried in olive oil. Completely Primal/Paleo? No, but still incredibly delicious, and very, very healthy. Part of the reason we travel is to learn by immersing ourselves in new cultures. A culture’s cuisine is an important aspect of learning more about its roots and history. Don’t fret about it – just keep the experience in perspective.
Keep it Simple: Unfortunately, it’s impossible to pack the local YMCA in your suitcase. That’s why traveling is the perfect opportunity to brush up on bodyweight exercises: push-ups, ab planks, body squats, sprints, burpees, pull-ups…the list goes on. The most important part of a workout is not necessarily WHAT you do, but instead, your mindset and WHY you’re working out
Easy does it: Traveling by itself is stressful. Dealing with traffic on the road, hassles in the airport, and all the confusing aspects of a new location is enough by itself. Don’t kill yourself by implementing a complicated exercise routine. Stick to a few sets of push-ups or squats in the morning, and light stretching before bed. Simplifying your fitness routine is a great way to exercise at least a little every day.
Explore: Remember, you’re in a new place! With new sights, people, music, food, and tons of other things! Go out and explore your new location the old fashioned way – by walking. When I traveled around Western Europe a year and a half ago, my buddy and I almost NEVER used the metro system. Instead, we explored each city on foot, day after day, soaking in all the sights at a slow and measureable pace. I returned from that trip in excellent shape! And I only did (maximum) 5 minutes of intentional fitness every day. Get some barefoot shoes (VFF’s, Merrels, Minimus) if you don’t have a pair yet, and set out exploring.
Sleep: Bring four items on the road with you to ensure a peaceful night’s rest anywhere: earplugs, eye mask, supplements, and blue-light blocking glasses. Follow this protocol to sleep on an airplane and/or beat your jet leg into submission: ingest supplements thirty minutes before bedtime while donning stylish blue-blocking glasses; read a book in as dark of an atmosphere as possible; throw in the earplugs and throw on the eye mask, and head to bed. Supplements to consider for sleep are valerian root, magnesium, and, if crossing a number of time zones, melatonin.
Meditate: I meditate in the morning to help nurture a zen-like focus throughout the day. But if I’ve had a tumultous day and have a lot on my mind, I’ll also meditate 5-10 minutes before bedtime. Considering how crazy every day is while traveling, mindfulness meditation before bed will calm your nerves and clear your mind.
Get Outdoors: If you want to make your traveling experience even more “primal”, take a day to explore a local national park or work on a WWOOF farm. As so many health gurus are now talking about (Mark Sisson first comes to mind), reconnecting with nature is critical to living a life of personal wellness.
If you follow all of these suggestions while simply enjoying your time on the road, balancing your personal wellness and traveling excursion won’t be a problem at all.
Readers: How do you stay healthy while on the road? Are there certain tips and tricks you’d recommend for eating, exercising or eliminating stress?
This post is by Paul Austin. Paul writes at Travel ‘n’ Wellness and is devoted to helping and motivating any type of traveler live a Primal/Paleo lifestyle while on the road. Download Paul Austin’s Free e-Guide, Health On-The-Go - a concise and practical guide packed with tips on how to have abundant energy and get more out life while on the road.