Written by Andrew Kmiec.
As a member of the SmartyPants field marketing team, I’ve spent over half of the past year on the road, bringing The Galaxy’s Best Tasting Gummy to events including some of the country’s biggest marathons, the AVP national beach volleyball tour, and even a three-day, women’s-only wilderness adventure extravaganza. In fact, if you’re reading this and sampled SmartyPants at an expo, tournament, or festival, there’s a good chance I handed it to you. So hello, again.
Spending countless hours behind the wheel of the SmartyMobile, cramped into airline seats, and eating dinner at the end of a hotel bar has forced me to learn some important life hacks for traveling and staying healthy while living a life on the bro’d.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
Bring Food from Home
This seems obvious, but one of the pitfalls of grabbing a meal-to-go at the airport, is that your options are severely limited. The easiest way to avoid settling for a $12 wilted Caesar salad, or $9 Big Mac, is to plan ahead before preparing for your hot date with TSA.
As long as the liquid portion of the meal is under 3oz, you can carry food through security. This means you can make something at home or even pick something up before reaching the airport. I generally opt for a healthy wrap or burrito. They pack well and keep me full during a long day of airports, Ubers, rental cars, bicycle taxis, piggyback rides, turtle delays… you never know what life is going to throw at you.
Since I tend to get hangry when I don’t eat, I always keep a stash of my favorite emergency bars, hydration mixes, and SmartyPants On-The-Go travel packs for when I’m starting to feel like I’m transforming into the not-so-incredible Hulk.
Trust me, when the hunger pains strike at 29,000 feet, your stomach – and your wallet – will thank you.
Don’t Lie to Yourself
If you can’t get it together to bring your own food, it’s often tempting to fall prey to the idea that “There’s nothing healthy to eat, so I might as well tuck in to a Roy Rogers special with all the fixins…”or a Cinnabon, Sbbaro, Panda Express or whatever other deliciously bad travel cuisine is within striking distance. But, the fact is, you can usually find something healthy to eat almost anywhere – even if that’s just a bag of nuts, a couple of pieces of fruit, and a bottle of water. That will usually get you by until you can find something that doesn’t come in a box soaked in its own grease. Don’t believe me? Check out: How to Eat Healthy Almost Anywhere.
I never leave home without a water bottle. A lot of airports have water bottle refilling stations now, and, if you can’t find one, I’ve never had a bartender say no to a fill up request. Water is your body’s oil, cleansing out the bad stuff and keeping the good stuff running smooth. Plus, having a bottle with measurement marks will help you keep track of how much you’re drinking. They say you should drink 2/3 of your body weight in ounces of water per day, which would be 120 oz for me (guess my weight?), or 15 glasses. Whew! Not too hard when you consider that just a couple refills of a 32 oz water bottle.
Take a Probiotic
Why? Because between eating strange food, breathing strange air, sharing personal space with strange companions, and running for your life to make those connections, traveling is stressful, and stress takes a toll on your body – especially your gut. We know that 70-80% of the immune system is located in the gut, so it’s important to keep your gut bugs happy. Taking a probiotic ensures those little guys on the front line have adequate backup in case things get tough in the trenches, helping to support your immune system and digestive health – no matter what the road throws at you. While some probiotics are difficult to travel with, because they need to be refrigerated, the probiotic bacteria in SmartyPants Probiotic Complete come in spore form, meaning they’re travel-friendly and don’t need to be refrigerated.
Don’t Skip Your Workout
This one is the hardest –at least for me. After a long day of traveling, it’s easy to succumb to the warmth of pajama pants and room service, but now is the time when it’s even more important to get your muscles moving. Plus, you know how procrastination works: you skip a couple of workouts because you’re traveling, then, when you get back into town, it’s because you’re tired from traveling, and then, the next thing you know, it’s been three weeks and you’ve done nothing but eat pizza.
More and more often, though, I find myself staying at places such as Airbnb’s or boutique hotels with no gym. To remedy this situation, I pack a Trigger Point roller. These rollers are hollow, so they don’t take up a ton of space – you can stuff your undies inside! – plus, the company provides a ton of free instructional content for how to use them effectively on their website. After a stressful day of travel, my routine – gym or no gym – consists of putting on some Coltrane and having a nice roll out session, followed by some vino – bring on the resveratrol!
If nothing else, after a long day of planes, trains, and automobiles – no matter how tired I am – I’ll at least walk to dinner or take a stroll to explore the sites for a little while.
From trying to adjust to different time zones, to trying to get comfy without violating the stranger sitting next to you, travel could quite possibly be the arch nemesis of sleep. But we need sleep. Desperately. Sleep is the time when our bodies get to rejuvenate. So while you may not be able to perfectly maintain your sleep/wake cycles when traveling there are a few things you can do to keep from lying awake all night counting the hours until you can hit up the continental breakfast buffet.
Research shows that magnesium may help relieve insomnia. It also helps muscles relax, to give you that calm, sleepy feeling and help you unwind after a long day – we suggest adding Epsom salts to a nighttime bath or #treatyoself to a massage with magnesium-infused body oil or lotion. What? Any man who doesn’t love a good soak is just lying to himself – it’s cool, guys.
And while you’re in the tub, leave the phone behind and turn off the TV. Screens, including phones, computers, digital watches, e-readers, and televisions emit blue light, or, light with blue wavelengths that can be disruptive at night. According to research, exposure to blue light can cause the brain to stop producing melatonin, a hormone that gives your body the “time to sleep” cue.
Our advice is to minimize exposure to blue light at least an hour before bed. But since we know that you have to ‘Gram those awesome #travel photos before you go to bed, there are several apps for phones and computers that help block the blue.
And, finally, the most obvious of them all…
WASH YOUR HANDS!
Yeah, you better believe I’m washing my hands as often as possible when I’m on the road. And I definitely have a travel size hand sanitizer with me at all times. Though it has not been proven to survive ventilation systems or air circulations, the flu can be contagious at distances of up to 6 feet from even a slight sneeze or cough – so if you’re flying Southwest, avoid sitting next to The Sniffler, and remember – ABW (Always Be Washing).
Posted on February 3, 2017