Soaring Through the (Healthy) Skies

Readers, you may have noticed that I travel from time to time.  And by time to time, I mean a lot.  And by a lot, I mean I am averaging about one international trip per month these days (add to that that I already live abroad in Singapore) and I rarely, if ever get sick.

[Funny but notable aside: I actually did get sick last week in Singapore, after three unusual weeks without travel (sore throat and swollen glands; it was harsh but passed in three days with the aid of honey lemon, sleep, and one dose of DayQuil to get through a long workday).]

That being said, I am a really healthy person and I am very lucky to have always been that way – but I’m not without a few tricks up my sleeve for staying healthy when I’m out and about.  Sure, a solid foundation of healthy habits (read: eating decent amounts of vegetables, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly) helps, but here are my strategies for getting through my travels healthfully:

Wash your damn hands.  Seriously guys, this is the #1 thing you can do to combat the most common offenders (cold and flu) and especially when going through airports, where you’re constantly sharing germs between boarding passes, magazines, seats, and who knows what else, it’s a must.

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Pop the herbal remedies.  I am partial to plain ol’ echinacea (although I know others swear by Vitamin C or Emergen-C or Airborne) because for me, it works.  Not only does it help stave off a cold, but it can actually cut down the days of suffering if you already have one, which ain’t too shabby.

Hydrate.  Nothing makes you feel worse than getting off a plane feeling swollen, dry, and lethargic – all of which are symptoms of dehydration.  I like to chug a bottle of water en route to the airport, take the empty bottle through security, then fill it up again and chug as I wait to board.  One final fill-up for the plane and I’m set for the trip (related: skip the sodium-laden airplane food and snack boxes – go for coconut water, fruit, unsalted nuts, and packets of oatmeal for a quick hunger fix).

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Sleep as much as possible.  Got an hour flight?  Zonk out with relaxing music (or noise-canceling headphones, if you’re bougie) and get a solid nap.  Longer flight?  Be “that guy” and do everything in your power to get comfy and steal a snooze, including using a neck pillow, taking a soft blanket, wearing fuzzy socks, and slipping on an eye mask (bonus points if it’s scented with something soothing like chamomile or lavender).  There is no shame in this game, folks, and ye who sleep on planes arrive refreshed – not frazzled.

Know your health care options.  When the best-laid plans to stay healthy go awry (case study: my massive head cold a few years back while flying in for my niece’s 1-year birthday party where I was a surprise guest and had to be “on” among a sea of friends and family members for many hours), always know where and how to find a reputable doctor, no matter where you are.  I love Amino’s “find a doctor” service, where you literally just type in what you have/need (example: bronchitis), fill out a quick bit of information about yourself, and boom – you’re connected to doctors in your area that can help.  It’s a lifesaver!

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As the saying goes, the best offense is a good defense – so make sure to prep yourself for healthy holiday travel this year and spend the holidays feeling great – not sniffling under the mistletoe.

What are your best healthy travel tips?  How do you stay well over the holidays?

Workin’ in a Winter Wonderland

Ok guys, it’s crunch time.  Christmas is next week.  The holidays are here.  And I know everyone is pressed for time, energy, and sanity.

That’s why I’m popping in with a quickie post – to share a quickie workout! – that you can do anywhere you are, without equipment, in just 20 minutes.

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Don’t say I never gave you nothin’, readers.  Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season with friends and family!

What are your favorite indoor exercises?  How do you stay healthy during the festive season?

GOALvember Outcomes & Lessons Learned

Every now and then I will undertake a challenge – 10 Pounds in 10 Days (2013), Whole30 (2014), and this year, ROCKtober and GOALvember.

I don’t think of any of these are “lifestyle changes” or “system reboots” or anything like that, but I do think that in life, we should seek out challenges, and more than that, we should look to better ourselves in whatever small ways, for whatever small reasons.

With that (overly noble) idea in mind, here’s my two-week-delayed review of GOALvember – my pursuit of 10 lifestyle “tweaks” intended to make my day-to-day life better, lose a little weight, and get back to a wellness plan that really works for my life and my goals.  Behold the list:

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#squadgoalz

So what did I learn from trying to make these 10 rules stick?  Well…

“Forcing” workouts is almost a guarantee of not getting them done.  Sure, I exercise near-daily, and I love exercising, so it’s not a chore for me.  But trying to quantify workouts (yoga, Crossfit, running, swimming…) is almost more stressful than helpful.  There are four types of target workouts I like to do (see list above), but I am more satisfied plugging them into my week as I go – and as I can- rather than trying to check off some ambivalent number on a list.  There is room for flexibility!

Positive self-talk works.  And guys, I go overboard.  I look in the mirror and say out loud, “Fierce!”  I take selfies that I never post just to give myself a high five for putting makeup on that day.  I put on dresses that hug the curves of my body and for once don’t focus on the little bit of “extra” that peeks out near my upper arms.  I have been giving myself mental high-fives on a way more regular basis, and I will tell you – I feel better each passing day when I do it.  As they say – fake it till you make it.

Alcohol is not (really) the enemy.  I’m not saying it’s good for you, and I’m sure not saying it’s not a vice in my own life.  But what I am saying is that the days I chose to have a few extra tipples among friends were not the days my weight would stagnate or go up; in fact it was often the opposite.  As a social drinker, I associate a few beers with a bit of fun, and I realize that cutting that channel out of my life (again, for an arbitrary reason) makes me more stressed than just letting loose a bit.  And hey, it’s the holidays, right?  Time to toast under the mistletoe, in my opinion. 😉

Clean eating is always the solution.  Well, what do you know – when I am eating more vegetables (salads included, but not exclusively), skipping the heavy breakfast carbs (read: cereal), and enjoying reasonable and protein-focused portions, I have more energy, I lose weight, and I perform better.  Surprise, surprise.  I have all the tools I need, I just need to remember to wield them.

I am happy to report that I am “off program” for the next couple of weeks – even trainers like to enjoy themselves at the holidays, of course!  I’m excited about what the new year holds – Ragnar Ultra, perhaps a triathlon (!), and who knows what else…2016 is a year of possibility.

What are you looking forward to in the new year?  Any great fitness goals?