Face it, some of us simply can’t be stuck behind a desk all day long in a tiny cubicle staring at a computer monitor until our eyes cross. For those of you who are on the road majority of the year, I feel for you and I understand the stresses that come along with it.
Besides the obvious stress of being away from home and your loved ones, you have to deal with traffic for 8+ hours a day, deal with changing weather conditions during those hours, find a place to sleep each night based on the area you are working, and the topic of this article – proper nutrition while working out of your car.
I’ve been in the fitness industry for quite some time now, but have only been a true “road warrior” for a little over a year. Traveling isn’t as bad as people make it out to be – you get to see new places, sight-see while traveling, and meet a lot of new people. The fork in the road comes when it’s time to eat. Most people grab something quick from a fast food restaurant – hence why a good portion of the US is overweight. If you don’t plan out each meal ahead of time you are setting yourself up for disaster. Consider this article your map to find your way to a healthy body even when you feel like you took a couple wrong turns on the way.
Let’s start off with the essentials. You need to grocery shop, and do it often. You should try and find a hotel that has a room with a refrigerator, freezer, oven, stove, and microwave. Personally, I enjoy staying at the Residence Inn (a Marriott property) if possible. They offer a full kitchen with a nice office/desk area to get work done (perfect for writing these articles). Find the closest grocery store once you get to the hotel. If they have a “bonus card” or something similar that offers you savings, sign up for one-majority of them are free. More than likely during your travels you will run into another one of these grocery stores and the savings will definitely add up even after your first visit.
Fresh whole foods are always the way to go over supplements when you are able to fit them in. Protein shakes and bars are perfect for when you are in a pinch or want something quick between meals but you should still strive for at least 5 whole food meals during the day. If you want to fit in an extra 1-2 meals that consist of protein bars or shakes that will do. When grocery shopping try to pick up as much fresh food as you can. Remember, if you have a hotel room with a fridge, you can store these foods for the next day if you are there for more than one night.
If you only stay there for one night you can buy just enough for that day/night and then grocery shop again the following day. Or, you can use a portable mini fridge/warmer. I personally have a Coleman car fridge which doubles as a warmer as well. I’m not telling you Coleman is the only way to go, but this is the one I purchased and I have no complaints. I am able to store my food in there that needs to be kept cold or I can set it to keep foods warm which I prepared that morning or the night before. This allows me to grab hot whole food meals while on the road and avoid fast food all together. If you are staying at a hotel which doesn’t have an oven or stove, I highly recommend purchasing something like a George Foreman Grill so you can prepare your chicken/fish/beef products.
Below you will find a list of great food options when you are grocery shopping:
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
- Tuna (Water Packed)
- Fish (Salmon, Sea Bass, Halibut)
- Extra Lean Ground Beef (92-96%)
- Protein Powder
- Egg Whites or Eggs
- Rib-eye Steaks or Roast
- Top Round Steaks or Roast
- Top Sirloin
- Beef Tenderloin
- Top Loin (NY Strip Steak)
- Flank Steak
- Eye of Round
- Turkey (Fresh meat, not deli cuts.)
- Sweet Potatoes or Yams
- Beans (Pinto, Black, Kidney)
- Oat Bran Cereal
- Brown Rice
Vegetables & Fruit
- Lettuce (Green Leaf, Red, Romaine)
- String Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Brussels Sprouts
- Fruit (If acceptable on diet
- Lemons or Limes
Healthy Fats & Dairy
- Natural Style Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
- Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Almond Oil, Flaxseed OilPeanuts, Almonds, Walnut
- Fatty coldwater fish (Mackerel, Salmon, Bluefish, Mullet, Sablefish)
- More fish (Menhaden, Anchovy, Herring, Lake Trout, Sardines, Tuna)
- Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
- Low or Non-Fat Milk
In terms of hydration, I am a huge fan of water. No matter where I am I carry a gallon jug of water. I highly recommend that you do the same thing every day. Not only is water the best option in terms of what to drink in order to stay hydrated, but it is also free of calories, sugars, and carbohydrates. Also, by using a gallon jug it allows you to monitor your water intake each day. You want to strive for at least a gallon a day. I will say this, when on the road and drinking a gallon of water, be prepared to make some extra bathroom breaks
After a few weeks of being on the road and utilizing some of the things in this article, you will find yourself settling into your own routine and how to stay on track nutritionally while on the road. The key thing to remember is to plan ahead. If you don’t plan ahead, then you are planning for failure.
Author: Matt Weik