I live in a perpetual state of “on-the-go.” I mean, don’t we all?! Yes, I travel a lot, but even when I’m home, I’m all over the place. I run from training to classes to meetings to more training to appointments that all take place in different locations. I basically live out of my car. I’m also active much of my day, so this means that I constantly need to refuel my body well (and not to mention that I also need to shower!). Finding routine in disorder is tricky, but it can absolutely be done. Eating well on the go is also tricky, but these are some of my favorite life-hacks to live your best and keep the bad habits out of the picture:
1) I don’t use the term bad habits. Ha. Or the word “bad” at all as it relates to food. I prefer to leave guilt and loathing out of the equation. Releasing these emotions allows me to really focus on making choices that support my physical needs. Sure, I get cravings. Sure, I eat things other people might label “bad,” but I don’t feel bad about those decisions.
2) I make conscious decisions. See above. I know how certain foods will affect my body and I choose accordingly. Lean protein may be the best decision post-training, but life happens and if I am at wedding and there’s cake, well then, let there be cake! If I know I have an intense training session ahead, maybe I leave the cake for the sake of not having a sugar crash. Or maybe not. But I know that it is a decision that I make consciously.
3) I keep snacks handy. Always. I carry hardboiled eggs with me like it’s my job. For me and how I train, they are the most portable, bang-for-your-buck protein. I boil (usually actually medium boil) a bunch and keep them in my fridge so I can grab a few to throw in my gym bag. I also always have a huge stash of Perfect Bars, nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, etc that gets divided between my house, my backpack/bag and my car. This is just as relevant for travel as it is for day to day.
4) I carry a big reusable water bottle. I find the trickiest thing for me, especially when traveling, is remembering to drink enough water. I have a pretty big reusable water bottle that I carry so that I don’t have to refill it as often. In other words, I’m less likely to drink it all right away and never remember to fill it. Not rocket science, but definitely reality for me.
5) BREAKFAST. I tend to eat the same thing for my first meal almost every day. I also tend to eat two breakfasts: one when I first get up and get ready for my first training and another right after my first training. I try to make the first breakfast require the least amount of thinking as possible. It’s often early, I’m usually really hungry, it needs to be quick and decisions are not my strong suit in those circumstances. The less in-the-moment thinking, the better. This also gives me some routine right from the very first moments of my day so that no matter how chaotic the day becomes, at least I start strong.
6) I know the menus. I do end up eating out a great deal while traveling or out and about during the day. Carrying multiple meals is often unrealistic for me. I know the places around where I tend to work/teach/train so I know what my options for eating out are. I have my go-to choices and I usually stick with those.
Is it a perfect science? No. But neither is life – especially when your day-to-day is hectic. It’s about thinking ahead as much as possible, understanding the choices, and then making the best ones for you at the time.
Shauna Harrison, PhD is a self-proclaimed nerd, hip-hop head, jock, and yogi. Teaching fitness was a side gig for Shauna while she attended Stanford, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins. 20 years, 3 graduate degrees, and multiple brand partnerships later, she is now a full time movement advocate. She is an Under Armour® trainer, TRX® ambassador, creator of Muscle & Flow, #SWEATADAY, and Hip Hop Cycle®, and is also the Creative Director and a Lifestyle Athlete for Zenrez.