October 16, 2018
Whether speaking, attending conferences or racing and competing, I spend about 2-3 weeks out of every single month traveling.
Yet, at the risk of sounding boastful, I tend to keep myself in very good shape, sleep an average of eight hours for each 24-hour cycle, and I only get sick about once every 3-4 years.
While I have many, many techniques, tricks and tactics I use for travel, I figured that in today's quick and snappy article (fittingly enough, written from the back of an Uber on the way to the airport) I thought I'd share with you a few of my more potent travel tips. After all, there is certainly a “dark side to hypermobility” but there are also steps you can take to mitigate the damage.
4 Of My Top Tips To Keep Travel From Destroying Your Body
You’ve done it. You set up your own personal, flawless, tried-and-true morning, afternoon and evening routines. You know when to eat, when to stretch, when to poop, when to exercise, when to meditate, when to journal and when to sit in your lucky chair.
And then a week of travel strikes.
Your entire routine goes to pot as you sit on an airplane during your normal morning walk time, you’re stuck in a hotel that removes you from the habit-forming zone of your familiar office, and when you step into the health club, it’s a completely different scene than your customary gym. You suddenly feel out of control. Sound familiar?
Fact is, as a guy who is traveling for an average of over 180 days a year, I know exactly what you’re experiencing, and I’ve had to figure out how to take my own elaborate rituals and routines “on the road” to allow me to optimize my body and brain and stay sane when I travel. Here are a few of my own personal habits for travel that allow me to effectively “transfer” many of my personal health habits that you can read about here into new environments:
1. I Include 15 Minutes Of “Me-Time” Upon Waking
No matter where I am at in the world, whether the coffeemaker is in the hotel room or the lobby, whether I have to be on stage speaking in an hour or my flight arrived at 3 am the evening prior or it’s snowing, sleeting or sunny outside, I always set the chronograph on my stopwatch to 15 minutes and spend 15 minutes “making my body better”, usually using the same tried-and-true stretch routines I do at home. As a matter of fact, I have a few such routines in my back pocket that I can do anytime, anywhere in the world, including:
-15 minutes of yoga warriors, sun salutations and the type of Kundalini moves I discuss in this podcast.
-15 minutes of the ELDOA stretches I discuss in this podcast, particularly the top three ELDOA moves you can read about/watch in the shownotes for that episode.
-15 minutes foam rolling and deep tissue work, simply choosing specific spots on the body that feel sore or adhesed and giving them brief bouts of tender loving care. The book “Becoming A Supple Leopard” is a very good cookbook to keep handy for this, and you can easily put it onto your Kindle for reference when you travel.
-15 minutes doing arm swings, leg swings and calisthenics such as jumping jacks, mountain climbers and burpees.
-15 minutes of an easy sunshine walk with deep nasal breathing, breath holds and box breathing.
Finally, if 15 minutes are simply too many based on rushing out of the hotel room to a conference or meeting, I'll simply do one round of this quick, 5 minute “Egoscue” routine to open up my shoulders, back and lungs.
2. I Have Airplane “Rules”
Even if I’m jetlagged, tired as hell, or simply don’t want to budge my butt out of my comfy window seat on the plane, I follow specific rules and habits that make every flight for me include a set routine I can rely on. My rules are as follows:
-Every time I use the bathroom on the airplane I perform 20 air squats (butt's gotta touch the toilet seat or it doesn't count!). Clarification: I do these clothed, not buck-ass naked with my pants around my ankles.
-For every hour of flight time, I go to the back of the plane and perform a set toe-to-head stretch routine I know I can do in small spaces without annoying people, specifically: 10 ten calf raises with shoulder shrugs, 10 deep squats, 10 torso twists side-to-side, 10 arm circles in each direction and 10 neck circles.
-For any airplane naps, I use foam earplugs, a very good eye blocking mask (I use Mindfold brand), Sony noise-blocking headphones, the Sleepstream sleep app, a J-hook inflatable travel pillow and 2 packets of FourSigmatic Reishi extract. I’ve trained myself to fall asleep very quickly on airplanes by using these airplane napping tools.
Of course, you can grab even more airplane and jet lag tips from this comprehensive article on sleep.
3. I Replicate My Home Working & Sleeping Environment
When I’m at a hotel or Airbnb, I do as much as I can to replicate my home office environment. For example, using the desk the TV is on, a kitchen counter, or a chair stacked on top of a coffee table, I fashion a standing workstation. I create a dark sleeping environment by fastening the clasps of closet hangers across the window curtains and unplugging everything in the room I don’t use (e.g. the microwave, the TV, the WiFi router, etc.). I sprinkle lavender essential oil on the bed pillows, I set the room to exactly 65 degrees Fahrenheit and I hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the door.
If you really want to take things to the next level, call ahead or call the front desk upon arrival and request them to bring a HEPA air filter and humidifier to your room. Clean, humid, cool air creates a fantastic sleeping environment in your hotel room.
4. I Have A Travel Sleep Kit
I may not be able to take my giant Chilipad, a full body PEMF BioBalance mat, or a fancy near-infrared light setup, with me when I travel, but I do have a minimalist sleep kit that neatly fits into a small, blue silk bag that I place the corner of my laptop messenger bag, namely: a sleep mask, earplugs, lavender essential oil, noise-blocking headphones, a small portable “Flexpulse” PEMF device and typically some type of CBD, such as a CBD vape pen or CBD oil.
Just like a child can stay content and happy when traveling with their lucky teddy bear or precious sleep blankie, I’ve found that these type of specific tools, rituals and habits that I use when I travel keep me sane, well rested and productive.
How about you?
Do you have a set travel routine or little things you take with you when you travel to make life easier and to replicate your healthy home environment?
Do you have questions or comments for me? Leave your thoughts below and I'll reply!
5 thoughts on “4 Of My Top Quick Tips To Keep Travel From Destroying Your Body.”
I just wanted to share some gratitude for your travel tips.
I recently flew from North Carolina to Nepal. A 15 hour flight to Doha, Qatar, 8 hour layover in airport, then 5 more hours to Nepal. Same on the way back but with 17 hour layover.
Thanks to your information I tried the No Jet Lag pills, tons of water on the plane, activated charcoal, melatonin, very little airplane food, 20 squats every bathroom trip and 10 toe touches, ear plugs and eye mask. With a 9 hour time difference, grounded myself when I got to hotel, and no jet lag, like zero. Had a great trip and same success on the way home. Did a quick workout during the layovers each way. Arrived midnight Thursday evening and crushed a CrossFit competition Saturday (poor planning) anyways, thanks for all the tips, it worked well!
We met at Next Health in L.A. I thought you didn’t like wireless headphones? RF near the head, presumably? Any data on the negative effects? What about cell phones? Also you mentioned a set of compression garments that you use when traveling I think on the podcast w Jay Campbell www. Could you detail those? Thanks!
For some things it's a matter of cost vs benefit… Cell phones (not in airplane) emit much more than a bluetooth headset would. Here are a couple cool resources: http://bit.ly/2XzWCOI and http://bit.ly/2XDV4Dl
A few set travel routines for me are immediately finding fresh unique fruits to stock up, def a bookstore and even a second hand bookstore to take in that particular area’s reading culture and most importantly a folding chair for outside. It’s odd sometimes to go “earthing” but throw a chair down, pull out a book and be barefoot? Natural.
Awesome article, Ben!
What are your GO-to travel training tools you always carry with yourself?