This year, I have been on a world-wide traveling roadshow, full of fun and distant locations all with their share of trials and adventures. As I reflect back on the past 6 months I sometimes wonder how the heck I was able to stay on point with my diet, training, work, and competing.
This year, I have been from one side of the continent to the other! From Sacramento to San Diego, to Puerto Rico, off to Europe, to Halifax then back across the country to Vancouver. It has been a whirlwind experience, not to mention maintaining my full time Calgary police job, training my rock star Team MzFits for their competitions, and buying a new home and moving in the midst of it all! Organized chaos has never seen its master until now!
How did I meet all my obligations, retain my professionalism in my disciplines, and have fun doing all of this in differing and strange locales? Simply stated…
Traveling has to be one of the most challenging endeavors for athletes who depend upon specific nutritional requirements coupled with a grueling training regiment. Even when we think we are prepared, there is always more that can and should be done. FTP (Failing to Plan) is not an option, as success awaits those that are determined and create and execute their plan!
I wanted to share how I managed traveling from Calgary, Alberta, Canada all the way to Puerto Rico, USA for my latest contest. I think a few of my strategies may be useful in the daily regime of anyone who is serious and committed to their fitness.
If you do not prepare for success you will not be successful. Prior to any trip I always use lists to keep me on track. Approximately two weeks out, start a list and continually add to it. Include what you need to pack, what you need to buy, what you need to cook, etc. Place the list in the most conspicuous place so it is a constant reminder. I put mine square on the fridge door so I know I will see it a minimum of 7-10 times a day. As the date approaches, start ensuring you are checking things off your list.
Traveling to Puerto Rico I realized that this was going to take a bit more preparation and planning. To get to Puerto Rico from Calgary is an 11 hour trip, and although it is part of the USA, it is still an island which brings a host of other access issues.
I always ensure that I have enough food packed, measured, and ready to get me from travel day to show day, using the ‘Plus-One’ principle to have food for an extra one day as well. This means I cook up all my food, portion it all out, weigh it out, and label it. I start prepping my food about 5 days prior to my flight and keep the majority in the freezer. I always do a rehearsal trial pack to ensure that all my food will fit handy in my 6 Pack travel bag. I use the Innovator Mini and tend to take out the middle piece in order to fit in more smaller baggies of food items. I always make sure and test pack my 6 Pack a day or two prior to see if I have enough space and how best to utilize the many compartments and zip pockets.
My 6 Pack works as a dual-purpose bag; it’s great as a travel day pack and as my ‘Go-To’ bag for competing since it stores all my food as well as my contest needs. My 6 Pack Bag stays with me back stage during the competition. In truth, it doesn’t leave my side until I have to walk on stage! For Puerto Rico, I had to be a bit more creative as I needed to bring 5 days worth of food with me – that meant roughly 15lbs of protein alone! The best method I have found in packing my 6 Pack Bag is to vacuum seal my food and then freeze it. Vacuum sealing helps keep the size of the portions as small and efficient as possible.
After I have ensured that my food for the week fits into my 6 Pack, I have to make sure I have enough food on hand for the long flight. For this, I utilize my fashionable yet functional black Renee Tote.
The Renee Tote is perfect and can hold all my food needed for the full day of traveling.
My favorite feature about the Renee is that it does not look like your typical lunch cooler bag, so you can be discreet and avoid unwanted attention. Sometimes, however, I enjoy showing the people around me or the flight attendants the cool features of this purse as it always amazes people how much I can fit into it… Mary Poppins has nothing on me! The Renee Tote also fits both above and below the seat and holds my food, iPad, books, and any other items I might need for the flight to keep me preoccupied.
Always bring extra food just in case there are delays or unforeseen stops. Remember, if it can happen plan for it!
Another tip I would like to pass along is that I always call ahead to the hotel I am staying at to make sure that there are grocery stores near by, or at least a microwave or cooking facilities either in my room or accessible, and alternate work out facilities. I ensure that the room has a good sized fridge and if not, a place to store my food once I arrive. In Puerto Rico we had to get creative and be adaptable so food was stored in the 6 Pack Bag with ice packs as well as purchased styrofoam coolers.
One last trick I learned was to go online and search grocery delivery companies in the area that I will be traveling to. Many, I have found, will actually deliver to your hotel at a minimal delivery fee. The last thing you want to do after traveling all day is go find a grocery store to buy a bunch of heavy water you have to lug back to your room. When you use a delivery company, by the time you arrive at your hotel, your water and other dry grocery items are already there waiting for you!
The last thing you want when getting ready for a big competition, whether bodybuilding, figure, track, or any type of event, is to be stressed. Stress will raise your cortisol levels and cause you to hold unneeded water, which is definitely what you do not want leading up to a competition! You have worked far too hard, spent countless hours in the gym, been diligent with your diet, and stayed focused on your goals in making sure that everything in your control is perfect. When I’m preparing, I want to get up on that stage knowing that I perfected everything in my control. Then I can be proud knowing that I’m the best me I can be.
My trip to Puerto Rico was not without its trials and obstacles, but I was able to mitigate most of them with my ability to prepare ahead of time and be adaptable and creative. In the end, it was an amazing trip which has given me some very special memories.
Don’t fail to plan! Arm yourself with the right fitness prep gear, do your homework, make your lists, and prepare for the unexpected. Success is earned and will undoubtedly follow those who plan their route!
Remember… if it was easy, everyone would do it!
This post has been brought to us by Leah Berti, 6 Pack Ambassador, IFBB Pro, city police officer, and personal trainer. What can’t she do?! Leah’s passion for health and fitness shines through in her determined and powerful voice. Read more of her posts on topics ranging from the best hotel workout to a good workout schedule to the best workout earbuds, and follow her on Twitter or Facebook! Get inspired to find the perfect meal management system for your fitness life!Follow Me