A 3 day reserve trip with three, 3am wake-up alarms, followed by an early morning yoga fundraiser, and an evening half marathon. A�Ten seconds after you cross the finish line- at 9pm, you get a call from crew schedule. A�The next morning you have 5am airport standby duty. A�Minutes before your (6 hour) standby duty is over, and you are packing up to go home, you get called for a 5 hour turn. A�You get home, crash on the couch only to be awoken by crew schedule an hour later to tell you that you have another 3 day trip the following morning with another 3am wake-up. A�It sounds like a dreadful reoccurring nightmare–
but that, my friends was my week.
On weeks like this, when I am exhausted and mentally drained, ita��s quite easy to throw all of my health and fitness goals out the window. A�The only thing that keeps me focused and in check is my goal. A�When I am training for an intense endurance event while flying, I have to train 10x smarter than normal and it always starts with food.A� A�Just for giggles, I kept a log of what I wanted to eat (but didn’t) in one day of flying based on being overtired and crabby. A�I laughed at the list of impulsive thoughts and cravings ranging from a bag of M&M’s at 5am to a $12.00 slice of chocolate cake “because we get 15% off as crew members…”
I think if I had consumed even 1/3 of the list of junk food on my impulse log, I would probably gone straight back to my hotel room and fallen asleep instead of even thinking of getting a workout or run in. A�Dona��t get me wrong, I do not eat a�?cleana�? 100% of the time, but I try to stay on top of the impulsive exhaustion cravings the best that I can. A�Some days, it is easier than others, and it usually has to do with what level of exhaustion I have hit. A�Besides keeping plenty of fruits, vegetables, and juices in my lunchbox cooler, I tend to keep a lot of protein/carbohydrate snacks to power me through my flights and keep me energized enough to fit in a workout. When my energy levels have dipped down, and I am ready to grab a junk food snack–I follow these steps:
Fight The Food Cravings
1. Rehydrate: A�Drink water. Drink coconut water. Drink a sports drink. Whatever it is, rehydrate! A�When I am feeling like I have lost all energy, I am almost always dehydrated with low potassium, or sodium levels. A�Sometimes people do not recognize their level of dehydration, but the distance runner in me has learned to recognize this feeling well over the years of racing. A�If I tried to run, or get a workout in while dehydrated, I would not be able to accomplish much. Rehydrating always give me a perk-up.
2. Eat a protein/carb snack: A�Some examples below.
– Fruit & cottage cheese
– Hummus and veggies, pretzels, or pita/pita chips
– Apple & Peanut/Almond butter (Jiff Naturals & Jasona��s Almond Butter make great individual packs!)
– Apple & Cheese (Babybel mini, or 1serving of cheese cubes)
– Mini size protein bar (Kind, Cliff, Luna)
– Glass of Chocolate milk
– Swiss oatmeal with nuts
– Turkey cheese rollup
3. Scroll through my workout log. A�I mentioned in a previous blog post that I always bring my training journal with me when I fly. A�I write out my tentative workout plans, inspirations, and even plan out my meals and snacks. (Because I pack so much food, I forget what food I prepped for what without an eating schedule!) It makes it easier for me to stay on track. When I look at past weeks that were successful, I am more motivated to keep up with the hard work.
When I am at home I tend to eat a�?real mealsa�?. A�When I fly, I tend to snack all day instead on protein/carb snacks, fruits, vegetables, salads, greek yogurt, and juices. A�Big meals are too much for my stomach to handle while flying when I plan to also workout. A�I eat the same amount of calories as my a�?off daysa�? of flying, but just roll with a different pattern. A�I continue to munch whenever I get hungry, or feel a dip in energy. A�My saving grace to ward off cravings is to always pack one lower calorie salty/crunchy snack, and one sweet treat for every day that I fly. A�That way, if I have something salty, or chocolaty to look forward to, I will be less tempted by ice cream and cookies (with a much higher calorie/fat/sugar content).
Some of my favorite salty snacks or sweet treats to ward off cravings and not feel too stuffed to work out:Salty:
- SmartPop white popcorn/SkinnyPop popcorn,
- Quaker Oats White Cheddar Rice Cakes
- Chips & salsa
- Trader Joes Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks
- A�Special K Pastry Crisps (100 calories and tastes like a PopTart!)
- 100 Calorie pack of chocolate dipped pretzels
- Chocolate Mint Mini Cliff Builder Bar
- Cliff Mojo Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut
- Luna Mini (Chocolate Peppermint Sitck & Chocolate Dipped Coconut are my favs!)
And finallya��On the days that I know I need some real, hard core assistance, I go to my special endurance fuel. A�I have a sensitive stomach when I workout, so I can only use certain products to fuel a long run or hike that will last an hour or more.
- -Coconut Water
- – Nuun (Pronounced a�?noona�?) is a sugar-free tablet that dissolves in water to give you electrolytes. A�It comes in what feels like a hundred different flavors and is easy going on the stomach and not obnoxiously sweet.
- -Hammer Nutrition HEED Sports Drink a�� A powder mix that dissolves in water that tastes similar to a Gatorade style drink and comes in a variety of flavors.
Next week, I would like to share my personal story of how I make fitness work with health issues; my history of hypothyroidism, an un-diagnosed autoimmune disorder, and post concussion syndrome from a cycling accident. A�Living a fit lifestyle isna��t always easy for me, but ita��s worth it.
As always, feel free to comment below! A�I love your feedback! A�Follow me on Facebook & Instagram for more daily tips!