this tour life

Health and wellness on the road. Why you owe it to yourself.

October 11, 2015
by

After almost two decades of touring I was worn out, unhappy, unmotivated and generally depressed; not to mention the amount of bad habits I perfected along the way– I needed to change. I quit smoking, started training, changed my diet and started taking supplements. I drank more water, got more sleep and invested in me! Here is what I learned from lots and lots of trial and error on the path to create effective and lasting change. 

“Today you’re the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be”.

    – Eleanor Roosevelt

 

The instability of a life on the road can have a profound effect on your overall well-being. It can easily lead to depression, stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, substance abuse and generally poor health. The long travel days and extreme working hours wreak havoc on your health. Let’s not forget to mention the reduced sleep, all the foreign environments and any personal bad habits acquired along the way. Under these conditions we can easily lose track of our personal well-being on tour. All of this stress is making you less resilient and tolerant to your environment, physically AND mentally. You may make yourself the promise that you’ll take care better care of yourself when you get home but your well-being is of daily importance. Focusing on just getting through a leg of the tour while believing there is just not enough time or ability to worry about health is a huge mistake. Time gets away from us and all the bad habits start to add up. They are all cumulative and can take time to reverse. Poor eating and sleeping habits end up negatively shifting our mood and metabolism resulting in extra pounds, lower energy, slower brain function and many other health issues. Let me just say that none of us on a long enough timeline get away with taking poor care of ourselves. Eventually, it all catches up to us .  Why would you not prioritize your health in order to maximize energy, strength, mobility, fit longevity, resilience and cognitive function?

 

When we are young our bodies are more naturally resilient but when we get older we become less resilient and need to pay much more attention to our diet and lifestyle. If we choose not to prioritize our health we will reap all the negative effects of our bad habits over the rest of our life span. There is hope though! This accumulation of damage can be repaired and be slowed down in order to avoid some inevitable consequences.

 

“The Flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long”

– Lao Tzu

SLEEP!

Sleep is very important. Sleep keeps our hormonal levels proper. Sleep allows our bodies to deal with the physical stresses of the day and repair. If you are working hard and training hard you need to reset and recover. Lack of sleep can cause some serious deficiencies and speed up aging. If you want to get rid of fat, boost your immune system and change your body composition, sleep is one of the most important factors in achieving this.

DRINK WATER!

 Water is one of the most essential elements in good health and maintaining lower body fat. Sodas, fruit juices and sports drinks are all pretty useless. Unless you’re an ultra-marathon runner or professional athlete you have no need for them in your diet. The amount of sugar in them is insane! In fact the amount of sugar hidden in most our food and drinks is a huge factor in why we are so unhealthy. Get rid of them, or at least try to limit your intake of sugar packed liquids. Most important of all, you need to stay hydrated in order to function at 100%. We tend to greatly underestimate our water intake.

One way to help keep track of your water intake is using your smartphone with apps such as: plant nanny- which is a fun app to remind you to drink water regularly by keeping your plant alive and growing, in turn tracking you actual drink history.

 

Drinking 16 oz of water first thing in the morning will hydrate you, help you feel more awake and energized (your brain tissue is around 75% water), fire up your metabolism and help your body flush out toxins. 

 

Which leads us to the next important factor in good Health and fitness…

 

STOP EATING CRAP!

 

This is easier said than done. Most of us do not realize what we are actually putting in our bodies and what we don’t know or understand may be killing us slowly. Take a month or even just a week and use an app like, myfitnesspal, to track what you eat. You will probably be shocked at how much crap you actually consume. Being overweight or obese is the result of a few factors; eating lots of foods that do not contain the nutrition your body needs in order to have a properly functioning metabolism, a lack of movement and too many toxins in the body. Eat and drink things without adding all the unnecessary fat, sugar and calorie dense extras. The “healthy” salad you had for lunch quickly becomes not so heathy when drowned in a high calorie dressing. The salad dressing usually has more calories than the whole salad itself! Eliminating all the ways we “dress up” food will lead to a healthier gut all around. Having good bacteria in our gut has been shown to

combat depression

regulate digestion

better process nutrients

eliminate unwanted fat

I cannot stress enough how important what you eat is when it comes to how you feel and how you look. If you’re exercising like crazy but not getting where you want I guarantee it’s probably your diet. Beware of foods like those ‘healthy bars” that are actually loaded with sugar and are not so healthy. Learning to read and understand food labeling and actual serving size will greatly increase your awareness and most likely in turn your overall health.

 

↓Sample Label for Macaroni and Cheese

 

 

Sample label for Macaroni and Cheese

Focus on your diet and by diet I mean the types of food you consume on a routine basis; not the restrictive and unrealistic fads that are typically not that good for you. They may do more harm than good. Learn to give your body what it needs. Carbs and fats are not your enemy they are fuel for your brain and body. Good carbs (i.e. sweet potatoes, brown rice, wheat bread, fruits and vegetables) are an important part of your diet along with the combination of healthy fats (i.e. coconut and olive oil, avocados, nuts, peanut butter) and proteins (i.e. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, meat, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, and quinoa). A strong balance of these is essential in the health of your body and brain. You should also take vitamins as a ‘insurance policy’ for lack of available quality whole foods while on the road. Whole foods should be your priority.  Try to avoid all of the processed foods out there as much as you can because they can cause inflammation in your organs, unwanted fat and are directly related to most chronic illness, fatigue and depression. Changing your diet is not just about eat less empty calories but also eating the right calories of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber in order to raise your overall body function and metabolism.  Eat better, feel better.

TRAIN!

I use this term instead of ‘working out’ because when you train you exercise with goals in mind and a purpose. The human body is amazing and you can train it to do and achieve incredible things. Strength, mobility and lower body fat become such important factors in how we feel and our quality of life the older we get and yet on average we tend to become less active as we age. You’re not just tired or have pains merely because you’re getting old but in conjunction with your level of fitness and overall health. Exercise is the only real fountain of youth. It literally slows down the aging process. The older we get the more precious and valuable or health is to us and yet we tend to put it last on our list of priorities; until maybe we are told by a doctor that if we don’t change our habits we are going to have some major problems ahead. Why get to that point?! Most medications only masks our pain tricking the body and dulling our pain receptors. Exercise releases endorphins and dopamine elevating our mood and motivation. Increasing our resilience to our environment and against gravity. Lean muscle mass increases our metabolism which reduces overall body fat. Exercise also improves bone density and decreases risk of cardiovascular diseases and many more benefits.

 

In the next few weeks I will be getting more specific on all the things I’ve found and tested that you can do to stay healthy on the road with specific training things you can do anywhere, easy ways to eat better, good supplements to take and how to get better sleep when out there on the road. Adapting these lifestyle changes and good habits has given me back a feeling of control over my state of mind, level fitness and ability to deal with the constant flux of this tour life.

 

 

 


Tags: ,

have a comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.

have something you would like to contribute? ↓


→ get in touch