Travelling internationally can be challenging at the best of times. What to wear, what to pack, arranging visas, accommodation and flights. The list of things to organise can be endless.
But what it’s like travelling and competing internationally as a professional athlete?
Well take your normal list of things to organise, times it by five, add a splash of mayhem, a dash of “where on earth is my luggage?” and you’re part way there!
Competing overseas is a fantastic experience, but the key to a stress-free trip is always organisation and planning. In a few weeks I will begin my trip to LA, where I will be competing on the WBFF LA ProAm Stage. I am excited and a little nervous! But for me, planning for my travel started weeks ago.
Being a pro-bodybuilder and fitness model means that travel for me is not so straight forward. I travel in the middle of my peak week, which means I can’t just eat airport food.
There are also training sessions to factor in, the ones that have to be done and the ones that can be missed. The effects of long haul flights can also lead to inflammation and joint stiffness, which can be a hassle. Then there’s transporting costumes and outfits – neither of which are the type you can just put in your suit case. And that’s just the travel part done.
Once you land there is food prep and training to consider. Then organising tans, hair, makeup and photo shoots. In essence, you need to be fully prepared, taking most of what you need with you.
So what do you need to think about, take with you and plan for on your trips?
Food: For LA I am going to be travelling at the start of my peak week. It is a decent 20 hours of travelling at least, so I need to take everything I am going to eat with me on the plane. Essentially, you need to plan out how many meals you are going to need and what those meals need to consist of. You also need to factor in that you are likely to be sedentary for most of the trip.
Personally, I love to use the travel packs and products from Bulk Nutrients. Travel packs of Whey Protein Isolate and Protein Oats are easy to eat on-the-go and a great way to hit your macro and calorie goals while in transit.
Clothing: What you wear during your flight can make a big impact on not only how fast you recover from your travel, but your overall performance on stage. I always travel in compression clothing to help with inflammation and swelling. It makes a huge difference.
Rest: This may sound stupid, and yes, you will be sitting a lot, but you need to factor in sleep while you’re on the plane. Have you got a pillow and noise cancelling head phones?
Travelling and not sleeping can be a killer in the few days post international flights and can increase the effects of jet lag. So make sure you have worked out how you’re going to get sleep and stay comfortable while flying.
Hydration: An important part of travelling to compete is staying hydrated. You need to drink sufficient water to keep your body in an optimum state of hydration BUT be cautious to not drink too much. An over consumption of water can actually make you retain more fluid in your limbs post flight.
Post flight recovery: Recovering post flight is incredibly important. When I land I always like to get a massage and take a long walk. I find it helpful in decreasing stiffness and helping my body to acclimatize to wherever I am.
The walk is also a great way to suss out what is near where you are staying. You’re going to need to eat and train eventually, so finding good fresh food markets and gyms is definitely a must!
Travelling and competing overseas can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It can also be an absolute nightmare if you don’t plan and prepare. Being organised and doing a little research before you go can make all the difference.
Four weeks to go and I already have my trip organised, my bags figuratively packed and my Bulk Nutrients supplements on standby. If you travel regularly, we’d love to hear some of your tips!
Stay tuned for another great lesson next week, when Alicia returns with Part Seven of her journey.