Olympic Tips for Staying Fit On-the-Go
Anyone who travels a lot knows that maintaining your diet and fitness routine on the road isn't easy. But when you're a pro athlete like hurdler Kellie Wells, slacking off is not an option—especially when there's a lot on the line. After tearing her hamstring in the semi-finals of the 100m hurdles at the 2008 U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials, Wells emerged more determined than ever to chase down her gold-medal dreams.[She finished second at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, securing her spot in London.]So how has the 30-year-old track star managed to stay healthy and get into the best shape of her life leading up to London, despite being on the road eight to nine months out of the year? Wells, 30, shares her easy and practical secrets.
Flying puts you at risk for a host of potential health threats, but Wells has perfected her in-flight routine to guarantee a smooth landing. For starters, stave off dehydration by bringing a water bottle onboard and asking the flight attendant to refill it when you're running low. ("Those little cups of water they hand out just won't cut it," she says.) To minimize swelling and keep your legs fresh, Wells suggests booking an aisle seat so you can get up and stretch your legs often —focusing on calves, quads, and hamstrings. Her other secret weapon: Compression tights. Slip into a pair while in-flight to reduce swelling and improve circulation.
It's easy to forfeit your diet when you're on the road—after all, the mini-bar is stashed with candy, not carrots. Wells' strategy: She'll call the hotel ahead of time to see if her room will have a mini-fridge. On her way in she swings by the nearest grocery store and stocks up on salad fixings like bagged lettuce, shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, and pre-cooked chicken strips so that she always has a healthy lunch on hand. Sans fridge? Load up on things that don't need to be chilled. Our favorite: Instant oatmeal (Wells' go-to breakfast)—use the hot water from the coffee maker—topped with a sliced banana and mixed nuts or almonds.
"You have to be creative with how you work out on the road because there may not always be weight room in the hotel," says Wells, who has done step ups and lunges in stairwells (sometimes strapping on a backpack filled with water bottles to make it harder). "But there's really no excuse to slack on core work since so many great moves—like mountain climbers, inchworms, and planks—can be done right in your hotel room." And after breaking her arm last January, Wells found a new training tool: Resistance bands. "It's some of the toughest stuff I've done," she says. While it worked for her during rehab, it also may be the easiest piece of travel equipment.
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