Do You Make These Health Mistakes On Your Trips?

**opinion-only, not medical advice**


By nixing the food cooler on your trips, healthy food choices are dramatically cut, leaving you at the mercy of what fast food happens to be around.

1.  Relying solely on airport/hotel food

Not having food on hand increases the likelihood of going too long between meals or skipping a meal all together, possibly causing a blood sugar crash. This often leaves you ravenous and sets you up for making poor food choices and overeating at your next meal, increasing total calorie consumption.

Eating a large calorie-dense meal takes a lot of energy to digest and the rest of the body relaxes as a result.  Furthermore, red blood cells are shuttled to the stomach to aid in the digestion process, leaving less for the brain to utilize. The types of food you eat contribute to your blood sugar levels and play an intricate role in your mood, energy levels, alertness and focus.

When eating a balanced diet, you should feel the same after a meal as you do before. Meaning, eat before you are hungry and stop before you are full. There should be no huge dips or spikes. By eating smaller, healthier meals and snacks higher in fiber throughout the day, you decrease your overall calorie consumption, stay more satiated and have more energy!  It is a win-win. Check out our Fit Flyer App for delicious, healthy, quick snack and meal ideas to bring on your next trip!

Photograph provided by Pilot Fitness.

2.  Leaving gym clothes at home

Workout clothes take up little room and a simple pair of minimalist shoes can get you by on the road while easily packed in the side pocket of most roll-a-boards.

We highly recommend fitting in activity/exercise while on work trips. Exercise has many brain boosting effects such as improved memory, accuracy and more efficient task switching. Individuals who exercise regularly preserve and even grow new neurons in the brain leading to more effective brain functioning.

We also encourage working out on your trips as there are fewer distractions allowing you to focus on your workout. There often are no chores, errands or “life’s” responsibilities that get in the way.  Anything counts, even a set of squats or pushups before jumping in the shower is a start!

3.  Hydration complacency 

Do you bring a refillable water bottle to work?  If not, you are most likely behind the curve when it comes to performing at your best.

Did you know that once you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated?  

Proper hydration is key to maintaining energy, healthy digestion and to keep pretty much everything in working order on a cellular level; delivering oxygen and nutrients more efficiently and ridding the body of waste products as well as keeping hormone levels in check.

An easy way to stay on top of proper hydration is by bringing a refillable water bottle and making it a point to drink one or two full bottles a day. This is a great way to stay environmentally responsible while easily keeping track of how much you have imbibed throughout the day.

Tip:  Add a tablespoon or two of chia seeds to your water with a squeeze of lime and a pack of  stevia.   We sometimes add a Vega electrolyte pack or Nuun tab as they have travel-friendly packaging. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to thicken and enjoy. Chia seeds hold about 12 times their weight in water, are full of filling fiber, Omega 3’s, and more antioxidants than blueberries. This is the perfect combination to stay hydrated and get nutrition in at the same time!

Photograph provided by Pilot Fitness.

4. Skipping breakfast

Breakfast is roughly a 10-20 minute meal. Taking the time to eat breakfast can greatly improve your heart health, metabolism (weight loss goals), blood pressure, cholesterol and so much more.

Prolonged periods of fasting, such as skipping breakfast after a night’s sleep, raise levels of cortisol, a hormone released by the body in response to stress. This transllates to 18 to 20 hours without food.

Chronic and long durations of elevated levels of cortisol can leave you more susceptible to disease and is directly linked to fat storage, especially around the abdominal area.

Going sans breakfast can keep the body in a state of stress and continually pumping out cortisol.  Eventually, your brain’s preferred and primary source of energy (glucose) gets depleted, leaving you behind the 8-ball – foggy, lethargic with enhanced room for error.

Photograph provided by Pilot Fitness.

5.  Relying too heavily on caffeine 

We are by no means here to tell you to stop drinking coffee. In fact, it can be beneficial to your health. However, what you put in it and how much you rely on it to stay awake for late night flights can be problematic when it comes to optimal health.

Coffee often gets a bad rap because of the accompanying creams, foams and syrups that are loaded into it, potentially totaling up to a third or more of your recommended daily calories -— in one measly cup o’ joe!

That being said, the type of coffee we are talking about is black coffee filtered with paper (drip or machine).  The paper in the filtering process helps to filter out the cholesterol raising properties of coffee.  Green tea is even better given its additional anti-oxidants.

Finally, caffeine is not a substitute for lack of sleep. While it can improve your alertness, coordination, reaction time, ability to focus etc., it is not a viable substitute for restful sleep and can give you a false sense of confidence.

So, be mindful of how much you have and how late into the day you choose to consume caffeine, as it can disrupt sleep and lead you down a slippery slope. The effects of caffeine can remain in the body for over 8 hours leading to a restless night of sleep. We recommend 1-2 cups and no more. If you are relying on more to get through the day, re-evaluate.  Taking a serious look at your diet (diets deficient in high quality nutrients coming from a variety of whole foods can lead to fatigue). If need be, schedule naps into the day.

6. Neglecting flexibility 

Flexibility is often an overlooked, fundamental building block of health. Some people are more limber and do not need to stretch as much (only tight muscles should be stretched). However, most people who sit for long durations (over 45 minutes at a time) have imbalances that, if left untreated, lead to dysfunctional movement and therefore injury.

Tip:  Foam-rolling tired and tight muscles helps “turn them off,” allowing for more effective stretching. We recommend the Trigger Point Therapy foam roller as it packs easily (check out our “how to pack a better bag” video) and follow our Long Day Roll and Stretch protocol for relieving muscles that generally get overly tight from long days of sitting.

Photograph provided by Pilot Fitness.

7.  Not planning ahead (makes all of the above impossible)

A little planning and forethought can go a long way when it comes to improving your health while saving time and money.

We have more calendars and organizational tools at our disposal than ever before!  By making simple tweaks and adjustments to your daily/weekly routine you will reap the benefits of a healthier, happier life, allowing you the time and energy to tackle anything that comes your way!

So, set a reminder to do one thing — order a re-usable water bottle, foam roller, food cooler, athletic shoes, etc. — and focus on implementing that one thing for 66 days!  This is roughly the average amount of time for an activity to become a habit — and set a reminder 66 days from now to start your next effort.

One thing you can do right now is download our Fit Flyer app to help you plan and prepare healthy meals for your next trip!

SOURCEAero Crew News, June 2017
Previous articlePlansesense, Inc.
Next articlePeach of an Opportunity:
The Pilot Fitness Team is comprised of husband and wife duo Joshua and Lauren Dils. Together, they bring over 20 years of travel and fitness experience to provide you professional guidance to stay fit to fly. Lauren has a bachelor’s degree in Health and Exercise Science from CSU. Lauren holds professional training certificates through NASM for personal training and as a corrective exercise specialist. She works as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor with an emphasis on high intensity training. Additionally, Lauren and Josh have both received their certificates in plant based nutrition through eCornell. Josh is an airline pilot for a major U.S. airline based in SFO. With a background in competitive athletics, Josh won the gold for the North Face Endurance Championships Marathon in 2012 and Lauren took the bronze. Josh also competed in the 50-mile distance as well as full Ironman triathlon, and was an Ironman all-world athlete in 2015. It is the combined experience as airline and health professionals that allow us to truly understand the struggles of airline personnel and how to help you reach your health and lifestyle goals. At, we offer two eCourses: The Pilot Fitness Fundamentals Course and The Seated Exercise Course along with luggage reviews and articles. Pilot Fitness has also launched its flight crew meal-planning app, Fit Flyer to help you plan for healthy eating! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You may also contact us directly at


    • Hi Nathan, we currently do not have a timeline for an Android release. App development is extremely expensive and we are still absorbing the costs of the IOS app development. It is a high priority for us and we hope to have an Android App available soon.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.