How to travel as an world-class athlete
Traveling is stressful in general, but athletes have to deal with heavy gear bags and pre-competition anxiety while squeezed in the middle seat between the huge shoulders blades of their teammates sitting on either side of them
Here are some tips I have gathered from some of my clients:
Choose your seat wisely.
Selecting the window seat could help you get a better, uninterrupted sleep, especially if you are flying long hours. Asking for emergency exits or upgrading your seats to have more legroom could also be a good idea to avoid muscle tightness.
2. Make sure to hydrate correctly.
Have you ever wondered why your nose and mouth are so dry after a flight? Well, the short answer is: air circulation systems.
The plane needs to make sure you have breathable oxygen, and I am not going to get technical right now because you need to start packing soon, but the point is: the air outside a plane at 35,000 feet tends to be extremely dry, with a humidity of only 10-20%, compared to the comfortable level of 30-60% humidity that most people are used to. This tends to reduce the moisture within the body.
‘So should I drink way more water, Andrea?’
NO! You have to find the right balance between getting enough sleep and drinking lots of water on the plane: Nobody wants to spend half their flight waiting in line for the bathroom, I need you to spend that time sleeping. So what you need to do is eat salty snacks and drink your hydration powder before you start your long nap.
3. Never check what you can’t afford to lose.
This one is simple. Thank God that airlines prioritize getting you to your destination safely and not your bags, but unfortunately sometimes that means your bag can get lost. So make sure you have in your carry-on the essential gear for the event.
4. Have a game plan for jet lag.
Once again, stay hydrated. Have I said it enough yet?
Wear light compression socks. Gentle compression can really stimulate circulation in your legs and feet and help you avoid cramping.
Set your watch to your destination’s time zone at least two weeks before the competition. Let your body know what time is supposed to go to sleep, and wake up.
Try to sleep as much as possible on the plane.
5. Pack with you your TSA approved snacks or meals. Some good options to always have with you:
Almond and peanut butter. These are considered liquids, so they have to be packed in a 3.5-ounce Ziploc bag, or get the little individual packs.
Call your hotel to make sure they have a mini-fridge. These will usually be available to you. If you are staying at the Olympic villas you will definitely have one in your room or in a designated common space.
Make snack packs like a little squirrel and to keep a healthy snack option everywhere! Your jacket pockets, your backpack, your luggage. Remember, if you get hungry, especially if there are flight delays it can be very difficult to find good snack options nearby.
Rice cakes and granola bars (the good ones) are ideal snacks for traveling.
Keep your ultima hydration packets in your backpack.
When packing your meals remember to consider certain items like yogurt or hummus are considered liquids, so you will have to pack them separately in a ziplock or resealable bag. For the solid food, you should be good.
6. Enjoy your trip!
Remember you have prepared yourself for this and there is a lot of factors that are out of your control that can go bad, but being prepared for what you can control will make the difference to your successful performance at the event. Have fun and enjoy the experience and memories you are creating.