How trainers stay healthy away from home

Techniques that keep pros fit on the road

Athletes know to pack their sneakers, seek out vegetables, and search for running routes in new cities everywhere they go. But trainers, whose work demands that they retain their high level of fitness, have their own set of tricks for mastering health away from home. Infuse them into your itinerary this holiday season.


“I am vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free, and odds are that the people who I am staying with are not. Therefore, I do my own grocery shopping. I grab some necessities for myself (raw veggies, hummus, a couple of pieces of fruit, nuts, oats, and some sort of bean) so I am able to make my own dishes or substitute some things in the meal that they have prepared.” —Chloé Levray, certified nutrition coach and Tier 3+ trainer at Equinox Glendale in California


Staying healthy when I am traveling for the holidays requires planning. I decide before I travel where I will work out, what days, and for how long. This helps ensure I don’t find myself trying to figure it out in the moment, which can often lead to abandoning exercise. Along with planning, I also make a ‘fall back’ plan—the minimum I need to do for a workout and feel like I am sticking to my goals. For instance, if I originally planned to do a 60-minute run, my fall back would be a 20-minute sprint session. This requires the awareness that perfection is not the goal—just good enough. I use the same tactic with nutrition. Holidays are filled with great food, so I plan for what I will eat, won’t eat, and how much I can eat. Going in to a holiday meal with a plan can help keep you focused on your goal, while allowing for some fun.” —Matthew Berenc, CSCS, the director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute


“I believe in adding stuff before taking it away when it comes to healthy choices. For example, focus more on adding water and vegetables as opposed to taking away the dessert. Relying on small healthy habits can also accelerate your return to routine. For example, maybe it’s just walking every day or doing 10 pushups in the morning. Engaging in one small behavior that has me moving in the right direction is what I’m concerned about—not eating pumpkin pie or candied yams one day of the year.” —Alex Zimmerman, director of Equinox's Tier X program


“I try to keep sleep-wake times the same (even when crossing time zones), work out at the same time of day, and make sure I am mindful of my food intake—both type and timing. Not only does this help me stay healthy while I am away, but it also allows for a more seamless transition to my normal routine when I return home.” —Matt Delaney, a Tier X coach at Equinox Columbus Circle


“This could include prioritizing a daily walk through the area I'm visiting or signing up for a class that I haven't tried before. The creativity enables me to challenge my body outside of the gym as well as spend some quality time with the people I love.” —Sam Rothermel, a group fitness instructor at Equinox’s New York locations

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