Traveling and staying fit are often challenging to balance. You have to change your training environment often, and sticking with healthy nutrition is even more difficult. There is also the issue of Jetlag. Even if everything else goes according to plan, Jetlag can be a significant hindrance. Many people find themselves feeling under the weather.
To help you stay on track with your training and improve your work productivity, we have put together this post. Below, we'll go over Jetlag, what it is, and how to minimize its effects.
Ready? Let us dive in.
What is Jetlag, and why does it occur?
In simple terms, Jetlag is a temporary condition where your regular sleeping pattern is disturbed after a long flight.
The body has an internal clock (a circadian rhythm), and it gets used to doing specific things at certain times of the day. Wake up, eat, exercise, work, relax, and go to bed at specific times. When you change several time zones, all of this goes off balance. You find yourself feeling disoriented, tired (yet unable to have a restful sleep), and mostly unproductive.
Typically, Jetlag goes away within a few days as the body has time to adjust to the new time zone.
How to minimize the effects of Jetlag
If you tend to stay in one time zone for no more than a few days, you can easily find yourself feeling jetlagged all the time. That is not fun (and at some point, not even coffee helps to stay awake).
To minimize the effects of Jetlag, you should:
- Get as much rest as you can before traveling.
- Try to adjust to the new time zone before arriving there. Meaning, try to shift your sleep and wake cycle to what it will become once you arrive.
- Try to get some sleep on the plane if you arrive at night or in the early morning.
- Stay well-hydrated before, during, and after your trip. Electrolytes can also help.
While most think Jetlag only occurs 6+ hours difference, they might learn differently. I also had my struggles with only one (1) hour difference. And with this only slight change in time, it is even harder to explain why you are being tired...
Another option to consider might be the help of an app for the preparation. Apps like "Timeshifter" help you to build a personalized approach that takes your sleep pattern, chronotype, flight plan, and a range of personal preferences into account. Overall, there is no one fits all solution - but there are some exciting concepts out.
How to train if you are Jetlagged
While training is inherently stressful for the body, it can be beneficial if you are jetlagged. Specifically, thanks to the release of endorphins, you might feel better for the remainder of the day. Further, it can also make it easier for you to fall asleep and get the much-needed rest.
But, to have productive sessions, you need to avoid pushing yourself too hard. Reduce your regular workout's intensity and volume by 10 to 30 percent and put greater emphasis on good warm-ups, proper form, and the mind-muscle connection. If you are awake early, why not use the "sleepless" time for a morning workout? It might be a fun experience exercising alone in the hotel gym at 5am in morning. Check the opening hours before; not all hotel gyms are operating 24/7. Having some outdoor training can also be beneficial, mainly if the weather permits—for example, an outdoor running session.
And finally, try to train at the same time you usually would. For example, if you live in New York and typically train around 6pm, try to have your workouts at 6pm local time, no matter where you travel to. That way, your body can adjust to the new time zone more quickly.