WHETHER FOR work or play, traveling shifts your day to day. This is the point, of course—to put you in proximity to different people and places, perhaps even to abundant sunlight and frozen beverages. But these changes can have costs beyond your plane ticket. Many struggle to get sufficient sleep and enough exercise when home, nevermind remembering to apply moisturizer. When you don’t have access to your own bed, gym and products, true wellness can be even harder to achieve.
Fitness professionals, who run half marathons for fun and can bench double their weight, are not immune to these disruptions. As a salve, most have go-to equipment, gadgets and apps they don’t leave home without. Here, several recommended to us by experts, all of which can easily fit in your carry-on bag.
High Impact, No Weight
Thea Hughes, a strength and lifestyle coach and owner of Max Effort Studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., relies on compact Perform Better Mini Resistance Bands (from $2.50). Great for strength training and stretching, they are all you need to get a complete workout in, she said. Vary the difficulty of your exercises by varying the length of time you maintain tension—the slower the release, the more effective. She took a family pack to a wedding in Hawaii and easily got everyone in the adjoining Airbnbs involved. “I still remember the groom running across the field from the main house on his wedding day yelling, ‘You’ve started the workout without me!’” she said.
A Bag of Relief Tricks
When fitness trainer, meditation instructor and actress Tara Nicolas makes cross-country day trips for work, she must go straight from the runway to set. She always packs her MELT Method Balls ($50) to manage the stress on her body. “Traveling via plane really dehydrates me, so I tend to feel stiff and all-around weird,” she said. The set of eight different-sized latex-free massage balls come neatly packed in a drawstring bag, easier to pack than a foam roller, with an instruction guide.
David Jou, co-founder of MOTIVNY, a Manhattan fitness and physical therapy studio, depends on his light, low-profile Coros Pace 2 watch ($200) when away from home. The fitness tracker is well-regarded among athletes (marathon world-record-holder Eliud Kipchoge wears one) and boasts a 20-day battery life. “I never worry about it dying on me,” Mr. Jou said. He has used it both during a 50K trail race in Arches National Park and a trip to Barcelona with his wife. “We toured the neighborhoods, explored the sights, and ran from meal to meal,” he said. The Coros didn’t miss a beat.
Block It All Out
To find serenity in less-than-peaceful settings, Angelo Grinceri makes sure he pops Mack’s Silicone Putty Earplugs (from $3.50) in his carry-on. A few years ago, the fitness coach and founder of Angels Wellness in New York City boarded a flight to speak at a conference. He had planned to spend the flight finishing his presentation, but found himself sandwiched between two crying babies. “Just as I was about to panic, boom. I remembered I had packed Mack’s with me,” he said. The plugs gave him the quiet he needed to focus and finish his slides before he landed. Crisis averted.
Our skin is the body’s protective barrier. Keeping it hydrated in the dry air of cars, airports and hotel rooms helps it do its job. Sarah Levey, the Austin, Texas-based CEO and founder of yoga studio Y7, swears by Egyptian Magic ($26). This all-purpose moisturizer is made from natural ingredients including olive oil, beeswax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly and bee propolis. “I can use it as a moisturizer for my body, lip balm, for any cuts or scrapes,” said Ms. Levey. “I’m a cuticle biter—gross, I know—but this helps with the healing.”
Thai Richards, founder of running community Rage & Release in Brooklyn, says we often wait for our muscles to ache, completely missing the mark on preventive care. That is why, whether he’s traveling to California for an ultramarathon or vacationing in Jamaica, he always keeps the 1.5 pound Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2 Massage Gun ($129) packed in his suitcase. “Having portable relief is a game changer. It’s comforting knowing I can independently care for myself,” he said.
A Social Map App
Emeka Obi, senior director of creative strategy at Equinox, says Strava (Free) is his must-use app when he’s out of town. You can use the iOS and Android app to track your route, heart rate, speed, distance and elevation change while on runs, bike rides, hikes and walks, then share those details with your friends on the app. Users can create their own routes or get suggestions on the app when in unfamiliar places. (Privacy features let you, for instance, hide your starting and ending points.)
Mr. Obi has used it while on a wedding-party group run in Oaxaca, Mexico and while getting a little lost in Stockholm Forest. He finds it motivating that his friends on the app can see where he’s running, no matter where his travels take him. “The grind doesn’t stop just because you hopped on a plane.”
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