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Nutrition Guide for Traveling Athletes

by dietitian Clare Wood

Traveling away from home can be a challenge to anyone. If you are an athlete, there is an extra challenge of finding the appropriate foods to eat when nothing is familiar. Being out of your normal routine can compromise your nutritional status and lead to fatigue and poor performance while traveling. The aim is to try and stick closely to what you normally do when you are at home. To allow for this to happen you need to plan and prepare things before you actually leave the country. See specific information about traveling to England, Greece, Mexico, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, China and Japan.

The Plane Trip

Humidity on a plane is very low and fluids are not always offered regularly. All of this can be lead to dehydration, so:

Inactivity on a long trip means your energy requirements are slightly lower when traveling, so avoid eating just for the sake of it.

Long hours on a plane can upset the stomach or gastric system. To avoid this:

Jetlag is a disruption in the 24hr circadian rhythm (this is your time clock or sleep/wake cycle). The ‘competitive edge’ can be lost after crossing one or more time zones. Ways to adapt to the time zone shift include:

a tray of Chinese food a tray of Chinese food

Change in Weather Conditions

The temperature at your destination may be warmer than at home. If this is the case, staying hydrated will be a key focus.

Remember your hydration strategies:

Change in Routine

Be aware of changes in your normal routine. A day of travel will result in lower energy needs, whereas a day of games or training will require higher energy needs.

Considering the Game Schedule

While you're away you will be on a tight and hectic schedule. You need to cope with this by recovering from every game to allow you to be at peak for the next game.

Aim to:

Living in a Hotel

If you are staying in a hotel, there will be minimal cooking facilities available, so you will be relying on restaurant and takeaway food.

Remember the main principles for eating well at a restaurant:

Good carbohydrate extras include: bread, fruit juice and soft drinks

Take Home Messages

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