International Travel ~ Metty’s tips to minimise the pain of travel
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ― Augustine of Hippo
It is four weeks now until I leave for LA to compete in Americas Strongest Women. This will be my sixth contest in the United States in four years~ it is a 14 hour flight from Australia to LA. I have learnt so much about travelling and competing in this time and it absolutely critical that you fully prepare your body for this, in the week proceeding the flight, during flight and upon landing at the place of contest.
Before my travel in October, one of my best friends, Alanna Casey, travels to Scotland to represent America in worlds most powerful Women. This article is very much dedicated to Alanna, although I know she will be in good hands with Jill Mills. Whether you are flying long-haul or 2-3 hours from your home, I thought it might be useful to share the tips and tricks I learned over the past 5 contests in international locations. These are strategies I use;
- Start taking aspirin 5 days prior to flying; I am HIGHLY susceptible to pooling of blood in my ankles on long-haul flights and there is research to suggest aspirin assists with blood flow.
- I ensure that my body is in a relatively pain free state when I get on the flight and I use a prescribed anti-inflammatory to assist.
- Water load up to a week before flying and take electrolytes and a powdered magnesium/potassium hydration supplement 3 days before flying
- Wear compression gear on the flight. I just wear compression socks and they help with circulation in my legs.
- Pack your contest gear. I’m particularly obsessive compulsive with my contest kit and need everything I trained in/with, including chalk~do not let anyone else pack stuff for you if you are traveling with someone. I made this mistake once and almost went postal when my friend forgot my chalk.
- Take any essential contest gear as carry on. My bag was lost in LA on the way to Seattle which had ALL my contest gear in it; belts, olympic lifting shoes. Fortunately it turned up the day before contest.
- For Long-haul flights I pack my own food (some of the guys competing in this years Worlds Strongest Man would concur). I took a loaf of Mammoth Kitchen banana bread, 600gms cooked red meat, a roll of electrolyte tablets, Berocca tablets, Vitamin C, 4 sachets of pre made Gentec Glutamine, BCAAs and magnesium. This makes a HUGE difference to my recovery post flight.
- ALWAYS ask for an isle seat. You can not see anything but ocean anyway and it helps for access to food and water. I got a window seat on one flight and it was really inconvenient to access what I needed to access.
- As soon as the flight takes off switch to the new time-zone that you are going into and switch straight to your new sleep routine. mid-flight I take a sleeping pill at the equivalent of 10pm LA time (about 11am Australian time).
- If you can, for international shows arrive in the state of the contest AT LEAST 5 days prior to the contest. Do active recovery once at location – walking, stretching, foam roller, sauna
- Pay particular attention to your diet and hydration when you arrive at the contest location prior to the contest. The last thing you want to do is loose or gain too much weight (Regardless of the cheetos, I tend to loose weight in the week before contest and have to ensure i eat enough of the right foods)
- Do your research regarding the local climate of your contest venue and pack contest cloths for all weather conditions
- Bring ALL supplements you would usually take, for the 5 days prior to the contest AND pre-workouts and intranet workout supplements for contest day. I take GenTecs powerful and pre-made sachets of P2P – intra-workout for contest. Never assume you can simply buy supplements that are similar to the ones you regularly use, in the place you are competing in….even if a supplement appears similar it may contain an additive that wreaks havoc with your belly!
It is such an exciting experience, to travel to far away crazy lands to compete in a sport that you love but it is definitely a skill to reduce the impacts on the body…oh on a final note ~ All information contained above, is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent health problems nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. No action should be taken based on the contents of the above. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on matters regarding your health or before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.
Live With Passion Or Not At All – Metty, 2013