My workouts often suffer when I’m flying a lot. Late nights, jet lag, too little sleep and lack of motivation are my excuses. I interviewed my friend and fellow flight attendant and personal trainer Julie Martine and asked her for tips on how she does it.
Wendra’s Wellness: Julie, how long have you been flying?
Julie Martine: 27 years
WW: How long have you been a personal trainer?
JM: I started training in 1989. I started flying in 1991 so I quit personal training until 9/11 happened. I got worried about flying as a career and wanted to start training again. So I took some classes to regain my certification and I have been training ever since!
WW: Do you fly international or domestic?
JM: I currently only fly domestic with Hawaii trips (they are considered international due to overwater flying even though they really aren’t) Haha!
WW: Right? How many days a month do you fly?
JM: I usually fly 18 days a month or so.
WW: How often do you workout?
JM: I try to work out at least 4 days a week
WW: Do you vary your workouts?
JM: Yes, I definitely mix up my workouts constantly. I alternate. Day 1: Run 2 miles fast (add hills walking) complete 20 mins cardio, lift full body medium weight with more reps, core. Day 2: I may walk 10-12 miles.
WW: That’s a long walk! Do you bring your dogs or listen to music?
JM: Occasionally, but sometimes it’s too hot to bring my black lab on an 8-10 mile hike. I walk with one of my good friends so we don’t listen to music. We solve all our problems 😉 and chat non-stop. Day 3: Run 3 miles (HIIT), lift full body, heavy weights, less reps and complete core. Day 4: Stairs for 45 mins or a good light lifting focusing on compound lifts and engaging core through the entire workout.
WW: Do you do a stair master or stairs outside?
JM: We do stairs outside. We either do Santa Monica stairs or these long flights of stairs in Calabasas. We walk them and alternate flights of every step and then flights of every other step. We usually do 5-10 flights, or around an hour.
WW: What are compound lifts?
JM: Compound lifts are lifts that use multiple muscles at the same time. For example, deadlifts which engage the erector spinae, glutes and hamstrings all at once. If there is a Day 5: Either walk or run, pushups, core, anything I missed on other days (TRX, Yoga)
WW: That’s a lot! Do you work out on your layovers?
JM: Yes. But- if the layover is short and I am tired I will sleep as sleep is so important. Otherwise, regarding working out, my thought is a little something is better than nothing. If I only get a 15 minute run or I do pushups, sit-ups, or squats in my hotel room that’s better than nothing.
WW: Are you ever not motivated to work out?
JM: Yes, there are definitely days I am not motivated or my day does not permit me due to family or time constraints. If I’m not motivated I really just try to be moving all day with errands, cleaning, etc.
WW: Do you bring your own food on the plane?
JM: Yes I bring my own food. As you know, packing all our food and water is time consuming but very well worth it. I bring a BPA free personal water filter so I can refill my bottle and trust it’s properly filtered. A small jar of apple cider vinegar, a small jar of lemon juice, individual packs of organic coconut oil, individual packs collagen, cinnamon, turmeric, coconut sugar, ginger and organic coffee pods. I also pack lots of salads, wild caught salmon, organic chicken pieces, spiraled zucchini squash pasta, wild caught tuna, lots of veggies, nuts and fruit low on the glycemic index and homemade dressing. I try to be creative and always try not to do processed food.
WW: What are your tips for working out while traveling?
JM: Do whatever you can. Moving is most important. I enjoy getting outside every chance I get. If you are a line holder (for my non airline friends this means you know your schedule and are not on call) and have a long layover do your homework before you get there. For example, if you love yoga or taking a fitness class check out where you can participate in those activities before you arrive. If there are hikes, bike ride or kayaking (such as Alaska and Hawaii) plan your day ahead of time. If you have a short layover and there isn’t a gym use what you have. I used to lift my suitcase above my head, use a chair for tricep dips or elevate feet for pushups. You can easily pack bands or TRX straps in your bag to use. I also think it’s important to challenge yourself and not compare yourself to others. Do something with your family, friends, dogs, etc and set a small, achievable goal.
I was so impressed by Julie’s workout and eating routine. Many times for me it is a struggle. We are all different and our bodies require the best nutrition and exercise that fuels us individually. Julie shared a lot of great tips, but don’t get overwhelmed or feel like you have to include them all. She stressed to me, everything in moderation and do your best to be healthy. If you like the idea of a long walk but 10 miles sounds unavchievable, try 3 miles. If you want to bring your own food start by making your own pb & j sandwich but with sprouted bread and organic almond butter. Toss in an apple, some cut up veggies and kale chips and you’re already making progress. Of course all your walking through the terminal counts as steps too!
Looks like my excuses aren’t going to fly 😉 Do you have any tips for working out while on the go? Comment below and let me know!
What insightful questions you asked Wendra! Loved all her tips for what to bring on a plane. And walking with a friend & solving your problems while exercising is up my alley! 😄
Thank you Jill! I agree, solving problems while walking with a friend is such a great way to work out and make both of you feel better about everything!
I really needed these tips! It’s true, balance is so important and even doing something every day for just 15 mins is better than nothing. Great post!
Thanks Carol! It does all add up! And the balance part can definitely be a struggle. Julie offers such great ideas here!
This is so inspiring Wendra, thank you! I love going on walks right from my hotel, at least 30 min if that’s all the time I have. It’s a great way to check out the neighborhood and sightsee a bit!
Thanks Jennifer! And yes, I agree a 30 min walk from your hotel room is such a great way to get your exercise, explore the neighborhood and get some sunshine!
Great informative article! Walking is definitely my go-to when I’m traveling or on the go. It’s a great way to get outside, see some sights, exercise and de-stress 😊 can also get some phone calls made or listen to a podcast!
Thank you KIm! I agree! I just took a walk around the park near my hotel here in NY. So nice to be outside with nature before the chaos of the flight home! 😉
Catherine Abbott says
I loved this SO MUCH!! THANK YOU! Wendra great interview one I needed to read to keep me inspired!!!
Thanks Catherine! Believe me, I needed the inspiration too! So many great tips in here!
Robert Auwerda says
Dam Girl You are Awesome !!!