Category Archives: Travel

Jet Lag and Intermittent Fasting Round 2

Is it easier to avoid jet lag traveling east or west? I had a strong hypothesis but I still wanted to put intermittent fasting to the test.

Round two of jet lag vs Kate commenced in London last Monday.

Following the success traveling east with intermittent fasting, I figured going west back to New York would be a breeze. Still, I decided not to throw caution to the wind and execute the experiment according to plan.

The protocol for traveling west was simple – reverse the original plan. You can see the blueprint for eastward bound battle here.

The Flight Details: 

Go west! The flight was going west, from London to New York, back through five time zones. Traveling in this direction is easier for your body to adjust. Your body clock is less confused, as traveling west extends the body clock’s experience of a normal day-night cycle – just like it would if you partied all night.

Traveling eastwards runs in direct opposition to your body clock – which is why it’s super tough.

Here’s what I did:

Leading up to the return trip, we were in serious holiday mode. Nutritional free styling. The British have no idea what good food is, so I didn’t see any temptations apart from coffee and chips. Meals were randomly spaced apart, between 4-6 hours.  On vacation, I tend to eat 2-3 main meals a day otherwise it feels as though you’re eating the whole time!

Jet Lag and Intermittent Fasting
This is Real Coffee

There was no set bed time, no alarms to wake up to and no clients to train. Also, in London there was no sun, no warm weather, no almond milk, kale or lentils in the fridge so sadly, I was having withdrawals.

But there was plenty of good times and adventure to make up for it!

Day of flight: Monday

7:30am BST (3:30am EST): 35 minutes running intervals. Had a strong coffee when I woke up so I was functioning. I discovered the only good thing about the cold London Summer weather is that it’s perfect for running.

Breakfast 12pm BST (7am EST): Spelt toast with Vegemite and non-fat greek yoghurt (the yoghurt was a side dish, not mixed together). I was hungry by this stage. I also remembered how much I miss eating Vegemite. We have a ton in the cupboard in New York but I can’t have bread in the house. Too much temptation…

Lunch 3pm BST (10am EST): Salmon sashimi and edamame salad. Found a super delicious place at the airport. Surprisingly delish and filling. I couldn’t believe it! Heathrow airport Terminal 5 is looking really chic and fancy these days. If only JFK would get their shit together.

Mid-flight Snack 9pm BST (4pm EST): 2 glasses of red wine. Dark chocolate from Italy. Somehow this fell in my mouth. ;)

It was totally amazing chocolate and worth every single bite. The last splurge to celebrate the end of holidays! I made an effort to stay awake the whole flight.

Dinner 8:30pm EST: Back in New York, finally. Grilled salmon, spinach and greek salad for dinner. Fell asleep the second my head hit the pillow.

Success?

Absolutely. I woke up at 5am on Tuesday feeling great.  The return trip was so much easier on my body.

No nap required any day during the week. I didn’t feel as though I was fighting to stay awake during the day and I was back to full power, hard core training and working almost immediately.

Other Sneaky Tricks: Bonus

1. Another secret I’ve learned traveling the world through multiple timezones is it’s important to change your watch to destination local time as soon as possible. Get in the mindset and adjust your nap schedule according to your arrival time.

2. Drink a ton of water when you fly. Even if you have to harass the flight attendants, it’s really important to rehydrate while you dehydrate ;)

3. Avoid traveling with babies or sitting anywhere near them. I don’t think intermittent fasting works for little people – and there is no plan to test it just yet…

4. Keep training on a regular basis. Even if you spend your days sightseeing and walking around, movement is essential. The more you sit and rest, the worse you feel and longer if takes to recover.

I hope you give this a try the next time you travel. It really helps to ease the random pain and frustration of jet lag.

The next travel endeavor will be a challenging one  – New York to Sydney at Christmas. We’ll see if intermittent fasting can beat serious, round the world jet lag.

Have an excellent day!

Kate :)

One Secret To Beat Jet Lag

Can Intermittent Fasting help you to beat jet jag?

I have just arrived back in New York from a summer European adventure that included visits to Sofia, the Black Sea in Bulgaria, Rome and London.

That’s right, all those places in just two weeks. I travel hardcore and really hate to waste time because of jet lag.

There were a ton of miles to cover in two weeks of jet setting, and I didn’t want to lose a single moment of holidays. After my last trip to Australia, the jet lag destroyed me for weeks. Brutal return. I was determined not to let it happen again.

Before I left New York, I researched jet lag and intermittent fasting (IF). Intermittent fasting is so hot right now. It’s a pattern of eating that alternates between fasting (usually only drinking water) and non-fasting (you know, eating). The time periods are set based on different protocols.

To be honest, I didn’t find too much. There is an Anti-Jet Lag diet, which has been around since the 80’s. The main idea behind the anti-jet lag diet is to reset your body clock to your planned destination based on time cues and meal scheduling.

Seemed to have promising results, but I found a lot of different protocols without seeing any clear leaders. I couldn’t track down any scientific studies or research to emphasize the best approach.

So I created my own experiment based on the anti-jet lag diet.

Also, I didn’t like a few of their methods:

(i) The fast/feast days: I understand the meaning behind it but for me personally, this approach is a bad idea. Unlimited eating one day followed by strict fasting is asking for trouble.

(ii) The no caffeine/alcohol for 3 days before travelling rule is simply not for me. Are you trying to kill me? If I don’t have coffee in the morning, I will die. Slowly and painfully. I would rather be jet-lagged.

The most important detail in the plan was to fast 12-16 hours prior to your destination breakfast time, as you normally would overnight at home. You can calculate this one for your flight.

Onto Part One of the experiment!

The Flight Details: Intermittent Fasting and Jet Lag

The flight was going east, from New York to Sofia, Bulgaria going forward through seven time zones. There is no direct flight, so the first leg is 6hrs from New York to London and then 3 hours from London to Sofia. Traveling in this direction is often said to be more difficult for your body to adjust.

Here’s what I did:

Leading up to the trip, it was business as usual. Four high protein/high vegetable meals a day spaced 4-6 hours apart. No booze but coffee intake as usual :)

Day of flight: Monday

Breakfast 6am EST: Grilled chicken and non-fat Greek yoghurt. (I ate these separately – not mixed together). I don’t usually have chicken at breakfast but it was leftover from dinner the night before and I was hungry.

Lunch 12:30pm EST: grilled salmon salad. This is a standard, small lunch for me but I probably should have eaten more as I did a tough workout in the morning.

9pm EST mid-flight: 2 glasses of red wine. No dinner. From there, I fasted until it was breakfast time in Bulgaria.

Going on vacation deserves a celebration. I tried to sleep on the flight but I started watching the Hunger Games and couldn’t turn it off. Surprisingly great film, you should check it out. Managed to catch a few zzzz’s but nothing restful or refreshing about it.

Breakfast 7:30am Bulgarian time (equal to 1:30am EST): We had arrived in London at this point and I was ready to eat aka starving. Dined on grilled chicken and greens plus a delicious, large coffee from Starbucks. It’s difficult to find good, clean protein choices when traveling and usually I avoid chicken on planes. Again the large, high protein meal helps your body to wake up and synchronizes it with the Bulgarians who are eating breakfast at about the same time.

The next flight from London to Sofia was 3 hours so I wasn’t too hungry, just took a little one hour nap on the plane to pass the time. Ideally, the plan was to stay awake but there was no in-flight entertainment and I figured I would get there faster if I took a power nap.

Lunch 1:30pm. Arrived in Bulgaria on Tuesday afternoon for a feast.

Homemade grilled chicken and shopska salad – which is Bulgarian for tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese and parsley mixed together. Plus, I had to test a cheeky Bulgarian beer. It was the perfect snack to feed a hungry (and very thirsty) Aussie.

4pm: Bulgarian coffee time. Real coffee, espresso style. Heaven. The next few hours were the key to success. No sleeping. Light sightseeing and walking around to get to catch the sunset.

Dinner 7pm: crepes and gelato. Yep, I ate ice-cream for dinner. I am human after all. Nothing nutritious but boy, it was delicious. However, that was all I had. Don’t tell my father.

You should emphasize a higher carb dinner the night you arrive at your destination, it will help you to sleep better. A little protein is OK, but primarily eat carbs. Pasta, rice, bread are much healthier choices than ice cream.

9pm Bed time: Definitely ready to sleep at this stage. Managed to sleep until 7am, only waking up once.

The following day I felt pretty good. No jet lag symptoms to report.

The One, Big Secret to Beat Jet Lag?

Breakfast meal timing. You have to get your body synchronized with your destination as soon as possible and your breakfast meal timing is a really effective way to do this.

I’ll be back with the second part of the experiment in the next couple of days, reporting on the return journey, traveling west.

Have an awesome day!

Kate