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How an Olympic Athlete Stays Healthy While Travelling the World (Q+A with Alysha Newman)

No one wants to feel like crap on vacation, but maintaining good health while travelling is way more important when you’re an Olympic athlete and getting sick is not an option. 

We all know that spending long hours in confined airplanes with recycled air and germ-covered surfaces puts a strain on your immune system. Coupled with jet lag, fatigue and foreign foods that may compromise digestion, travelling can easily knock you off your healthy routine and put you at risk for illness. So, who better to ask about her healthy travel habits that Olympic Pole Vaulter, Alysha Newman?

That’s what we thought.

She’s managed to travel the world and stay in tip-top shape while performing feats of athletic prowess and we want to know how she does it. So, Alysha is sharing her healthy travel tips here to motivate us to stay on our A-game when away.

Q: How do you ensure that you stay properly hydrated on long-haul flights?

A: It’s especially important for me to ensure that I’m drinking a lot because I am usually travelling to a competition for which I need to be well hydrated to perform at my best. I love to switch between ice-water and electrolyte-infused drinks! I, sometimes, add a little flavour to my cold water by adding fresh lemon, cucumber or orange slices. I will also try to get a kale smoothie or hot green tea before I hit the road to start my travel off right!

Q: Go-to healthy snacks on the road? 

A:  I love to have fresh fruit, veggies, and dip! I stay away from heavy food, such as refined carbs, dairy or gluten while travelling because that kind of food just sits in my stomach. Planes are usually pretty stuffy, so I enjoy having food or products that make me feel fresh, so I make sure to pack produce. I also always have gum and mints to help keep my breath fresh. Lastly, there’s nothing like good old, plain water.  Staying hydrated is a MUST!

Q: Fitness is crucial to your training and performance, but travelling is so draining. How do you find the time to squeeze in exercise when you’re schedule is jammed? 

A: I love this question because training and working out makes me feel better. I find time for it because exercise actually gives me more energy. After a workout, I am so motivated. So when I’m tired or my schedule is jammed packed, I think about how much more lively I will become and how much more I’ll end up accomplishing that day!

Q: We’re seeing more people sporting less-than-fashionable compression stockings on airplanes, (we bet you look great in them though) do you wear ‘em? Do you notice a big difference? 

A: I love compression socks! I have rolled my ankles so many times that as soon as I sit down in my seat my ankles turn into cankles. LOL! Seriously though. Compression socks definitely help with circulation and swelling. As an athlete, I have to be super conscious about keeping any kind of swelling at bay because it really impacts my performance. So, yes, you will catch me in those pretty, knee-high compression socks every time I step onto a plane.

Q: Ok, so, you’re on the ground in another city or country, describe your immune support supplement plan.

A: For me, the number one rule is to wash my hands as much as possible! I always carry natural hand-sanitizer, as well as disinfectant wipes to avoid any germs.  I try to eat fruit that has skin so that when I peel the skin off it’s fresh and not, possibly contaminated. Lastly, I love my Emergen-C pack and Cold Fx. I use the Emergen-C packs every other day to avoid sickness and Cold FX if I am starting to feel sick.

Alysha Newman

Alysha Newman

Olympic Athlete, Pole Vault
Alysha Newman is an Olympian, a World Championships finalist and a Commonwealth Games Gold medalist in the women’s pole vault. She’s the Canadian record holder for the event and is targeting a podium performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Alysha was born and raised in London, Ontario where she was a competitive gymnast before a back injury forced her out of that sport and into track & field. This pivot has helped her learn to overcome adversity in the most positive way. Good nutrition and attention to overall health and wellness are key to helping Alysha perform at her best while remaining a well balanced young woman. Outside of sport, Alysha enjoys music and fashion and sharing her passion for life on social media. She makes time to visit with school children to talk about the importance of living a balanced lifestyle and learning through failure and adversity. Alysha is a graduate from the University of Miami and now lives and trains in Toronto.