What to NEVER Do on an Airplane (Passport Fitness Excerpt)


The following is a section out of my new book Passport Fitness.

it will be available nationwide in Mid March! Keep your eyes open!



While daily exercise is still king, there are a million other little decisions that you’re faced with on a daily basis that affect how you look, feel, and perform on the road.

These “little” decisions add up to big portions of your lifestyle, which can have a immense impact on your energy levels and the way your body looks and feels.

Most of the traveling that my wife and I did through Central and South America was on a bus, but there were certain places that just wasn’t a good option.

The Darien Gap is a big section of jungle between Panama and Colombia. It’s the piece that separates Central and South America, and even though there’s land there, it’s considered one of the most dangerous areas in the world.

Filled with pirates, drug cartels, and human traffickers, the Darien Gap is a lawless and perilous zone that even the police and military avoid. So even though we had set out in search of adventure, we decided to take the safe bet and fly from Panama into Medellin, Colombia.

The Panama airport is like most airports – devoid of healthy food options. Even more here, because everything that had even a semblance of health was deep-fried or coated in sugar.

But after a flight delay and a travel mix-up that involved me talking the attendant into letting me behind the airline computer to forge bus tickets in MS Paint to avoid violating the terms of our visa, we were hungry!

Since not eating isn’t an option most of the time, we had to adapt. We ended up buying a whole roasted chicken and a whole papaya which we cut up and ate – seeds and all! (Papaya seeds are a superfood that can help with gut health).

We finished our meal by each downing a bottle of water, because you never know what you’re going to get on the actual airplane.

Not to say this is the best option all the time, or that we couldn’t have been more prepared, but we were able to find a serviceable option that helped us stay healthy and full during a stressful time when it would have been easy to just eat fried plantains. Mmmmmm good.

A big part of traveling for work is the actual travel part.

It’s great to take pictures in front of a waterfall in Costa Rica, but no one takes any pictures of the unglamorous part of the adventure where your portly neighbor falls asleep on your shoulder in the cramped van on the 3 hour drive out to the waterfall. Nobody posts about the stiff lower backs and the jet lag on Instagram, yet it’s a very real part of the lifestyle.

This goes double for those of us who travel for work on a weekly basis. We have plenty of experience with travel time, TSA pat-downs, and Uber drivers that just can’t seem to find your hotel.

Because health is a full-time mindset, how do we stay in the zone during full-travel days?

In this section we’ll talk about some strategies you can use to inject a little bit of health and fitness into your life on the go.

I’ll show you some strategies that many of my clients have used successfully – without having to do yoga in the security line.

What to Never Do on an Airplane

If you want to get off the plane feeling good, you need to structure your pre-flight and post-flight rituals in a way that makes sense for you.

Things that are important to consider are hydration, stretching, how you sit or sleep on the plane, staying healthy during a trip in germ-filled metal tube, and making sure you have the right equipment to have a pleasant flight based on how long it’s going to be.

These are a few of the millions of little choices that come our way every day, and while bringing a neck pillow with you won’t give you abs, it will be easier to get the daily exercise you need when you don’t feel stiff and sore for 48 hours following a flight.


Planes and hotels are stuffy. The air is dry, recycled, and you’re breathing in air that the sick person over in 14B just finished exhaling.

The air on planes will dry out your sinuses, and cause you to be dehydrated even if you’re drinking your normal amount of water because of the elevation and poor air quality.

A decrease in hydration will also produce a marked decrease in energy and strength. A 3 percent drop in your hydration can cause up to a 30 percent drop in strength. This is the difference between benching 200lbs and 140lbs!

It’s that important!

Not only that, but when we burn fat, most of the time it leaves our body through exhalation, and in order to be most effective at that, we need to make sure we’re breathing out moist air. The only way to do this is to stay properly hydrated always.

If you’re taking a flight longer than 90 minutes, sorry, but that little 6-ounce glass of water isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to need a water bottle.

In fact, one of the habits that the leanest people in the world have is keeping a water bottle with them at all times.

Pack an empty one with you through security, or fill it up when you leave the house and try to finish it before you get to the body scanner. Live on the edge!

In addition to bringing a water bottle on the plane, it’s a good strategy to pound 24 ounces of water before and after your flight to negate dehydration. You’ll feel better, I promise. Just try it.

This is the same advice I give people to recover from 8 hours of sleep at night with no water – fill up a bottle with 24-32 ounces and pound it when you get up. That’s a great way to reset, and to make sure that you’re hydrated going into your day.

Don’t like to chug water? Ummm, I guess just sip it then? Sounds boring.


When sitting in an airplane, the easiest way to have great posture is by sitting up straight in the position you’d like to stay in, then cinching your seatbelt around your waist tightly to hold you in this position. Add in a neck pillow, and you’re ready for a healthy hibernation.

What to Order

If you’re trying to get off the plane feeling good, you’re going to want to have at least three or four Jack and Cokes while you’re on the plane. But if you’re trying to get off the plane feeling great, I would advise sticking with water, or ordering tomato juice, just because of the vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s not a thing I drink daily, which makes it a nice treat.

Ordering food on an airplane – or even in the airport – can be tricky because there are not a lot of good options. If you didn’t prepare and bring snacks and healthy food options with you, just opt for the highest-protein option that they offer in flight.

Protein is more satiating, so it will keep you full longer. It also aids in muscle recovery and is very difficult for your body to convert into fat.

Don’t order soda. We all know that sodas aren’t good for us. Choosing to slurp down some dirty corn-syrup water is one of the silliest things we can do when traveling because it’s dehydrating and loads your body with sugar.

Sugar increases your insulin, which makes your body crave more sugar – a vicious cycle.

This is a horrible idea if you want to set yourself up for success moving forward. You don’t want to start a work trip feeling bloated with no energy.

The ONLY exception is if nausea is a problem for you, then order a ginger ale. This is the only soda you should ever get. Sometimes, the small amount of ginger will cut the edge of the nausea.

I get it though, we’ve all been all on that flight to Vegas with three of our friends, where we end up trying to talk the flight attendant into giving us six or seven bottles of tiny liquor apiece rather than our allotted one or two. And those times are important as well, but if you travel extensively for work, or if you’re trying to travel and feel your best, I would highly recommend against in-flight drinking.

Drinking sets you up for failure in that it lowers your inhibitions, and you’ll be even more likely to go into the terminal and grab the nachos rather than eating something healthy.

Absolute Necessities for Comfortable Travel:

  • A neck pillow to make sure that you’re not getting off with a stiff neck, especially if you’re going to fall asleep.
  • Noise-canceling headphones that you can listen to some music and not hear that baby down the aisle cry the entire flight.
  • An eye mask, or beanie that can be converted into an eye mask.
  • Water bottle – collapsible is a good call for the flight so you can fill it after you clear security, but anything with a lid will work.
  • Healthy snack
  • Kindle or eReader
  • Emergen-C
  • Phone-battery charger pack
  • Sweatshirt/scarf


If you liked this information…

Keep your eyes open for Passport Fitness -coming out Mid March.


  1. Great Read. That checklist for comfortable travel is clutch.
    Drinking enough water before and after a flight is great advise. Even though everyone is “afraid” of having to get up from their window seat and climb over two others to get to the bathroom. It’s worth it. And it gives you a chance to stretch your legs. Also the part about cinching your seatbelt tight to prevent slipping forward is Huuuge. I typically leave mine super loose and fall asleep to later wake up with a wicked lower back pain. If you sit up straight, use a neck pillow, and move your seat back a tag, you’re going to feel great when you wake up.


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