This is an in-depth post. Here are quick links to specific sections you may be interested in jumping to:
General Tips & Tricks
Eating & Drinking Out Strategies (when the parties don’t stop)
Supplies for the Road (supplements, snacks, travel products)
Hotel Room Workout
Going to conventions can be the highlight of the year. Meeting awesome people, trying out cool new games, amazing work opportunities, and partying with friends new and old until late into the hours of night. The fun don’t stop. That is, until you get home — maybe with the infamous CON CRUD — and are utterly destroyed, wiped out, and feeling like death for a week, or worse sometimes weeks after the event.
What if you could have the fun turned up to 11 and NOT come home with a shattered body and immune system?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you.
Tim and I have been to many gaming and fitness conventions over the years (100+ events) and have certainly learned a thing or two along the way.
With convention season in full swing, we’ve put together a survival guide to get you through your next convention so you can:
- NOT GET SICK (aka avoid getting the con plague)
- Stay on track with health and fitness goals
- Feel good and have enough energy to enjoy the convention
Think of this as your cheat sheet to getting through it feeling good.
This post covers some of the specific things we’ll be doing on our upcoming back-to-back trip to California for TwitchCon and BlizzCon. Most of these strategies we used this last year and were able to return home feeling great and not getting sick after. We also maintained our weight and fitness even though we were eating out a lot and indulging in beverages. Let’s dig in!
GENERAL TIPS & TRICKS
— Stay hydrated.
We can’t stress this one enough. You will get dehydrated from the travel day, let alone the rest of the event. Airplanes, hotels, and convention centers are all SO drying with the air quality circulating and AC cranked up to keep you alert. Staying properly hydrated will help you feel good and keep your system flushing out toxins. If you plan on enjoying adult beverages, this is EXTRA important. We also recommend getting some coconut water or electrolytes to keep your hydration levels in balance (more on this and fighting off hangovers below).
This is one of the most important and one of the most challenging areas to manage at events. We know, we’ve been there. The days are incredibly long, very jam-packed, and the parties have the networking opportunities. Try to get good sleep. If you’re working at the convention, it is all the more important to know what your limit is and how well you do or don’t function on little sleep. Leave the party early or save the cutting loose until you are done with any work obligations or for the last night of the convention. Running yourself ragged will tax your immune system further as sleep is when your body recovers. Even an extra hour (whether you can get to bed a bit earlier or sleep in a bit more) makes a big difference. If noise or lights bother you, bring eye masks, earplugs, essential oils (like lavender) and whatever else helps you get ready for bed. We also have some recommended supplements to help you adjust to the timezone change and relax for sleepy time.
— Have fun & chill the EFF out.
You are at the convention to have fun and hang out, so don’t be obsessing over what you’re eating or the fact that you might be off your regular training schedule (unless you have a photoshoot where need to have abs popping or you’re about to compete in a figure or bodybuilding competition, then you need to stick to your plan). It’s ok to have a few days where you are not eating perfect. More below.
— Be prepared and be smart. Make sure you have what need to be healthy, happy, successful, and safe at a convention. Have your emergency contact information ready, let friends know where you’ll be, keep any necessary medications on hand with you, and look out for your friends in return!
— WHAT TO DO AFTER THE CONVENTION.
We HIGHLY recommend you take at least one day off after a convention before returning to streaming or work. We know this isn’t always possible but this will help you rest, recover, and catch up on any work or follow ups needed post-con. Plus, it’s important to rest your voice to avoid vocal fatigue or strain. Listen to your body and be proactive so that you don’t get sick by pushing your body too hard. Oh, and, drink more water and eat more veggies now that you’re home too.
EATING & DRINKING OUT STRATEGIES
From parties to dinners to drinks with friends to 1am Denny dinners, this is often where people struggle the most when on the road. First we want to say: accept that you may not eat that great and THAT’S OK. Do not overly stress or beat yourself up about your food/drink choices. You can’t control everything so don’t drive yourself crazy with guilt. We’re not aiming for perfection, we’re aiming for pretty good:
— See the above on staying HYDRATED. No. Go read it again. Especially if you plan on drinking alcohol. Drink. More. Water.
— The day you arrive, find a grocery store/convenience store/CVS near you or you can even have things delivered to your hotel room. Stock up on bottled water, coconut water/Gatorade or we prefer an Electrolyte Mix mentioned below (again, if you plan on drinking alcohol), pre-chopped veggies, hard boiled eggs, nut butter, instant oatmeal, espresso shots, and any other supplies you may have forgotten. Cover the bases before the whirlwind starts.
— Eating. Now this is different for everyone, but there are a few key issues that are most likely to happen while traveling or at a convention:
- You won’t be eating enough vegetables
- You’ll be eating much more calorie dense meals, and just eating more rich meals in general
- You will be eating at odd hours, maybe late at night
- You will be dehydrated due to travel itself and drinking more caffeine and/or alcohol than usual
The tips and strategies below are general recommendations. if you are in serious competition/physique prep, you already know what you need to do and that you need to stay within your macros and training guidelines. This is focused on making the best of not always ideal food situations but still enjoying meals out with friends or business associates:
- Get in a least one meal a day that has some veggies in it. Whether that’s some veggies in your breakfast omelet or getting a salad for lunch or dinner or a side of veggies, get at least one serving of vegetables in each day, preferably GREEN veggies.
- Eat light throughout the day if you know you’re going to have a big meal and drinks that night. This is why we pack protein bars and jerky to have while at the convention center, because a) there’s not always time to run out for lunch and b) it keeps costs and calories down during the day (since everything is more expensive at a convention center or hotel).
- Our strategy: we have a big breakfast each day (eggs, sausage/bacon, potatoes/toast, veggies) as this will keep us going through a lot of the day and then we have bars and snacks to eat throughout the day because we know we’ll be eating big dinners and having drinks at parties that night.
- Even if you’re eating out at maybe not the healthiest of restaurants (sometimes there’s not much open at 1am) just try focus on having a good source of protein at the meal.
— Drinking. Tim Ferriss (love him or hate him) had a quick talk at SXSW a few years back on how to survive it without getting a hangover. It mostly sounded like a good reason to have guac, a chargrilled burger, and drink tequila sodas. But it’s so important to make sure that you eat enough food before you have a lot of alcohol. Don’t start drinking on an empty stomach or you’ll most likely end up like the next bullet point. Have one glass of water for each alcoholic beverage. Drinks that have less sugary shit and mixers in them will not only be better calorie-wise but are also less likely to give you a hangover. Ultimately, you know your body. You probably know what makes you feel like crap the next day, so stay away from those things! On a safety note, especially as a woman: don’t accept drinks from strangers, make sure your friends know where you are, and take a Lyft or Uber back. Have fun but be smart. And don’t let anyone pressure you into drinking more than you want.
— Welp, so you woke up hungover. Now what? Rehydrate, rehydrate, rehydrate. Now it depends on how bad the hangover is (ie if you just have a headache or if you are nauseous/have an upset stomach in the bathroom for hours bad). Sipping on coconut water, electrolytes, more water, and bone broth if you can get it. This will replenish any lost electrolytes, minerals, and vitamins that your body is in dire need of. Then, depending on what your stomach can handle, go have a big breakfast. Drink more water. Get some caffeine. Take an over-the-counter med if absolutely necessary. Do what works for you and may the force be with you, my friend.
SUPPLIES FOR THE ROAD
>>Note and Disclaimer: You DO NOT need to buy any of these products and certainly not all of them. We are providing various recommendations that you can pick & choose from depending on your needs and budget. Please check with your doctor if you have any health risks or medications that could interact with any of the below. I have *bolded and starred the ones that we consistently use and bring with us. The majority of the links below are affiliate links, by clicking on them and purchasing through them you can help support us! If you’re looking for a quick resource check out our Travel Kit list on our Amazon Influencer Page.
In general, Tim and I advocate for minimal supplement use and prioritizing eating whole nutritious foods as much as you can.
If there is ever a time when supplements should be taken, it’s when you’re traveling or working at big events. These are the magic health potions to help your body survive the onslaught awaiting you on the battlefield of the convention hall. Your immune system needs backup and extra support because it’s going to be attacked from all sides.
I like to be prepared. Especially when traveling. And especially when traveling with The Tim.
What to put all of your supplies in?
*Fanny Packs/Bum Bags — I unapologetically LOVE these, especially at conventions (or when out walking or hiking they are awesome!). This year, backpacks are not allowed inside the convention hall at TwitchCon, so fanny packs are the perfect option.
Otherwise, we also usually bring a backpack which can carry more snacks, water, and streaming needs (laptop, camera etc).
Travel friendly supplements
*Emergen-C packets — Keeping your immune system buffed is critical for warding off illness. You can find these everywhere and they taste fine with just water, plenty of flavor options too!
*Athletic Greens travel packets — Because you probably won’t be getting all the nutrients/vitamins/veggies while eating at the convention. We take Athletic Greens every morning (mixed with Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides) and although the travel packets are expensive, it is SO worth it. If you only get one supplement to bring along, this is the one we would recommend because it also contains a good percentage of Vitamin C.
*Bodybuilding.com Fish Oil — Helps with recovery and inflammation and pretty much everything else. If you haven’t read our guide on the The Only 3 Supplements You Need, we go into great detail about why it’s so good for your body. Also good: Carlson Omega-3 Fish Oil Capsules
*Electrolyte Mix (aka hangover management) —IF YOU PLAN ON DRINKING ALCOHOL, bringing an electrolyte mix with you is a very good idea. It is all too easy to end up drinking more than you plan to with all of the parties, dinners, and mixers happening back-t0-back. Thus, you might wake up not feeling 100% or maybe you’re full on hungover AF. Be prepared with one of these options: Nuun Electrolytes + Immunity tablets, Pedialyte Electrolyte Powder Sticks, LyteShow Electrolyte Concentrate (the cleanest option with no sugars or additives).
Optional supplements depending on your needs or budget:
*Instant Coffee — because the lines are craaazzy. We use this every day but it’s particularly perfect for traveling, Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee (use code: HOF for 10% off). If you like it, we usually get the 4 pack bundle.
*Throat Coat Tea — I add lemon juice, honey, and if at home apple cider vinegar. Especially if you are working at the event as a caster, host, streamer, or content creator this will can help your voice.
Grether’s Pastilles (for throat & voice) or Gummy Bears — If you are a host, caster, content creator or talent who is talking for long hours at the event, and you need your voice to hold up, this is the trick. You do not want to dry out our throat!
Cough Drops/Lozenges: Ricola Honey Lemon with Echinacea
Melatonin — Melatonin isn’t actually a sleep aid in the way that a lot of people think it is. It’s best used for resetting your circadian rhythm, and thus especially useful if there’s a big time change to help combat jet leg.
I always have a few protein bars in my bag. These are the easiest thing to carry in your bag and eat quickly during the craziness of the day.
* Bodybuilding.com Signature Crunch Protein Bars – These are our new stand-by favorites! We have one every day and bring a bag full when traveling.
*Oatmega Bars — Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Peanut are our favorites.
*Greens Plus Protein Bars (Protein Chocolate) — This bar is a long-time favorite of ours for quality, texture, and taste (but heads up, we not like overly sugary sweet candy bar tasting “protein bars”).
*Onnit Protein Bars — We really liked these and then they just recently changed the formula when they came out with two new flavors. We like the Vanilla Almond best.
*Onnit Protein Bites — These are soooo good! More like a treat than a protein bar, good if you get sweet cravings. I’m obsessed with these and love having them with espresso.
Quest Protein Bars Variety Pack
*Jerky / Epic Bars:
We usually grab something at Whole Foods (they often have sales), just try to get nitrate/nitrite free ones!
Jacks Links Tender Bites Teriyaki – the texture of these is amazing, not hard and chewy, and great macros.
Additional options: Perky Jerky, KRAVE , Paleo Jerky, Epic Bars or Jerky Sticks
We usually grab a mixed pack at Whole Foods, or just get plain Almonds or mixed nuts. Get whatever you like, but keep the sugar in it minimal!
We get something like this or this one has a nice mix with small packets for each day that you can through in your bag.
Protein Powder + Shaker:
If you know your meals are going to be all over the place or won’t have much time to eat, have a shake for breakfast or during the day. Also, if you’re trying to stay on track with your training or macros bringing some along is helpful.
Bodybuilding.com Signature Whey Protein Isolate – This is our go-to protein powder that we use every day in Vanilla.
I like to be prepared for anything and everything. These are the most common things you might need while traveling or on the expo floor. You probably already bring some of these with you, but here are our favs:
Hand wipes or Hand sanitizer bottles.
GUM or MINTS — you don’t want to be the person with bad breath when trying to network. Listerine Breath Strips other option.
Deodorant whatever you like to use just bring it and USE IT (or travel friendly wipes)
HOTEL ROOM WORKOUT
Hotel gyms can vary greatly and, realistically, you may not have time or feel comfortable going there to work out. Convention days are long and exhausting. You will most likely be walking and on your feet the whole day — which is a fantastic for the extra energy expenditure! But you might want to do a little something more to keep up your workout routine.
We designed a quick bodyweight circuit that you can do in the comfort of your hotel room:
7 Minute Hotel Room Workout Circuit
Can be repeated with a 1 minute rest for a total 15 min workout.
Free pre-programmed follow-along Interval Timer (this will walk you through the whole workout with each timed exercise, can use on your phone or computer)
Workout details below:
Each interval is 30 seconds long. You will do as many good reps as possible (AMRAP) during the 30 seconds until the time is up. There is no rest breaks, but you can rest if needed during a specific exercise. Adding in Resistance Bands is a great way to up the challenge for the workout and they are really easy to pack for a trip.
0:00 Downward/Upward Dog
0:30 Bentover Row carry-on bag/suitcase/or chair
2:00 Jumping Jacks
2:30 Right leg: Lunges or split squat from chair
3:00 Left leg: Lunges or split squat from chair
3:30 High Knees
4:00 Dips from chair or bed
4:30 Squats with or without band
5:00 Lateral Walks
5:30 Glute bridge or hip thrust from chair with band
6:30 Hip flexor stretch
Feel free to swap out any of the above exercises for ones you feel more comfortable doing. If lunges bother your knees do a box squat to a chair instead. Standard pushups too hard? Do wall or knee pushups. The idea is to do a variety of exercises for time with no rest to keep the heart rate up and challenge the body with some calisthenics strength exercises. This workout can easily be made harder or easier depending on the exercise variation or how hard you push yourself.
Also recommended if you’re feeling stressed or anxious: Gentle Stretching and Diaphragmatic Breathing for stress management.
What is YOUR go-to tactic or favorite supplies for surviving conventions?
Let us know in the comments below or share with us on Twitter or Instagram using #hofcontips!