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How to Travel like an Olympian

Win it with these science-proven, athlete-tested travel tips, whether you're headed for the podium or the boardroom.

Rest before you go

Rest Well Before You Go

Travel fatigue is the tiredness and discomfort you feel after your daily routine goes off the rails and you spend half a day in a seated position. Flying Toronto to Lima – an eight-hour flight within a single time zone – will bring on travel fatigue. The 11-hour flight from Vancouver to Seoul, cities which are 17 hours apart on the clock, will give you jet lag, too. So if you start your trip short on sleep, all the jet-lag cures in the world won’t help. That means no all-nighters pre-departure – and none on arrival, either.

Jump on jet lag

And Get the Jump on Jet Lag

Do it by phase-shifting your circadian rhythms. While you may not be as hardcore as the Canadian women’s ice hockey team, you can make a few adjustments: If you’re heading east, go to bed one hour earlier than the night before a few days in a row. When flying west, try staying up later than usual. For added benefit, seek light earlier in the morning when flying east, and closer to bedtime when going west.

Sleep Aid

When jet lag hits, up your sleep game by taking a melatonin supplement (not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency) 30 minutes before pillow time. And get a personalized jet-lag plan at

Running start

Get a Running Start

On arrival, go for a walk or a run to help regulate the hormones that influence metabolism (cortisol), mood and digestion (serotonin) and sleep (melatonin).

“Getting some exercise in daylight, especially outdoors, at your destination is a powerful way to reset your body clock.”
Dr. Robert McCormack, Chief Medical Officer, Canadian Olympic Commitee

Up the Pressure

Don’t arrive with stiff muscles and sore feet. Compression garments promote circulation – a key recovery factor – and stop your calves, ankles and feet from swelling in flight.

Compression scale: What our Canadian athletes wear

Cassie Sharpe
Cassie Sharpe
Freestyle Skiing – Halfpipe
Scott Moir
Scott Moir
Ice Dance
Ankle socks
Mark Arendz
Mark Arendz
Para Biathlon and Para Cross-country Skiing
Knee socks
Patrick Chan
Patrick Chan
Figure Skating
Compression pants

Eat wheaties after dark

Eat Your Wheaties After Dark

Start eating on your destination’s schedule a few days before departure, as changing your meal patterns can help shift your body clock. For a big time change like Vancouver to Seoul that means eating a light, breakfast-style meal around bedtime, and having your heaviest meal early in the day.


See Yourself Going for Gold

Just as a freestyle skier goes through each of her aerials before a run, walk through every step of your pitch or presentation in your mind’s eye before the real thing. Any visual detail that you can gather, like the room where you’ll be speaking, will make your visualization more realistic and effective.

“Imagery is the language of performance. If you can’t imagine it, you can’t do it.”
Peter Jensen, Canadian mental performance coach

The ABCs of Mindfulness

By Peter Jensen, Canadian Mental Performance Coach


BE AWARE Take stock of where you are and what you’re about to do.


BREATHE Spend a moment paying attention to your breathing.


CHOOSE YOUR FOCUS Gradually shift your mind to what you’re going to do; then, do it. If you lose focus along the way, don’t panic – just start again from the top.

“Before I compete, my mind’s going a million miles an hour, but closing my eyes and visualizing my breath draws me back to the present.”
Patrick Chan, figure skater

Plan for the worst

But Plan for the Worst

Visualizing the bad stuff, too, will help prepare you for any twists in the road, like a sudden change in weather for an athlete, or a slide deck that won’t open during a presentation. Prepare for possible upsets – with extra batteries, cold and sinus medication, thumb drives and cloud-based backups – so a hiccup doesn’t turn into a disaster.



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