That’s it, I have had it! How many times am I going to train hard and find my groove in a winner routine only to ditch it all, and lose most of my gains, for a week of travelling, be it holiday or work?
My answer: Never again!
Did you know that those who workout more often, lose their gains quicker than those who rarely exercise? But don’t be alarmed, we will also gain it back quicker than those who don’t.
So HOW do we do it?
Here are some steps you can take to make sure you don’t backslide.
1. Take Protein Powder
Whatever your protein powder preference, make sure you level out a few scoops into an airtight container or my personal favourite, the Ziploc bag. That way, when you are faced with the inevitable dilemma of the sudden urge to stuff your face with the closest processed food item, you have a back up plan. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Take The Equipment
Pack a protein shaker. No point having your powder and trying to mix it in a hotel coffee mug; lumps anyone?
3. Pre Book Your Meal
When booking your flight, have a look at what meal options are available. Qatar Airways has a decent low calorie meal, but if you prefer to know exactly what crosses your lips, make yourself a little lunch box. Whatever you do, make sure it is not a liquid over 100ml otherwise you will be handing that over to your nearest security officer.
4. Get Your Own Water
Once through airport security go and find a convenience kiosk and get a bottle of water. The water you are given on a plane is basically a shot of water that has no chance of hydrating you, and I am sure no one wants to have to constantly press the service button and be “that guy”. Drink as much as possible and try to steer clear of anything fizzy or alcoholic.
5. Stretch On Board
You may get a few looks but stretching and moving around on board is a must, if you plan to feel energised upon landing. Sitting for that long is damaging to a lot more than just your aching bottom. Sitting for that long shortens your hamstrings and hip flexors as well as the muscles in your lower back and most of the muscles connected to your hips, such as your quads and glutes. This causes the muscles to tighten as you as you stand up again. Your blood will also have difficulty circulating efficiently which can also create a level of discomfort.
6. Filter Your Hotel Search
While planning your holiday it is a good idea to choose a hotel with a gym. A lot of booking sites, such as booking.com and Trip Advisor, have filtering options to make your search easier. I know I sound like a boring old bat because who wants to workout on holiday, but if you look at it like I do you might change your opinion. You have more time available to you with no work commitments, your workout will energise you for your daily activities, it will help you sleep and combat jet lag and quite frankly it will make you feel a bit better about that churro you so desperately want (personal experience talking here). Work out smarter, not longer. You do not need to be in the gym for 2 hours, go for high intensity for a shorter period of time and voila!
7. Workout In The Room
Can’t face the gym? Why not find some space in your hotel room for a full bodyweight HIIT workout? Plan ahead my friends and all shall be easier.
8. Jog The Sites
Instead of dragging yourself around tourist sites, why not make it a jog/run? You’ll get more in in less time, you have an excuse to wear comfy gym clothes outside of they gym, and guess what, that churro will taste even better post run.
9. Sign Up At The Local Gym
If you are visiting friends or family and aren’t staying in a hotel, but are adamant to keep lifting, why not research hotels in the area and see if you can get a pay as you go type membership? Most gyms offer this service, but set aside a little extra time for your initial induction (PAR-Q forms, your personal details and a quick tour are usually what you will encounter). Once you have done that you won’t ever have to do it again. You might even be able to find classes in the area to join and live a little like a local.
10. Select Your Restaurants Wisely
If you are really focused on your nutrition, make sure you choose the right type of restaurant. Steak houses are my best as you will 100% find a grilled meat option with a side of vegetables or green salad. A lot of cities these days also have great health restaurants like Nü in Cape Town, Urth Café in LA and Harvey Nichols’s Get the Glow menu by Madeleine Shaw in London.
11. Go Grocery Shopping
Grocery stores aren’t just for the locals. Go grab some healthy snacks to keep you fuelled up and away from the churros (you’re seeing a theme here aren’t you?).
12. Avoid The Buffets
Don’t do breakfast buffets unless you are bulking. What is the point in paying so much for food you do not need? No one needs a solid 1 hour of eating breakfast. Go for egg options and whole grains, a protein fuelled breakfast will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Watch out for smoothies, which can tend to be more like a milkshake than a health drink. I prefer room service because I can choose exactly what I want and not get out of bed.
13. Don’t Sweat It
Go for the 80/20 rule as best as possible. Have your cheats, indulge a little, but try to balance it out with healthier options in between. Life is beautiful and travel is one of the greatest gifts if you are granted the opportunity. Constantly feeling stressed about your diet is not conducive to a healthy mindset and will do nothing to help you lose weight, if that’s your M.O. What’s 2 weeks out of 52 to have a little fun and indulge? As long as you don’t indulge to the point of feeling physically ill. Savour the beautiful moments and have a positive outlook, listen to your body and treat it kind, it will reward you.