Life vs Abs
When I first started traveling, maybe the toughest thing for me personally was balancing food and alcohol consumption with staying in shape. It was a constant battle between letting myself go and having everything I want or restricting myself completely and missing out on a big part of what I love about travel.
Whatever gene or mindset that allows a person to have just one cookie, one drink or one of anything. It definitely skipped me.
Being in the fitness industry for my job as well as competing in physique competitions, I always made this part of travel a battle which led to some missed opportunities as I look back. Whether I was traveling during competition prep or I was in the off season, I had the mentality that I had to be all or nothing…
Thankfully, we are several years later, I am still in the fitness industry but a little more relaxed on my body image I portray and I don’t do competitions anymore so there are no preps or off seasons to factor in.
I know the all or nothing mentality I have will always be there in some aspect, but with my knowledge of the fitness industry and knowing my body, I have developed some simple strategies that have worked for me and I think could help a lot of people who struggle with their diet on vacation. I wouldn’t call it balanced per-say, but I have figured out how to set myself up to enjoy anything and everything I want while not completely ruining all my hard work.
BEFORE I LEAVE
Depending on where i’m going, the weather (most likely warm and sunny) and people i’m going with, the “before the trip” varies. I mean, if everyone going is ripped and has a 6 pack I need to, too. That’s just the ego and competitive nature I have... And, maybe I’m wrong but I think that most people feel that way. No one wants to be the out of shape kid on the trip.
Whatever the case, depending on my body at the time I can figure roughly about how much time (generally about 2-3 weeks) I will need to get in the shape I want to be. This comes from many cycles of dieting and knowing how my body reacts to changes in diet and increases in activity. Although, I am finding out that as I get older my body tells me to fuck off a little bit more each time, making it harder to get where I want.
The biggest components to making change no matter what diet or workout type you choose is accountability and consistency. There is no big secret, magic pill or even a “best” diet and exercise regimen. I, myself chose a diet consisting of lean meats, fruits and veggies, healthy fats and low in starches. And for my workouts, I increase my cardio and reps in my weight training and aim to workout twice a day. As the trip gets closer I make adjustments if I need to. That works for me but everyone is different and just needs to find what works for them.
DURING THE TRIP
This is where a lot of my strategizing comes in to play. Before the trip is the easy part, it’s when you are on the trip that you need to really have a plan. So, what do I do?
1. Pick a hotel that has a gym or is near a gym and try to start each day with a workout in a fasted state.
2. Try to make my days as active as possible.
3. Intermittent Fasting. I use this on most days but especially when I know I am going to have a big meal or night out. If I have a big breakfast, I may fast the rest of the day and keep it lighter at dinner. Or, if I have a big dinner planned, I push back that first meal of the day as late as possible and when I do have something, it is a healthier choice setting up my digestion system for a big dinner and most likely copious amounts of sweets.
4. Most important of all, hydration! No matter how much you’re eating or drinking, hydration is the biggest factor!
AFTER THE TRIP
When I get home from a trip I almost always go right to the gym and get in 45 minutes to an hour of cardio and stretching. After long travel times, adjusting to the time change and most likely not great food at airports and on the plane, a solid cardio/stretch session does wonders for how my body rebounds after a trip.
The next day, I assess the state of my body and decide if I need to go back to the “before the trip” for a few days or weeks.
But, at the end of the day, I believe one of the most important parts about travel and experiencing different cultures is experiencing their foods and traditions. Restricting yourself from eating or drinking because you are afraid of gaining weight is completely unnecessary. Hopefully you have a better grasp on balance than I do, but if you don’t try these tips and indulge, indulge, indulge!
For more information or to get a program for your next trip contact cory@TheJetLagJunkie.com