Some of the biggest traveling days of the year are getting close which means it is time to start planning how you can stay fit while travelling or at least not lose those hard earned gainz. (Yes I know how to spell gains properly; I just find it more fun to dabble with the Bro-English.)
Depending on serious you are and what your goal is, travelling and vacations can either help or hinder your progress. I’ve put this little guide together to hopefully minimize the hindrance of taking time away. These are things I’ve picked up along the way and use. Hopefully they help you too.
Part 2 (out next week) will specifically talk about what you can do during the holidays so this post will talk mostly about the travelling aspect and vacationing.
Meal prep for the road
Admit or not we are creatures of habit. Are weekdays are structured around work and our weekends are a little less structured but still roughly hold the same timing. We are almost always around a fridge/stove or at very least a microwave in our normal day-to-day. But if you’re stuck driving for 8 hours or on a trans Atlantic flight those household conveniences are not so readily available.
So what do you do?
Plan ahead with high protein, low carb options readily available. Nuts and seeds, protein bars, protein powder and beef jerky are all good options and don’t need to be heated up to be enjoyed. Fruit like bananas and apples are also good carb options. Buy all these at a BJ’s or Costco and save some money. Pack you backpack or carry-on and your covered for an 8-10 hour flight. This is a lot more satisfying than the “meals” they give you on the flight. I’ve flown across the pond; those meals wouldn’t do anything for me during cutting season.
If you’re going to bring protein, instead of dragging a 5 lb tub of protein through TSA, scoop a serving into a ziplock bag and leave it in you checked luggage or put it in your carry-on. Space and diet saver.
Depending how hardcore you are, you can also fill up ziplock bags with precooked brown rice and chicken for the plane. Jay Cutler (the bodybuilder) I know eats cold rice and chicken on flights. I’ve tried it and it’s better than starving…barely.
If you’re looking for protein bars, I suggest Quest Bars. They taste great, are loaded with fiber that keeps you fuller longer and don’t have a lot of sugars or sugar alcohols.
If you do decide to buy food at the airport or rest stop stick to salads with the dressing on the side. Most places have some sort of salad with chicken on it. Eating bread will only bloat you, which is not good if you are trying to have the best body on the beach.
Scout the Situation
Research the area around where you are staying
Do a quick Google search of the surrounding area of your hotel and any attractions you are going to see. Look for convenient stores or grocery stores near your hotel. This way if you run out of food you always know where to get more without sacrificing making a bad choice in a rush. You can always find some sort of fruit or nuts and a protein option in any convenient store. Most of the time these will be a little cheaper than the hotel or going out which is always an added bonus.
I’m going out on a limb and going to assume (yes I know what it means when you assume) that everyone has a plan when they are travelling like some places/attractions they want to hit and doesn’t just fly by the seat of their pants. Well when you are looking for fun things to do you should always look to find good places to eat as well. Everyone needs to eat at least once a day. Do a quick search of the menu and at least plan around a bad meal if you do chose to indulge in the local cuisine. I almost never go to place that do not post their menu online, nutritional information is a bonus. When my wife and I went to San Diego, you better believe I scouted out where the closest In-n-Out Burger was and then planned my other meals that day around what I was going to get. Call me a crazy, I just like being in control of my situation.
Keep it Flowing
One of the drawbacks of flying besides the same seats and hidden fees is the re-circulated air. The re-circulated air does 2 things: spreads the sickness and dries out your nose. This is why a lot of people get nosebleeds on planes. A good way to combat this is to keep hydrated. On my last trip I noticed people had sports or shaker bottles with them. I’m probably the last one to notice this, but TSA allows empty bottles through security and you can always find a water fountain near a bathroom to fill it up so you aren’t spending $5 for a small water. I was really impressed and embarrassed that I didn’t think of this myself. I filled up the water bottle before the flight and kept sipping on it throughout the flight. For an added bonus you can also throw in some protein powder from one of the ziplock bags you have and now you can have your protein shake on the plan while everyone else is eating that tiny bag of peanuts. Depending on your sweet-talking skills you might be able to get a flight attendant to fill your water bottle with some fancy airplane water. I haven’t tried this yet, but the worst they can do is say no.
Staying hydrated is also important when you travel to help regulate the salt in your body. Restaurant and processed food is loaded with sodium. So if you watch your sodium intake the rest of the year like me, when you get a crazy amount of sodium you take on water like a sinking ship. This is what I call Travelling Bloat.
If you do get Travelling Bloat then drink more water. Sounds counter intuitive to drink more water when you’re body is storing more of it, but water is a diuretic so the more you drink the more you pee. And the more you pee the more of the excess sodium you can get out of your system. Aim for as many ounces as you weigh. So if you weight 180 lb., aim for 180 ounces. There is going to be a lot of trips to the bathroom but your pee will be crystal clear and the bloat will go away.
Eat your Bananas
Look for Potassium rich foods
Spending your entire trip drinking an obscene amount of water and peeing it out doesn’t appeal to you? Well you can always load up on potassium. Increasing your potassium when you have a sodium overload can help you get back down to normal levels. Potassium and sodium, for a lack of a better term, work against each other in the body. When one goes up the other goes down. To help regulate you overloaded sodium intake, eat more foods rich in potassium. Fruits and veggies are your best bet. Bananas, sweet potatoes and avocados have really high levels of potassium. I don’t know about you but eating sounds a lot better than finding a bathroom every hour.
Beat Jet Lag
Find the hotel gym
Besides convenient and grocery stores, I scout for a gym or fitness facility in or around the hotel. Most hotels in the US have something that resembles a fitness facility. Even if it has one treadmill and a dumbbell you can do some great workouts. I try to get a workout in as soon as I settle in. No matter how tired I am or how many time zones I’ve crossed I always make sure I get a quick workout in. Something quick to get a sweat going helps me adjust. No weights? Then run. No treadmill? Go outside. Raining out side? Bodyweight Tabata (stay tuned for next week for a Tabata workout) in the room. This quick workout wakes me up and adjusts my internal clock to help with jet lag.
I use my vacations and travel as “off weeks” but keep active with walking everywhere. I don’t take weeks off when I’m home so travelling helps me recover. The one thing I do like is walking everywhere and anywhere. This helps me balance out the excess calories I might take in while being away.
I hope this helps you be the prettiest person on the beach,