Two of my favorite things in the world are travel and fitness. In my experience, people often struggle with finding the balance between staying in shape, while not missing out on new tastes, experiences, and cultures. A question I often get is, how do I find a happy medium between enjoying my travels and not putting on the pudge? The first step is to determine what category of fitness traveler you are.
What kind of fitness traveler are you?
Most people and myself fall into one of two categories when they go on vacation.
Category #1: “@#$% YEAH! I’m On Vacation!”
These are often the guys and gals who spend so much time and effort pre-vacation to look great while on vacation. They often end up undoing all the progress they made because of course, they’re on VACATION! Food and drink turns into a free-for-all.
This usually leads to fat increases, loss of muscle and / or energy, and guilt or regret once returning home.
Category #2: “I’m disciplined, I’m gonna follow my current workout and eating regimen.”
This is a great idea initially, but there are the challenges of finding a good gym to get your workouts in, as well as eating healthy when you’re not cooking for yourself.
Plus, sticking to the same workout and eating regimen while in a new location is almost impossible. You often miss out on eating at awesome restaurants, new experiences, and spontaneity. Your day revolves around your workout and eating clean and you become that guy…
Trust me, I have operated out of both categories and let me tell you…
There’s a better and easier way to stay in shape while on vacation.
What To Do Before You Leave
Set realistic expectations
Get comfortable with the fact that your normal fitness and eating routine will be different, and that’s okay.
Take a break
Consider giving your body some R & R and take a complete break from the iron. No, you won’t lose all your gains.
Research local gyms
If you can’t fathom taking a break from the iron, research some gyms in the area where you’re staying. This is also a great time to try something new and different like a climbing gym or a place that offers awesome group classes.
Skip the gym
Consider skipping the gym altogether and do body weight workouts (more on this later).
Use the Google
Google healthy restaurants and grocery stores. While I’m a fan of winging it and being spontaneous, having some healthy go-to’s can be great, especially if you’re traveling for an extended period of time.
What To Do On Your Travel Day
Early flight? Try fasting
Drink lots of water, and sip on coffee and/or tea. It’s really not that hard. When you get to your destination, reward yourself and have a nice large meal with lots of protein, veggies, and good fats.
Midday or evening flight
Eat 1-2 light healthy meals or have a protein shake(s). Drink water, coffee, and/or tea. Eat a nice meal at the end of your day with lots of protein, veggies, and good fats.
Avoid airplane snacks
These are just processed foods that add up as extra calories with little to no nutritional value. Save yourself for some good eats when you land.
If you must snack, pack healthy ones
Good choices are jerky and raw nuts.
What To Do While Traveling
Walk as much as you can
You’ll get to see and experience your destination in a whole new way, plus you’ll burn a ton of calories.
Vacation is a great time to catch up on rest and to recharge.
Don’t follow a diet and try fasting
If you know you’re going to be indulging in the evening try skipping breakfast. I was recently in NYC and I knew I was going to be meeting up with some good friends for dinner late in the evening. So, I skipped breakfast and had a very light and healthy lunch. I also made sure to drink lots of water. The evening came around and we crushed (mostly me) sooo much Korean fried chicken and washed it down with soju bombs. Skipping breakfast created a calorie “buffer” so I could eat more of my calories later in the day.
Do a “Travel” Workout
Here are two of my favorites…
Remember: Don’t be afraid to change things up from your normal routine while on vacation. Try incorporating some of the strategies above and don’t forget to enjoy yourself and have fun!
What kind of fitness traveler are you? And what cool or weird things do you do on vacation? Let me know in the comments.