Last week I had the opportunity to take some time off work and enjoy a vacation in the mountains visiting with some old friends. I’ve been working extremely hard for the last several months to properly reverse diet, build my metabolism, and improve my physique in the process. So when the opportunity to go on vacation came up I admit, I panicked a little bit.
Sure I wanted to take some time off and travel, but I had been consistently getting my workouts in, and hitting my macros dead on since October. I was worried that even with my ability to flexible diet, that the lack of a proper gym along with too many meals out and nights on the town that I would take a step back in the progress I had made, wasting all that hard work! I thought it through, and because I’m not currently dieting for a show (thank goodness ;)) it was OK for me to enjoy a few untracked meals and missed workouts without feeling guilty.
However, I knew I still needed to have a plan in place so that I didn’t completely throw my healthy habits out the window! I wanted to be able to practice a truly balanced life where I could work towards my goals without restrictions in my life. One of the benefits to flexible dieting is that you do have more ability to make situations like this work. After all, if we can’t adapt our habits in to all aspects of our life, then is it really a lifestyle that we can maintain?
Here’s how I traveled, enjoyed drinks and meals out, and continued making progress towards my physique goals all at the same time.
How To Keep Healthy Habits While Traveling
– Pack food that you can travel with.
Long drives or days in the airport are typically interspersed with fast food stops and convenience store snacks. Packing foods that you can easily travel with will allow you to avoid the bad decisions made out of hunger, the ungodly prices for healthy (or any) food options in the airport, and let you know exactly what you are putting in your body. I would much rather enjoy a nice meal out at a local restaurant than waste my money (and macros) on fast food because I failed to bring snacks with me for the trip.
So here’s what I brought:
- Cream of Wheat
- Air popped popcorn
- Quest nutrition Protein Bars
- High Fiber Wraps
- Cooked Quinoa, Rice, and Bulgur Wheat
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cooked, Lean ground Chicken or Turkey
- Liquid Egg whites (Because I was travelling by car! These wouldn’t make it through the airport due to liquid restrictions)
- Tuna Packets
- Protein Powder
- Peanut Butter
- Shredded Cheese
– Pick the right hotel room.
This helps with bringing your own food. When you book your hotel, you are going to want to find one that has a refrigerator and microwave. Often if you call in advance, this can be arranged for you. Picking a hotel room with these amenities lets you bring a variety of foods without the worry that they will spoil. Having the microwave in your room also gives you an excuse to use those college cooking skills you once relied on and make some of your own meals and snacks. If you can’t bring this much food with you due to packing restrictions, I recommend finding a local grocery store when you get to your destination and picking up some essentials.
– Pick which meals you will eat out.
Flexible dieting allows you to enjoy meals out at restaurants, but at the same time it is very difficult to hit your numbers if you are eating every meal out. Your best option is to find a restaurant that provides nutritional data (most restaurants provide this on their websites nowadays), but if you can’t then do your best to estimate what the macros of the meal will be. If you are on vacation, one of the best ways to explore the area is through the local cuisine. My best suggestion is to pick a meal or two that you will eat out each day, and try to make your other meals in your room. Then allot some of your macros for your meals out and fit the rest with the foods you have brought. I find that breakfast is the easiest meal to eat in your room because oatmeal and protein powder usually does the trick!
– Fit in a workout
It’s not everyone’s priority to spend an hour or two of your day at the gym while on vacation. After all, you’re there to explore, relax, and have fun! If you can schedule a de-load (active rest) week while you are on your trip, then you most likely can forgo the longer workouts. Unless you are actively preparing for a show or competition, swaying from your typical workout routine won’t only not hurt your progress, it may in fact help your progress! Many hotels have adequate gyms now, but any local gym in the area will allow you to work out for a day or two and sometimes they offer a free trial. Since my time on vacation was already limited, I chose two days to work out in the hotel gym, and created workouts that would get me in and out in 20-30 minutes. Try this workout that I did in the hotel gym:
– Plan activities that promote health
Although you might be taking a few extra days off from the gym, incorporating an active lifestyle will allow you to explore the area in a unique way that many visitors may not get to see, and allow you to maintain your conditioning level all at the same time. Try planning activities like hiking, bike rides, skiing, snorkeling, snowshoeing, and even horseback riding. There’s no doubt that in any area you visit you can find an activity that gets you some extra exercise and allows you to see different parts of the town.
– Relax and enjoy some time off
After all, this is just as important to your health and training too! Don’t feel guilty about missing some workouts or eating a little extra. Catch up on some rest, have fun, and truly enjoy your trip!
Readers: How do you travel healthy? What do you find hardest about maintaining your lifestyle while travelling? What’s your favorite thing to do on vacation?