A lot of people use the excuse of travelling as a reason to completely throw their dieting and exercise routines out the window! Too many of us go on holidays knowing we will put on fat and lose a level of our fitness, yet we do nothing to avoid it. This is usually due to the fact that our normal routines are interrupted when travelling. This can happen in the following ways:
- Those of us who normally work out in a gym may not have access to any equipment.
- Those who normally exercise with friends or a training partner may now be by themselves.
- Those who usually prepare their own meals may not have access to a kitchen or fridge.
- Those who are used to a regular sleep pattern may be sleeping at odd hours in different time zones.
While all of these things can affect motivation, it really isn’t that difficult to track your macros and to not undo all of your hard work – it just takes a little bit of planning! I recently went on a two-week holiday to Hawaii. Yes that’s right, American food and lots of it – everywhere I looked! I wanted to prove to myself and my clients that I could minimise unwanted fat gain and stay on track while on holidays – all while still enjoying myself and not feeling restricted. In fact, I only gained 1kg over the entire 2 weeks! Here is how I did it:
Increase your calories
Trying to stick to 1200 calories while on holidays will only be setting yourself up for failure and won’t allow you to enjoy yourself! Increase your calories up to around your maintenance level or just below. By increasing your calories you will have a more realistic amount to work with while away and you won’t feel so restricted. This is obviously depending on your goals and whether or not you have a deadline coming up.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated! Hunger is often mistaken for thirst so drinking enough water can help to reduce cravings. Keep your water bottle with you and make an effort to keep sipping water throughout the day. Drinking extra water can also help to reduce fluid retention from flying.
Stock up on staples
Head to the supermarket/convenience store to grab a few staples. You will be amazed at what you can find at the supermarket these days – ready to go meals, salads and prepackaged meats are super handy and they all have the macros listed on the label making them easy to track. I always make sure I have a source of protein, carbs and fat with me – for example, protein powder/bars, rice cakes and peanut butter!
Follow the 80/20 rule
Diet is often the biggest issue while on holidays or travelling. Remember to follow the 80/20 rule – make sure you get at least 80% of your daily food intake from whole, nutritious foods and leave the remaining 20% for more processed, calorie dense foods. This way you will be able to ensure you stay on track while still being able to enjoy yourself. When eating out, fill up on protein sources and salad/vegetables to reduce your chances of making bad food choices.
f you know that you will be going out for a meal with friends or colleagues then have a look at the menu beforehand and select your meal. That way you can plan the rest of your meals for the day around it. If you can’t choose beforehand, try to save a realistic amount of macros for that meal by having smaller, micronutrient dense foods during the day. Always carry some protein powder or a protein bar with you to keep up your protein intake while out on adventures. This is especially useful when you don’t have access to quality food!
Set an alcohol budget
I get it, drinking alcohol is a big part of enjoying yourself while on holidays, but it doesn’t mean you need to spend the whole day getting smashed at the pool bar! Set yourself a limit each day and don’t go over it. Also, make smart decisions when it comes to your drink of choice. A vodka, lime & soda is going to have a fraction of the calories of a fancy cocktail! Don’t forget to increase your water intake if you are drinking as well, as dehydration from alcohol consumption and the heat are not a good combo!
Get in a workout
Look for gyms, check out the hotel fitness facilities (if any) or even take a look at local parks and outdoor playgrounds where you may be able to exercise. There are many ways you can get in a great workout while travelling. If there is a local gym, take full advantage of the equipment they have to offer. If the hotel has a fitness facilities available, construct a workout with what they have to offer. If you normally exercise outside – head to the local park! Otherwise, a quick circuit in your hotel work also works a treat! It is often best to do this first thing in the morning, otherwise you will be less likely as the day goes on!
We don’t just burn calories through “exercise” – all the things we do in the day such as walking or shopping, also help with our total calorie burn for the day. This is referred to as Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) and can account for as little as 15% of energy expenditure in the very sedentary and up to 50% in very active individuals. The easiest way to increase this is to get moving! Go for a walk every morning and check the distance to your destinations on Google maps. If it is within walking distance then opt for that rather than getting a taxi or public transport. If on holidays, plan some fun activities (like surfing, hiking or cycling that require you to move your body – it all helps!
Put these strategies into place for your next travelling adventure and enjoy yourself without the blow-outs!