This can be every dieter/performance athlete’s nightmare.
Whether it’s work-related, for holiday or exploration purposes, travel can bring on stress if we’re working hard to achieve body composition or performance results.
However, there’s no need for travel to sabotage this progress.
Depending on who you are, what your goals are, and what you’re happy with achieving during this period, there are various strategies that can be implemented.
What’s the occasion?
First matter to address is what the occasion of travel is.
Are you going on a family holiday for 7-14 days, or is it just a work trip for less than a week?
The occasion will dictate your approach and how strict/lenient you are.
If you’re on a holiday, your mind and body will probably appreciate the break from diet and exercise, however this is not an excuse to binge and blow everything out of the water.
You’ve worked hard to this point and don’t want complete sabotage
My advice would be to move about as much as possible: walking, taking stairs etc, and to exercise as basically as possible.
Play sports, swim, be active in a natural way and don’t stress about the gym too much, you won’t lose muscle mass in the space of one holiday.
Nutritionally, aim to eat to your natural hunger and appetite cues.
If you struggle with over-eating, this can be a little worrying for some people, but do your best to eat slowly, take breaks, and have conversation during your meals.
As soon as you’re full, stop, you’ve already enjoyed some good food.
Aim to get plenty of protein and vegetables, and don’t be afraid to order custom dishes if needed to get what you want.
It’s not going to be perfect, and you may put on a little weight, however this is always easily reversed once normal routine resumes.
Travelling with work can be anywhere from a couple days to nearly a week.
You’re in an unknown environment, living out of a suitcase, and your schedule is completely in someone else’s hands.
However, exercise and dietary habits can still be maintained.
There are probably plenty of work socials mixed in that will involve poor food and drink choices, so it’s maximising the time outside of these where you will minimise damage.
Exercise wise the goal would be to take control in the time no-one can take – early morning.
Do CrossFit? See if there’s a local box that does a morning class you can drop in to.
If not, why not perform a simple hotel room bodyweight workout? Or go for some interval sprints on the stairs/outside?
By getting your workout done first thing in the morning, you leave the day open to whatever is thrown at you.
Nutrition wise can be a little harder with convenience being the ultimate factor.
Protein bars/powder with a greens supplement can be a great way to get in vitamins and minerals.
Other options could be to search for local supermarkets where you can pick up cooked meats, dairy, and salads to stick to the basics.
I wouldn’t worry too much about carbs if you know there will be alcohol involved or some team meals out.
Here it’s about doing the best you can, knowing it’s not perfect, but not stressing about that or using it as an excuse to fall off the wagon.
Travel for extended periods
Some of you may be planning a several month tour of other countries/cities.
This is where it gets more interesting, but there are still practises you can follow.
Training wise the same thing applies.
Drop into local gym classes, do bodyweight workouts, and interval/hill sprints as your cardio.
Nutritionally you are going to be limited by what’s available and local culture/cuisine.
My advice would be to immerse yourself in the local cuisine as much as possible, and try new things.
The basics are always the basics.
Can you get some protein in somehow? Plenty of vegetables/fruit? Then you’re doing the best you can.
If you’re exploring a lot during the days you’ll probably be too busy to be hungry, so just eat when you can, and focus on eating to your hunger cues.
These tips above will help you maintain your progress at best, you may suffer some numbers on barbell lifts but these will come back quicker than you think.
Travel, whatever for, doesn’t have to mean you screw up all the progress you’ve made.
Sure, if you’re on holiday, enjoy the mental break from your routine, but don’t use it as an excuse to binge.
You’ll only just regret it when you return half a stone lighter.
If it’s work/exploration based, you can do a lot more than you think in order to keep things under control.
Take action and don’t get caught up in the mindset of just because it’s not perfect it means you shouldn’t try.