4 Nutrition Tips To Annihilate Your Next Summer Vacation – Without Being Miserable
We all know what it’s like to go on vacation and come back ten pounds heavier; as a big, bloated, filthy walrus. Not good. In fact, it’s bloody awful to see. I would rather rub soap into my eyes for 30 minutes than look into the mirror and see a pig-faced, michelin-man-bellied monster gawping back at me.
But you know what? It never seems to happen to me personally. Oh here he goes again, all cocky and arrogant…but no seriously I’m just stating the truth; I never actually gain any more than one or two pounds whilst on vacation.
In fact, over the past month, I have travelled to:
- Cayo Coco, Cuba
- Holguin, Cuba
- Cancun, Mexico
- Madrid, Spain
- Bristol, UK
and…..I’ve lost weight. I’ve lost four pounds.
Am I a freak? Is it genetics? Drugs? Nope. None of them.
I’m just a smart-arse.
Let me share with you what I’ve done to lose weight whilst travelling so much.
How To Destroy Your Next Vacation Like A Boss
Firstly, I want to be completely open about this and state two important caveats up front:
- Although the above list looks pretty cool, it’s not like I’ve been travelling the entire month; each destination was only for 2-3 nights.
- The Cuba and Mexico trips were technically with work. But this isn’t a major factor as alcohol was still flowing regardless. Madrid was a pure vacation.
To expand a little, both Cuba trips were two nights, Madrid was three, Mexico was two, and Bristol was two totalling eleven nights of alcohol-fuelled fun during the month of May. I have also been fairly jet-lagged, which isn’t good for appetite regulation.
Madrid was the worst trip fitness-wise. I believe this was because of my mentality going into the trip; viewing it as purely a vacation, rather than a semi-vacation with plenty of fitness, protein and cardio, which is how I view work trips.
So the trips to Mexico, Cuba and Bristol were burning the candle at both ends, if you like, whereas Madrid was a complete vacation.
This is the first BIG CLUE as to how to handle vacations…
Don’t have vacations that you view purely as vacations and nothing else. You must continue to put the work into your body, otherwise it will fall apart!
Another BIG factor as to why you shouldn’t ever have 100%, all-out vacations with no fitness involved, is that you get zero work done, make zero money, and your productivity and routine falls apart.
I am a strong believer that the cost of ruining your routine is never, ever worth it. Just because it’s your only vacation all year is not a strong enough reason to quit performing maintenance work. Seriously, on vacations you need to maintain:
- Some level of cardio
- Some level of weight training
- Some productivity
- Some protein & veg
- Some eating routine/pattern, i.e Intermittent Fasting
Ruining the above can be really, really damaging, and is NEVER worth it, in my opinion. It simply takes too long to make up for the backslide, and you’re just creating a load of future work for yourself that is completely unnecessary and avoidable.
It also perpetuates the cyclical dieting trap that I talk about so much. You want to compensate for it when you get back and cut out x, y and z, slash your calories left, right and centre, and we all know that it never ends well.
Nutrition Tips For Vacations
Okay, time to get into the tips. This is what I have done over the past month to ensure I lost weight instead of gaining weight (like most people would):
#1 – Cardio, Every Day
This one is just non-optional. It’s huge. If you’re travelling and you’re eating/drinking more calories than usual, sorry, but you’re going to have to put the work in on the bike/treadmill/cross-trainer/whatever. It’s not fun, but sometimes getting shredded takes a bit of boredom. If there isn’t a gym, get running and/or walking on the beach or in the city. Don’t be lazy.
On the Cuba trips and the Mexico trip, I would burn about 800 calories per day. This is A LOT of cardio. But it only accounts for a very small percentage of your vacation time-wise, and you will often feel great afterwards, so it definitely adds value to your overall experience.
A common complaint typical travellers have on a typical all-out vacation is that they feel absolutely disgusting after a few days; eating way too much crap food, and drinking way too much alcohol, which of course ruins your sleep as well. So it’s a triple-negative-whammy. And it’s all self-inflicted, dumbass.
Cardio every day will alleviate this and keep you feeling fresher. Just do it.
As I mentioned in this article, during a normal week in a normal diet most of the time, I will perform about 2000 calories of cardio per week in total. So an average day would be about 300 ish. This goes out of the window then travelling – it needs to go WAY higher. As I said, 800 calories per day on average whilst travelling. I went running to save time instead of my usual stationary bike.
#2 – Adopt The Long-Term Mindset
Read this article; it’s fantastic if I say so myself. The blog traffic I got from it would also indicate it’s value.
To expand upon that article, whenever you are faced with a tricky nutritional decision, ask yourself:
“Are the inevitable negatives (weight gain) associated with this decision going to be worth it? Is the future work involved going to be a MASSIVE pain in the ass? Can I go without it and still have a GREAT time?”
The answer, you’ll find, to the last question is almost always a resounding yes.
#3 – Choose High Protein Meals
When you’re in a restaurant, don’t go for the pizza every time just because you’re on a vacation. It will just cause a massive blowout for a few mere moments of happiness. Again, long-term vs short-term thinking. This is also one of the biggest reasons my brother regains all of his lost fat so quickly on vacation and I don’t. He just goes all-out with no thought for the future.
#4 – Take Protein Bars, Shakes, Nuts & Other Great Snacks
I detest the supplement industry, as they’re a bunch of slimy little snakes that add no value to anyone’s lives and detract value from everyone’s lives – financially and emotionally, due to the obvious expense, and also skewed expectations.
I hate supplements. But, I concede that the convenience whilst travelling in a foreign country can be very helpful. Your diet will never be perfect whilst travelling, but taking these high-protein, healthy snacks will stop your diet from being awful. It’s less bad.
I did this a couple of summers back whilst on vacation in Greece actually. It worked really, really well. I maintained my body weight despite drinking every other night. And we Brits sure as hell know how to drink.
It should be noted that I also lifted heavily (I was fortunate enough to have a really solid, old-school gym in the next town) about three times per week, and did the same with cardio.
Doing cardio every day (like I do now) will actually allow you to potentially lose weight if your diet isn’t terrible. It’s great 🙂
There you go – follow the above four tips (especially number one) and you may actually get leaner on your next vacation. I have done.
Good luck 🙂
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