This was a guest post for Western Mastery, a fantastic blog for just about…
How To Travel The World – Without Ruining Your Fitness Progress
As travel becomes cheaper and cheaper relatively by the decade, more people are traveling by the millions. More people want to visit cool places, including:
- South-East Asia
- South America
- The Mediterranean
- Eastern Europe
- The Caribbean
This is great, and I think travel should be an important part of people’s lives as it makes people very happy. This is particularly true if you’re traveling with other people and have a decent budget, although it’s not necessary to have both.
But as I have written about before, people typically tend to travel more and do more fun stuff in the summer months. This tends to lead to an annual “trouble period” where everyone either gains weight, or regains the weight that they worked so hard to lose.
There has to be a way to travel, and at least not screw up your fat loss progress? Surely?
If you don’t mind regaining all of that fat back, rendering your entire previous 3 months worth of work a complete and utter waste of time, feel free to ignore me. But if you want to reduce, or even eliminate the damage done when traveling, keep reading.
How To Travel The World & Stay Lean
I think that expecting to lose more weight whilst traveling the world would be unrealistic and a foolish endeavour. I would also advise you not to “travel binge” and go crazy just because it’s the only time of the year you get to travel. Stay sensible, travel, but don’t pig out on ice cream everyday, because that’s completely unnecessary.
As always, maintenance is far easier than progression. If you seek to maintain, you will enjoy yourself and remove the stress of a diet, whilst maximising your travel experience. The reason many people screw themselves over when traveling is that they think it’s the only time of the year whereby they’re allowed to have fun. This is indeed a lifestyle issue.
Instead of thinking of travel as a time to go completely wild, think of it as relaxation and freedom from problems. Not getting completely hammered 24/7.
Aside from this mindset issue, I would say that there are two key factors to keep in mind when traveling.
Do Not Stop Performing Cardio
I’ve somewhat changed my view on this one. I believe that allowing yourself to eat more calories is the most important thing to consider when traveling. People need to be allowed to eat maintenance calories (or a tiny bit higher), as obviously this is maintenance rather than trying to continue to lose weight.
But we want maintenance to be as high as possible to give you as much leeway as possible. And how exactly do we do that?
We continue to do plenty of daily activity. Lying on the beach doing sweet f’ all is nice, but I would advise you to do some cardio every other day. This coul mean long walks (depending on the climate), or finding a cool, air-conditioned gym to burn some calories.
If you want to not get fat whilst on holiday, then you can’t afford to turn into a completely lazy slob. You must do some cardio.
- Maintaining income requires work.
- Maintaining relationships requires work.
- Maintaining your physique requires work.
People seem to have a good grasp of the first two. But they seem to completely forget that it applies to fitness too. Maintaining a lower body fat percentage is NOT WITHOUT SACRIFICE. If you want to look good, you must eat like it, and also train like it. Cardio is key.
Do Not Stop Intermittent Fasting
One of the biggest reasons why my younger brother always gains a ton of weight on holiday, whereas I only gain a couple of pounds (water weight and puffiness from beer) is that I perform Intermittent Fasting, whereas he does not.
If you don’t do IF, you automatically go overboard with the calorie intake. You eat a normal amount of food throughout the day, and then you continue to pig out in the evenings because I’m on holiday dammit™, and then continue to drink 1000 calories of beer into the evening because I’m on holiday dammit™.
Contrast this to myself:
- I don’t eat breakfast, which tends to make you hungrier, especially when hungover. Instead, just have dioralyte, coffee and a ton of water if your goal is to get rid of your hangover. Only 12 calories.
- Drink a ton of water anyway, as it’s good for you (especially in a warm climate) and it will keep you full.
- I know I will be eating plenty of carbs and drinking alcohol in the evening (most evenings), so I skip the carb heavy breakfasts and save those calories for later.
- I focus on higher protein stuff during the day, and this is one of the few times where I do recommend actually going low carbs. Only because you’ll be going higher later on, most likely.
Intermittent Fasting, as always, is a life-saver. It doesn’t get you shredded alone. Motivation and discipline does that. But it is a life-saver because it prevents you from screwing up. It’s a damage limitation tool. As I write about here, it increased my diet adherence from about 75% to about 90%.
Very important if you have any form of recreational, travel, social or fun life. I don’t know about you, but I like to enjoy life, and IF lets me do that.
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