You’ve booked that amazing beach vacation. You’re feeling “lean and mean”…..so how to you enjoy your trip without completely sabotaging your progress?
Or, when you are at home you hit the gym regularly and meal prep, but those weeks you travel for work, do you fall of the wagon?
As I write this, I’m a little conflicted, because my personal approach is actually NOT the advice I’m going to give you here!
For me, I’m pretty darn consistent with my nutrition and training, so when I go on vacation, I allow myself to generally have what I want. This works because I’ve learned, over time and habit, what foods make me feel like crap, so I can indulge without going overboard and downing a plate of nachos or chugging 7 pina coladas by the pool. (OK maybe once or twice). I typically don’t work out much on vacation, with the exception of maybe a jog on the beach or a couple weight sessions if the hotel has a bad ass gym.
The goal with our clients at TriFIT Wellness, is to teach people to get a place mentally where they want to exercise and eat well. It is part of your day to day life…as routine as having your morning cup of joe.
In one word….”lifestyle”.
All that means really is that you are conscious of making healthy choices most of the time, by following the 80/20 rule. (Don’t get hung up on exact percentages). When you start paying attention to how food makes you feel, and are eating clean, whole foods the majority of the time, junk food is going to reek havoc on your body and make you feel like poop (literally).
Eating intuitively is your ultimate goal. But for now, lets dig in to some practical things you can do to stay on track while traveling, so you aren’t tempted to binge.
1. Plan your workouts ahead.
I really hope you plan your week at home. If you aren’t doing this now, start. I plan my week on Sundays, and “time block” so set aside dedicated time for important activities. (full disclosure…still working on this…I’m notorious for over scheduling). I was just at a conference where the speaker talked about planning your “Dream week”. He suggested blocking time for the following:
Uninterrupted focus time – no distractions, minimum of two hours devoted to an activity
Flexible time – appointments you can move around
White space – allow enough space in between things to allow for the unexpected to pop up
Personal time – here is where you schedule your workouts, reading, relax time, etc.
When you are traveling, plan what you’re days will look like, and make sure you schedule time for your workouts. Ask yourself questions like this:
Does the hotel have a gym?
Is it by an awesome park where you can run?
Will you do bodyweight workouts in your hotel room?
Can you do a “drop in” class at a yoga or fitness studio?
We just did a segment on Fox Channel 10 with an awesome bodyweight workout you can watch here. Planning is everything.
2. Pick your restaurants.
Scope out all of the restaurants in the area you will be traveling in. You can view the menus online in most cases. What are the healthy options available to you? When meeting clients, give two choices, but always pick the restaurant. What in the world will you order that is a healthy choice if your client wants to go to “Dave’s Giant Fish Fry” (I’m sorry if that is a real restaurant someplace….LOL)
When ordering, shoot for a balanced plate with protein, healthy fat and complex carbohydrates, keeping in mind portion control. If you want to access to a list of “clean” foods, you can access that here.
Skip the pastries, cereal, muffins, bagels and yogurt. Instead opt for eggs, oatmeal, and a small serving of fresh fruit (palm size).
Skip the deli sandwich with a ton of processed meat, cheese and baguette smothered in mayo. Instead try a large fresh salad with seasonal veggies, chicken or salmon and an olive oil based dressing.
Most people really have their greatest challenge at dinner. Usually it’s because you haven’t eaten enough during the day and are starving by dinner, so you’ll binge. (no, of course you’ve never done that?!) Pick restaurants that have simple dishes that can be modified. If you order a pasta dish with 15 ingredients and a sauce, it’s very difficult to know what is actually IN that dish. Instead opt for a meal where you can easily distinguish each item:
Protein (chicken, lean beef, fish), carbohydrate (sweet potato, brown rice or small baked potato), and lots and lots of steamed veggies (or sautéed with a little olive oil)
Modify, modify, modify.
No butter, dressing on the side, hold the croutons, cheese on the side. Etc. etc. These requests will soon become second nature, so get used to it.
I worked in a fine dining restaurant all through college. Most servers will not care if you modify your meals, so long as you are polite and you tip well. Please, please, tip your waitress. If you are behind the times and still think it’s OK to tip 10 or 15%, do not visit a restaurant. Stop being cheap. 20% is industry standard. Sorry for the rant… ?
Lastly, tell your waiter to please hold off on bringing bread. If it is in front of you, you’ll eat it (you know you will). Most of the time, passing on desert is the best option. If you have a sweet tooth like me and you must have something, take a couple bites and move on. You do not need to eat the entire hot fudge ice-cream sundae (unless it’s from Houstons, in which case you should eat the entire thing because it’s freaking amazing!)
3. Pack snacks.
Another big area that people struggle with is snacks. We snack when we are bored….a meeting runs long and you are starving before lunch…..or you have some dead time in your hotel room in the evening.
When you allow yourself to get too hungry, this is when you’ll make bad choices.
Always, always, always pack your snacks.
Some of my “go-to” snacks are single servings of almond butter (Barney butter is my new favorite) with a Honeycrisp apple, string cheese, RX bar, hard boiled eggs, and protein powder to throw in a blender bottle and shake up on the go.
4. What to drink?
You aren’t drinking enough water:
Water intake is huge. Shoot for 4 liters to a gallon of water per day. Seriously. It sounds like a lot because it is. I have to count my servings of water to make sure I get enough. Our bodies are primarily made up of water, and many issues in the body stem from dehydration. Often we mistake being hungry for actually being thirsty. I carry my “blender bottle” with me pretty much everywhere, and make sure I fill that baby up at least 5 times per day. Other great options are green tea and coconut water.
Lets talk about alcohol:
Too much booze can really derail you. Not only does alcohol contain empty calories, dehydrate you, and mess with your sleep….but You WILL overeat. It’s a fact. If you travel regularly, let some parameters for your alcohol intake from the beginning. A glass of wine with dinner is fine, but leave it at that. If you are on vacation, the best choices of alcohol are clear (vodka) with club soda and some lemons or limes. Skip the sugary juice mixed drinks, mai tai’s, pina coladas, etc….they aren’t worth the calories.
Alcohol and your macros:
If you are tracking your macros, you can actually borrow from carbohydrates and/or fat to stay within your daily goals. It’s a little tricky, but even if you’re not “tracking” while on vacation, you can at least get an idea of how many drinks you can consume to not completely get off track. You can read an article about alcohol and macros here.
In sum, whether you are on the road often for work, or want to set yourself up for success when you go on vacation, you can follow these tips to stay on track. The best advice I can give you is really very simple. The answer is always, always moderation. When we deprive ourselves, it’s so hard to maintain that level of discipline 24/7. So plan ahead, make your choices wisely, and don’t be afraid to indulge occasionally.
If you have any questions, we are here to help so drop us a line anytime! If you are looking for a gym in Phoenix that caters to busy people just like you, fill out this form for a complimentary trial session. We would love to meet you!