You’re going on holiday.
Foreign delicious foods.
Time to get away from the usual day to day hustle that is life.
However, you’ve really put in considerable time and effort into developing a physique anyone would be proud of — You really don’t want all that hard work to go to waste.
Chilling by the pool.
Eating gelato in the sun.
You should totally go and enjoy that, I mean it is a holiday — but it doesn’t really shout ‘lean, muscular and fit’ now does it?
Well today I am going to share with you some tricks, hacks and habits I have developed during my times on holiday. They have allowed me to stay fit, strong, lean and have actually proven to allow me to enjoy my travels more than ever.
I mean relaxing and eating great food is awesome, but you know what’s even better? Doing that whilst maintaining the physique you have worked so hard to develop.
Are you setting yourself up for failure?
We want to look our best on holiday, feel proud and not embarrassed to take our top off on the beach. So logically we want to be on a strict diet before the holiday, with lots of cardio, to drop the fat and reveal our six pack? — This is very common, and isn’t a problem if the right approach is taken, however most people do not take the right approach — they set themselves up for failure.
You see if you’re going into your holiday after strict dieting you might look good before you leave, but as soon as you start putting back the burgers and beers you’ll lose your cuts as you start retaining water.
[bctt tweet=”Avoid the No carbs before Marbs trap”]
Plus jumping from months of dieting to overeating is a sure fire way to pack on a bunch of fat, I have talked about this before, in that your body is fighting fat loss.
So how can we drop fat before holiday and keep our ripped physique?
The key is to transition a week or two before the holiday, in that you don’t jump from a diet to eating in excess, or even your normal intake. Instead you give yourself two weeks, slowly increasing calories, before moving forward.
This will allow your body to normalise at this new weight, and help prevent you packing on a bunch of fat come holiday. — This is the exact approach used in my online fat loss group coaching course; The Mini-Cut Movement and works very well every time.
So we’re going to set ourselves up for success by having some time not dieting before our travels.
Problem: You can’t go to a decent gym
OK so we love the gym, lifting heavy stuff is our thing. However, it is pretty rare to be able to fit in time for getting to and training at a high quality gym. We want to see the sites and so don’t have the time for our usual training, what can we do?
First we need to remember that time away from the iron is not only OK but actually good for us.
[bctt tweet=”Taking a break from heavy lifting is good for you.”]
If you’re on a good programme you will have times in which you don’t push very hard, these are called deload weeks. Effectively they’re a week of reduced training volume and intensity, so you go in do a couple of easy sets and come out feeling more refreshed. — We therefore have an opportunity, use the holiday as a deload week, win win.
However, what if our holiday is longer than a week?
We’re cool with taking a week off, but two full weeks off?
Won’t we lose our gains?
Well actually no, and even professional athletes take extended periods off their usual training, this is called Active Rest. — Active Rest helps in the healing of connective tissues such as fascia, tendon, ligament, and bone, and possibly some psychological fatigue factors as well.
However, we don’t want to do nothing, getting in some form of exercise and resistance training will not only improve our recovery rates, but allow us to keep sane and keep motor patterns fresh. We have a couple of options in my eyes, and it will depend on you and your individual situation.
- Find local gyms
- Book hotels with gyms
- Do bodyweight resistance training
- Use a combination of the above
1) Find local gyms
So ideally we would be able to find a local gym that had everything we could wish for, but to be honest unless you’re in a major city you will be lucky to come across a decent gym you can pop into. Fortunately on my recent holiday to Australia our resort in the Whitsundays had a pretty comprehensive gym and I got one other decent session in a Doherty’s Gym in Melbourne.
If you do find such a place you’re probably pretty time restricted, so what I did was to focus on getting in a press, pull, hip hinge and squatting movement — nothing big all clever just getting some of the raw basic compound lifts in.
2) Book hotels with gyms
When searching for hotels you can usually select some of the things they feature, like free wifi, a pool and in our case a gym. Now don’t expect these to be comprehensive or anything like the gym you’re used to, because they won’t be. We’ll be lucky to get a leg press, lat pull down, machine press and some light free weights — but it is better than nothing and you can have a very effective workout.
Again time is limited, but because it is at your hotel you really limit time wasted travelling and can get in a quickie first thing. During my trip to Australia we stayed at two hotels that had gyms, I set myself a 45 minute time limit and went to work. Personally I found doing full body workouts using antagonistic supersets a very effective and efficient way to train.
An example workout:
- 4 x 8 to 12: Machine Press & Machine Row Superset
- 4 x 8 to 12: Leg Press & Leg Curl Superset
- 1 set of Dips & Bicep Curls to Fail
3) Do bodyweight resistance training
So our final option requires you to be a little inventive and to be honest more determined as you will be doing the sessions in your hotel room most likely. So you’re not in your usual gym environment.
However, we’re keen gym goers who love to exercise and we can still get our pump on in our hotel room. During my 2 weeks in Australia I did three bodyweight workouts, they were actually very successful and I felt all the better for doing them.
The key here is to be inventive and not limit yourself, being close minded and thinking squatting, benching and deadlifting is the only way to train will be your downfall. Below is a full body highly effective and time efficient workout you can easily perform in your hotel room:
Problem: Protein is hard to come by
At home we’re used to having easy access to protein; chicken, tins of tuna, eggs, protein powder etc. However, when you’re on holiday you’ll probably be eating on the go most of the time, and restaurants don’t care about your high protein diet. Every time I go on holiday I struggle to get in enough protein, unless I plan ahead or use some of the hacks I will go over.
- Pack Protein
- Easy Protein Pick Ups
1) Pack Protein
OK so I could not recommend packing some protein before you go enough, I’ve been away enough times and struggled to get sufficient protein when I do not plan ahead. Dropping in a few protein bars is great, they can be eaten anywhere and can really prove to be a life saver.
However, best is to also pack some protein powder, because it comes with the same protein hit without all the added carbs, fats and obviously calories. — When you’re eating out a lot and enjoying tasty foods you don’t want to be eating a tonne of protein bars.
Honestly, you might think you don’t need to bother, but by doing this you will save yourself a load of money and time. By packing protein you’ll not have to search the supermarkets for options (oh and search for supermarkets) and you will be able to enjoy meals out that contain minimal protein because you know you can top them up.
Protein is the most important macronutrient to get right when it comes to preserving our hard earned muscle mass.
2) Easy Protein Pick Ups
So if you didn’t listen to my advice or you didn’t pack enough protein not all is lost, there are some easy ways to top up your protein intake. Lucky for us bros most supermarkets and even convenience stores have protein bars and drinks available, they’re not cheap mind you, but sometimes needs must.
During my time in New York and Australia I could pick up a variety of protein bars and shakes easily, however the case wasn’t true for Panama a much less developed country, so best hedge your bets and pre-pare by packing protein. — In Panama I resorted to buying litres of milk and tubs of cottage cheese to get in some additional protein, it wasn’t much fun and I’ve learned my lesson.
Problem: Getting in your micros & fibre
Just like protein, fruit, veggies and generally fibre can be hard to get in, again this comes down to eating out. Restaurants don’t care about you hitting your five a day, and more often than not you’ll be lucky to get any vegetables served with your meals. Plus even if they do by chance give you some veggies it’ll be one serving at most.
Obviously it isn’t the end of the world because your holiday diet is not how you’d normally eat, but if you’re like me then you actually enjoy eating fruits and veggies and plus by getting them in not only do you feel better but it helps prevent you from overeating on higher calorie foods. So here are some handy hacks I have developed on my travels:
- Seek out fast food chains
- Apples & Bananas for your convenience
- Vegetables, when needs must
1) Seek out fast food chains
I’ve not gone barmy.
Unlike popular belief fast food chains can not only be OK but actually healthy. Places like Subway and McDonalds have options to have big salad bowls and you can even add some lean meats (helping get some additional protein in too).
I’ve used both fast food chains and got really good salads, much bigger and better value than the crummy ones you receive at restaurants. Challenge convention and your pre-conceived ideas about fast food, and embrace their healthier options — both Subway and McDonalds will be in all major cities.
[bctt tweet=”Challenge convention and your pre-conceived ideas about fast food”]
2) Apples & Bananas for your convenience
These two fruits are really my bread and butter, at home and abroad. Not only are they cheap, they also travel pretty OK and are actually available at most convenience stores. The fact is these are high in fibre, high in micronutrients and low in calories and so form a very convenient and healthful snack.
3) Vegetables, when needs must
Now I have a gripe to pick with restaurants, they just do not give you enough vegetables, one day I will campaign and get this changed. Plus when you’re lucky enough to receive a few sprinkles of peas or a mini salad it is very often covered in either butter or oil — this is the bane of my life.
The number of times I have left salads because they’re drenched in high calorie oil is too many to count, the little micronutrition it will provide isn’t worth the boat load of calories that comes with the dressing.
So what I ended up doing was picking up some easy to eat veggies when we passed supermarkets, think carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes — these can be eaten just like an apple or banana you just have to get over the fact it might look a little odd. My snapchat followers can attest to me eating cucumbers and carrots while walking the streets in Australia.
[bctt tweet=”just casually walking the streets eating a carrot”]
Problem: Calorie Dense Deliciousness
This problem was alluded to at the beginning, relaxation, delicious food and being away from the gym for many would be a sure fire way to gaining fat. However, it is surprisingly easy to get around this issue, and no I am not going to tell you to drop the gelato or dump any dessert for that matter.
- One Step, Two Step, Three Step, More
- The Two Meals a Day Diet
- Make friends with the chef
- Napkins not just for bogies
1) One Step, Two Step, Three Step, More
When it comes to the energy balance equation we have two ends we can battle at, calories in and calories out. Rather than saying ‘no gelato for you’ I am saying, yes have the sweet delicious treat and we will battle on the other side; calories out.
This is actually not as hard as it first seems, all it takes is walking, which you will more than likely do without me even suggesting.
Personally I find the best way to discover a city is to walk it’s streets, me and my girlfriend averaged 20,000 steps each day when walking the streets of Sydney and Melbourne. When it comes to our total calorie burn this Non Exercise Physical Activity (NEPA) contributes a great deal, much more than calories burned exercising.
So get around on foot and burn a shed load more calories this will help bring the calorie equation back into our favour.
2) The Two Meals a Day Diet
This hack is again very simple, basically you just eat two main meals each day. The way I like to do it is drop breakfast and only eat out for lunch and dinner, having some snacks between meals to keep you going.
Not only does this allow you to keep calories down but it is a good way to save some money too.
Plus it allows you to get on with your day…or lie in.
[bctt tweet=”eat less often but eat big”]
Between meals I would snack on protein bars, shakes, fruits and vegetables (likely a Starbucks Skinny Cappuccino too) — these are all filling the gaps that the meals out are not providing; protein, micro nutrition and are low in calories.
3) Make Friends with the Chef
Now I don’t mean literally go and say hi to the chef, but I do mean you can ask for more than you think. For example in restaurants be sure to ask for dressings on the side or for foods not to be cooked or come with butter, this is something easy for you and the chef to do and will save you hundreds of needless calories.
[bctt tweet=”ask for dressings on the side & save hundreds of calories”]
You can take this a step further and make further requests, for example you can ask to substitute chips for another side dish like a baked potato. Another example is when we stayed in the Whitsundays we have a breakfast buffet, there was an omelette station, and instead of getting an omelette I asked for boiled eggs to which they were more than happy to do. — Honestly if the restaurant is any good they will try and please you, the customer, so you can probably take this further if you really wanted.
4) Napkins not just for bogies
Another one that sounds really odd, and while when done in practice it might feel a bit weird or wrong, once you’ve done it a few times you’ll get over it. — Basically you use your napkin to soak up excess, unwanted fat, I have and do use this to great effect.
For example you know I love pizza, however it is often very high in fat, and a lot of this fat is actually held on the surface of the pizza either from additional olive oil or the cheese. By simply placing my napkin down and pressing lightly I can absorb a lot of the excess fat, saving a bunch of calories, whilst not damaging the taste.
Another example was in a vegetarian restaurant, I ordered poached eggs on toast, as these shouldn’t need any additional fat for cooking like fried or scrambled. — However, to my annoyance when the eggs came out they were drenched in oil, as too was the toast. So I simply wrapped the eggs in a napkin and dabbed my bread, soaked up almost all the oil and then enjoyed my meal.
[bctt tweet=”napkins can save you hundreds of calories”]
This might all sound neurotic, but at the end of the day by implementing some of these methods you could save yourself having to diet off pounds of fat.
What’s more of a pain in the ass; asking for the dressing on the side or dieting for months on end?
Remember why you have gone on holiday
Finally I wanted to finish talking about why you’re going on holiday in the first place.
Probably to have a break, de-stress.
So remember that it is only a short period in your life, and that even if you did overeat, didn’t exercise or follow any of the tips above, so long as you’re on point the majority of the time it is OK. — I have written this because I personally enjoy my holiday more when I can somewhat stay on track, and hoped that others might pick up some value from my experiences.
The above was definitely not a ‘you must do this or you’re a failure’ list of ideas or approaches. — But more a few problems I faced while travelling and how I solved each problem and enjoyed my holiday to its fullest.
And with that I wish you safe travels and a fantastic trip!
Do you need any help with the above? Do you have any questions you need answering? Hopefully it gave you some useful tips and ideas on how to keep fit and not get fat whilst on holiday.
If you want to learn more about Flexible Dieting then this is an absolute must read: How To Start Flexible Dieting
If you have a holiday coming up and want to shed some fat and keep it off before then check out The Mini-Cut Movement
One more thing…
Do you have a friend who is going on holiday soon? Share this article with them and let me know what they think.
[bctt tweet=”How to not Get Fat on Holiday”]