The way I see it, there are two types of people when it comes to fitness habits and travel. On one hand, you have the all-in types who obsess over every little detail of their fitness lifestyle. They try to stay as close to, or even better than, their at-home behavior while on the road.
On the other hand, there is the other group who cuts all ties with anything resembling fitness, healthy eating, or other habits for well-being while traveling. They see their travel plans as a big, bold green light to eat what they want, sleep all they can, and throw most, if not all, of their caution and good habits to the wind.
Find a Middle Ground
I feel the key is to not to belong to either group. There has to be some sort of happy medium in place in order to maintain your fitness levels while enjoying the very vacation you planned. Of course, this applies to business trips, as well.
The first step in reinventing your perspective about fitness on the road is to welcome the event. Many will stress about the availability of a gym, access to healthy foods, and sleep schedules. I suggest you welcome the change and welcome the foreign feeling of a little of the unknown. Your purpose isn’t to train, eat, sleep, and repeat. It’s to enjoy your travels and experience new things with people you enjoy being around—it isn’t to fill up your day with workouts, food prep, and perfect recovery practices.
Shift Your Paradigm
So, step two will be a paradigm shift of sorts. Mentally shift your perspective from that of home life to life on the road for a limited time. Be prepared for change and be willing to adapt well ahead of time. Accept that your schedule will be sporadic and unpredictable at times. This preemptive strike will ensure that you are equipped for anything. However, I can’t emphasize enough the fact that you should also enjoy your time on the road, away from the familiar.
With a new perspective, and your willingness to let loose for a while, it will behoove you to formulate a plan of sorts. Not only a plan but several plans. Normally, when you’re traveling you have to curb your normal training practices. If you find a gym, it’s not necessarily your gym. It’ll have different equipment or will be less equipped than what you’re used to.
You’ll need to shift gears on the fly. Have a plan and a backup plan (or two). Have a go-to vacation workout program that is brief, a little less intense, and doable practically anywhere. So, instead of heavy sets of squats, leg presses, and Romanian deadlifts taken to failure with heavy weights, choose more moderate weights and reps since your recovery isn’t as on point.
Also, look to new experiences as a part of your fitness plan. Hiking, biking, climbing, water sports, etc. all have fitness benefits. Try not to put your love of fitness in a box that requires a certain gym with certain equipment. Expand your horizon and accept more modes of training that you may never have been exposed to in the past. Training this way will ensure you’re getting in a workout that, at the very least, will maintain your current fitness level and provide you with a possible much-needed break from the norm.
Recovery Will Be Off
While on the road, it goes without saying that your recovery ability won’t be on the up and up. Sporadic eating schedules, sub par foods, and lengths of time without eating can hinder training performance. It’s okay. Don’t expect to set new personal records on the road.
At the same time, don’t get too lazy either. The last thing you need is to come back from vacation with a pile of personal fitness homework to do—you can do a lot of damage in a single week if you try hard enough. Besides, being active on the road will give you more energy and motivation to get out and do things. Isn’t that why you went on vacation in the first place?
Don’t Go All Nicholas Cage
This last point is for you out there that go all out every day. You’ve been called obsessed, overly-dedicated and, at times, not that fun to be around due to the aforementioned points. Don’t focus so much on training and nutrition on the road. Have your plans in place, but then try not to stress and schedule grueling, high-intensity training sessions at 4 am pushing yourself to the point of nausea.
Leave the crazy dedication for home and enjoy who you’re with. Employ these guidelines:
- Accept things will be different. You’ll encounter sporadic eating times, foods, training facilities, etc.
- Shift your mindset and adopt an alternate perspective when it comes to training and nutrition.
- Have an alternative plan of action for training and nutrition. Set up modified workouts and meals ahead of time. Try new, fun activities.
- Keep in mind that recovery (eating and sleeping) will vary and that you’ll need to keep intensity in check.
- Look forward to the future. Whatever happens, know that you’ll simply get back to your normal schedule once you’re back home.