How to Stick to Your Nutrition Goals While Traveling
Summer is finally here. School is out, the weather is warm, and vacation mode is in full swing. If you’re anything like me, your workdays are spent looking out the window, longing to be on a beach in a tropical paradise. If you are one of the lucky ones who will be taking a trip this summer, the thought of how you will maintain your diet while traveling has probably crossed your mind. If the idea of tracking macros while on the move has your head spinning, don’t fret! I am here to help. There are a few options to consider, depending on your current training schedule.
Option 1. Plan on Not Planning
If your vacation is during your off season, you are in a bulking phase, or you do not have any competitions coming up in the next 3-4 months that would require you to cut for a weight class, this may be a good option for you. Dieting can be stressful both physically and mentally, and vacations are a great time to de-stress and break out of your routine. You can still maintain a healthy lifestyle by choosing healthier food options such as grilled meats and fruits and vegetables instead of fried foods.
Sometimes you need to shake up your routine to keep your body guessing. A small mental break of not preparing every meal in advance will free up space for other thoughts and lower stress levels. The sacrifices you make for your training do not solely affect your life, they affect the lives of those around you as well. Your loved ones miss you if you often pass up social gatherings in order to train or avoid unhealthy eating temptations. Taking a short break will allow you to reconnect with those around you who may not understand your lifestyle choices.
Option 2. Go In With a Game Plan
You can do your best to prepare, but sometimes life happens. You may be eight weeks out from a bodybuilding show or weightlifting competition and you need to travel for one reason or another. There’s nothing like spending ten days in an all-inclusive resort to completely derail all of the hard work you’ve put into preparation. The temptation will be there, but you can get through it, if you have a plan. I know, because I’ve done it, and you can too.
Before you pack your suitcase, take some time to research the area you are traveling to, and make a list of places where you will be able to get healthy foods. This list can include: grocery stores, restaurants with healthy options, local food services, and local gyms/CrossFit boxes. You should also find out if you will have access to a kitchen or microwave where you are staying.
If you are staying in a hotel or timeshare with access to a kitchen, you can go to the grocery store and cook your own meals. Another great option is Airbnb, where you have the opportunity to stay in someone’s house. Contact the home owner to ensure you will have access to the kitchen in advance.
Don't let worrying about macros distract you from your down time. [Photo courtesy of Pixabay]
Local gyms and CrossFit boxes are one of your best resources for healthy options in the area because they are filled with people who care about being healthy. A lot of gyms offer prepared meal services that can be ordered online and delivered to the local gym. Contact a few places before you go and see if they will allow you to order meals in advance and pick them up at the gym when you arrive. Ask the locals for recommendations. Yelp and other review sites offer honest reviews of the local fare, and more. In large cities you can often find lists of the best healthy options in town.
Going on an all-inclusive vacation while trying to stick to your plan will be a test of your will power, but it can be done. Before you set foot in the resort, have a talk with yourself and decide if you will have cheat meals, how many, and if you will consume any alcohol. You need to stick to this decision. Tell your travel companions, post it on Facebook, do whatever you need to do to keep yourself on track with this plan. I spent 7 days in an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana while preparing for an NPC Bikini Competition. If I can do it, you can too.
Plan, Enjoy, and Relax
If you are tracking macros or sticking to a programmed nutrition plan, then you already know what the good choices are while traveling. It is your responsibility to choose them. If you are eating at a restaurant or buffet, choose fish or lean meats that are grilled, instead of battered and fried, and ask for fresh fruits and vegetables with no sauce, or sauce on the side.
Spend your calories like money. You wouldn’t blow all of your money on cheap, ugly souvenirs that you don’t want, so why would you do the same with your macros? One of the most valuable pieces of advice I have ever received to stay on track with a diet is this mindset: if I am going to splurge on a cheat meal, it is going to be worth it.
Enjoy your relaxation time, see the world and make the most of your vacation, but don’t sacrifice your goals during your adventures. Think before you leave: Decide whether you will be sticking with your program while on the go, and do research on your destination before you arrive. Happy and healthy travels, everyone!
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