For those who live a dedicated fitness lifestyle, travelling can be stressful, and for some people the idea of taking a month or so out of their normal training and eating schedule can be quite difficult. In this article, we will discuss eight simple ways in which you can make sure you can keep on top of your training and nutrition when you’re on the road and you haven’t got access to the facilities, foods and supplements you would normally use.
No matter where you travel in the world or for how long, there’s every chance you’ll find a gym from time to time. If it might be days between cities, then make sure you plan your workouts to reflect the amount of time you have; perhaps stick to full body workouts to make sure you are targeting all muscles. You might have to forget building any serious muscle when travelling, especially if spending time out in the wilderness, but you can easily protect muscle with the occasional workout and taking care of your nutrition.
Change your training focus
The idea of not being able to hit the gym might seem traumatic for the avid gym goer, so we might have to forget our usual training, but use this opportunity to work on other parts of your fitness. If you’re a ‘lifter’ then use this as an opportunity to use HIIT workouts or other cardio to boost your fitness levels. Surprisingly, this can have some crossover into weight training – if you manage to improve your cardiovascular fitness levels then you will have more ‘gas’ in the gym and can train harder for longer.
If you lack flexibility and mobility then dedicate your time to doing lots of this kind of training. If you still want to work your muscles, then even without a gym there are plenty of bodyweight exercises, partner workouts and plyometric exercises you can do to keep on top of things that require little or no equipment. Finally, how about you challenge yourself to learn some gymnastic skills to help improve static strength and improve mobility.
Plan physical activities
When travelling, especially when out in the wilderness you will find that activity levels can naturally be high with walking, hiking and carrying around backpacks. If that’s not enough to keep you on your toes, think about activities you can do that will challenge your body in different ways.
See if there is an opportunity to do some rock climbing, canoeing/kayaking or white water rafting. All of these are not just a challenge, but great fun and a way of challenging your body in a different way that will definitely leave your muscles aching and your body feeling like it’s been through a tough workout.
Use it to de-load and let the body recover
This one is more for the more serious trainer. Competitive bodybuilders, powerlifters and athletes know that after months of pushing the body to its limits and the accumulation of aches, pains and niggling injuries that often go along with pushing the body to its maximum for long periods, that taking time out the gym is important to help them recover and rehabilitate.
This can be challenging to do mentally, but if you plan your training properly this will often lead to improvements whilst allowing you to enjoy your time travelling without worrying about your ‘gainz’. A few weeks out the gym will do no harm in this regard and can actually for many people be of benefit.
Think about what you’re going to be missing
When you travel for extended periods the chances are that you might be visiting different areas in which the local diet might be very carb, fat or protein based. So, think about what food is going to be easily accessible to you and what is going to be missing. If you’re likely to be consuming lots of carbs in the form of fruits and vegetables on your travels, then think about how you are going to get your protein and fats. It might be worth taking up some of your luggage space to make sure you get your essential fatty acids, like omega-3, and to help hit your protein requirements make room for some whey protein or if short on space, an essential amino acid powder to help protect your gains.
Support your immune system
Travelling can put increased stress on the body and effect immune function, so it’s important to keep on top of your vitamin and mineral intake. Depending on food availability and variety where you are, you might be missing out on key nutrients, so taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement, like our Complete Multivitamin Complex™, is probably a good idea. This is especially important if you plan on spending a lot of time travelling in planes or crowded transport where your immune system will need an extra boost.
Make sure you eat your fruit and veg
Eating enough fresh fruit and veg when travelling can be difficult depending on where you are, and of course the temptation is always there to live off the convenience fast-food we are familiar with if the local cuisine isn’t quite to your taste! You might also find that fruits and vegetables in some regions might be best avoided depending on things like the water quality in which they are grown, so always do research into this (and other local foods) to avoid any potential health issues.
This can mean we are likely to miss out on fruits, vegetables and fibre in our diet. Even for people who have access to these foods at ‘home’, many people do not consume enough of the ‘good stuff’ we should in our diets. This can easily be overcome by using a supplement such as our Complete Fruits™ and greens powders; these will help to keep you healthy and take up very little space in your luggage so, depending on where you travel, is something worth taking just in case.
Eat protein with every meal
Making sure you eat protein with every meal will help, whether you are looking to maintain muscle and prevent excessive fat gain. The type of travelling you do (treks in the wilderness versus visiting big cities), how active you are and food availability will for some have a big impact on their physique when travelling.
Eating a good amount of protein with each meal will help to protect muscle whilst travelling for those worried about losing their gains, and help keep you full and avoid overeating for those worried about unwanted weight gain. The amount of daily protein we need varies depending on our size, but as a general rule for most men consuming 45-55g of protein with each meal (around 200g of chicken, fish or beef), and 25-35g with each meal for women, would be sufficient to help protect against muscle loss.
In summary, even though travelling for long periods will have an impact on your training, nutrition and physique, some careful planning, a willingness to adapt to your situation, some simple supplementation and following some basic rules means that this doesn’t have to have the negative impact that many of us might fear. There’s certainly no need to worry about excessive muscle loss if we stay active and keep on top of our protein intake and unwanted weight gain can be avoided by keeping active and trying to eat whole, nutrient dense foods with lots of protein.