Travelling has been well known to be a hurdle in fat loss or body transformation journeys of which people who travel frequently for work or leisure will just exclude themselves from being able to achieve their goals OR many goals will instead be put on the back burner due to travels. While for most people a ‘holiday’ is time of recreation, recuperation and relaxation, if you don’t want it to get in the way of your goals then it doesn’t have to at all. In this article we will deep dive into some tips and pointers you can take with you on your travels to ensure you still endeavour to see results or not deviate from progressing on your body transformation.
Get familiar with your destinationDo a little research prior to your travels. See what restaurant options, convenience stores and supermarkets are in close vicinity to you. Remember some widely located restaurants and take out eateries such as Grill’d, Mad Mex, Guzman & Gomez, McDonalds, Subway, Boost, Sumo Salad, Sushi train etc have the nutritional information available on their website. With this information you’re then able to make the allowance for them within your intake requirements and keep within your target calorie goals. If you know what you have access to it can make for a breezy stay, pre-planning and wise choices.
Pre-planPlanning and applying a bit of thought to how you’re going to stay on track is a sound time and investment into the management of your goals. After you’ve done a bit of research into the accessibility of eat out locations and supermarkets you’re able to know if your diet is going to fall short of any essentials and instead make other accommodations in advance. For the most part ALL travel destinations will have convenience stores and supermarkets and restaurants that will cater to your meal requests. However, where you want to make some accommodations to ensure you’re staying on track you can always pre-pack non-perishable food items that are satisfactory in meeting your macronutrient requirements and are also convenient to take with you. Some examples of this include protein bars and shakes, quick cups of rice, tuna, rice cakes and peanut butter, muesli bars, crackers etc. Consider pre-packing small snacks like this particularly if you’re travelling e.g. by plane, for a long period of time without food to save you opting for calorie-dense snacks on flight menus or minibar/impulsive snacks on arrival. Keep in mind often while travelling most people have difficulty in meeting their protein requirement (0.8-1.15g/per pound of body weight) given that most protein sources are in refrigerated or cooking required foods such as deli meats, dairy, lean cut meats etc. So equip yourself with bars or shakes that will aid in meeting your protein intake requirement and give a little more flexibility to fill your day with carb and fat sources which are relatively easy to meet on the go.
Pick a hotel with a gymWhile training isn’t essential for results as nutrition is primarily responsible, for some people exercise is just a part of an everyday routine helping to keep focused on achieving progress and maintaining commitment. If this is you and you’re someone that is more inclined to stay on track after squeezing in a training session each day – no matter how extensive or express, then aim to opt for a hotel with a gym or one close by.
Book a hotel or apartment with a kitchen or kitchenetteIf you have the utilities to make and prepare your own food staying on track will be pretty simple. When you’re booking, look for somewhere that allows you to be able to do this or even has a usable fridge where you can store some of your refrigerated snacks.
Do a shop for essentialsAs mentioned above, all locations will have some form of grocer so upon arrival get your staples that will assist in keeping your nutrition on track for the duration of your stay. It is wise to have what meals you can as well as snacks as accurate in intake as possible so if you then dine out and guesstimate the calories or leave yourself a calorie allowance for eating out then your margin of error is lesser from a daily perspective. Think of it like this, if your intake goal is 1600 calories and you’re eating only 3 times a day guessing around 530 calories per meal and each of those guesstimations is off by about 200 calories then if you’re guessing 3 meals in the day you’re potentially exceeding your intake goal by 600 calories as opposed to 200 calories if you were to be off with just a single meal. Some good and minimal cooking essentials you can stock up on include: PROTEIN:
- Chobani Yogurt
- BBQ Chicken No Skin No Stuffing
- Deli Meats
- Protein Bars – Like Quest and Aussie Bodies
- Protein Shakes
- Quick Oat Sachets
- Muesli Bars
- Quick Cups of Rice
- Rice Cakes
- Peanut Butter
- Some Bars
Stay activeFat loss and fat gain boils down to the result of calories in vs. calories out. If you’re travelling and have perhaps slightly increased your intake for the sake of having a little more flexibility, then be mindful of staying active as increasing your intake and lessening your activity is what can lead to holiday weight gain. Do what is realistic for you, whether you have a fairly low key day then opt to make do with your surroundings and enjoy an outdoor walk, local gym or fitness centre or even an impromptu in hotel room workout. Staying active doesn’t mean jogging around blocks or sweating it out in the gym for hours, make it manageable and integrated within your travels.
Dine rightDining out is where most people get let down when travelling. The reason being is usually one of the following: 1) Inaccurate guesstimations or allowances for a particular meal 2) Opting for something that they believe to be ‘healthy’ but is in fact quite calorie-dense 3) Giving up while out causing a blowout In order to tackle any one of those issues you might want to apply the following tips that are further elaborated on our previous article Dining Out On A Diet.
Inaccuracy and uncertainty surrounding calorie intake– Opt for a meal with a specified weight: Often at restaurants like steak houses, pubs, bar and grills etc the will have the option for a lean cut of meat with a specified raw weight. This weight specification is usually pretty true to the actual weight and can be trusted as a portion indicator of the meat selected. – Ask for dry grilled NO OIL: Asking for no oil, butter, marinades or base sauce can save you anywhere from 110-150 calories a tablespoon making a large difference to overall intake and allowing for a more accurate guesstimation of what is on your plate. – Ask for any sauces on the side: With the sauce portioned out on the side you’re likely to use less and also get a visual of how many grams it may be. – Deconstruct the meal: This will allow you to make a more accurate entry into a calorie counting tool or your own estimate of what the overall calories will are. For example: The following burger may be accounted for as: *1x Brioche Hamburger Bun *1x Beef Patty *1x Slice American Cheese *Lettuce *Tomato *1x Tablespoon Garlic Aioli – Make an appropriated guess: You may not know the EXACT intake for what is on your plate however you may have access and knowledge of similar/the same food items that can be appropriated for the order you’ve made. For example, a generous side of medium cut chips may be accounted for as 1x KFC Regular chips and if a thinner fry like chip then you may use McDonalds medium fries as an indication. – Keep it simple: On the above note, the less ingredients, the less complicated then the less of a margin of error you’ll likely be subject to. This can often be hard for fancy restaurants and finer dining and the best way to deal with difficult meals are just through breaking the dish down to the individual components. Tip: There’s no need to do this at the dinner table simply save enough calories for the dine-out meal, take a photo of the dish or consult the restaurants Instagram/Facebook afterwards and make a guess using your discretion and calorie counting tool database.
Making poor choices– Don’t be fooled by misleading labels: A lot of people will fall victim to this error when making a choice in dine out or take away food by selecting based on what the meal/food item claims to be ‘free from’ rather than the calorie density. For instance, many ‘raw vegan’ desserts will try and modify and recreate what may be classified as ‘junk’ e.g. a raw vegan Snickers slice, which is made of calorie dense components such as dates, macadamias, rice malt syrup etc.. So while it may be ‘raw’, ‘vegan’, ‘gluten free’, ‘dairy free’ it has the calorie equivalent if not more of its so-called ‘unhealthy’ variation. – Consider the calorie density of the individual components: Following from the above note something that might seemingly be what you would consider healthy may be extremely calorie dense due to the components of the meal or way in which it has been cooked. Take a Caesar Salad for example – while the chicken and lettuce disguise the meal as ‘the better choice’ a Caesar salad will often clock up the same calories as a steak and chips just through the calorie-dense components such as the bacon, croutons and dressing. Remember: Your body doesn’t recognise food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but instead for its macronutrient (protein, carb and fat) values, whether you lose weight or gain weight then boils down to whether your caloric intake is greater or lesser than your expenditure. – Remember what you’ve eaten that day: No food is good or bad but what can make it good or bad is when you consider it in conjunction with the other food you’ve eaten for the day. You may opt to have a very calorie-dense meal in a lean cut steak, cup of rice, side of chips and sauce clocking 800 calories and a is a relatively good split of protein, fats and carbs however if your maintenance intake is 1600 calories and you’ve already consumed 1000 of those calories that day then it perhaps isn’t the wiser choice. If you find you’ve had a lot of fat or carbs for example during the day and don’t have much of a calorie allowance left then simply order a lean protein source with a side of steamed vegetables or salad to keep it simple and workable within your goal intake requirements. – Consider what the BEST option is: Think about what your food choices are in your proximity and try and opt for the best option in light of your goals. What would classify an option as the best suited? Use this as criteria:
- The nutritional information or specified weight portions of meat can be sourced from the restaurant/eatery
- It’s a ONE-course self-selection menu as opposed to an 8-course degustation set menu
- The menu/or a dish option that is simple and can be broken down easily
- There’s an option that is lower in calories or more favourable to a particular macronutrient that would fit in given how you have eaten so far that day