Since I get to spend two weeks in gorgeous Northern Italy, I figured this might be as good as time as any to deal with the subject of staying in shape while on the road – in particular when traveling in a group or with family.
The truth is, traveling is fun but can be hard on them “gainz” since we are dealing with new (and often unhealthy) yet tasty foods, inadequate gyms plus time changes and jet lag. All that can be a nightmare for anyone trying to stay in shape, to the point where some of us do not want to travel at all (bad idea!).
So how does one handle the cold, hard world out there?
First, remember that a few days off will be probably be beneficial to your overall physique and mindset, since most trainees never really take time off. That said, here are four other ways you can enjoy your vacation while keeping that physique you have worked so hard for.
#1 PACK PROTEIN
Going to Italy, it does not take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that carbs (pasta) and fat (cheese) will be plentiful, yet protein is going to be expensive and scarce.
What I usually do is to calculate for half my protein intake from supplements such as powders or bars. So when leaving for 14 days, I take about 1800 grams of protein with me. Being huge comes at a price! This way I can eat a small serving of pasta and have a protein shake before or after dinner with my family instead of awkwardly eating out of Tupperware.
#2: BRING RESISTANCE BANDS
Outside of North America, the gym diaspora starts (anyone ever been to Paris?) and most hotel gyms are simply terrible. Think five treadmills, dumbbells up to 12 pounds and a semi-deflated Swiss ball. Bands are great way to easily throw a few hundred pounds of resistance in your suitcase without taking up too much space, and they provide a great workout. They allow you to train whenever, wherever which comes in handy if traveling with a group. I have a new set of videos coming up dealing only with this topic.
Jumpstretch bands are my bands of choice. Bands of 30, 70 and 120 pounds will cover the needs of most athletes.
#3: OVERTRAIN BEFORE YOU LEAVE
One of the best ways not to stress about training is when you do not have to train at all because you pushed your body very hard before the vacation. This can be done by simply training five or more days in a row or to revert to a more sophisticated overreaching scheme. For those of you who want to go further, you could set up a program as follows.
Here is an outline how it can be done – the key is to treat every set as an all-out set. It’s very likely that your performance will drop off during the week, but try to get as close as possible to your starting weights. By Friday, you may build a voodoo doll with my face on it. If that helps you get through the last two workouts the have at it!
5 training days. Always add as many warm up sets as you see fit.
Workout 2: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
Sumo Squat 5×5
Weighted Sissy Squat 4×10
Standing Barbell Press 4×8
Kneeling Rope Row 4×8
#4: REMEMBER TO RELAX
You are on vacation! For muscle to disappear it will take 12 or more days of total inactivity – meaning total bed rest – so you are fine. Go hiking, climbing, scuba diving, even have ice cream with the kids. There is a lot of cool stuff to see on this planet outside of gyms…or so I hear. Make the most your time away and then hit it hard when you get back with renewed energy and focus.