You head to vacation on a tropical island. (Maui is the best)
You spent ages getting really lean and prepping your body for this tropical paradise.
By the time the vacation comes to an end, you come back home and take a look in the mirror and you’re not nearly as lean as you were before your trip.
Ab definition blurred. Muscle density decreased, and you look flat.
What has happend?
You my friend have fallen prey to a world wide phenomenon known as “vacationitis.”
On a serious note, traveling and staying fit while doing so can be tricky I admit.
Due to not being to adhere to a specific training and nutrition schedule, which you’re use to.
Whether you’re on vacation or will be out of town for some time..
There are some so called “fit habits” you can incorporate during your trip, to ensure you’re staying in the incredible shape you were in, prior to the vacation.
In past I would leave for vacation and come back not as lean as I was before my vacation trip.
Although a big part of this could likely be water weight, like most of you, I would like to avoid it if I can.
I am actually on a flight back to PDX from New York City as I’m writing this. (Found an amazing vegan dessert place on my last day at NYC)
The morning before my flight I had checked my weight on the scale at the hotel gym. Weighed in on an empty stomach and was just about the same weight as I was before my trip. (0.2 lb difference from both weigh ins)
As I’ve shared with many of you before, I’m very fond on tracking my calories and protein intake. I’ll decide my fat and carb intake based on whether it’s a training day, but I typically don’t keep track of it rigorously.
When you get into the habit of only tracking those two variables staying lean and fit on vacation becomes exceptionally easier.
So should you walk around your vacation trip with your smelly meal prep Tupperware or are there realistic things you can do to stay fit while enjoying vacation?
Let’s get right into it.
✔️Eye Ball it.
I put this first because I think this, is by far the number one thing you should do to stay lean while traveling.
Do your best in to estimate or “eyeball” your caloric intake during your trip. Keep track of the calories you consume.
Don’t worry too much about tracking your macros while on vacation just eye ball the calories to the best of your abilities.
Eat at maintenance calories during your trip. Meaning the amount of calories you burn per day without weight gain or loss.
If you already don’t know what your maintenance calories are, multiply your body weight by 15 and that should give you an estimate.
Most people blame there fat gain from vacation on the “carbs” or certain food group, when really they consumed too many calories.
Which then results in fat gain.
Eat at maintenance calories during your trip, to stay fit. Do your best to track your caloric intake.
Lot’s of apps out there that let you allow you to keep track of your caloric intake and can be very helpful for you while on vacation.
Intermittent fasting is by far the best thing I have incorporated into my lifestyle.
The fasting period with a couples cups of black coffee, calls for a very enjoyable experience.
The euphoria effects of supplementing caffeine are doubled when consumed In a fasted state.
Exploring on vacation in the morning, with an amazing cup of coffee is a blissful experience.
By fasting in the morning and pushing your first meal a bit later into the day you’re enabling yourself to have big meals since you’re eating in a smaller window of time.
Which means amazing dinners with your family, without worrying too much your caloric intake, knowing you’re eating at maintenance or well bellow it.
I typically fast and push my first meal 4-8 hours into the day. Have a couple cups of coffee during the fasting period and explore the city i’m traveling and the thought of food does not occur to me.
Skip breakfast and push your first meal a bit later into the day and fast for a bit on vacation.
I wrote an in depth article on the benefits of intermittent fasting if you would like to learn more about the benefits of doing so.
Skip breakfast eat 1 big meal and one smaller meal later at night.
✔️Buffets are a no-no
Avoid all you can eat Buffets. They’re your enemy while you’re on vacation. Not only is it extremely easy to overeat, but also very difficult to stop eating.
To the point at which, you’re past the point in being full, and but still mindlessly continue to sample everything available at the buffet.
Although it is best to avoid buffet’s in general if your goal is to stay lean, but there is something I typically have found to work if I end up at an all you can eat buffet.
First I become aware that i’m going to want to eat and try everything available. After arriving to the restaurant I pick 2-4 items I love the best and I only eat those.
I recommend not trying to eat everything available, but instead pick 2-4 dishes you love best and enjoy them at the buffet.
The above strategies have helped me a immensely and allowed me stay lean while traveling and going on vacations. Be sure to keep this checklist in mind before your next vacation!
There will be a part 2 to this lean vacation checklist series, because there is still a few more strategies I use on vacation that may help you as well.