How to keep up your fitness now that you can travel again
It can be very tempting to push your health and fitness goals to one side for a couple of weeks and dive head first into the hotel buffet (if you’re on holiday) or have 3 helpings of delicious homemade dessert (if your mother is anything like mine).
But actually it can be easier than you think to have a fantastic time away without derailing the achievements you made in the months beforehand.
We’ve put together some simple strategies for you to adopt during the holiday season, starting with the flight itself, right through until you’re back in your own home.
1. Before you leaveBefore you even head for the airport, think about when you first get home. It might be late, shops might be closed, and your refrigerator is likely to be empty.
2. At the airport or on the flightThere are 2 approaches here; one is to try and stick to your current plan as much as you can and controlling all the variables by having a meal before you leave home and bringing your own snacks for the plane. You can drink water at the airport and on board and either fast for the duration of the flight or pre-order a low calorie meal from the airline website.
The other approach is arguably a little more ‘festive’. Allow yourself a little flexibility (for example one glass of something in the airport lounge or before takeoff) and be very mindful of your choices when selecting food.
Opt for lean proteins and lots of vegetables, while keeping anything you can’t easily identify off your plate (by this we mean any sticky sauces laced with sugar or fat, or creamy pasta sauces in which the ingredients aren’t immediately obvious).
3. The golden rules of nutritionFirst things first. No meal, no matter how decadent, will cancel out months of hard work and consistency with your fitness and diet. However, one meal that turns into a weekend and then a week of poor choices will definitely have an effect on your progress.
- Protein at every meal or snack. This might mean eggs for breakfast or oatmeal (you can bring your own protein powder and add a scoop to your oatmeal or even make overnight oats). For lunches or dinners go for lean meat or fish; vegetarians or vegans can opt for tofu or black beans if available.
- Pack your protein powder. That way, if you know you haven’t been able to get close to your daily protein goal you can have a shake at any time.
- At any meal out, choose high carb OR high fat, not both! (and don’t forget that protein)
- Consistency is key – what you eat most of the time will determine your body composition, not what you ate for 3 days out of the year.
At a buffet, allow yourself 2 trips; one to make a plate full of lean proteins and vegetables (you can think of it as the plate you’d be happy to show your trainer!) After the first plate, wait for 10 or 5 minutes and enjoy the company of your dining partners.
By the time you go for your second plate you will be more full and less likely to load your plate up. But this time, allow yourself a serving of whatever you like the look of. If something doesn’t taste as good as it looks, leave it. If something is amazing, enjoy it – but don’t make another trip to the buffet!