Vacation season & summer BBQ’s have arrived. In the last two days, I’ve had 4 separate discussions about how difficult it is to stay on point with nutrition goals while travelling, enjoying our vacations and having fun in the sun.
You’ve been working hard all year, you may decide that you don’t want to derail your hard work in just a few weeks.
So before you head off for holidays, make a conscious decision about how you’re going to approach nutrition: Maintain your current physique; Or go balls out, throwing caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may.
I’ve been in both camps. At my worst, I’ve gone away for a 4-day long weekend and got back home with an increase of 2.5% body fat! (Have I mentioned before that I love wine & great food). And it literally takes me weeks to get back to pre- holiday body fat.
If you decide that you’re staying the course, here are 5 tips to help you avoid substantial fat gain during your summer vacation.
1. Limit Alcohol
Not only does booze have a lot of empty calories; It actually changes your metabolism. Your liver gives the sugar alcohol priority in the metabolism process. So the rest of what you’re eating is going to fat stores.
Most of us can maintain and even lose body weight if we limit drinks to 5 per week.
Take home message: Set a limit.
Ahead of time, determine how many drinks you’ll allow yourself.
2. Take Less than you Want
This is a powerful trick because it will cut your overall caloric intake. It works for both food and alcohol.
Take a little less then you really want. For example, you want 2 hotdogs by the campfire, take 1. Maybe beer is your vice and you’d normally have a case, just drink 1/2.
Take home message: Don’t overload on calories. Eat 1/2 of what you actually want.
3. Continue to Train
Training will help control weight gain due to extra calories.
Have you noticed that when you stop training, eating habits go south soon afterwards?!
Training and healthy eating are very closely linked.
If training will be an issue because of limited equipment, pack a skipping rope and elastic exercise bands. You can do lots with these two pieces of equipment and they’re light and versatile. Or do a body weight exercise routine. 10 pushups, jump lunges, renegade rows, burpees, and glute bridges. Rinse and repeat!
Take home message: Keep your running shoes in reach and make an effort to get to the gym.
4. Add Cardio
If you have the opportunity, add 5-10 minutes of steady state cardio or high intensity interval training to your regular training to help burn off the extra calories.
Just remember to do your cardio after strength training rather than before.
** Note: If you’re training in a fasted state, take BCAAs to keep the body from using your muscle as fuel.
Take home message: Burn a few more calories with cardio training to help offset the additional calories we tend to consume at this time of year. Go hiking, biking or running or use your skipping rope that you packed!
5. Eat Protein
If you’re going to overindulge, pick protein. It boosts your metabolism because:
- The body has to work 3x as hard to digest it as compared to other macros. You’ll burn more calories by eating it.
- It keeps insulin levels stable which will help you burn fat – your body won’t burn off fat if insulin levels are too high or too low.
- And protein keeps you feeling full longer. So you’ll end up eating less
Take home message: Fill up on burger and steak instead of deserts & sweets.
Enjoy your holidays, it’s a marathon not a sprint.
Have a little bit of your favourite junk food. Just avoid the f*&^ it mindset & decide to overeat every day. We run into trouble when we think: “OK I had 3 smores at the campfire, I might as well drink as much as I want, have 3 more hotdogs and those pan of squares are calling me.”
If you’re traveling down the highway and you get a flat, do you get out of the car and say: “Oh well, one tire is flat, I might as well slash the other 3”? Of course not – we wouldn’t behave like that! K, so why do some of us do it with our diet?