You’ve been working out hard for months; exercising consistently, eating better and finally you’re starting to notice a difference.
Your weight’s down. You feel slimnmer and your clothes fit better.
Not only do you feel more toned, but people are starting to comment on how good you look.
But there’s a problem. You’ve got a two week holiday abroad. And you’re afraid of losing months of hard work. All for the sake of a couple of weeks away.
You don’t want to go back to where you started. But at the same time you’re not sure there’s any choice.
You’ve earned your holiday. And of course you want to enjoy it without having to be obsessed with food and exercise.
But you desperately want to cling to the results you’ve worked so hard to achieve with your body.
So what’s the trade off? How do you do it? How can you come back from your holiday without gaining weight while still enjoying the holiday experience?
With summer holidays in full flow “How do I not blow it?” is a question that has come up a lot with coaching clients recently. So I want to share some specific strategies to help see you through.
But before we get into specifics, there are 3 clear choices available to you to determine how you play this:
Option 1: Acceptance
This is pretty much the norm. You go away, throw caution to the wind, eat, drink, do whatever and pay the price when you get back. This is totally an option. It just adds a little time on your timeline for reaching your ultimate health and fitness goals
Option 2: Maintenance
This takes a shift in thinking. Maybe for the first time you actually want to guard your progress so far. You don’t want to lose the good feeling you’ve got about yourself and your body. So you’re willing to make a few compromises and decide a few things in advance to make sure you don’t blow it.
Option 3: Progress
While rarely considered, making progress towards your fat loss goals is totally viable while you’re away. Sure, it takes dedication and more structure than most might care for. But know that – if it’s important enough – you can go on holiday and come back in better shape than when you left.
You probably know how to adopt #1 – Acceptance. Maybe you’ve been rolling with this approach for years.
But let’s say you want to do things differently this time round. Let’s say you want to at least maintain. Here’s 9 specific ideas you can use to help you keep your weight and bodyfat % from creeping up while you’re away on holiday.
To stoke up your motivation take a moment to visualise the end result you want to see happen. Ask the question; In 2 weeks time what would you like to be able to say you’d achieved? What result would you be happy with?
You might light to come back feeling refreshed from your holiday and be able to say that while you enjoyed the food and drink you choose meals carefully. That you stayed active each day and moderated the drinking to a glass or two with evening meals. As a result the scale has stayed the same and you feel ready to pick up where you left off.
By deciding the outcome you’d like in advance it makes the ‘what to do’ a little clearer. Like any goal, it gives you a destination to head for. Now we just need the right path to get you there.
One Learn to be Lean client had breakfasts covered (she knew yoghurt and fruit or eggs would be available). And she’d mastered the art of selecting pro-goal meals (meat or fish and veggies) off the evening menu.
But the lunchtimes were going to be tough. So her challenge was to seek out somewhere she could pick up a healthy lunch in the first day or two of arriving. Then she could relax knowing she could eat in a way that kept her on track with her goals.
If you’re staying in a hotel and likely to be on the go all day, try to get your breakfast on point by supplementing with a protein shake. Mix it up and drink before you leave the hotel room for breakfast. Then choose something light (like fruit and greek yoghurt) at the breakfast bar. That way you’ll have at least one meal each day in line with maintaining your BodyFat %.
Pretty much every time we’ve been away we’d seek out a local market and pick up some supplies for a picnic, then find a nice spot to enjoy. It’s been a key way to avoid eating 3 meals out each day. Which –no matter how well you choose – makes it hard to maintain your body fat %.
Maybe all of your meals are pre set and you have no control over what you eat or your activity levels throughout the day. In this case we need to look at strategies like stopping at 80% full (you’re always in control of choosing how much you eat) and stayiong hydrated by drinking at least 2 litres of water each day.
Longer term strategies
May be too late for these this time round but for future these may be worth considering.
That way you have the flexibility to get at least a few of your meals 100% inline with your goals. Stock up your fridge on arrival with a load of veggies, meat, fish, eggs, fruit and nuts and carry on eating in the way you do at home.
One of our Accelereated Results personal training clients spends as much time on holiday as he does in the UK. So to make sure he keeps up with his training he always books a hotel with a gym so he can still get his workouts in.
This isn’t for everyone, but if a bit of adventure peaks your interest consider a walking, hiking or trekking holiday. That way you get the mental downtime of a break from your normal routine, but the physical challenge of, say, climbing a mountain each day (we might see you there if you do!).
Let’s say you want to open up your options for the evening meal. You’ve stuck to a lower carb intake through the day but fancy living it up and having a few more choices for dinner.
If you’d still like to stay ‘on plan’ do a little exercise an hour before (either go for a run or do a simple circuit of bodyweight exercises like our 10 minute HHH workout). Doing this makes your body divert the carbs you eat to your muscles, rather than storing them as fat. Win-win!
Holidays are always going to be a part of your life. So knowing how to go away and still maintain your new body is a skill I’d recommend practicing.
And while your holidays might have been something that set you back in the past, using some of the strategies above will help you avoid that post holiday feeling of ‘I’ve blown it’.
People in awesome shape have holidays too. They just make slightly different decisions than those who aren’t there yet.
So my closing question for you: Which of the strategies above would the awesome version of you adopt to stay in shape while on holiday?
Has this come a little too late?
If you’re back from holiday and need to pick up the pieces then no problem. Chalk that one up as a write off, wipe the slate clean from today and register for a free fitness consultation and let’s get you back on track to the fit, lean, toned body you want.