My job as a fitness author requires a lot of traveling at times. In order for me to maintain my bodybuilding lifestyle during my trips, there are many preparations that I have to make in advance so that I can avoid missing meals and workouts. Because it is summertime and many of us are traveling for vacation purposes, for business, or both, I decided to write this small article with tips on what you can do to maintain your bodybuilding lifestyle as you travel.
Planning & Preparation
The key to keeping a bodybuilding program while traveling, provided you are determined enough to do so, is planning and preparation. If you do not plan ahead and fail to prepare in advance it may be nearly impossible for you to keep a bodybuilding lifestyle as you travel. The items below will provide you with a list of steps that, if followed, will make the process of planning and preparation very simple.
1) Find out if the hotel that you are going to stay in has a small fitness facility or at least a set of dumbbells. Call the hotel and see what they have available as far as fitness equipment. Gather as much information as possible. Most of the time however most hotels are just equipped with some stationary bikes and a “universal type” weight machine at best.
2) If the hotel does not have a suitable fitness facility, then find out the location of the closest gym and plan to work out there. The Internet is a great way of finding out what is nearby the hotel you will be staying at or you can even ask the customer service person from the hotel over the phone to lead you in the right direction. I suggest that once you look at the list of gyms, unless it is a well known chain, you call and ask for daily rates, times of operation and type of equipment. If you are staying over 5 days, also ask if they have a special rate for just one week as opposed to paying for a daily pass each day. In this manner, you save some money.
3) If by some twist of fate there are no fitness facilities in the area (hard to believe), then take with you some exercise bands, which is better than nothing. In this case you will do a maintenance type of routine which consists of the following exercises split in the following manner:
• Workout (A) – Upper Body
Rows with the bands
• Tri-set #2
Lateral raises with the bands
Curls with the bands
Close grip push-ups
• Workout (B) – Lower Body/Abs
Squats (Close Stance) with no weights
Squats (Medium Stance) with no weights
Squats (Wide Stance) with no weights
• Tri-set #2
Lunges (Pressing w/ heels) with no weights
One legged calf raises with no weights
You will perform this routine every day in your room by alternating between Workout (A) one day and Workout (B) the next day using 5 sets of as many reps as possible in each exercise. You may ask if one day in between would be enough for the muscles to recover. The answer to this question is yes due to the fact that you are not lifting heavy weights.
There are two tri-sets in each workout, which are three exercises performed one after the other with no rest in between sets. After all three exercises have been performed, you can take a 1 minute rest and start over, or, for a more pronounced cardiovascular effect, and a quicker paced workout, you can continue performing the exercises in circuit fashion up until all 5 sets have been done. Once you are finished with tri-set#1 then you can move on to tri-set#2. You can rest 60 seconds between the time you finish tri-set #1 and start #2 or you can simply start the second one with no rest.
If you perform the routines in circuit fashion without rest, you can get away without doing additional cardiovascular exercise. However, for those of you who would like to still perform your traditional cardio, a quick power walk for 20-30 minutes after the workout or first thing in the morning if you rather do the resistance portion at night.
Bodybuilding Dieting During Travel
I would say that this is by far the most challenging part of being a traveling bodybuilder.
The steps below are the ones that I take to assure that meals are not missed.
1) Make sure that prior to selecting the hotel, you choose one that has a refrigerator in the room and that provides access to a microwave.
2) Find out where the grocery stores are at so that as soon as you settle down you can go grocery shopping. Ensure that you get plenty of Ziploc bags while you are there.
3) The day that you jump on the plane, carry with you a book bag full of chicken sealed on individual Ziploc bags. For carbohydrates you can have bags of brown rice ready as well. I place all of my individual small Ziploc bags of protein in a large one and do the same with my brown rice bags. In addition, bring with you some Tupperware containers, Meal Replacement Packets (MRPs) and/or Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Shakes. This will guarantee that you do not miss meals on the day that you are heading to your destination. As far as water, since now you cannot carry those in the planes, drink as much as you can before the checkpoints and then drink some more during the flight. Believe it or not, when I select my seats on a plane, I always try to get them as close to the lavatory as possible since the water that goes in must come out.
4) Invest on a small George Foreman grill so that you can take it to the hotels with you. In this manner you can grill your chicken.
5) Everyday, wake up early, get your meals ready in individual bags or tupperware containers and carry them with you in your book bag.
6) For good fats, get some almonds and have a serving or two of these per day, since you will not be able to carry flax oil with you as it is heat sensitive.
Are Fast Food Restaurants Recommended?
The best way to do things is to use grocery food but if you find yourself for whatever reason without food during the day and there is a fast food restaurant around, here s what you need to do:
- If it is not your cheat meal day, refrain from fatty choices such as french fries.
- Drink between 8-16 ounces of water before you get there and then drink an additional 8-16 ounces more while you are eating. This will prevent you from feeling hungry and falling to temptation. If temptation is strong remember two things:
- There is nothing better than being in shape.
- You control everything that goes into your mouth. Food does not and should not control you!
- Always combine a serving of low fat protein (in the case of fast food restaurants, this is either skinless chicken or turkey) with a small serving of carbs. Remember that if you are eating a chicken or turkey sandwich the bread will count as the carbs.
- Salads in addition to a serving of protein and a serving of starchy carbs are always good since they provide fiber and they fill you up. However, avoid using high fat/high sugar dressings.
- Refrain from using high carbohydrate sauces or mayo.
In traditional restaurants just combine a low fat protein, such as chicken, with a good carbohydrate such as a baked potato and have a salad to go with it. You may also opt for Wild Alaskan salmon which gives you your daily source of Essential Fats. And remember, drink plenty of water! Basically, if you stick to the rules I discussed above, no matter where you find yourself at, you won’t have a problem finding something to eat.
As you can see, even though it will take more effort to get or stay in shape if you travel, it is not impossible. If you are determined enough to make things happen, then everything is possible!
(Check out another one of my traveling workouts here => When Traveling You Need to Improvise)
Take care and train hard!
About the Author
Hugo Rivera is an International best selling fitness author certified in personal training and nutrition with a computer engineering degree from the University of South Florida. Hugo is owner of www.hugorivera.net, an informational, free fitness and nutrition website. He is author of over 10 fitness books (with over a million copies sold) including his best sellers: Body Re-Engineering, The Body Sculpting Bible for Men, The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, the Weight Training Diary, and the Hardgainers Handbook of Bodybuilding. Today via his website HugoRivera.net, numerous articles, book publications, TV and radio appearances Hugo continues to educate the public on how to achieve the body of their dreams via the use of weight training exercise, good nutrition and correct supplementation. You can follow Hugo at his:
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