Monday, 29 July 2013

Don't undo 11 months hard work: Simple holiday health tips

You get up extra early, you exercise late at night after work when you'd rather go home, you say "no" when people offer you food and drink you shouldn't have all year round. Then, when the holiday count down comes you up your efforts again; add additional cardio and increase the intensity of your workouts all for one holiday.

Then what?.. You go away, stuff your face, drink alcohol every day, do no exercise and undo 11 months of hard work. This doesn't have to be the case. You can still enjoy your holiday and stick to these simple tips to try and limit the damage you do.

Don't drink EVERY day
Start with what most people will consider the hardest one. Really, it's not. Drinking every day will not only significantly add to your calorie count, but even one or two drinks can heavily impact your food choices, sleep patterns and metabolic efficiency. Then, if you plan on training on holiday, the alcohol may completely compromise any strength gains you aim to make during the session; read Charles Poliquin's blog on that topic here: Blog One and another from him on the impact of alcohol here: Blog Two

Exercise in the morning or at lunch time
You want to enjoy your holiday and not let every day revolve around your exercise regime - that's a given. So why not get it out of the way first thing? Get up early, get moving and get it done? You don't need to spend all morning in the gym; if you're fast and effective then you can be in and out in 45 mins or less. If you want some ideas on how to spend your time in the gym efficiently there are some great ideas here, including some hotel workouts: Workout Ideas

Alternatively, if you're not a morning person and/or you're visiting a hot country what about scheduling a midday workout? Personally I like a midday workout, followed by lunch then back to the pool for 2pm. you'll enjoy your rest after and the hottest part of the day will have passed. It's a nice and easy routine to build.

Download an interval timer
When the surrounding are new, you're on holiday mode and the climate is a little warmer, it can be difficult to exercise with any intensity and stick to a worthwhile workout. A great way to make sure this isn't the case is to download an interval timer. What's also great about interval work is not only will you get through lots of work and maintain the intensity, but you know before you enter the gym exactly how long your session will be so you can be happy you won't be spending hours of your holiday exercising. A lot of the workouts listed on the previous links rely on an interval timer - if you're unsure which to choose I'd recommend the free GymBoss timer.

Use your bodyweight
Not every hotel has a gym facility and it can be tricky in some places to scout out a gym that offers short term membership or reasonable guest fees. There are THOUSANDS of YouTube videos offering you alternative bodyweight exercises and ideas for things you can do depending on your abilities. Again, why not combine this with the interval timer and knock out a quick, hard and effective 30-40 minute bodyweight session? You can do it on the beach too - work on your tan at the same time.
Here's 21 bodyweight exercise ideas from me: Here
and here's a recent video from AthleanX with some advanced exercise ideas utilising the sandy beach - great video: Here

Stick with high protein content every day
Be sensible with food choices. You know the usual rules - they still apply. High protein, low sugar, low carb, no preservatives. Just because it's your holiday, it doesn't mean you need to let everything go out the window. There are usually decent or at least half decent options available if you look hard enough. Eggs at breakfast, avoid chips where possible, skip dessert - if you stuck to those 3 simple rules alone you'd be way ahead of most people.

Take supplements with you
If you take supplements all year round, continue with this while you're away. You can spend a few minutes counting out the daily amounts and putting them into small bags before you leave. Another great addition is taking sachets of protein away with you. These are easy to pack and can be used to help reach your daily protein targets, used post workout and also if you're ever away from food for a long time or, as a last resort when you're unable to get good quality food for a meal. For instance in Hong Kong when I wasn't exactly sure what was on offer in some places and I didn't fancy rice for breakfast, I had a high protein, meal replacement shake each morning for breakfast (a blend of casein, whey and egg protein). Not ideal but much better than what was available and outs you into an anabolic state for the next few hours.

Start your day off right
Try to eat a high protein, low sugar and low carb breakfast. Steak and eggs, omelettes etc I realise waffles, muffins and other bits are very appealing but, if you can start off the right way your energy levels will be more sustained, your food choices throughout the day will be impacted positively and you will minimise any insulin spikes and stop your body from encouraging fat retention.

Sure, it's a holiday and you want to have a good time. You can't be expected to have a dull holiday as you're purely focused on your food and visiting the gym. However... it's not an excuse to turn off completely - there's plenty of small and effective adjustments that you can easily make to your schedule.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@MichaelD_PT) and on YouTube

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