Sticking to the program whilst travelling

June 24, 2011

I’ve just spent two week in the US.  Specifically Chicago and LA.  The purpose of the trip was mainly work, meeting people and researching best practice for the gym.  (Picked up a tonne of great stuff).  Although I must admit that I did also manage to sneak the odd half hour by the hotel pool.  Good times.  But it’s great to be back – see the tribe, sleep in my own bed, eat some home cooked food, the usual.

One thing that I found challenging was keeping up with my normal exercise and eating habits.  First off, long plane journeys don’t exactly have you wanting to bound into the gym at the first opportunity.  In fact, the day that I landed would ordinarily have been a resistance training day, but all I felt like doing was doing after being cooped up like a battery hen for twelve hours was some stretching and mobility work and the sauna.  So thats exactly what I did.  (I picked up my usual workout the following day.  No point putting in a crappy training session when you’re tired and you’re heads not in it).

Time zones play havoc with the system.  My sleep is usually pretty regular so I’m probably a little less robust than most, but it took me a good three of four days to actually get some decent sleep.  And lack of sleep is a killer.  Not only is it hard to workout (recover from) when you’re not sleeping well, but it starts to alter your food choices.  The notion that you’ll jump straight off a plane and guzzle down your greens drink and alkalising salts is bollocks. You want carbs.  In my case, I finished off dinner in the hotel with a bit a cheesecake.

The day of arrival aside I did follow my usual routine.  Although on a couple of days I dropped the resistance training volume (kept the intensity) and finished with some light cardio.  Nothing too intense and not for too long, but it’s just what felt right.  And on a couple of days I had no access to a gym so I did bodyweight metabolic circuits in my room instead (watch out for sample video of these coming soon).  Hard going.  I did the most quality work that I could on that day.

Nutritionally I stayed on the straight and narrow (for the most part).  I did indulge in the odd glass of wine or two at dinner.  And I did succumb to a piece of cheesecake a couple of times.  (It was exceptional cheesecake, I was in a different postcode, and I’m only human).  But the rest was pretty straight forward.  Burger without the bun and salad instead of fries at the burger place.  Extra vegetables instead of mash with the chicken at the hotel.  Omelette and fruit for breakfast.  And I found a great Japanese place.  No dramas.

Although it’s definitely more challenging to keep up with the norm when you’re away and routine is broken, it’s pretty easy to make good choices also.  For me the nutrition stuff is pretty straight forward.  I refuse to obsess about it.  I do the best I can (am willing to do).  And as far as training is concerned you just need to adapt your program.  It’s probably not the time for personal bests and you might deviate from the program slightly, but that doesn’t matter.  Just do the best you can with what you’ve got.