If you’re someone who’s on a bodybuilding workout program and regularly enjoys taking a vacation here and there or you happen to travel frequently for work purposes, you might be wondering how prevent muscle loss during vacation.
If you feel like you make excellent gains while at home and then as soon as you leave for your holiday or time away, you see all the progress you’ve worked so hard for fade away, you need to get a game plan in place.
Going away does not need to mean moving backward in progress as long as you are wise in your approach.
Let’s go over a few key points to know that will help you travel, enjoy yourself, and come home to pick up right where you left off.
Tips To Prevent Muscle Loss During Vacation
Plan Ahead For Workout Sessions
First, the most critical thing that you need to do is find out what the gym routine is wherever you are going and determine how much planning ahead you’ll have to do.
If you can, try and book a hotel that comes with a gym or even better, that is located to a gym nearby.
Chances are you are not going to get all that much weight in hotel gyms, if any at all, so you’ll want to really inquire about what is available here.
If you don’t, you may go expecting to get in a workout or two, only to find that the only thing you have available is a few treadmills and a bike.
If you are going to be stuck without much for equipment, bring along a resistance band. These bands are an excellent way to keep the tension on the muscle tissue and still provide sufficient challenge to prevent muscle mass loss.
Resistance bands are perfect for travel as you can just pack them up in your suitcase and bring them along with you. They’re incredibly lightweight, so there is no excuse for not taking them along.
In addition to using the resistance bands, also focus on doing some bodyweight exercises in the comfort of your own hotel room as well. Bodyweight squats, lunges, step-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups if you can find a bar all work great for providing some stress to your muscles for maintenance purposes.
Take these exercises into the higher rep range to provide a greater challenge on the body and bring yourself to the point of exhaustion.
Book A Kitchenette
Once you have your workout planned out, the next step is to think about your food. Possibly the biggest mistake that people will make when going on holiday or business trips is either eating far too few calories because they’re out and about, not thinking about their diet or eating the wrong types of foods, resulting in fat gain and muscle loss.
Of all things you need to get right on that 2-4 day trip, nutrition is it. You can survive even if you didn’t workout for 2-3 days, but eat the wrong foods and you will see the effects.
To help stay on track, aim to book a kitchenette if possible. This way, you can either purchase groceries there and cook your normal meals as you always would, or you can plan to pack pre-made meals, heating them up as you need.
Having a kitchenette is the absolute best way to help you stay as consistent with your diet as possible. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a meal or two out, but the more you can eat in your hotel room – and eat the same as you would at home, the lower the risk you will lose muscle.
Track Your Calorie Intake And Track Your Calories Burned
In addition to getting that kitchen, also make sure that you are tracking your calorie intake. Despite the fact that you are on holidays, you do still need to make sure that you are taking in sufficient calories. Lack of calorie support is the biggest reason for unintentional weight loss while traveling.
Your calorie requirements may go down slightly since you aren’t doing as intense gym workouts, but they aren’t going to half what they normally would be.
Track your calories to make sure you are getting enough and have a few go-to snacks on hand for when you need a quick boost.
The next must-do tip if you want to prevent muscle mass loss while traveling is to keep active. Don’t go doing hours of walking around or that could be a little too much cardio, which can hinder muscle maintenance, but at the same time, don’t go lay on the beach for 7 days straight.
Complete inactivity is a fast way to promote muscle mass loss – even if you are eating enough calories simply due to lack of use.
Make a conscious effort to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily, whether it’s walking around your resort, going on an excursion, or just getting out and seeing what the town or city you’re staying in has to offer. Remember there is no excuses, even if your skinny you can build plenty of muscle.
This will also help to keep you in the fitness mindset as well, which can be important for making smarter food choices.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Finally, as much as you may not want to hear it, it’s also critical that you focus on limiting your alcohol as best as possible. Alcohol is a toxin for the body and too much of it creates metabolic stress that will not have favorable impacts on muscle maintenance or your body composition for that matter.
While a few drinks here and there is acceptable while on holidays, don’t go to the point of intoxication for 7 days straight and hope to come back, picking up right where you left off in the gym.
Alcohol does cause your testosterone levels to decrease and since that is the hormone responsible for muscle maintenance and building, the minute it starts to decline is the minute you’re at risk for muscle loss.
Staying hydrated with water is a much smarter move and will help you keep both your strength and energy levels up. Make sure that you are drinking even more than normal if you are vacationing in a hot climate.
So there you have some key information to know if you are planning a holiday or business trip and are feeling anxiety over whether you will be able to maintain the progress you’ve been seeing at the gym.
The longer the time period you are planning on being away, the more planning you will need to do to ensure that you stay on track as best as possible.
Those who are prepared however will be able to easily arrive back home after the trip, ready to pick right back up like they never missed a beat.
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