Vacations and Muscle Loss
Keep your muscles while traveling
You Can Take A Vacation And Maintain Your Muscle Gains.
A lot of bodybuilders have a morbid fear of losing their muscle gains by taking a vacation or having some other time off from the gym. Breaks can be forced upon you such as through injury or sickness or they can be planned breaks.
Sometimes you just need a break. If you bought a lovely new car and just spent time polishing and cleaning it and not driving it this would be pretty stupid right? So don’t treat your body in the same way.
How To Train On Vacation
Maintenance training on vacation is what it’s all about. The aim of this training is to maintain the current muscle mass that you have. It is assumed that you will not have access to a gym or any supplements and so you will need to follow a routine that can be performed anywhere.
Keep in mind that when you change the exercises that you do you will need to adapt to these new exercises and you will get stronger as you progress. You can then maintain these strength levels throughout your trip to preserve your muscles.
For vacation training without a gym, bodyweight exercises are really good. You can pick up kits relatively inexpensively that can be used in doorways so that you can perform pull-ups and dips. Most of these kits are very lightweight and weigh less than a couple of pounds.
Properly performed chins and dips will help to stimulate upper body muscle growth and help your arms. Do these regularly and you will maintain your muscular size and strength. It is possible to perform dips between two strong chairs.
Pistol squats are a good idea. If these are new to you then don’t go crazy with these at first as you can overwork knee ligaments and tendons.
If you have a door kit then you can do some chins. If you don’t have a door frame kit then try a local climbing frame at a nearby park or find yourself a place to do pull-ups on any structure with beams, see that nice gazebo in Mexico with the wooden beams?… perfect pull-up spot!. You can add resistance by filling up your backpack with some weight with items from your room, or even fill a plastic bag with sand from the beach and throw that in your backpack/carry on a bag.
Consider using a density circuit and target different muscles using your bodyweight. Aim for exercises that are the most metabolically challenging. You can do 25 bodyweight squats, 20 push ups, 15 single leg hip thrusts (per leg) and 10 pike push-ups. Or by simply holding your luggage above your head, this would be like an overhead barbell squat. Same as having your roomy place that bags on your bag while doing pushups. Just doing this will increase your resistance and get those muscles activated.
Another easy, lightweight option is to bring a resistance band on your trip. Use the band to keep the tension on your muscle tissue and partake in exercises with the band that will provide a challenge sufficient enough to prevent any loss of muscle mass.
For all of the exercises you perform, complete a high number of reps so that you reach the point of exhaustion.
Be Active Every Day
It is very important that you stay active every day. It doesn’t matter where you are you can be active. If you don’t do this then you will struggle to keep your gains while on vacation. Even if you are stuck at the airport you can do walking laps, unless of course, you are bulking as this would be counter-productive.
Don’t over worry about your cardiovascular endurance. It is good to do some cardio such as running or swimming if you can but when you return from vacation you can quickly gain this endurance back again.
Watch What You Eat
You want to go for foods that minimize any fat gains as well as minimize muscle loss. A vacation is a time that you can get sloppy with eating. When you are eating out a lot there is a strong likelihood that restaurants will serve you up to added sugars and calories that you didn’t want. Not to mention the array of fruity/sugary drinks you will be indulging in!
You do not want to torment yourself too much over this. Be relaxed about it. You could consider skipping breakfast for some AM fasted training and even skipping lunch on some days. A big meal at the end of the day will be more beneficial for night time recovery.
Make sure that you get plenty of protein. Go for steaks and salads or chicken with vegetables. Don’t go overboard on starches like bread, pasta, and rice. Try to avoid too much junk food. If you do indulge in junk then don’t beat yourself up over it. Just do better the next day.
Vacations can often lead to alcohol intake. Beer and wine can be very tempting. If you can avoid them then do so as the recovery time is long and you will not feel very motivated to continue with your bodyweight exercise routine the next day. But if you are like most of us and love to indulge in these drinks (you are on vacation after all) then just ensure you are still getting in your protein and try to get in as much activity as you can to burn off those extra empty calories and stop stressing! You worked hard on that body, show it off on the beach and enjoy your vacation!