SigFit Blog


Top 5 ways to stay lean and healthy when you travel, the keys to fun and discipline.

I recently went back to the USA for my 10 year high school reunion. I had a great time but found myself in a country that is carb crazy and has a real lack of healthy options when you can’t cook for yourself. I was gone for 10 days and 3 of those days would be in the fun, fried food filled world of Disney Land. I am a big believer in moderation of good and bad foods when on holiday, because no one remembers that great salad you had at Disney, it is always that great burger or ice cream. How do you make smart choices while still having fun? The name of the game is risk mitigation! So here are my 5 top tips to staying lean and healthy on holiday.

Top Tip number 1 to staying lean on holiday – Realistic expectations 

If you go into a holiday thinking to yourself that you will be perfect with your eating you are setting yourself up to fail. Holidays are there to relax, eat food and have fun. They key is to limit the foods that will do the most damage to your health and physique.

For example knowing what you are intolerant to and avoiding those foods is key. Food sensitivities are a major role in weight gain. When the stomach is inflamed then you cannot effectively absorb nutrients. This leads to the body holding onto everything and makes weight gain very easy. This will also lead to gut aches and other side effects that you may make it hard to leave the hotel room.

Top Tip number 2 to staying lean on holiday – Use the hotel gym!

Training when on holiday is a great idea and only takes 20 – 45 min of your time. If you do it in the morning it will set you up for an energetic day of site seeing. Weight training is the most effective may to keep the chub at bay and increases insulin sensitivity which fights back that mid section fat.

To do an effective travel workout you don’t need a lot of equipment, remember you are looking to maintain not make any great gains. Here is an example of a great hotel gym workout that in my travels would work in most gyms around the world.

A1 – DB or any weighted squats  12 reps  3 sets 45 sec rest

A2 – Chin ups or any vertical pull down   12 reps 3 sets  45 sec rest

A3 – Push ups or DB press  12 reps 3 sets 45 sec rest

A4 – DB or BB or cable Romanian dead lift  12 reps 3 sets 45 sec rest

This is an all over body program that has different loading options. The idea is to work the major moving patterns in minimal time and maximal output. This workout should take about 30 – 40 min, but you can add or take away sets depending on time.

Top Tip number 3 to staying lean on holiday – Alcohol….

What to do about alcohol. I am not a big drinker however when I go on holiday i like to have a couple drinks so I am not going to tell you not to drink when you travel because that would be ridiculous. The key is moderation and drink choice.

A gym in California has a drink called the Norcal Margarita it is a drink that is designed to maximise the effect of limited alcohol while keeping the drink low carb and gluten free.

The Norcal Margarita is Tequila, soda water and the juice of a whole lime. Let me explain how this works.

  1. Tequila is gluten free, gluten is a massive irritant to the gut and in my opinion should be avoided by everyone.
  2. The soda water allows the alcohol to break the blood brain barrier faster which means that you dont need to drink as much to the same effect.
  3. The juice of the lime counters the insulin spike from the sugars in the alcohol which makes the effect of physique far less.

This drink is a great option if you feel the need to drink, but remember to always drink responsibly : ). So the risk of weight gain through alcohol is minimised by smart choices.

Top Tip number 4 to staying lean on holiday – Walk don’t drive

If you are staying in a centrally located hotel and things are within walking distance, and that doesn’t mean less than 100meters, then use that opportunity to get in some incidental exercise. Cabs are expensive and in most cases you can walk to major attractions, the calorie burn and endorphin kick from a good walk can help to keep the holiday flab at bay.

Top Tip number 5 to staying lean on holiday – Sleep!

Sleep is a major factor to weight loss and weight gain. If you are not sleeping right it is very hard to loose or even maintain your physique. That first night sets up the whole trip, jet lag  can be a killer so the key is to fight the naps the first day and try to get a good night sleep and wake up at a good time so that you are used to that time zone as fast as possible.

Sleep and the stress hormone Cortisol are linked and that hormone plays a key role in the storage of belly fat. So having a good night sleep is key staying lean and healthy while on holiday.

These are my top tips to staying lean and healthy when traveling. Holidays are there to have fun so don’t restrict yourself too much, have fun, drink and be merry as they say but make smart choices and fit in a training session every couple days and all should be well when you return.

Photo Credit: Sammi Boon, SigFit Coach