Going on vacation can no doubt be a blast, but it can also wreak havoc on your mindset if you are in a fat loss phase or contest prep. Below are some of my top tips for traveling and vacation when you are trying to keep your fat loss goals a priority.

RECENT: Macronutrient Tracking for Fat Loss

1. Bring Your Routine With You

You would be surprised at how much building a routine can help your diet success over traveling or vacation. It may seem negligible, but being able to stay in routine can set your day up for success. Clearly, your entire day of traveling won’t be routine, but I highly suggest focusing on the routine of your mornings. For example, when you plan for your trip, think about the steps you take in a typical morning and what your routine is like. Do you take supplements first thing? Do you drink a cup of coffee? Do you read a book or go for a jog?

Whatever it is you do in the mornings, plan to do those things while you travel. Staying in routine in the mornings will keep you in your goal-focused mindset for the rest of the day. Have you ever gone on vacation and just felt extremely out of whack? This could be because you lacked a morning routine.

2. Bring Easy to Carry Grab-and-Go Snacks

One of the biggest pitfalls of traveling is not preparing and having snacks with you throughout the day. Assuming you are not a competitor dragging your cooler around with you, you are inevitably going to be a bit “off-plan” for your trip. This isn’t an excuse to go off the rails, but instead, you can manage it by being prepared.

If you wing it and don’t bring healthy snacks along for the ride, you will set yourself up for disaster. Typically, what happens is folks travel all day and go hours and hours without eating, leaving them starving and making bad choices when it comes time to eat. Take the time to prep snacks to bring with you for the entire trip so you don’t run into this issue.

Couple drink water after running

Fabio Formaggio ©

3. Drink Water!

Dehydration, especially in a warmer climate, is extremely common while traveling. We are usually rushing around and simply don’t think about our water intake. This can leave us simply feeling like shit and looking like shit, honestly.

This reminds me of the time my family and I went on vacation to Florida, and my boyfriend had one-too-many margaritas under the sun by the pool, and before I knew it, I was cleaning lo-mein off the walls of our hotel room. There was so much Chinese food debris, we had to use the towels to clean the walls and throw them away so we didn’t get charged.

Stay hydrated, my friends.

4. If Your Regimen is More Strict, Order Pre-Made Meals

Sometimes we may not have as much flexibility in our diet as we would like, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do the things we love and become a hermit. Nowadays, there are a ton of meal prep companies that will prep your food with your macros in mind and send it to your travel destination! This method may be more costly, but I will admit I have done this a number of times to help me stay on track when I was in a strict fat loss phase or contest prep. There really is no excuse not to stay on track anymore.

5. Research Your Hotel Prior

This seems like a no brainer, but don’t go on your trip blind. Research the hotel or location and see what they offer and what is around. For example, does your hotel offer a gym? Is there a grocery store nearby? Do they have refrigerators and microwaves in the rooms? Knowing all of those details up front will save you a ton of headaches and hassle.

Pro Travel Tip: If the hotel doesn’t provide a fridge in the rooms for free, call and explain to the concierge that you have a medical condition that requires your medicine to be kept cold. They will put a fridge in your room free of charge, and they don’t ask questions. I may or may not have done this a time or three, and I have never had an issue. You’re welcome.

6. Allow Yourself Flexibility and Stop Stressing

Assuming you are not deep into prep or in a more strict fat loss phase, remember to allow yourself some flexibility while on vacation. So many people develop anxiety over their nutrition while traveling, and it does more harm than good. Remember that your fat loss journey should be more about creating lifelong habits than conforming to a meal plan. Vacations and traveling are part of life. So instead of chalking it up as a loss, go into your vacation with a moderation mindset that will set you up for the future.

7. Stay Active

For most folks, this should be a pretty easy one to hit. Most vacation spots require much more walking than our typical day-to-day routine, so we already are ahead of the game here. For most people, getting a gym workout in every day might not fit into their vacation schedules, and this is okay! Don’t get hung up on that. I would rather you spend your day being active by walking and having fun than worrying about the workout you missed in the gym. If you can get to the gym, great. If not, just stay active and don’t sweat it!

Woman jogging in a park

Fabio Formaggio ©

8. Get Enough Sleep

When you get back from a vacation, do you feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? Most folks feel like this because they didn’t prioritize their sleep while traveling. This can be a challenge, especially if you are crossing multiple time zones, but it is something to be aware of and plan for. Just one day of poor sleep can send cortisol through the roof, setting you up for an increased likelihood of fat gain during this time. Make it a point to get adequate rest and take naps if you need to in order to keep hormones in balance and allow you to feel top notch.

9. Don’t Eat Like an Asshole

This goes without saying, but as an earlier point of mine mentioned, don’t use vacation as an excuse to go off the rails and eat like an asshole. Again, we want to focus on our daily habits as a whole for the long term, not creating a “restrict-then-binge” yo-yo mindset down the road.

I encourage you to allow yourself flexibility and enjoy the food and drinks around you, but don’t let all of your hard work leading up to this point go down the drain.

10. Have Fun!

Most importantly, have some fucking fun. Nothing is worse than going on vacation with the food police, so don’t be that guy or gal. There is more to life than dieting and fat loss — a lot more in fact. Years from now, you are going to remember the good times with friends and family, not the cheat meal you had on vacation. So while our goals are important, always keep the big picture of life in mind.

To sum it up, make sure to simply plan ahead, don’t eat like an asshole, and most importantly, make memories. I hope these vacation tips help you in your future travels!

Header image credit: dimaberkut ©