I have personally experienced a drastic physique transformation going from 322 lbs to 215 lbs in a little over a year. Since that cut, I've pushed my weight up over 250 lbs during a lean gain phase to compete in powerlifting. I'm currently six weeks into a 16-week diet. My weight has dropped from the 240-lb range to the middle 220-lb range.

Working with Shelby Starnes during my first cut and currently under the guidance of Matt Kroc, I've learned a great deal about nutrition. The masters have taught me that starting with a solid meal plan is crucial. Small, incremental changes are all that is needed to keep progressing with fat loss. Knowing when to decrease carbohydrates, increase cardio, and change supplements or workouts is an art form, and it is well worth the money to hire someone such as Matt Kroc to guide you.

We all have the ability to eat healthy when we have access to our kitchen stocked with various healthy foods, food scales, measuring cups, and everything else we need to make healthy choices. Things get very difficult when we have to travel for social reasons or work obligations. Planning is the key to dieting success. These day-long or week-long trips can make or break your dieting success. Excuses are for losers and quitters. You have to make up your mind that no matter what you are committed. You will do what it takes to not miss a workout or cardio session, and most importantly, not to eat garbage. Consistency is crucial in the attainment of your goals. Bullshit excuses like “you have better genetics than me” or ”I don’t have enough time to train” are just excuses to be lazy. You have to make time. This may require that you get up at 4:00 a.m. to do cardio and cook breakfast or to train at 10:00 p.m. after work. News flash—if being lean and strong was easy, we wouldn't have the highest rate of obesity in the world. Take a trip to your local shopping market. This should provide sufficient evidence that the majority of our country is overweight and plagued with health problems directly related to their eating habits.

Planning should begin days before you have to depart for your trip. Ensuring you have a place to train is number one on my checklist. You may not have access to a monolift or fancy machines, but let's face it—if you have a barbell and a place to do pull-ups/dips, you can satisfy most workout requirements. Throw in a few bands and you will have several variations available to you. No treadmill? No problem. Take your ass outside and go for a walk or run. The workout is the easy part. If you have access to a hotel weight room instead of a real gym, there are many dumbbell variations on the exercise index here on EliteFTS.com as well as body weight exercises.

If you're driving and only have a daylong trip or a short trip, there aren't any excuses to not eat the proper foods. Before you leave, get up early and cook your first meal—eggs and oatmeal. This takes about ten minutes of preparation time. Right now on a low carb day, I will have two cups egg whites and a half cup of oats with cinnamon, Splenda, and one teaspoon of olive oil. Your first meal of the day shouldn't be handed to you through the window of your car.

The next step is to get a good size cooler, large enough to hold a gallon of water along with several meals in Tupperware. I will grill chicken and steak the night before a trip for dinner along with rice and broccoli or whatever veggie I prefer. Then I will weigh my foods, cut up my meat into bite size pieces, and measure my carbs, placing each individual meal in the tupperware. Last weekend, we were at a powerlifting meet. All my friends were dining on hot dogs or greasy burgers while I was eating my eight ounces of chicken and two-thirds cup of rice. I will have a couple of shakers with the proper amount of protein ready to pour some cold water into and I'll have my shakes for the day ready as well. Not only will you eat healthy, but you will save time and money in the process.

The next thing on my checklist is my supplements. I bring all my supplements in a separate bag from my luggage. Daily supplements such as Biotest Elite Pro Mineral Support, Flame Out, Curcumin, Primrose Oil, and Biotest Z-12 are staples in my arsenal. Tablets/caplets are separated in a Monday–Sunday AM–PM storage container. Protein powder and oats are put into gallon freezer bags. I prefer bringing two types of protein—Optimum nutrition whey and Optimum nutrition casein. These two are usually mixed half and half in my shakes. I also bring an assortment of cheap measuring cups.

For healthy fat sources, I prefer a couple of choices while traveling—almonds or natural peanut butter. I will measure a quarter cup of almonds and place them in individual Ziploc bags. A new favorite of mine is an individual serving size of natural peanut butter. WalMart carries Peanut Butter & Company in 1.15 oz packages. They're convenient and prevent you from overeating. With all the food and supplement preparation behind me, I find space for a small blender and shaker in my supplement bag. It's a good idea to bring some extras like plastic cutlery and paper towels for in room meals heated by a microwave. A supply of Splenda will prevent you from being temped to use sugar in your morning hotel room coffee.

Dining out will be your final big challenge. Put in some time online studying nutrition data at restaurants. You'll be able to determine the amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats in meals online. Then make a choice that most closely fits your individual requirements. When ordering breakfast, ask the cook to use spray instead of butter. Matt recommends a ratio of one whole egg to six egg whites. Try Splenda and cinnamon on your oats instead of brown sugar and butter.

Healthy choices can be made at any restaurant, including McDonalds. A grilled chicken salad with extra grilled chicken minus the croutons and cheese and vinaigrette dressing isn't a bad low carb choice. When consuming a zero or very low carb meal such as the grilled chicken salad minus cheese and croutons, I will include a serving of healthy fats such as peanut butter or almonds. I know that if I'm having a medium carb meal (for me, 65 grams of protein and 50 grams of  carbohydrates),  a six-inch Subway grilled chicken on wheat with three pieces of chicken, green peppers, spicy mustard, salt, and pepper is a close fit for the macro nutrients I need.

If you find yourself dining at a nice restaurant for a business meeting, plan ahead. Most places will have something very close on the menu to what you need for that particular meal. Educate yourself. If it's a post-workout meal at a steakhouse, some grilled chicken, a sweet potato, and a green salad with low fat low calorie dressing is a good choice. Watch the condiments and additions such as cheese and bacon on the chicken, brown sugar and butter on the sweet potato, and ranch dressing, croutons, and cheese on the salad. They can turn this healthy meal into a terrible choice derailing your progress. Remember—a properly set up nutrition plan for lean gain or loss only operates on a 500-calorie surplus or deficit, so details really do matter!

Traveling and dieting may not be optimal for success. However, it isn't a valid reason to not reach your goals. Proper preparation, research, good decisions, and hard work will keep you heading in the right direction toward attaining your goals.