Staying in Your Routine When You’re Out of Your Routine

Adhering to a nutrition plan and exercise program is a difficult endeavor, especially if you’re just starting something new.  So, what happens when you’re thrown out of your routine? What happens when you have to travel for work, leave for vacation, or have family and friends coming into town?  That throws an extra kink into your already difficult challenge. It makes it difficult to participate in your normal nutrition and exercise routine. You may not have access to a gym. You may not be able to cook as you usually would, and you’re sleep schedule may be shifted.  How do you keep progressing? How do you adjust to these changes in your normal routine?

I’m a big fan of “Something is better than nothing.”.  You may not have the time or the equipment to participate in your regular workout.  You may not have the opportunity to eat or drink as clean as you normally would. But, something is better than nothing.  Don’t give up on your workouts or your nutrition while you’re away. Get in what you can, when you can. If you’re staying at a hotel, call ahead to see what they have for a fitness facility.  Many places will at least have some cardio equipment, maybe a small set of dumbbells, and maybe a selectorized cable machine. If you don’t have access to a fitness facility, try carrying some rubber elastic bands or a suspension training system, such as TRX, with you.  These are very lightweight, and versatile, pieces of equipment and pack easily in a smaller suitcase.

Nutrition can also be difficult when your usual routine gets changed.  We eat out more than we normally would, sometimes eat more frequently, or we eat food that others have prepared (It’s hard to pass up on Grandma’s cookies!).  In these situations, watch your portions. It’s good to enjoy food with friends and family, but don’t totally derail when out of your element. Try eating a smaller, nutrient dense, snack before going out for dinner.  Think veggies, lean proteins….something to fill you up so you don’t overindulge at dinner! Or, while at dinner watch the foods you eat. Go for baked, broiled, or steamed foods rather than sauteed or deep fried. Maybe split that dessert at the end, or, keep the drinks to a minimum with the meal.  Liquid calories can add up pretty quickly! Again, I’m not a nutritionist, but these are some easy guidelines to help continue to lead a healthy lifestyle when you’re normal routine has changed!

Time constraints are also a factor when going away for business or for pleasure.  You can make the most of the short time you have by participating in high intensity interval workouts.  These short, quick, intense workouts help to increase EPOC, or Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption, which helps keep the amount of calories you burn elevated after your workout is complete.  Participate in a short intense bout of activity (running, biking, whatever you like!) followed by a short period of rest. Don’t let your heart rate totally recover before starting that intense burst again!!  Repeat this cycle through multiple times. You can also participate in supersets or giant sets when resistance training. These, in short, are multiple sets performed back to back with no rest in between. This is a good way to challenge your muscles and to increase your growth hormone levels.  This release in growth hormone is a positive thing, as it helps to oxidize fat and increase muscle!!

When you’re out of town or have family or friends in town, make sure to enjoy your time with them.  They’re important. When you’re on a business trip, focus on what you’re working on. Things may get busy for you.  But, don’t forget to be conscious about how far you’ve come. Don’t let falling out of your routine set back your progress.  Plan ahead, track your goals, and have fun!

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