To ensure your holiday doesn't sabotage all the hard work you've been doing in the gym at home, Sydney strength and conditioning coach Michelle Drielsma shares how to keep (or become) fit, strong and lean while abroad.
1. Choose as many active outdoor activities as possible. The added bonus of keeping in shape outdoors is getting to appreciate nature and experiencing far more that your chosen destination has to offer.
Here are some ideas:spend a couple of hours playing tennis, rock-climbing, bike-riding, surfing, stand-up paddle-boarding, skiing, kayaking, canoeing or ocean swimming.
choose a trekking path suitable for your fitness ability and take a few hours to digest the scenery in a national park.
start the day with 10 or so sets of 30-50m beach sprints and finish off with an ocean swim.
spend a few hours walking or rock hopping around coastal bays.
instead of taking public transport everywhere, choose to walk around the city.
take a new fitness class such as yoga or a native dance class.
2. Throw in some body weight/outdoor exercises every 1-2 days (10-20 minute workout) using your imagination.
Examples include:single leg full squats / pistol squats.
handstand push-ups with feet against a wall for balance.
spiral/screwdriver push-ups (for added shoulder stress).
overhead pressing using a large rock - don't drop it.
swinging a rock in a diagonal path (woodchop action).
squatting holding a rock.
squatting holding a rock over the shoulder.
kids playground: chin-ups and pull-ups, monkey bar locomotion, horizontal pulls using a low bar, step-ups.
hip bridges where you progressively extend the legs out for more hamstring stress.
harrop curls with the feet anchored or having a partner hold your calves down (natural glute-ham raise).
single leg or split stance deadlifts, bodyweight or holding a rock.
split stance squats.
lying and hanging leg raises.
reverse crunches with your head uphill (nature's decline bench)
3. For those bodybuilders/figure models or competitive lifters/athletes out there, it's a good idea to get into a basic gym once a week to hit the heavy squats, deadlifts, pulling, pressing or muscle groups of particular concern for shaping i.e. deltoids which are tricky to isolate out of the gym.
4. Try to stretch tight muscles or mobilise restricted joint areas. They're both especially prone to develop with long periods of sitting while travelling, carrying luggage/backpacks or previous day activities which you are normally unaccustomed to. Use an airport or bus terminal wall to stretch or place a towel down and stretch what you know needs attention… just avoid downward dogs or other butt-facing-people moves.
5. Get plenty of clean, filtered/natural spring water.
6. Eat protein and vegetables and keep fruit intake low-moderate.
7. Increase starchy carbs and non-gluten carbs such as rice, sweet potato, pumpkin, turnip, beetroot, corn, etc, on days of higher physical exertion.
8.Time your food intake so you're getting larger amounts of food with more carbs/calories just after a heavy workout or after several hours of trekking/climbing/other activity. Just after exercise like this, insulin sensitivity is heightened and glucose receptors have been brought to the surface of muscle cells, favouring whatever is next eaten to be used in the muscle rather than stored as fat in fat cells. Growth hormone is also elevated immediately after exercise compared to when sedentary, so conditions are prime for muscle growth and fat loss rather than fat storage when the next big meal comes.
9. Choose hormone, antibiotic and chemical-free food sources where possible. Toxins are stored in fat (possibly a protective mechanism to keep toxins away from organs and the bloodstream), so if we want to keep lean, it's best to be as toxin-free as we can.
10. Enjoy a good wine/champers/beer from time to time, and keep in mind the fat storing and toxic effects of alcohol with respect to your body-shaping and health goals.