In writing this I am currently 10 weeks away from stepping on the Canadian National stage for my first bodybuilding competition of 2017. In writing this I am also just getting back from a trip to Mexico with my girlfriend and her family. In this blog, I would like to share how I managed to stay on track with my diet and continue on my journey to CBBF (Canadian Bodybuilding Federation) Natural Nationals!
#1 Track your food!
Tracking your food is vital to the success of any physique athlete, but this becomes even truer when traveling. When traveling, it can be extremely tricky to stick to the meal plan you have been adhering to with plane rides, bus trips, and excursions taking up much of your time. The following two tools I found helped me stay as accurate as possible: a small food scale and the iPhone app MyFitnessPal.
Much of the food provided to me at the resort I stayed at was served as a buffet. This meant lots of options, which is a very good thing. Much of the time there was some sort of protein source available, whether it be chicken, fish or beef as well as rice, potatoes, and vegetables. This allowed me to pick and choose the foods I wanted/needed and not have to worry about finding something on a menu that I was able to eat. With the scale I had with me, I was able to weigh out exactly how much of each food I needed right down to the ounce. Some of the waiters gave me funny looks, but they were more than accommodating.
Throughout the day I would track my macros using the app MyFitnessPal. With the macros my coach had given me, I would aim to get as close to those by the end of the day as I could. This assured me that even though I may not be eating exactly what I would be back home, I was at least getting in the macronutrients I needed to stay on track!
#2 Always assume more!
When I prepare my food at home I know exactly how it’s made. I know what’s involved in the cooking process and I know exactly how it’s going to turn out. This cannot always be said about food when traveling. I noticed very quickly that much of the food had been cooked in oils and sauces for preservation and flavor. For the average person this isn’t really an issue, but for a bodybuilder who is 10 weeks away from the biggest competition of his career…it’s a very big deal.
I combated this dilemma by always assuming a food was more calories than it likely was. For example, a 6oz piece of chicken may only net me a few 100 calories, with most of it being protein. But, on the trip, I assumed that same piece of chicken had more fat content from oils and sauces that it normally would have had I prepared it. This helped ensure I didn’t go over my calorie goal while still keeping me on track with my daily macros.
#3 Pack snacks of your own!
If there was one thing I was going to make sure didn’t happen on this trip it was going without food! Not eating exactly what I needed to was one thing, but going completely without a meal is a big NO NO! In preparing for this, I had packed a bunch of small things I could eat on the go if I needed to. Between plane rides, buses, and not having access to good food 24/7, I needed to make sure I had things I could eat quickly when I needed to.
I packed lots of little snacks that would get me by when needed. For carbs, I packed plain rice cakes. They’re quick and easy to eat and are nothing but quality carbohydrates. For fats, I brought almonds and natural peanut butter. These are easy to track and a handful of almonds can be taken anywhere. For protein, I packed protein bars and RIVALUS chocolate protein powder. Thankfully, as an RIVALUS athlete, I had access to sample packets of protein which are great to just throw in a bag when I’m on the go.
As you can see, having these little snacks that are readily available when needed can be life savers. Having these foods with me allowed me to stay on track with my plan, while still being able to enjoy being out and about with my family.
#4 Water. Water. Water!
The biggest reason it appears people gain weight over a holiday is due to excessive alcohol consumption. It’s free so why not! I’m not an alcohol drinker anyways so this one was not an issue for me, but if you are then I encourage you to stay away completely or keep it to a minimum. Drinking alcohol piles on a ton of extra calories that you do not need and I’m sure back home alcohol wasn’t on the plan.
Stick with water as the beverage of choice. It’s good for you and zero calories. I also found I got dehydrated quite quickly from being out in the hot sun so much, so some extra water won’t hurt a bit. Make water your liquid of choice and you should stay right on track.
These are just 4 ways I was able to stay on track with my diet while on vacation. In returning back to Canada I was able to confidently step on the scale and see that I had dropped weight as planned. My physique had seen nice fat loss progress and I was still able to enjoy a nice vacation with my girlfriend and her family. Prepping for a bodybuilding competition can be very consuming. It may seem like you are unable to do anything outside of it. However, if you plan accordingly to the situation you’re in, you can still enjoy life and bring your best physique to the stage!
I hope you enjoyed, and thank you for reading!
– Leroy Rollins