One of the biggest dietary pitfalls is the dreaded “T” word.
Teabaggin’? Nope, but mine are a blend of Japanese Green and Irish Breakfast. Although small, they are potent, and I’ve been told are quite refreshing, especially with the patented Miyaki steeping method…
But that’s not what I’m talking about today. The “T” word I’m talking about is travel. “I was on track and making great progress until I had to break up my normal routine, and leave town. Then everything went to hell.”
THE OLD, PARANOID, FITNESS DIETING DAYS
I used to feel you.
Back in the days when I was following a more conventional fitness diet, trying to figure out where my next small meal or snack was going to be, pulling over and getting a bullshit candy bar (oh, I mean protein bar) because I feared my muscles were wasting away, canceling afternoon plans because it had been 3 hours and I needed to get my next protein feeding in, trying to figure out how to keep my chicken and rice cold with no fridge at da beach, or without being able to bring a frickin’ cooler into a professional meeting room, etc.
Then, after all that effort of sticking to an impractical (and completely unnecessary, other than fitness tradition) plan, I would eat a big feast-style dinner and drastically overshoot my calories and macro’s anyways because — f*ck it — you’re on vacation or socializing or doing business or whatever.
It was a disaster for my obsessed and paranoid bodybuilder/fitness athlete mind. And I would always come back looking more like Da Baby Sumo and less like Da Ripped Ronin, despite my best efforts to stay on track. I’d come back into town thinking, “damn man, I need to get back in shape.”
Any of this sound familiar? If it does, I’m going to free you from the obsession that you’ve been brainwashed to believe is necessary. If it doesn’t, welcome to the mind of a paranoid fitness guy/girl. Be glad you never got sucked into the madness, and can follow a more reasonable and sane plan right from the start.
THE NEW, FEASTING NOMAD
The game has changed since switching over to my Intermittent Feast approach (which is basically the final evolution of my nutritional philosophy). If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, here is a post with a summary of the basic outline. Go read this (I know you were going to gloss over it without taking action) because the structure of this plan is what allows for maximum flexibility and practicality on Da Road. Don’t worry, we’ll wait up for you to finish:
Not only do I think this is a much more functional and sustainable approach for your every day routine, I think it makes it infinitely easier to stay on track when traveling.
No worrying about small meals, no planning your day around food instead of actually living your life, you get to look for bikini babes instead of for snack shacks, trying to get laid every 3 hours instead of trying to find your next fitness meal with perfect macronutrient percentages, etc.
Just grab a lower carb, protein + fat based lunch (which can be done anywhere), and a big, protein + carb based dinner. Vegetables can go with either meal. If I happen to be training or doing something very active, I might also include some whole fruits around that activity. Simple, effective, functional, flexible, practical.
Want an example? So here’s how I did it on my most recent trip to Hawaii. It was a 4-day whirlwind trip with 4 plane rides to take care of some family stuff. We didn’t have access to a kitchen, we were on an island we had never been to before, we had to eat out every meal, etc.
There was not a lot of control, but it was still possible to stay on track with this Intermittent Feast approach. And honestly, it was actually pretty easy. So easy a guy who eats “a caveman-style diet with some sports nutrition modification” could do it.
So first, a little background about my current diet program. Right now, I’m just eating for maintenance or recomposition, staying in good physique shape (I had a photo shoot the day after my return with a fitness equipment manufacturer). I’m 165lbs, don’t know my body fat, but if I had to guess I’d say 7%ish.
And for all the meatheads who want to keyboard bash now (guess I spend too much time in forums), trust me, I’ve met some of the guys that claim online to be 220lbs and 6% body fat. Hahahaha, more like 200lbs and 6 months pregnant….Its like pro wrestling, guess everyone has to embellish. When I was pro wrestling they used to list me as 6′ 200lbs.
But listen man, I’m not trying to impress anyone. I’m happy with where I’m at and where I’m going. My goal is to help YOU make some progress, and give YOU useful tools. I can’t do that if I’m bullsh*tting you trying to maintain some kind of mysterious online image.
I’m an open book, and a real guy trying to get real results, just like you. Maybe what I’ve learned along the way will help you. I think this lesson definitely will.
On off days, I eat in a slight calorie deficit with numbers geared more towards fat loss
12 cals/lb = 2000
1g pro/lb = 150-175g
20-25% fats = 45-55g
remaining cals from carbs = 250g
Calories go up through carbs on training days, but I didn’t get to train while traveling this time. I was using it as some informal, active recovery — lots of walking, had one day where we got to climb down to a waterfall, and I unleashed the Little Shitake for some much needed sunshine and Vitamin D (hoping that it will make it grow).
So this was about trying to stay right around those #’s. I did not carry around a portable weighing scale or measuring cups. If I overshot or undershot the numbers, I didn’t call my mom crying, have a nervous breakdown, or think about committing Sepukku (ritual suicide in the Samurai era).
4-DAYS OF INTERMITTENT FEASTING ON THE ROAD
*All numbers are estimated and rounded based on eyeball method.
Place: Airport Cafe
Meal: 4-egg scramble with veggies. Told them to hold the cheese and didn’t need bread. Totals: 25g pro, negligible carbs, 35g fats (assuming cooked in oil or butter).
Place: Japanese Market with prepared take out meals
Meal: Beef, rice, and vegetable bowl; 2 Korean beef sushi rolls, 1 Futo Maki roll (egg & pickled vegetables)
Totals: 100g pro, 250g carbohydrates, 30g fats
Daily totals: 125g pro, 250g carbs, 65g fats, 2100 calories
Place: Strip Mall Diner
Meal: 8oz New York Steak, plain salad
Totals: 50g pro, negligible carbs, 25g fats
Place: Thai Restaurant
Meal: 2 fresh shrimp spring rolls, Salt ‘n’ Pepper chicken, 1 cup rice (I adjusted carbs down because this chicken was obviously smothered in oil, thus making the meal much higher in fat)
Totals: 100g pro, 100g carbs, 75g fats
Daily totals: 150g pro, 100g carbs, 100g fats, 1900 calories
*This was my normal cheat day
Meal: We were out and about doing a bunch of errands and stopped off for a drink. I got a black coffee & whiskey. Now young kids, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to glorify drinking. I’m just trying to give an honest snapshot of the trip.
Meal: 4 fresh spring rolls, Chicken Pho Noodle Soup. Later I had some left over Chicken Pad Thai (chicken with large rice noodles) from the night before (thanks Leina).
Totals: 150g pro, 325g carbs, 65 g fats, 2500 calories
Place: Hawaiian Plate Lunch Cafe
Meal: 8oz bbq’d steak (told them to hold the rice and mac salad)
Totals: 50g pro, 0g carbs, 15g fats
Meal: Teriyaki Chicken plate, 4 large futo maki rolls (we bought these at a grocery store and brought them with us on the plane).
Totals: 75g pro, 250g carbs, 15g fats
Daily totals: 125g pro, 250g carbs, 30g fats, 1800 calories
As you see, it wasn’t perfect, but I was able to stay on track with my goals, relatively easily. More importantly, I felt great the whole time, didn’t come back feeling like crap or like I had to “make up” for lost time.
I hope this gives you some hope that it’s not all that hard to eat for fitness when traveling, IF you have a more reasonable approach. Its a lot more manageable when you only have to worry about getting 2 meals, and get to eat a big, satiating, Feast at night.