Updated: Oct 16, 2019
'As I write this piece, I'm currently on vacation in Rio De Janeiro. I'm sitting on the roof terrace over looking the iconic view one usually sees of Copacobana beach in travel advertisements and sipping on a caipirinha whilst up dating programs for my clients. This may sound rather glamorous but as each day goes by, I'm resonating heavily on the fact that, whilst I'm comfortable and in control of the freedom I learned to give myself in order to 'relax' from a structured eating plan, there are many who have become so accustomed to restricting themselves on a daily basis to the point whereby, they are unable to travel, fully function or enjoy themselves whilst being away on a vacation.
Now, you would be surprised at how many people who struggle with something that could be perceived as being 'a once in a lifetime' opportunity or experience, to completely spin it upside down to bring about the worst fears in travel anxiety that you could possibly imagine.
When I see the pain, anxiety, stress and trauma one goes through when making plans with friends, family and/or loved ones, to go see parts of the world they would really love to see but feel unable to travel to do so, it breaks my heart. In addition to that, we have those who feel brave enough to push through their anxieties with pre meditated plans but then have the tendency to selfishly ruin the vibe for others resulting in controlling behaviour: setting meal times/dates, requesting specific menus, specifying/instructing ways in how food should or shouldn't be cooked, becoming aggressive when needs are not being met etc. all of which can cause friction resulting in disagreements, ill feelings and/or avoidance from others.
But what I think is frightening in all of this is, in many ways we all encourage, admire and praise these very same people who have the most amazing looking bodies, perceiving them as epitomising the complete package of what 'fit, healthy and happy' should be but nothing could be further from the truth. When everything is stripped back to the basics, those who often complain of feeling trapped inside the very same bodies they've worked hard to create are restricted to a life of fear, low self esteem, insecurities and overall lack of confidence.
I try my best as a trainer and coach to offer reassurance to those who may require my assistance, often helping with nutritional planning prior to travel and encouraging one in how to make good healthy choices in general whilst being abroad, however it's still a struggle to get through to some individuals and that's when I know I'm out of my depth and will advise in seeking counselling on a different level, to address deeper under lying issues.
So what can I say to one who trains regularly, follows a healthy eating plan, is worried about the effects of being 'off plan' for a week or so but wants to travel and live a little?
I say this, give yourself plenty of time to plan your vacation wisely. If you are adamant whereby you want to train and eat certain foods whilst being away, then select a destination or choose accommodation that is more 'fitness friendly' and where you know you will be able to cope with the food, culture and lifestyle for at least seven days.
Research the local area where you will be staying by googling restaurants and gyms within the vicinity. Alternatively, use the time away constructively as being a 'de-load' week, whereby one under takes a full rest phase from training or follows a course of light training aka 'active recovery'. When it comes to making good food choices, personally I feel it's always good to live a little whilst remaining sensible. Aim to eat around 70% healthy/clean if you can and if you're not used to eating certain types of foods at home or would prefer to stay away from say, too many sweet things etc. then do so. Make good, overall healthy, sensible choices that will leave you feeling satisfied but will tickle your taste buds, making you feel like your able to fully enjoy your vacation experience in peace.'