Ah – life on the road aye, what a buzz packing up the car and heading somewhere over the horizon.
Whether going on holiday or a business trip, or visiting friends or relatives, travel is good for the soul … but not quite so good for dietary discipline.
Service stations tempt you with fast food , roadside burger vans send you char-grilled smoke signals and even the car radio tells you to turn off at the next junction if you’d like a 2-for-1 deal on something naughty but nice. The road is full of challenges, so to avoid coming back with more baggage than you left with, you need a plan, man.
The plan needs to be watertight. You’re ideally looking to carry on with your diet and training as normal. You should even take your regular supplements like creatine and whey protein to stay mentally and physically focused. The key is to avoid situations where you’re hungry or tired as that’s when you’re vulnerable to the dark side.
It doesn’t have to be military precision planning, but do plan your journey. Find the best route, estimate the travelling time avoiding potential traffic hotspots, then most importantly, plan where you are going to stop for food and rest breaks.
Planning your journey efficiently will help you to avoid stressful situations on the road. Stress is the enemy as it will raise your adrenalin and blood sugar levels and cause muscle tension and you’re likely to experience an energy dip afterwards.
Load up the supplies
It’s all about the prep. If you’re driving a long way, then you have two choices: find a healthy place to eat, or bring your own food. The first one may prove difficult and expensive if you’re in unfamiliar territory, so bring out the lunchbox(es)!
Pack up 2-3 lunchboxes (depending on the length of your journey) with healthy, protein-rich food options. Chicken, fish, brown rice, fresh vegetables, pumpkin seeds, you know the drill right? Remember food with good fats like avocados and almonds will also satisfy your appetite, but don’t eat the fish in the car! And don’t overload the car with food!
The really healthy stuff is tasty but we know it sometimes gets a little bit repetitive so you’ll need some treats too. Everybody loves a treat on the road. Pack up a rucksack with rewards like protein bars, walnuts, fruits and other things you like to keep you going.
Bring some pre-prepared protein shakes too and plenty of water to keep you hydrated, which you can keep chilled in the cooler box of craving control if you have one. Rewards and regular breaks will help to keep you relaxed.
You may be the designated driver for your family or friends, so unless your family members are all gym nuts too it might be too much to ask to stop for a gym break halfway there. If you’re travelling alone then it could work.
Are you a member of a chain of gyms which has other premises, or how about simply phoning up a gym before you leave and asking if you can pay for a session? If the gym doesn’t work for you, then scribble down a few body weight exercises and stretches that you can do when you pull over for a break.
Scout out the destination
Make sure everything is sorted at the other end and that you have a good place to chill and get some sleep in a comfy bed. If you’re staying in a hotel, then choose one with a gym and swimming pool if your budget allows it. Check out the restaurant menu before you book a room and enquire whether it’s okay to customize it to your requirements.
Just remember to stay focused, stop for regular food and drink breaks and stick to your plan. Travel well and bon voyage!