T Nation

Maintain Muscle While Backpacking

Hi,

This is my first post. Until the present, I’ve been able to find most of the answers to my questions in previous threads, but I couldn’t find anything relevant to this one…

My friends and I are planning to backpack in Europe for a month next christmas holidays. My objective is to lose as little muscle as possible in this time period. Although going to a gym in those cities seems a good theoretical solution, I doubt it can really be applied in practice. As such, I ask for help in maintaining muscle during this time.

As a secondary question, I’ve assumed that I should cut down before I go as body fat increases will be inevitable. Is this the proper approach?

Cheers

Keep your protein levels high. Take some protein powder and a shaker and/or some bars. Drink milk. Do some bodyweight exercises in your hotel room if you can’t get to the gym. Find a park and do some pull-ups off a tree-branch or something. Do push-ups, run sprints. And if you do lose some muscle- WGAF? Muscle memory will give it back to you after a while. Now go and have a good time.

Buy a pair of these:

and one of these:

http://sandbagexercises.ifsstrength.com/sandbag.html

They both travel light and you can fill the sand bag at the beach and hang the rings from a tree branch.
Enjoy your trip!

At least you are in Europe, when I was in Japan, I had a very hard time finding adequate protein sources, so I felt weak the whole time.

Also, becareful what you eat, some countries do not have an FDA like body.

I did 130 miles on the John Muir Trail this summer and I don’t think I lost too much muscle by toting along a lot of protein powder and BCAAs and protein bars. Jerky is great, so are nuts. Don’t cut down before you go…you’ll lose the fat on the trip. It’s hard to eat enough when you’re hiking that much. Sure you’ll come back a bit weaker, but it comes back soon. Just enjoy it all!

Your legs won’t suffer at all, just maybe lose a bit of upper body strength. Do some pushups at night if you have energy (that’s a big IF!! - that lasted about 2 days for me…)

If you have more questions about eaing and stuff just PM me.

Get a lot of canned foods.

I travelled Asia this august and got a lot of protein through canned tuna, dried meat(I do NOT recommend dried fish - but I doubt you’ll find that anywhere in Europe)and roasted chicken they made pretty much anywhere.

In Europe you won’t have a hard time finding decently priced butchers. Get horse meat, it turns bad the slowest of most filets.

Mixed nuts and fruits are always good.
And a bottle of ketchup. Definately.
Makes ANY food edible.

Don’t worry about muscle loss, you’ll be surprised how much leaner you’ll become if you’re backpacking, and that muscle can be gained back in a week or 2.

I did some chins and handstand pushups a few times, but nothing special, so just have fun. And visit Belgium and the Netherlands. Our chicks rule.

Thanks alot for the replies. Leeuwer, the rumours of your women have reached even my humble Australia. They will not go uninvestigated.

Thanks again,

-Cloth

Walking lunges the whole way!

sup man, i often times am in similar situations as you are. my last trip was in the sierra nevadas, i used a combination of ephedra+ceffeine stack as well as popped Bcaa tabs evenly throughout the day. every morning and evening I had a creatine+proteine meal replacement shake (it had carbs in it). and snacked on varous nuts/jerky/prot bars throughout the days. always came home shredded. my 2 cents, good luck

Dezz

[quote]Cloth wrote:
Hi,

This is my first post. Until the present, I’ve been able to find most of the answers to my questions in previous threads, but I couldn’t find anything relevant to this one…

My friends and I are planning to backpack in Europe for a month next christmas holidays. My objective is to lose as little muscle as possible in this time period. Although going to a gym in those cities seems a good theoretical solution, I doubt it can really be applied in practice. As such, I ask for help in maintaining muscle during this time.

As a secondary question, I’ve assumed that I should cut down before I go as body fat increases will be inevitable. Is this the proper approach?

Cheers[/quote]

Organise some protein bars. Go see if you can get them at wholesale prices. I at two protein bars per day whilst backpacking.

I went with intentions of going to the local gyms but $10+ casual visits compared to spending $10 on food, hostels, attractions, and etc hardly stacks up. The time it takes out of your day is another consideration.

I don’t think I put much fat on in my backpacking experiences. Walking around all day, hiking, and general activites ensured that my energy expenditure was high.

[quote]stockzy wrote:
Walking lunges the whole way![/quote]

rmlafo

That’s a good one.

Seriously, bulk up before you go, you will lose fat on the trip. Carrying a backpack helps maintain muscle mass especially if it is real heavy and you sometimes carry it in one arm over your shoulder etc… I have never had a problem losing muscle mass and I go every year. I do however lose a lot of fat which is great. I go for about 4 weeks, and I find I put on weight in the first week (usually due to the really fatty foods I consume in vast portions) but after about 14 days fat loss kicks in and does a great treat.

Protein bars are excellent because you never know when you will get stuck with no food around.

As long as you actually eat you should have no problems, but if going on a budget and unable to eat, that can be a problem.

Walking + luggage is quite a workout and should keep you in good condition ie your body is hardly going to start chucking muscle away if you are doing some heavy walking. But if doing looooong treks with no food (ie 12hrs walking a day and scarce meals), you will burn muscle.

Creatine may be helpful for sparing muscle but have never tried it on a trip, myself.

BCAAs probably are very beneficial. Lightweight, they pack a punch.

Have a great trip!

[quote]Cloth wrote:

Thanks alot for the replies. Leeuwer, the rumours of your women have reached even my humble Australia. They will not go uninvestigated.

Thanks again,

-Cloth[/quote]

Damn. Enjoy yourself man, and don’t forget to take pictures.

I have to also recommend the BCAA’s. I just came back from a week in the mountains doing a lot of hiking and packing out heavy pack loads. In my day pack I carried BCAA’s, antelope jerky, and fruit. I lost some fat (good) but maintained muscle and after todays workout will see how much strength was gained or lost from this week.

Good luck,

D