T Nation

Traveling for 2 Months


#1

Hey all, I'll be doing 2 months worth of traveling starting in July, and I'm looking for tips on how to preserve my muscle as much as possible. I'm currently training heavy and eating big in order to make some good gains before my 2 month lay off.

I'll be traveling through Europe with a backpack, so I won't get access to a kitchen for cooking and planning my meals. I don't think I'll be stepping in gyms either.

Some ideas I have so far regarding nutrition:
- bring a few lbs of whey powder and a shaker bottle.
- bring a large bag of pecans, cashews, almonds and refill when needed.

And for training, what other body weight exercises can I do beside:
- push-ups/push-ups with feet elevated/clapping push-ups
- squats/jumping squats
- planks/side planks

At the same time, I want to be able to enjoy my traveling and not have to constantly worry about taking a few steps backwards with respect to my goals. This is probably my last chance to really travel for an extended period of time, so I want to convince myself that the experience will far outweigh the drawbacks of a prolonged break from the bodybuilding lifestyle.

Any more nutrition and training tips for this kind of situation would be wicked. Share your ideas. Cheers.


#2

Relax. Have a good time. Try to plan ahead so you get access to a gym 2-3 times a week. Nothing too hard about that. Nothing can ruin a holiday like obsessing about losing muscle (or any other type of obsessing, for that matter).


#3

Sounds like you are backpacking Europe;

If you are averse to stepping into a “foreign gym” both literally & figuratively there are numerous outside workout routines online I am sure you can Google or even youtube (jungle gym, for example for lots of the bodyweight exercises/lifts you described)

I’m wondering why you would NOT want to try foreign gyms though (if it is budget that is totally understandable) but I would suggest you give them a try to see how the locals do it.

If you have access to the internet where you are staying (hostels, cafes, etc.) perhaps you can seek out a local gym at a time to get a good workout in WITH weights & equipment.

Maybe your body needs a break from the lifestyle to recharge & recuperate.

Have a safe trip & all the best.


#4

Thanks for the input so far. I’m really looking forward to the trip.

It’s not that I’m afraid of foreign gyms or that I don’t want to step foot in one. Money is not an issue either. I’ve been in gyms in Germany and Denmark and they’re just as good as the ones in North America. It will just take some extra effort and time to find a gym and actually go in for a training session.

I suppose that finding a local gym and getting a workout or two a week while I have some downtime from the sightseeing, traveling, hiking etc. will be better than nothing.

I definitely won’t mind having a break, but I feel that 2 months will be way too long. I’ve recently gone 5 weeks without training because of final projects and exams, and I lost about 3-4 lbs and some strength, even though my diet was still fairly complete and healthy.


#5

I went to Europe this year for a month. I lost a lot of strength. I also did a lot of damage with my drinking and diet. It’s been two months since I returned and I am now stronger than ever. I came back and have been eating anything and everything and have gained about 10 pounds since my return and have added weight to all my exercises.

You’ll recover quickly as you’ll come back fired up and ready to go. I knew I wouldn’t get another chance to be there for an entire month and tried making the best of it. The muscle will come back enjoy yourself over there.

*I also notice there are not as many gyms there. The guys are also not as “jacked” as they are here (I live in Miami). On the other hand it was rare to see any overweight people. The exception was Ireland.


#6

dude youre travelling through europe, focus on that. do you want to look back and have memories of all the cool shit youve never seen before or do you want memories of some random ass gym? you pick.


#7

Forget training, meals, etc. You’re taking a trip… enjoy it. You’re taking two months of to travel around, two months out of your daily pace. So do other things than your daily pace. Experience and just enjoy.

In September you can get back to your daily live. If you’re going to visit Holland and will be near Rotterdam, give a date and time and I’ll buy you a coffee. =)


#8

[quote]LiveFromThe781 wrote:
dude youre travelling through europe, focus on that. do you want to look back and have memories of all the cool shit youve never seen before or do you want memories of some random ass gym? you pick.[/quote]

def man. see the sights, try the food, make out with foreign women.

fuck working out.


#9

yeah dude I went for 3.5 months and you will lose strength anyhow you sling it. The most optimal route would be to just try and pick the best foods [ie. most protein] and enjoy yourself.

I doubt you’ll get fat. From what i hear the dames [and/or dudes if your roll as such] will keep your cardio up and morals low.

So yeah when i got home after 3.5 months out I were POW skinny but then i packed the treats away at christmas and I’m thicker than ever. I was down to eating only at breakfast and dinner it was too hot during the day to eat shit and i love eating.

So i would not worry about it too much. an occasional gym visit when it’s convenient is good for your mind. Try and get into some other shit like climbing or other outdoor sports shit. It’s fun to do shit you suck at.

In other news: small children are having a screaming contest outside my appt. WTFH is with that?

-chris


#10

to avoid being completely sedentary you can also just work out at local parks, pull ups, dips, abs raises, push ups. youre not going to add any mass but you might be able to preserve some and at least have some kind of muscularity. as long as you eat enough and have been holding your weight for a decent while you wont get too bad. …so basically, if you are big, you wont get “tiny” so long as you stay active and eat. and if you just started working out you dont have anything to lose anyway.


#11

[quote]HolyMacaroni wrote:
LiveFromThe781 wrote:
dude youre travelling through europe, focus on that. do you want to look back and have memories of all the cool shit youve never seen before or do you want memories of some random ass gym? you pick.

def man. see the sights, try the food, make out with foreign women.

fuck working out.[/quote]

x 2

If these 2 months are the only major setback in your entire lifting career it really won’t make a difference in the long run.

The gym will always be there for you once you get back. Opportunities to travel for 2 months in Europe don’t come by often in life.


#12

Well, you need to know if you’re the kind who loses muscle easily when not training.

I, for one, usually tend to deflate just a wee bit when laying off training for more than 3 weeks, but it’s mainly due to a decrease in muscle tone. It’s old muscle, so to speak, that’s not lost in a matter of weeks, especially when I’m eating enough.

If, however, most of your built muscle is quite “new” (meaning your body hasn’t got used to carry it around for a few years), you could end up losing some if you’re not training for two months and moving around a lot (what you usually do as a backpacker).

Here’s what I’d do in that case: find a gym and train at least once a week, heavy compound movements with a bit of direct arm work thrown in for good measure.

If that wasn’t possible, I’d at least bring two strong therabands (gold and silver). They’re light, small when rolled up and provide a lot of resistance. Fold them twice or thrice to increase resistance. You can do squats, deads, push-up, curls, overhead presses, rows etc. I shit you not.

You could also use your hawt companion as a weight. Again: I shit you not.


#13

As was mentioned by a few and what I did while I was gone in europe for a month, just get in one solid workout a week. Do a few presses, curls, squats, rows, chins, whatever. Just that one time per week will keep you from becoming shaky and weak when you get back.


#14

Well thanks for the hospitality, but unfortunately I won’t get close to Holland. I’ll be in Switzerland, southern France, northern Italy and southern Germany. Enough good food between all those regions to keep me full surely.

[quote]yeah dude I went for 3.5 months and you will lose strength anyhow you sling it. The most optimal route would be to just try and pick the best foods [ie. most protein] and enjoy yourself.

I doubt you’ll get fat. From what i hear the dames [and/or dudes if your roll as such] will keep your cardio up and morals low.

So yeah when i got home after 3.5 months out I were POW skinny but then i packed the treats away at christmas and I’m thicker than ever. I was down to eating only at breakfast and dinner it was too hot during the day to eat shit and i love eating.

So i would not worry about it too much. an occasional gym visit when it’s convenient is good for your mind. Try and get into some other shit like climbing or other outdoor sports shit. It’s fun to do shit you suck at.

In other news: small children are having a screaming contest outside my appt. WTFH is with that?

-chris [/quote]

I definitely won’t be sedentary during the trip. My girlfriend and I have planned some hiking in Switzerland and bike riding in Italy, plus lots of walking with a heavy load on my back. I’m not worried about getting fat since I naturally have a high metabolism, and that’s on top of the daily cardio I’ll be doing. My main concern will be to eat enough to maintain mass rather than limiting my food intake to prevent fat accumulation.

[quote]If these 2 months are the only major setback in your entire lifting career it really won’t make a difference in the long run.

The gym will always be there for you once you get back. Opportunities to travel for 2 months in Europe don’t come by often in life.[/quote]

That’s right on the money in terms of the psychology of the situation. Two months is only a drop in the ocean of life, so I don’t think I’ll be mulling over it in a few years. I just wanna limit the damage for the time immediately after my trip.

[quote]Well, you need to know if you’re the kind who loses muscle easily when not training.

I, for one, usually tend to deflate just a wee bit when laying off training for more than 3 weeks, but it’s mainly due to a decrease in muscle tone. It’s old muscle, so to speak, that’s not lost in a matter of weeks, especially when I’m eating enough.

If, however, most of your built muscle is quite “new” (meaning your body hasn’t got used to carry it around for a few years), you could end up losing some if you’re not training for two months and moving around a lot (what you usually do as a backpacker).

Here’s what I’d do in that case: find a gym and train at least once a week, heavy compound movements with a bit of direct arm work thrown in for good measure.

If that wasn’t possible, I’d at least bring two strong therabands (gold and silver). They’re light, small when rolled up and provide a lot of resistance. Fold them twice or thrice to increase resistance. You can do squats, deads, push-up, curls, overhead presses, rows etc. I shit you not.

You could also use your hawt companion as a weight. Again: I shit you not. [/quote]

Yes, I definitely deflate during a long period of inactivity. Like you said, that’s the new muscle I put on just prior to the lay off period. When I first started training my natural weight was about 150 lb, whereas now it’s around 180 lbs. I’ve always maintained 10% body fat. Currently I’m at 190, so I won’t be surprised if I drop back to the low-mid 180s over the course of my trip. Also, I’m 5’11" and 23 years old.

The resistance bands sound like a great idea, I’ll be looking into getting a few of those. And I’ve tried “weighted-companion” exercises before, like push ups and squats, they’re kinda fun!


#15

do some pistols pullups and one arm pushups and just make stuff up that seem challenging