By Laura Ciotte |
It is a common myth that any time spent away from the gym will result in the loss of your hard earned muscle mass and a huge amount of fat gain. Unless you sit in bed every day eating thousands upon thousands of calories of chocolate and other high calorie foods – this will not happen.
There are however a number of options you have to limit damage to your physique whilst on holiday.
The correct nutrition is key to your results. I personally have taken three weeks off the gym for a holiday and seen no visible changes, just a small (temporary) reduction of strength.
This maintenance of ‘gains’ is down to maintaining decent nutrition whilst on holiday!
Follow these basic tips to minimise fat gain whilst on holiday:
Ensure you eat an adequate amount of protein wiTh every meal. This will minimise muscle loss and help keep you feeling full, minimising snacking on ‘bad’ foods which can lead to weight gain.
Keep your meals balanced with both a serving of vegetables and carbohydrates; low GI where possible so choose the brown bread/pasta over the white alternative.
Opt for water rather than fizzy drinks etc. Not only does this keep you hydrating (especially when visiting warmer climates) but you will be reducing the amount of empty calories you consume and therefore minimising fat gain!
4) Healthy Snacks
Pack healthy snacks e.g. a protein shake or protein snacks and nuts, as opposed to buying lots of chocolate when the sweet tooth hits!
When it comes to training there are a couple of options you can follow.
Option 1) Bodyweight hotel room workouts
Option 2) Hotel gym workouts
Hotel gyms tend to continue more basic equipment and rarely stock the heavier weights experienced trainers need. Therefore you will need to keep your reps higher and go for an endurance training approach, especially for the compound movements.
I have included a example of both workouts below, please contact me if you would like a detailed plan drawn up for your trip!
Hotel Room Workout
Beginner trainees should complete 4 circuits, intermediate should complete 6 and advance should complete 8.
Take 15-30 seconds rest between each circuit (advance trainees should aim to complete each circuit without rest).
|Push ups (knee or full)||10|
|Bent over rows using suitcase/rucksack||10|
|Bodyweight lunges||10 per side|
Have A Hotel Gym? | Try This
|Exercise||Sets & reps|
|Deadlifts||3 x 20 reps|
|Clamshells||3 x 12 per side|
|Dumbbell bench press||3 x Matrix 21|
|Dumbbell bent-over rows||3 x 15|
|Squats||3 x Matrix 21|
|Military press||3 x 15|
|Sit-ups||4 x 10|
What is ‘Matrix 21 training?’
A form of training that increases time under tension, which promotes muscle building. More muscle = more calories burned at rest!
Matrix 21’s involve breaking down a movement into 3 steps. For example,
A set of “21s” for bicep curls would look like:
1) 7 reps from starting position (extension) to holding the curl at 90 degrees.
2) 7 reps from 90 degrees of elbow flexion to full flexion.
3) 7 reps full reps, (full range of movement).
For both workouts you can make your cardio a bit nicer than usual.
Some of my favourites for holidays are a jog to explore the local area, HIIT swimming in the hotel pool or hiring bikes and cycling round the town or in the country side.
Your other option (my personal favourite) is to not workout on holiday, but to work a little bit harder in the gym beforehand! The general rule is for every week you’re taking off, you need to up the intensity in the gym for a week beforehand. Although this only really works for shorter 1-2 week breaks!
✓ All you need to do is add an extra set to each exercise in your workouts plus a full body circuit session each week (see the example below).
✓ I also like to add a couple of HIIT training sessions to get lean and make sure I’m completely overtraining before my holiday! To be extra brutal add drop sets such as the one below to your workout.
Say your last exercise is 4 sets of 10 reps of the military press, it should look like this:
4 sets of 10 reps military press
On the last set remove one weight plate from each side, squeeze as many reps as possible, remove another from each side and continue till failure.
4 sets of 10 reps back squats
On the last set remove one weight plate from each side, squeeze as many reps as possible, remove another from each side and continue until failure.
Take Home Message
You may wish to take a full break away from the gym to allow your body to recover from the stresses of regular training. However, if you want to keep active and release some endorphins before starting your day, fit in one of these workouts!