You train. You eat. You stay consistent. That last step, however, is the exact issue. Staying consistent when your environment is not isn’t exactly smooth sailing, and for many is past the threshold of what they can realistically sustain, especially when looking to make a positive change rather than simply maintaining something pre-existing.
So where do you start?
Where anyone else would with these same goals; you just have to be ready for the extra degree of difficulty, the extra helping of obstacles, and the extra layer of complexity that this situation is going to throw your way.
It’s important that you remind yourself that you’re not going to be on some laidback spa vacation, at very least not in a physical sense. It’s not only easy to fall into a state of lackadaisicalness in circumstances like these, but almost inevitable for many (to some extent). Keeping your game face on and reminding yourself that you have work to get done will be essential to ensuring that you achieve the goals you set out for yourself.
Now, let’s get to the first, and arguably most important step, as it lays the foundation for the rest to follow.
Understanding What Getting In Shape While Traveling Entails
This may seem a tad on the nose, but you’d be surprised just how much can be avoided by taking a moment to actually go over and fully comprehend the scope of what you’re setting out to achieve. For this very reason, approximately 61% of people find themselves falling further out of shape while traveling. I myself have spent a substantial amount of time in SE Asia, and it’s not hard to see why; there’s a lot that caught me by surprise, simply because, as ready as you may be to answer certain questions, you need to ask them first. What do I mean by this? Well, for example:
- What will your training focus be? Gyms won’t be a guarantee, nor will their quality.
- What’s your diet going to look like? Access to kitchens or even solid food choices of any kind will also be pretty limited depending on your itinerary
- How will you balance fitness amongst your other pursuits? If you can’t achieve harmony, something, most likely fitness, will begin to slip
- What contingencies will you have? When traveling, unplanned scenarios are practically a guarantee, and you need to be ready to adapt accordingly
The list can go on, but the gist is pretty clear: getting in shape is already a difficult endeavor in and of itself, but to do so while traveling? That bumps up the difficulty considerably. If you want to do this, you’re going to have to come to terms with just how much of an effort it’s going to be, pull your socks up, and give it the work it requires, starting with our next segment.
Defining Clear & Concise Goals for Yourself
Again, seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? I’ve thought so in the past too, but akin to the last point, if left unattended, it can be the flaw that brings the whole house of cards tumbling down. When we hear “goals”, we think of our objectives, what we want to achieve, but it’s important to actually voice these, put them into words, give them structure, and build a concrete plan that you can use to not only steer yourself precisely in the right direction, but also track your progress, and maintain a sense of progression which is paramount to staying consistent with pursuits such as these.
So what would that look like? Well, it can manifest in a number of different ways, but it’s going to hinge quite heavily on one of the previous points: What will your training focus be?
|Training Style||Objectives to work towards|
|Bodybuilding||Bodyweight, body composition, overall physique development|
|Calisthenics||Skills, specific movements/holds, AMRAP maxes|
|Powerlifting||Overall strength, SBD development, one-rep maxes|
|Weightlifting||Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and Clean & Press development|
There should be weekly milestones, seasonal ones, and long-term goals that you work towards, that keep you motivated and give you a tool to track your progress; in a 2016 study, it was observed that even the mildest structure contributed to a substantial increase in both improvements upon athletic performance and overall body composition compared to the unstructured control group. Incorporating these principles will allow you to not only push yourself harder, but accurately determine if you’re continuing to move in the right direction, and ensure you continue to do so.
Setting Rules and Actually Abiding by Them
We’re three for three on seemingly obvious principles that are often underestimated in their importance. The milestones I mentioned in the prior segment tie into this same rule, as they essentially are a rule in and of themselves stating “I must achieve this”. These rules can be more specific, such as a minimum weekly training quota of “x” amount of sessions, “y” amount of weekly cheat meals, or a minimum “z” amount of sessions within a gym rather than outdoor training.
These examples are one’s that I would recommend, but the rules that you end up following should simply be those that you believe will be the most conducive to helping you achieve the results you’re chasing. The important part, however, is being realistic, because you can give yourself no leeway when it comes to following them.
Don’t jump the gun and make claims such as “I’m gonna train EVERY DAY”, or “I’m never going to enjoy something I crave; always strict, all the time” because that’s just not sustainable, and deep down you know it, which means that you’re setting these rules up in a way that’s destined for failure.
Start slow, start simple, start savvy and most importantly, just start. Set up rules that you think will be almost too easy to achieve at first, leave yourself hungry to work harder, and then slowly ramp up the intensity so you have time to adjust, and can actually respect those rules as inviolable, because that will lead to actual consistency, and consistency is what will bring results.
Not Letting Yourself Be Overwhelmed by the Temptations of SE Asia
Now we all know the infamy that certain places in SE Asia hold (particularly one rhyming with Wangclock), and how they cater to the hedonistic indulgences of those that come seeking them. Few places in the world are going to match the temptation you’ll face here, often in unexpected places. Many things won’t even seem like “temptations” per se, but they will be in the sense that they interrupt your regime and cause you to become undisciplined, which, long term, will show in your results.
Let’s skip over the obvious, such as cheap, abundant unhealthy foods or heavy substance use; maybe a weekend of diving turns into a week enjoying Koh Tao, or a two-day trip to Penang on the Malaysian border gets extended after you run into visa issues, leading to logistical issues that’ll take who knows how long to sort; these things will cut into your progress, and hey, for many they’re arguably more important, which isn’t a bad thing, but that will still lead to one suffering because of the other, and while one may be the most important of the two, both are in an absolute sense, and balance should still be aimed for one way or another.
So how do we handle these difficult situations as they arise? Because unless you’re hunkered down in a hut, doing nothing but eat, train and sleep, they inevitably will. You can either juggle them on your own and struggle to keep your gains through these predicaments best you can, oooooooooooorrrrrr…
What to Do When You’re Struggling to Stay Afloat
The situations above are just examples of the many occasions in which you’ll find your progress throttled, and hurdles thrust in front of you that may often be too tall to leap, considering the weight you’ll already be carrying by virtue of just how much difficult your scenario and overall goals are to begin with. So what can you do to streamline this process? You can outsource the heavy lifting, that’s what. The metaphorical lifting, at least; the literal lifting is still very much on you.
I’ve coached hundreds if not thousands of clients over the years, many in situations akin to this one and with goals just as ambitious. The logistics that go into this, the details often overlooked, the mistakes made by first-timers hurling themselves into this chasm not knowing just how deep it goes, they lead to many lessons learned, yes, but at the cost of progress one could have made if you had simply had someone with the experience already under their belt to show the way. And that, of course, is what I’m here for.
Sign up now and enlist me, Fred Chevry, to help you overcome said hurdles, avoid said mistakes and achieve said progress by learning from the mistakes of others, and the decades of expertise accumulated in the process, so you don’t have to pay the price for those mistakes yourself.