So you're going on vacation, now how do you handle your food?

So, you’re going on vacation but you’ve made a lot of progress with how you’re handling food recently and your relationship there and you want to continue that but you don’t know how. 

This can definitely be a tough situation. A couple common situations are...

We get to vacation and stress ourselves the whole time about perfectly weighing and tracking everything. We HAVE to get our exact work outs in. Etc.

There’s nothing really wrong with this approach depending on what your goals are. If you have an important goal with an upcoming deadline, this might be the way to go about things at that time.

It also depends on the point of the trip right? So if you’re traveling for work that’s going to look a lot different than heading to the beach for some family time or even heading out for a bachelorette weekend! 

You get to vacation or even I see this happen a day or two before and say fuck it totally.

We’re eating whatever we want drinking whatever we want, work outs are out the window, sleep is crazy, the whole 9. Has this happened to you? I’ve definitely lived this! Especially if I’ve just competed, or I’ve been really by the book for a while and then head immediately out on vacay! 

So then we come home and we probably feel like total garbage and maybe we even struggle a bit more to get back in to those habits that helped us be so successful.

We find some level of moderation.

This is pretty broad and can totally look like whatever it needs to look like based on the reason for the trip and your goals, but here are some options....

  • maybe we track until dinner

  • commit to 30 min work outs daily

  • commit to a gallon of water daily

  • track protein only

Again this can look like whatever it needs to.

I feel like there’s two levels of what we mentioned above. Sometimes we lay out the commitments we want to stick to like above.

And sometimes we just say to ourselves, “ok, let’s just be mindful going in to this.” We don’t want to feel like shit by the end of the trip but we don’t want to stress about being perfect the whole time either

This CAN be a slippery slope for two reasons. 

  • we either end up saying fuck it because we didn’t set any commitments so we’re unsure of where the boundary is so nothing is technically “breaking our personal rules”

  • or we feel guilty for not being perfect no matter what we do because we didn’t define what success would look like

Any of this feel familiar with you?

Ya so what we do about it? 

So again, I think it’s important to look at both the purpose for the trip and what your upcoming goals are. If you’re having to make weight shortly after your trip, obviously we’re going to need to be a bit more dialed in than if we’re just trying to feel good with some moderation. And traveling for a weekend work conference is going to look different than heading to a new foreign country with your beau.

I can’t stress enough the importance of understanding your priorities and goals. This will tell us so much about what we’re doing and WHY!!

From there, a few things I like to do before I go out of town...

  • I check for the gym status.

    Is there a hotel gym? Or a Crossfit gym near by and what’s the drop in policy? Maybe there’s a fun new type of work out you’ve been wanting to try while you’re there! Or maybe great hiking spots to check out. Whatever it is, I figure out what I want to do for exercise. Recently getting my 8k-12k steps in daily has become a non negotiable for me, so that’s a given.

    I also know I will feel like total crap if I don’t exercise for a couple days in a row. PLUS it’ll make coming back so much harder. And if I’m going to be on the beach, I know I want to have a little pump before I get out there LOL, judge all you want, but I’m definitely getting my curls and leg press in at the beach hahaha

    There can be a lot of variation to this and there’s no one right way. I’ve had vacations where all we did was hike, and some that all I did was body building, and yet others where I stuck to my regular weightlifting programming. It just depends on what you want at the time.

  • Figure out the cooking options.

    Is there a kitchen or just a mini fridge? What’s the hotel menu like and how flexible are they? Is this a town known for food where I’m going to want to try all the things? Do I need to pack a bunch of snacks for fillers?

    If we’re staying somewhere like an AirB&B then I order groceries either as I’m landing and waiting for my bags or find the nearest grocery store and make that our first stop.

    If we’re more limited on being able to cook ourselves, I pack some snacks that are dense in one macro to have on hand, or again, order those types of foods to be delivered to wherever I’m staying as soon as we arrive.

  • Make a plan based on how I want to feel and how much time I want to commit to my food and exercise while I’m traveling.

    This is a great time to define what success on this trip looks and feels like for you. It’s important to define our boundaries for ourselves so that we can feel some freedom and feel proud of ourselves for our actions instead of slipping in to feelings of guilt or shame around our choices and then fall in to “I feel bad, so I eat in a way that doesn’t honor myself” etc. It’s a vicious cycle and this step in vital in preventing that.

    Again a few examples of this would be..

    • tracking until dinner

    • taking a photo of our food and then estimating/tracking later on so we don’t have to have our phone out too much at dinner

    • committing to 30 min work outs daily

    • committing to a gallon of water daily

    • tracking protein only

    • going to bed on time

    • maintaining our morning routine or bedtime routine or even just parts of them

    • practicing loading our plates with protein and veggies first

    • practicing estimation and tracking

    • planning for dessert x times during 

    • or only 1 serving at any given meal

    • if there’s a buffett, skipping the buffet in order to limit exposure to potentially tempting items

    • start the day super lean and loading up on veggies and lean protein

  • Lastly, I make whoever I’m traveling with aware of what my goals and plan is.

    This can be tremendously helpful in setting the tone, and making sure we’re all on the same page. Or they at least know where I stand on things. It's also helpful to have that accountability, so your person can say like, “hey, remember we promised to move for 30 minutes today.” This can be super helpful, just make sure you’re open to being reminded.

Ultimately, it’s important to acknowledge that YOU ARE IN CONTROL.

You are in control of your goals, plan, actions and feelings afterwards.

That’s a pretty awesome feeling right? You don’t have to make goals you don’t care about and you don’t have to eat a certain way if you don’t feel like that’s best for you. Just own whatever choices are best for you and then keep moving.


I hope this helps you to navigate your next trip out of down!!

Please leave comments on what’s worked for you in the past or anything I missed!!