Staying Paleo on the Road

One of the hardest parts about following any nutritional program is what to do when you’re out of your normal environment – it’s not that tough to stay eating clean when you’re able to prepare your own meals and shop at the grocery stores you’re familiar with. But what do you do when you have to travel for work or for vacation? Christine and I experimented when we took a weekend mini-vacation to Dallas over the weekend.

Tip #1: Prepare Ahead of Time

This is first for a reason – if you just want to try and wing it, odds are pretty significant that you’re not going to get quality nutrition in you. At best, your meal frequency will be very low; at worst, you’ll blow everything because you’ll just go with what’s convenient and available, which is usually never very good.

Pictured: convenient and available.

So we planned ahead. We took a box of Ostrim sticks, a quart-sized bag of raw, unsalted nuts, our vitamins packed in a pill case, and extra veggies for the plane ride to Dallas. However, if we could do it again, we would have doubled the amount of Ostrim and nuts and also packed some pre-bagged post-workout/meal replacement powders and a Blender Bottle or two.

We also scouted the local grocery stores for various veggies and deli meat to snack on, as we had called our hotel to make sure we got a room with a refrigerator. For lunch each day, we went to the grocery store and grabbed a rotisserie chicken with as few additives as we could find and split it between the two of us.

Tip #2: Ask for What You Want

There is not a restaurant on the planet that can’t make you a steak or grilled chicken and steamed veggies if you ask for it. Our first day in town, we hit Outback Steakhouse for lunch. I got a steak and broccoli with butter, and Christine got wood-grilled chicken and steamed veggies. We also asked our server right away not to put the bread plate on our table to avoid temptation. Drinks were simple – coffee and lemon water.

Tip #3: Know If You Plan to Cheat

There is nothing wrong with having the occasional cheat meal, and sometimes it’s easiest to time it for when you’re traveling so you don’t have to stress about being careful the entire time. This is especially true if you’re on vacation with a spouse or family. However, you need to know when you plan on cheating, so that you aren’t tempted to turn the entire trip into one big junk food binge. Figure out where you want to go, what you want to have, and tell your spouse or family so they can help hold you accountable.

Tip #4: If You Overdo It, Make It Up With Extra Training

Most gyms have enough equipment to get a decent fat loss workout in, even if it’s just dumbbells and benches. Some dumbbell swings, clean and presses, snatches, squats, rows and presses can easily be made into a circuit workout to work up a significant sweat, and you can be in and out in 30 minutes or less if you’re productive with your time. If you go off your gameplan, get in the weight room and make up for it, then get back on the horse.

Use Supplements to Mitigate the Damage

There are several supplements that help to control the damage done from one too many nights out on the town.  My favorite combination is a tablespoon of liquid fish oil, 2 tablets of Insulinomics and 2 capsules of Fenuplex or Glucose Disposal.  If the cheat is late at night, add a few capsules of Uber Mag Plus in there and it will help keep body composition under control in a pinch.

The truth is, travel can be stressful, but if you think ahead and work out a plan, you can minimize the damage.  If you have any big trips coming up and you want to know what you should be doing to come out unscathed, give me a call and we can put together a plan that will fit your needs.

My First Boot Camp of 2012

I have made it a habit to do our 14-day low carb boot camp about once every 6 months, and just finished my first one of the new year. I figured that 1) I had been coasting a bit for the last 6 weeks or so and needed a jump start, and 2) most of the participants in our 2012 Ultimate Challenge are beginning the competition with it, so I should refresh myself on what to expect. Here’s a quick layout of all of the “extras” (for the basics of the boot camp itself, click here):

Supplements

For the most part, I stayed with the basics – multivitamin, zinc, magnesium, high doses of fish oil, and HCL.  I also added Insulinomics and Glucose Disposal to address insulin resistance (I swapped out Glucose Disposal for Fenuplex after the first week because I ran out).  I also followed up each training session with a post-workout shake with 40g New Zealand whey, 2tbsp glutamine, 1tbsp glycine powder, and 1-2tbsp Primal Greens (a powdered greens superfood) to keep post-workout cortisol at a minimum.  I also added a couple of capsules of magnesium to my post-workout shake on days when I had to train later in the day.

Cardio

None.  I did absolutely no cardio whatsoever for the entire 14 days.  If you are going to do cardio, keep it high-intensity intervals and 20-30 minutes max.  I have found that cardio raises cortisol more than it helps with fat loss so I do better with just staying low-carb instead.

Training

We recommend either full-body training sessions or a combination of upper- and lower-body exercises (i.e. quads and back in one workout, hamstrings and chest/shoulders in another), 3-4 times a week.  I stayed with what has worked for me in the past, German Body Comp for Athletes.  I made a few adjustments based on equipment availability but other than that stayed true to the program as written.  It was a bitch.

Tips for Success

I started the boot camp at 12.5% bodyfat, was down to 10.3% after the first week, and finished at just over 9%.  I added about 3.5lbs of lean mass (maybe muscle, maybe fluid, but not fat) and lost about 5lbs of fat.  There are a few things that will make or break your success on this thing:

  1. Keep protein intake high.  Eat animal protein every time you eat, and eat as often as possible.  My protein intake averaged just under 400g per day at a bodyweight of 155-160lbs.
  2. Eat vegetables at every meal.  On top of keeping you full, veggies have a high thermic effect – meaning they take more calories to digest than there are in the food to begin with, due to the high fiber content.  Your body has to go to bodyfat to make up the difference.
  3. Prep your meals in advance.  Since eggs aren’t allowed on the boot camp, I used variations on burger patties for my breakfast and snacks to get me through.  Every few nights we would prep 1-2lbs of ground turkey, beef, chicken, or sirloin into 3-4oz patties and I would just grab two of them with some nuts or cucumbers for a quick meal.  Without the planning I would either have not eaten or have had to turn to crap just to get something in me.

One interesting note – last night I had a cheat meal after finishing the 14th day, and had pizza, breadsticks and ice cream with my boys.  About two slices into the pizza, I got a splitting headache that lasted the rest of the night.  Expect your body to reject unhealthy food after it’s over.