Staying On Track While Traveling

by on October 11, 2014

Mt Dog Travel and Training Tips

Alexander CortesHi everybody! These past few months I have been traveling across India training a client of mine who is a Bollywood actor. He is filming a movie (and I have small role in it as well) and we’ve have been training for a number of months to build a “brawlers” physique for his film role.

Now, during this time, Ive not had regular access to fully equipped gyms, or gyms in general. And my diet is obviously not planned like it would normally be, since we are staying in various hotels and residences through the summer.

Now, these are obviously not “ideal” muscle gaining conditions by any means. Upon arriving here, I simply made it a goal to maintain as much muscle as I could, and also work on various small injuries and “prehab” issues to keep my joints as healthy as possible.

In that time Ive actually discovered a number of very useful tips and tricks, and I wanted to share them with anyone who might find themselves in a similar position of traveling often.

On Nutrition

1. Don’t think you’ll be able to consume a bodybuilders diet or calories
Prior to India, I was eating over 4,000 calories a day. There is no healthy way for me to eat that amount of food here without going super dirty and unhealthy. So rather than mentally stress about it, I made a mental shift to eat as healthy as I COULD. This is hugely important, as the cognitive dissonance that comes with going off track with eating can be very stressful. Letting go of this and adopting a positive outlook on the situation will make it far easier to adapt to.

2. Make consuming protein your number one goal with every meal
While I have been able to take protein powder with me from time to time, this hasn’t been consistent. As such, my primary concern with each meal is simply making it a high protein meal. Even when eating in vegetarian areas, ive been able to consume adequate protein, either in the form of eggs or high protein cheese (which is called Paneer here). At hotels, I simply ask what is the largest meat dish on the menu and would they be willing to increase the portion size. Fortunately, most hotels here have a buffet option for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In areas that have street food, chicken and mutton kabobs have been a fantastic option as well.

3. Try different dishes
I’ve learned a lot about digestion and different ways to cook and prepare food while traveling here, and that wouldn’t have happened had I demanded dry chicken breast and rice at every restaurant I went to. While this is a topic for another article, eating the native cuisine has opened up a world of possibilities for me to eat “clean” when Im back home while making flavorful and tasty food. Too often bodybuilders get locked into preparing all their food the same boring way, and this really isn’t necessary at all, even for someone that’s dieting. Ive learned many many ways to add massive amounts of flavor to dishes without adding calories.

4. Indigenous fruits are always a fallback for carbs
Stomach sickness and indigestion is common for many people when visiting foreign countries, and it can make someone weary of trying the native food. One thing I have always found reliable is simply consuming large amounts of fruit and avoiding this problem entirely. While this might make some people freak out over sugar, fruit is almost always easy to digest, it has guaranteed micronutrients, and its extremely cheap as well.

5. Eat whatever the local specialty is
If you are in a landlocked country, ordering fish might be a bad idea. In contrast, if you are in a coastal area and fish is the specialty, you will probably be disappointed with whatever the chicken dish is. If an area is know for a particular protein dish, its usually a sure bet that animal it comes from is raised locally and the meat is fairly fresh. And that the chefs know how to prepare it. When in Goa, do as the Goans do, and order the endless fish buffet.

On Training

1. If you are not going to have regular gym access, switch to total body training
This will ensure you are stimulating your entire physique and not going a week without training a particular muscle group. Ive had about 3-4 days out of a week where I could use a somewhat equipped gym. Because of that, I transitioned off of doing a bodypart split, and actually incorporated a Steve Reeves style training model of training the entire body 3 times weekly.

2. Get creative with movements
I do not have access to regular barbells or plates, and the heaviest weights I can use are often no more than 70lb DBs. Movements like Scott Presses, DB clean and press, advanced pushups variations, preacher curls, judo pushups, goblet squats, split squats, bench hyperextensions, Gironda hack squats, Inverted rows, these are all things Ive used to train, along with many other movements.

3. Train what you can with what you’ve got
Again, don’t dismiss training entirely just because you’ve got limited equipment. If all you can do is chest supported DB rows on a bench and pulldowns, work the hell out of those two movements with every intensity technique you can think of

4. Mini workouts can make a huge difference
There have been some days where I could manage was doing pushup variations every hour along with bodyweight squats and calf raises. Surprisingly, I found that once I got a pump early morning, I would keep it up throughout the day so long as I did the movements every hour or so. On camera, this makes a big cosmetic difference. And if nothing else, constantly stimulating the muscle ensured me I wasn’t going to start losing it from lack of activity

5. Bodyweight movements+ Isotension=High voltage Mind muscle connection
Until this trip, Id never really devoted myself to bodyweight movements other than dips and pullups. Using various Isotension sequences with movements such as Judo pushups, single leg calf raises, pushups, chin ups, inverted rows and split squats has vastly improved my mind muscle connection though. Practicing these movements throughout the day has “tuned” me in with every muscle group, and I know when Im back in the US, I’ll be able to take advantage of this and add some solid mass. I also plan on using them more often with clients for weak bodyparts.

Coming Soon …

In part II, I’ll list my full program along with a breakdown of cardio as wel, and how it could even be implemented for those with limited training days who still want to utilize Mt Dog training.