“Man, I wish I could just have this same body forever”
Said no one, obviously.
As men who are interested in being the best version of ourselves, taking care of bodies is a priority. We almost always have goals – lose fat, build muscle, become stronger, faster or healthier.
But what about the times diet and exercise aren’t a priority?
- An intense business trip
- 10 day vacation on a cruise
- Or, you just need a mental break from dieting for a couple weeks
What should you do? Or, put another way, what is the minimum amount of effort you can expend to maintain your current physique? Obviously we don’t want to pack on fat or lose all of our strength – but, how little can we do to hang on to the progress we have made?
We have a few options here: If you are on a relaxing vaca or a busy trip and want to take 7-10 days off cold-turkey, that’s fine. A total break from training can be amazing both psychologically and physically.
That being said, loss of strength may occur after as little as two weeks off.
So, if you plan to change gears into a “maintenance phase” for 2-4+ weeks, rather than giving up training altogether it would be best to complete a program like the following:
Hotel Workout (Dumbbell-only access)
If you are a numbers person, or someone who counts calories and macros, then you will benefit from eating at your calorie maintenance.
If you don’t know your calorie maintenance, here is how you can calculate that: Multiply your total lean body mass by 15. (LBM = bodyweight * 1-bf%). Obviously this is just a starting point, but it will be fairly accurate for many of us.
Ex: 200 pound, 20% bodyfat dude. 200*(1-20%) = 160 pounds of LBM.
If fat loss or muscle gain is a priority, you are probably sick of constant high protein intake. It’s expensive and often times burdensome to consume.
For maintenance, take protein down to 0.7 grams/lb of lbm. Fill the rest of your calories with carbs and fat.
Now, for you non-calorie counters, use the following rules:
- Eat some protein in each meal
- Include fruits and veggies in your diet each day
- Drink lots of water
- Enjoy one food you LOVE in one meal per day (dessert after dinner, for example)
- When you feel full, stop eating.
Sometimes taking a mental break from counting calories can serve you well.
It’s okay that your diet and training take a backseat sometimes. The reason we take care of our bodies is to improve our lives, so it wouldn’t make much sense to forgo great experiences because you are trapped in the gym seven days/week. Use these Training and Nutrition modifications to maintain all of your progress with all little effort as possible.
By John’s Special Guest: Mike Vacanti
Mike Vacanti is a NYC based Nutrition Coach and Trainer. He blogs – mostly on diet, training and psychology – and also runs a successful online coaching business. Part head in the clouds, part nose to the grindstone – Mike believes owning your fitness regimen will blur the line between dream and reality as every area of your life is enhanced. Visit Mike on his Website, Facebook or Twitter.