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?
Objectives to work towards
Bodyweight, body composition, overall physique development
Skills, specific movements/holds, AMRAP maxes
Overall strength, SBD development, one-rep maxes
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.
In a single word: No. There isn’t a person on this planet for whom weight loss is impossible. For some, fat loss is particularly tough due to digestive issues, hormonal imbalance, or any number of other factors, but even if you’ve been dealt a shoddy hand, don’t lose hope. You can lose weight.
So what can I do to actually lose weight?
Losing weight for those to whom it doesn’t come naturally is hard. Everybody has struggles, be it losing (or sometimes gaining weight), academic issues, or even financial issues. What comes easily for some, feels unachievable to others, and we can’t condescend to those having a hard time where we don’t.
In this article, we’re going to work our way through every step regarding weight loss: understanding the mechanics at play, what to avoid, where to focus your efforts, and how to both guarantee results and (most importantly) ensure their permanence; what’s the point of digging yourself out of the hole, just to fall right back in?
Accepting Responsibility, and Taking Control
The first thing that you’ll need to do is, as the heading says, accept responsibility, which in turn, gives you control. You can lose weight. Whatever it is that has you convinced otherwise, can and must be dealt with. You won’t make progress until you acknowledge the fact that it’s within your power to do so, which it 100% is.
This means that your body, which requires energy to function, will need to pull said energy from somewhere to keep you alive, to keep you moving. If over the course of a day, you consume 1200kcal, yet burn 1300kcal, then your body needs to find those extra 100kcal elsewhere. In all except medically extraordinary cases, this “somewhere” will be your fat reserves. It’s as simple as that, despite how tired I assume you are of hearing it. If you enter a caloric deficit, which you are entirely capable of doing, you will lose weight. I do understand that it can be infuriating when you’re adamant that you are in fact doing everything correctly, but I assure you, there is a mistake being made, and whatever it is that’s preventing you from losing weight, can be identified and corrected.
Think of it this way, what’s more likely: defying the very laws of physics by creating energy and thus allowing your body to consume more calories than ingested without burning fat/losing weight, or, miscalculating your calorie intake & output and accidentally eating more, or burning less, than you thought you were?
Identifying the Problem Impeding Your Weight Loss
Once you’ve accepted responsibility and assumed control, you can start directing that newfound control towards pinpointing what it is exactly that’s hampering your progress. It could be any number of things, which will mostly fall into one or both of two categories:
Miscalculating your calorie intake:
Are you sure you’re eating as many calories as your diet demands? Between sauces, drinks, cooking oil, etc, it’s insanely easy to overshoot if even the smallest thing gets shrugged off. That extra splash of oil when cooking can mean a 200-400 calorie difference per day depending on the number of meals cooked this way, which is all it takes to completely halt weight loss for many, if not actually bring on weight gain instead.
Insufficient caloric output:
In that same vein, are you burning as many calories as you think you are? I’ve had clients often greatly overestimate their caloric output since they’ll assume that the intensity of the exertion will match the calories burnt in a somewhat intuitive way, which is actually rarely the case. Those extra splashes of oil I just mentioned? They’d take a 135lb person approximately 30 minutes of continuous, moderate-intensity running to burn off. That’s right; what is for some their entire days’ worth of exercise, can be negated with an extra tablespoon or two of oil per meal.
These mistakes can stem from many things, be it a failure to account for variables that are deemed negligible, as many people believe that “it’s just a rounding error”, or “this doesn’t really count” (which it does, because the body doesn’t work that way), as well as frequent misunderstandings regarding the mechanics at play here; for example, a belief that anything “healthy” can be consumed guiltlessly (also entirely untrue: weight loss is about quantity, not quality).
All these things can be prevented by finding a reliable plan to stick to, and accepting that, as it is not one’s field of expertise, it’s not wise to decide what can and can’t be overlooked. Consistency, diligence, and discipline when it comes to these things are what make the difference between spinning your wheels, and a successful transformation.
Formulating an Actual Attack Plan to Tackle the Issue
Now, with those previous steps covered, you are both in control and have a clear target to direct this newfound power towards. It may seem like this step is somewhat trivial, a matter of “just doing it”, but it’s that very lackadaisical approach that leads to this entire problem in the first place. With all that said, let’s dive into an example.
Sticking to the previous one given, say that after analyzing you’re routine you find that you’ve in fact been overshooting the oil used to cook each meal by ~10g (less than a tablespoon). That means 90kcal per meal, 270kcal extra a day, and that’s conservative. You now go from, say, a 200kcal deficit, to a 70kcal surplus, the complete opposite of what we’re aiming for, which can actually add up weight gain-wise quicker than you’d think, as illustrated in this table*:
*Based off the approximate 7000kcal = 2lb weekly ratio
This applies to everything, as simple as it may seem. Using too much sauce? Switch to zero-calorie alternatives, or get rid of them altogether. Not burning as much as you thought? Train for longer, or eat less. LocaSo rather than losing 0.4lbs a week, you’d gain between 0.1 – 0.2. How do we tackle this? More accurate measurements. Use a scale, or a measuring cup, even for the smallest amounts, since the pennies will eventually add up to a pound if left unattended.
te a problem, identify and implement a solution. Again, all seemingly obvious, but it’s far too easy to just write things off when we feel like they’re small enough to be inconsequential; unfortunately though, in this case, we can take no such liberty.
Every little thing matters. One small slip can really be all it takes to deviate from the direction you need to be moving in, and thus you’ll need to be firm and unforgiving in your approach. Once you’ve fallen into this groove, the next step comes into play.
Losing Weight, and Making Sure the Weight Loss Is Sustainable
Congratulations! If the prior steps have been followed to the letter, you will have begun to consistently lose weight. But don’t get comfortable just yet, weight loss is a symptom of an overall lifestyle change and one that will only persist as long as you do. There is no “30-day challenge” or “90-day intensive regime” that’ll provide long-term results, because your body is a real-time reflection of your way of life, and therefore requires maintenance.
Say you aim for a pound a week, and after 12 weeks, 12lbs lost, you feel you can finally relax, ease off the throttle and enjoy all those things you miss so much. Well, without diving into the concept of homeostasis or the many other lesser physiological phenomena at play here, the simple reality that old habits bring back old problems should alone be enough to illustrate why such a relapse isn’t on the table. If you slowly inch back into old ways, the reflection of those habits will come racing back.
For this very reason, the slow and steady approach is what anyone worth their salt would recommend; you’re not focusing on burning the fat, for the same reason you don’t just trim weeds, because they need to be ripped out from the root. Your lifestyle needs to change, and that’s no small feat, which means giving it the respect and time required for such a shift.
Accept what it is that such a goal actually means, and what it’ll take to truly get there, and you’ll see how different things will be, for the better.
Adapting to Scenarios in Which Your Progress Is Threatened
Next comes what I’d say is the most daunting part: in the beginning, whilst one is still finding their footing, weight loss is a fragile thing, as is any major change from one’s previous baseline.
Everybody, including myself and some past clients, has had major trouble avoiding the temptation of going back to certain habits in times of stress and struggle before you’ve been able to fully shake them. These times are the trendsetters, the times that will determine if you’ve what it takes to push through, or if the slightest test will knock you off course.
When these times come, say, a business trip, during which you’ll be away from your kitchen and thus unable to fully control your food, or an injury, completely throwing off your training regime, forcing you into inactivity until you heal, what then? How do you ensure that these don’t spell the end of your progress? Well, I’ve got an answer for that too.
What Can I Do to Make Sure I Keep Moving in the Right Direction?
As that previous section illustrated, there’s a reason so many stumble and fall on their journey towards achieving the body they want for themselves, because, as stated at the very beginning of the article, it’s simply no easy feat. Even amongst those who achieve it, as sobering and bleak as this stat may be, 90% find themselves gaining all the weight back. Why?
Because while everyone has a body, and everyone eats, moves, and aspires for improvement in one way or another, that doesn’t mean that everybody is qualified or equipped to embark on this journey on their own. Most often even, a guiding hand is needed, a hand which will save you both time and perhaps counterintuitively, money, by providing you with decades of expertise with which to traverse this metaphorical path and find your way to where you want and need to be, avoiding every trip and detour, every mistake and mishap that is inevitably made when heading down this road for the first time, and most importantly, help you retain your progress once you get there.
Sign up now and enlist me, Fred Chevry, to help pave said road so that your journey can be that much smoother, and so together we can get you there and beyond in the most efficient way possible.
To cut to the chase, the answer is YES. An ultrasound is a procedure that requires no particular preparation on behalf of the patient unless your doctor says otherwise: this means you can maintain the same diet, sleep habits, activity levels, and overall lifestyle up until the day of the examination.
So is there nothing to be wary of?
That said, there are indirect factors influenced by specific types of exercise that can affect the result of ultrasound, such as possible injuries (e.g. tendon thickening, edema, or bursitis) from activities such as running (or other aerobic exercises, for that matter), that can influence the ultrasound assessment of enthesis, for example (explained further later on).
Aside from that, however, which in and of itself shouldn’t be of much concern as it’s both something rather unlikely to occur and easily taken into account, I’ve found no real evidence suggesting that any alteration of your cardiovascular activity regime is needed prior to an ultrasound examination.
This line of questioning opens the door for many others, though, from specific aspects regarding the health benefits of cardio, to which forms of cardio & types of training regimes are best suited for your individual needs. Further into this article, we’ll dive into some of the main tangents that arise, and explore the topic in greater depth.
The Benefits of Cardiovascular Activity on Maternal Health
The simple fact that cardiovascular exercise is good for one’s health isn’t exactly a secret; it’s one of if not the most widely known benefits and incentives to stay in good shape, paralleled only perhaps by the aesthetic benefits to be had by an active lifestyle.
But despite this widespread acceptance of the fact, I’ve found that most don’t actually know what health benefits one gain exactly from these habits, just that it’s a “healthier” way to live.
These health benefits include:
Improvement in sleep quality
Chronic pain reduction
Enhanced blood pressure regulation
Tapers cholesterol levels to within a healthy range
Passively assists in weight management
Improvement in sexual function
Increase in immune system efficacy
These are just the most immediate and prominent, as there are also more case-specific, niche benefits such as the reduction of incidences of heart arrhythmia, like atrial fibrillation, or the reduction of Alzheimer’s risk through an increase of oxygen flow to the brain, boosting production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), therefore promoting an environment conducive to neurogenesis.
And other, less direct benefits? What else does cardio give me?
There are definitely other indirect benefits that can be gained from cardio, such as stress relief, or heightened productivity, due to the meditative state and improvement in hormone balance that can be achieved through cardiovascular activity, or the ability to multitask through certain forms of low-intensity steady state cardio, such as listening to audiobooks while on a treadmill, or taking calls/answering emails while on a static bike, so on and so forth.
With all this said, though, how exactly do we reap these benefits? What kind of routine or training regime can we put together to maximize our gains in this field? Well, that segways into our next question.
What Do Experts Recommend In Terms of Cardio Training For Pregnant Women?
When contemplating how to fit an exercise regime into our routine, one of the first and primary questions we have is, how? How much, and how often? How intensely? For how long? The list goes on. In this section, we’ll tackle some of the most important aspects of a training regime, to make sure all is structured precisely as it should be.
How much, and how often?
Quantity, and frequency. How much, how often, is the sweet spot, the output that’ll yield us the most bang for our buck?
The current consensus has this pinged at around a minimum of 150 minutes per week for moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, and half that for more vigorous, higher-intensity work, although the benefits continue to stack past this number, with an optimum amount being double that.
Frequency isn’t as clear cut, as the difference is somewhat marginal; but a more spread out routine, allowing for at least some degree of daily activity, is ideal (not necessarily the same amount each day, but rather a habit of daily exertion totaling 150-300min per week for moderate activity, and half that for higher intensity).
Now, as mentioned above, the intensity of your sessions is going to impact the ideal duration, as well as the more specific benefits to be reaped over the short and long term. Shorter, higher intensity sessions will lean into the realm of anaerobic exercise, providing a greater impact on your hormone balance, such as increased testosterone production with HIIT, for example, or greater lung O2 capacity. Longer, lower-intensity work will lean more towards the aforementioned benefits, contributing to things such as reduced HDL cholesterol levels, and an increase in sleep quality.
All in all, both forms of cardio can and will contribute to a healthier, higher-quality lifestyle, with only slight variations on either front.
For how long?
Reiterating the information above, I’ve found the consensus to be a bare minimum of 150 weekly minutes of lower-intensity work or 75 of moderate to high-intensity stimuli. This, again, is the bare minimum, as many experts state that an optimal amount would be around 300 low-intensity/150 high-intensity minutes range per week, with the latter sessions not generally surpassing 30-45 minutes each.
Ideal Cardio Distribution
5-6x a week
Ideally daily, not as stringent
Now, with the logistics fleshed out and accounted for, we move on to the more immediate question.
Which Forms of Prenatal Cardiovascular Exercise Will Help Me Maximize Health Benefits?
Continuing along this line of thought regarding the health benefits cardio has to offer, I’ve compiled what are widely considered to be the best forms of cardio for improving one’s overall health and well-being, as well as also improving one’s athletic ability.
Running While Pregnant
Tried and true, known by all, and one of the oldest forms of exercise and cardio known to man, we have “The OG”, running. Even the lightest pace for most will be at least moderate intensity, especially while pregnant, and therefore a good goal to aim for when employing this form of exercise would be the 30-45 minute range unless you’re inching into higher intensities, in which case the ideal duration (or feasible duration for that matter) will vary case by case.
Cycling For Expectant Mothers
Similarly well known, and whilst in this case some equipment is required, most have access to a bicycle or a static bike at our gym of choice. Allowing for a greater degree of comfort and mitigating the impact factor to be found in running, this is a great choice if you think you’ll initially struggle with running for long stretches of time, and want to build your cardiovascular endurance from a lower starting point, while also being able to easily intensify it if needed.
Swimming While Expecting A Child
Lower impact still, and greatly relieving in the later months of pregnancy, swimming is an excellent option for those who would require joint support to the point that even walking could prove painful & uncomfortable after relatively short amounts of time, be it due to arthritis, excessive BMI, inhibitive injuries, or any other number of possible restricting factors. Just treading water for extended bouts is an excellent form of moderate-intensity exertion, and different swimming techniques can easily allow one to pinpoint the degree of intensity they prefer (as well as alleviating the somewhat more trivial but still oftentimes unappealing sweat factor).
Walking During The Prenatal Period
As the expression goes, “You’ve gotta walk before you can run”; where running is queen, walking is King, being the absolute earliest and most basic form of exertion (as well as, a neat factoid, the most calorie efficient form of movement). An excellent starting point for almost anyone, with untold benefits for one’s physical and mental health, and easily sustained for substantially longer periods of time, walking is the bedrock of physical activity, and something that quite literally everyone who is capable should incorporate into their daily lifestyle.
How Walking Before an Ultrasound Assessment Increases the Enthesis Score
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, cardio can increase one’s enthesis score, “a characteristic feature of spondyloarthropathies (SpA)” (or, simply put, the degree of Enthesitis that one suffers, which is the inflammation or aggravation of the attachment points of tendons and bones (the Entheses)), even when it comes to walking.
This isn’t actually a concern for expectant mothers, as it does not affect the womb or the immediate surroundings/areas of influence, but it’s worth knowing if not simply to be fully aware of any and all possible effects before the upcoming procedure, and how that helps achieve a greater understanding of what you’re undergoing.
What other benefits does cardio have for pregnant women?
There are so many other benefits to all ranges of exercise for pregnant women, that it’s difficult to touch upon them all in the rather specific focus of the article; despite that, I’d like to make sure to list off a few lest they go overlooked since they make an even more convincing case for a disciplined cardiovascular (and overall exercise regime) during the prenatal months spent as an expectant mother. These include:
Reduction of pregnancy complications
Easing back and pelvic pain that often occurs in the later trimesters
Reduction in risk regarding issues come time for delivery
Easier time bouncing back to 100% after the pregnancy has come to term
These are just a few key benefits, and the most prominent and direct to be had, without even diving into the more indirect benefits such as how the improvement in sleep quality will ease the pregnancy process as a whole, or how the better mood one enjoys whilst living a less sedentary lifestyle translates into an easier time overall as an expectant mother.
My Final Thoughts On Exercising Before and Ultrasound
I believe that not only is exercising safely for pregnant women, prior to an ultrasound or otherwise, is necessary.
With that in mind, I’m aware that all this information can seem almost overwhelming; how do I put it into practice? How do I coordinate an optimized routine that can also fit into my existing schedule? What if something unexpected arises (which, as life consistently shows us, always does, let alone throughout pregnancy) and I have to make changes on the fly? What if I make mistakes and hurt my progress? The list of questions goes on. But all of these have a simple answer:
I’ve been in this industry for decades and helped people reach heights they never foresaw as possible for themselves at all, beyond what they initially considered a pipedream. Whether your goal lies in a more health-focused matter, or if your drive is entirely aesthetic based, as well as pretty much anything in between, I’m not only equipped with the tools you need, but have more than likely helped somebody achieve that specific goal already, and can bring that experience to the table to help you maximize every step, avoid mistakes and make your way to your objective faster than you could’ve ever expected.
They say “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”, but no one said you have to walk the whole way there; forget about stumbling your way down that path, hop on the freight train instead, and let’s get you there in record time. With my app, “The Razor Virtual Training”, I can help guide you through the ideal fitness regime for you and your baby, taking the stress out of the exercise aspect of your pregnancy, melting away the worry and pressure that comes with making sure you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself at 100%, and provide an ideal environment for your future child to grow into the best, healthiest, happiest baby they can be. Click here to get yourself started, and we can get you and your little one on the right track.