Travel Junkie’s Guide to Maintaining a Photoshoot Physique

| Posted by Rah Engstrom | comments
 PHOTO David Ford
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As I scheduled my shoot with David Ford for the first of June in Vancouver, I felt some anxiety in my gut as I thought about the various trips I was set to take in May. The first to see my family in Salt Lake – no problem, that’s domestic and my family is now well-versed in my diet discipline. The second though was a world-class EPIC adventure I was going on with friend and business partner to Croatia for a self-development conference and what I knew would consist of late-night parties. So how would I stay on track and ensure I was ready for a once-in-a-lifetime photoshoot opportunity with David Ford? Here are my keys to success and reasons why I believe we fitness models and competitors can still travel the world AND maintain a body that’s ready for any fitness event.

1.       Mindset. I believe you CAN control your thought patterns to establish focus, love yourself and find peace through the unexpected twists and turns of life. Establishing focus was reminding myself every day that I had this important upcoming event, and the temptations of here and now didn’t need to control me – that I was owning my actions – I chose to NOT eat those delicious breads at the buffet, and I chose to return to my hotel room early a couple nights rather than continue the dance party. I thought and spoke loving words to myself as I would check my abs in the mirror, rather than the past conversations I used to have with myself: “Oh, your abs aren’t going to come in on time. You won’t be ready.” I continued to coach myself to think this instead – “Your body is beautiful and strong, and you will be ready for this shoot and ROCK IT!” This shifted conversation, as corny as it may seem, made me feel more at peace and gratitude that I was even in this position to be able to travel the world and achieve my goals of being a fitness model. Quote: “If you talked to your friends the way you talk to your body you’d have no friends left.” Although I didn’t employ conventional meditation techniques as much as I planned, I had concentrated seated sessions where I would fill my mind with gratitude for what I have and focus on my breath. I have made great strides in the connection of my mind, body and breath through yoga and meditation and believe that this connection allows me to remain calm when chaos strikes – big or small events. You truly are what you think. 

 

If you talked to your friends the way you talk to your body you’d have no friends left

2.       Preparation & Consistency. My nutritional routine at home consists of vitamins, protein, greens, adaptogens and cellular cleanse, so just because I’m traveling doesn’t mean that I leave that at home. I pack all of that with me, and it’s a part of my nutrition plan while abroad. These aids have proven themselves as life-savers time and time again and allow me to maintain some consistency in my body’s nutrient intake. When you don’t know what the Croatians eat or what access you’ll have to quality protein and veggies, having nutritious, muscle-fueling and fat-burning products on hand is critical. These goodies also helped me save some moolah on meals while abroad. And just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean that you have to leap from the healthy train you’ve been traveling on. No matter if I’m home or traveling, my nutrition plan consists of high protein, high veggie and low (and the right) carb. And because I chose to partake in some liquid sins, I really kept my plates clean – I went for the fish, chicken, eggs, vegetables, and steered my way around the bread and dessert spaces.

 

I pack all of that with me, and it’s a part of my nutrition plan while abroad. These aids have proven themselves as life-savers time and time again and allow me to maintain some consistency in my body’s nutrient intake.

3.       Work Out. Every day. Workouts are a must, as inconvenient as they seem while trying to see new places. Luckily my travel partner is a fellow fitness junkie so we always made time for runs, stairs, or HIIT workouts along the shore. The scenery was inspiring, and a gym was not necessary. The goal was to literally kick my ass in an efficient amount of time, get my heart rate and breath cycles up to the point of keeling over and sweating like crazy. This was a non-negotiable daily activity, and it actually allowed us to see some really cool places we would have probably missed had we not been exploring for new ways to turn it up.

 

This was a non-negotiable daily activity, and it actually allowed us to see some really cool places we would have probably missed had we not been exploring for new ways to turn it up.

4.       Sleep. It’s an underrated activity, because let’s face it – we’re all go-getters and you want to see and experience everything when you’re traveling the world! However, you HAVE to prioritize this, and it’s not easy when you’re halfway around the world. Ever heard of jet lag? Well, I’ve lived in India, traveled there often, and knew that getting on a sleep cycle first and foremost was essential. I believe I’ve almost conquered jet lag. Don’t fall victim! When I arrived to Croatia, I stayed up until 8pm even though I was exhausted. A workout right when you land is a great way to energize your body to stay awake, and also a great assist to sleep once you’re ready to hit the pillow. Along with my other nutritional supplements noted above, I have a sleep spray with melatonin, and I do feel I sleep more deeply and stay asleep for longer with this natural sleep aid. Putting the devices away, meditating and playing some light, soothing music may also help. I slept a full 8 hours and felt like a champ the next day and for the rest of the trip.

 

A workout right when you land is a great way to energize your body to stay awake, and also a great assist to sleep once you’re ready to hit the pillow

5.       Support. This applies all the time, not just to travel. Quote: “You become like the five people you spend time with. Choose carefully.” I love this quote and believe it to be truth. Reflect on who you’re spending your time with and make sure they’re supporting – not hindering – you as you reach for your goals! Ask people for help. Spouses, friends, coaches and coworkers. Ask that they hold you accountable, push you and maybe - yes – not bring the donuts into the office or home if donuts are your #1 craving. ;) I knew that I would be successful on my journey with my friend and business partner, because she is a huge supporter of my goals and has her own goals to conquer much in this life. She follows these same methods I’ve outlined and we pushed each other when we needed it. She and I both ask the server in unison to ‘not bring the bread’. Where you can avoid the temptations, you should.

 

“You become like the five people you spend time with. Choose carefully.” I love this quote and believe it to be truth. Reflect on who you’re spending your time with and make sure they’re supporting – not hindering – you as you reach for your goals!

After competing for many years now, I follow the cardinal rules for a competitor and fitness model – drink copious amounts of water, eat quality protein and veggies, and integrate an effective amount of good fats and complex carbs – always. Yes, I have some cheats here and there, but when traveling I focus heavily on water intake and the basics of a quality base of protein and veggies.

I once felt that a lifestyle of competitions and photoshoots would equate to deprivation, but now I have learned to thrive while prepping for these events, and travelling abroad is a major fuel for my happiness. I’m so happy to have found the right balance with fitness goals and living life to the fullest. I am a foodie at heart and training for shows and shoots does not mean you have to change as a person. Believe, and you will achieve.

About Rah Engstrom

Rah Engstrom (RahEvolution)

Rah is a Pro WBFF Diva Fitness Competitor and competes on an international level. Her passion for yoga evolved into teaching in 2012, and she is RYT-200 and ACSM Group Exercise Instructor certified. Rah has a full-time career in Information Technology and is an avid traveler. She maintains a healthy, fit physique even while on the road. Her goal is to “pay it forward” by inspiring and motivating others in any avenue of fitness and healthy lifestyle.