Keeping Your Muscle Mass On a Trip: Playing The Protein Hunger Games Ain’t Easy

Holidays are totally overrated.


First: you need a holiday to recover from the holiday.

Second: what is one week away from work going to change anyway? You still come back, restart the machine and spin the wheel for the rest of year.

The holiday drama always reminds of the widely spread idea that your prom night is supposed to be extraordinary and unforgettable. Students plan what they are going to wear for months and dream of those few hours with hearts full of desultory hope.

Then, it happens and usually sucks, hard. Long planned vacations are often no different either.

One of the most disturbing things about trips is that they take you out of your comfort zone. This term probably sounds particularly familiar to people who I classify as CrossFit bitches and fitness phonies. Those individuals are used to the “get out of your comfort zone” quote written on motivational photos right next to the butts of female fitness models with tranny voices.

One could only wonder why “motivated” people feel the need to post motivational quotes all day long. How can you call yourself “motivated” when you need motivational quotes spinning in your head constantly? I thought the thing you are doing is supposed to be the real motivation.

Anyhow, it’s true that in order to achieve progress, you have to do something you’ve never done before. A good example is getting stronger. Sooner or later, you will have to add more weight, otherwise you cannot develop more strength. When it comes to trips, however, we are talking about a different kind of “out of your comfort zone” existence.

If someone steals your clothes and you are naked on the street, I bet you will be out of your comfort zone, but are you really progressing? Is this exciting experience making you feel like an improved version of yourself? I guess one could argue that there are some benefits to learning how to hold your own in public when you don’t have clothes on, but I don’t feel like trying. I prefer to keep my clothes on. Thank you for asking though.

Traveling comes with a lot of uncomfortable situations. When it comes to bodybuilding a good example would be the lack of protein rich food.

Where are you going to take your protein from when you are at a foreign place?

Is there a local store and where is it?

What if the local store is only selling hot dogs made out of soy and whatever else was in the trash bin that day?

Those are some scary dilemmas that bodybuilding maniacs don’t like thinking about. “A serious bodybuilder needs a lot of protein all the time”, say the broken clocks strength coaches without realizing the damage they are causing to the young generation.

I have been forced to play the protein hunger many times since the very beginning of my lifting journey.

I’ve also traveled abroad on two occasions and both times the destination was France. The first trip was more interesting, but at the time I was not into lifting, and I will save the story for another day. The second time, I was already in my initial years of delusional natural lifter. My mind had already been seriously affected by the lack of protein paranoia.

“No protein, no muscle.” was a phrase often making me lose sleep.

The excursion was going to be 5 days long, and since the food in Paris was really expensive for me, I had to prepare my own anti-catabolic provisions. I needed nutrition which does not require cooking, contains a lot of protein, does not need a fridge and can last a long time. Thus, I bought five packs of peanuts and some other type of nuts. It’s safe to say that a “nut trip” was coming.

The problems began on the plane.

This was my second flight, but the first one was many years ago, and I had already forgotten a couple of crucial things.

First, stewardesses could be really hot in movies, but mine never were. Second, the food they give you on the plane is not bodybuilding approved by any means. I guess things are different if you are traveling first class, but something tells me I will never know.

After about 45 minutes to an hour, one hostess took the metal machine containing drinks and snacks and started pushing it like it was a prowler.

I wouldn’t say the woman was unattractive, but she was definitely a washed up prom queen or something very similar. Her breasts resembled beaten training mitts, but the biggest problem was her fake smile. Still, I don’t expect anything else from people who work this job. I can feel the pain they go through. Various morons are constantly complaining about stupid stuff and are way too lazy to read the rules. The fact that the porno industry has created the stewardess fetish does not help much either. Knowing that 8 out 10 people look at you and think about porn probably doesn’t make you very happy after a while. Even that fake smile was a lot to be honest.

After the fat pig in front of me ordered two cakes and a double Pepsi to maintain his swine status, it was my turn to order. In general, I am a shy guy, but I was eager to test my English. Due to extensive brainwashing from movies and music, I used a wannabe gangsta accent.

I took a sandwich and a small orange juice.


Protein and Vitamin C.

The sandwich felt like a brick and contained very little protein to be honest, but that’s what you get for ordering a sandwich when everybody else takes the cakes.


Because they run out of cakes faster and have to replace them. Thus, the cakes stay fresh while the sandwiches mummify.

On the other row right next to me was sitting a snob with long hair. He looked at me like I was an alien coming from another planet. I guess he classified me as a rather poor motherfucker. I think the main reason for that was my phone, which was an old Siemens with an orange screen. The thing was built like a concrete block and had one really nice game I used to play a lot. The game was simple: you are a little boy pushing boxes around to get out of a labyrinth.

The words of my mother turned out to be true. She once told me that people first judge you based on your phone, and one day I will have to upgrade. It was true. This long haired bozo with stinking metal clothes was looking at me constantly while playing Starcraft BroodWar on his stupid laptop. I am pretty sure he sucked at it. How do you play this game with a laptop pad anyway?

From time to time the guy was looking at me while I was owning that “push the box game” on my Siemens.

He was giving me the: “I am sorry your daddy didn’t buy you a bike when you were little.” look.

I was answering him with another look saying: “Yes, my daddy didn’t buy me a bike when I was little. My grandfather did. So, fuck you!”

The first thing that hit me was the long walking I had to endure on this trip. I was quickly mentally ill. Every extra step was making me catabolic and I couldn’t handle it that easily.

What is a museum or the Eiffel Tower to me when I am catabolic? Seriously, what? Nothing.

I think the first day I stopped my biological step meter at about 15 km. I had pain down my shins and my Achilles tendon was not behaving properly either. My body was falling apart and so was my mind. “This is NOT how you build muscle!” was a phrase constantly repeating itself in my head.

At the end of the first day, I decided to use some of my provisions and did a peanut overload. I am not allergic to peanuts, but I consumed so much of them that it almost didn’t matter. My internal system felt like a traffic jam on top of a traffic jam. The food was really dry, but at least it contained some decent amount of protein – 20 grams per 100 grams of peanuts doesn’t sound bad at all.

The next two days were similar – walk, see, think about muscle destruction the whole time, eat garbage peanuts and go to sleep. Unfortunately, the 4th day was not so smooth. My stomach started to revolt against this moronic peanut monopoly. I get it now. Cheap salty peanuts could be hell on your system.

I guess you are probably wondering why I wasn’t buying better food. The truth is that the prices were way too high for me. Nevertheless, I still had some cash to burn and went out to buy me some real protein from dead animals and some fruits and vegetables. I didn’t know where to go exactly, so I just started walking down the street, hoping to see a supermarket nearby.

A lot of places were selling bread, but I needed protein no fucking carbs.

At one point I saw something that looked like a store. I approached it, looked around cautiously and entered. The place was actually a hotel. At the reception was a woman pretty enough to be on the cover of any magazine. I decided to ask her where I can find a supermarket to purchase more stomach friendly food.

“Hello, is there a supermarket around here,” I said using my broken French.

“What, sir?”

“Supermarket. Food. Manger…”

“Ah, yes. There is one just around the corner.”

The whole time I was thinking how fine she was, but I knew we could never be together. We just didn’t match.

I got out and started looking for that illusory supermarket. I also thought how stupid my actions were. I got out of a hotel and went to another hotel to ask where I can find a food store.

The sun was going down and with it my anabolic window.

I finally found a supermarket and started looking for protein. After careful research, I was able to locate some chicken fillet that appeared outstanding. The minute I saw it I experienced a placebo effect and the equilibrium of my mind was once again restored to optimal levels.

I took five packages and some fruit with it too. Then, I went to the checkpoint, placed my protein magic on the rolling table and handed a banknote of 50 euros to the cashier.

“You have anything smaller than that,” asked the cashier.

She was an old woman and seemed really tired of people in general. I could feel her pain, but I had to say no, because I really didn’t. People from the side thought I was balling with my ghetto accent and cash.

After a while, she was able to find a way to give me my change and I left.

I didn’t have time to lose and taking the prey back to the hotel was not an option. I sat on the street, took out my keychain and tore the package like a female lion cuts the leg of a zebra. I was really starving for those amino acids. My muscles needed them to recover from the long walking.

People passing by were staring at me like I was an animal recently escaped from the circus. I understand why, but I wasn’t exactly an animal – just a delusional natural lifter looking for a way to improve his nitrogen balance and prevent further muscle damage.

While I was sitting on the street, playing the protein hunger games, two questions arose in my head.

First: How are modern bodybuilders providing their bodies with sufficient amount of protein during vacations?

Second: How do they get their steroid shots when traveling abroad?

The answer to the first question is obvious – most professional bodybuilders have enough money not to worry about buying food abroad, and if everything else fails, they can always go to the local McDonald’s to provide their bodies with the needed calories and protein. Sure, it’s genetically modified junk food, but it’s still better than no food, right?

It’s not like bodybuilders are strangers to junk food either. Those guys will forever lie about their diets. The truth is that most modern bodybuilders are committing more nutritional sins than the permabulkers. The drugs make it easier to get away.

What intrigues me more is the answer to the second question, which in my opinion is way more important. As long as you are not doing bodybuilding seminars in the desert, you are going to have access to some form of protein, but what about steroids?

We all know those guys are pinning their glutes multiple times a day. How can you do that when you are constantly traveling? The only logical conclusion for me was that bodybuilders and their gurus have some sick international connections. I guess this is the detective in me speaking. I don’t really know how those things happen.

After my protein hunger game ended with a win thanks to the chicken fillet, I went back to the hotel and prepared a couple of sandwiches. I was planning on eating one every few hours during my final day in Paris. I was no longer going to be unprepared. No way!

“Dedication has to become my first, middle and last name,” I said to myself before going to bed.

“Oh, brother! Don’t say,” replied an unknown force from above. Sadly, I didn’t speak the language.

Today, I am grateful that I can understand a few words here and there.

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