Vagabond — a person who wanders from place to place without a home or job.
Vaga-Bod — a person who wanders from place to place while getting shredded.
The tiny — or not-so-tiny — beer gut. The semi-built arms (curls for the girls!). The slouching posture and beer cozy in hand. Dad Bods are attractive, borderline sexy…
Wait, what? I’m sorry, I blacked out there for a second; are we actually saying not following Darwinism and becoming absolute slobs is the physique people are swooning over?
No. I refuse to allow this to be the Millennial standard:
If you want to join the revolution of people exploring the world and making an income from their laptops — a.k.a. becoming a digital nomad — you need a body that can A) survive the rigorous adventuring a nomadic life entails, and B) can look good for that social media you totally don’t use as a confirmation of how amazing your life is compared to others.
Or you can join the generation of pounding brew-skis and being misogynistic. Your call.
It’s that toned, lean look, the physique that can hike for 20 miles in a day and perform a muscle-up and can do handstand push-ups.
It’s that chiseled, warrior body that is the perfect combination of endurance, strength and power.
The Digital Nomad Physique looks something like this:
If you get to this level of leanness and muscle definition, Instagram won’t know what hit ‘em!
I’ve broken down the process into 5 simple — though not easy — steps:
There are many camps out there, preaching that calories in vs. calories out does or does not matter. I’m here to tell you to experiment. You can usually lose body fat and get really lean while in a caloric deficit. This means consuming less food energy than your body uses throughout the day.
If you are 180 pounds, then your ideal caloric deficit range is somewhere between 1,800 and 2,160 calories. But like I said before, experiment.
You also want to figure out how you will consume these calories. You can split the calories into 6 small meals of 350 calories (less than half of a burrito bowl from Chipotle) or you can do two giant meals a day and do intermittent fasting (my personal protocol).
Either way, eating less calories than your body burns means the body is burning other things for fuel. It begins with your glycogen stores, or excess glucose in your reserves from previous foods. After that is depleted, it starts to break down fat molecules for energy, resulting in fat loss.
As long as you keep your metabolism up — meaning a day out of the week to eat at maintenance calories to keep the metabolism guessing — and stay under your daily caloric expenditure, weight loss should occur, the majority being fat.
While 85% of being lean and healthy comes from the kitchen, the other 15% helps develop those muscles, keeping you from looking super emaciated.
As my favorite fitness personality Greg O’Gallagher likes to say,
“Muscle is a byproduct of strength.”
That means whenever you get stronger, no matter what it is, your body will respond by building your muscles up so it can handle the load that you’re lifting.
For example, if you start bench pressing above your bodyweight, and your body isn’t used to that, then it will build up the chest, triceps, and shoulders so that the next time you put it under that strain, it isn’t as tough to complete.
On top of that, when you’re in a caloric deficit and are losing weight, if you can still lift that same amount, then you are gaining RELATIVE STRENGTH, the key component to looking like a Digital Nomad Warrior.
A person who weighs 170 pounds looks a lot cooler doing one-armed push-ups than a person who weighs 250 pounds and bench presses 280 pounds.
The Dad Bod is weak and ineffective. The Digital Nomad is strong.
I know I already touched on how much you should eat, but what you eat is just as important.
My philosophy on nutrition is an 80/20 split: 80% of your calories should be nutritionally-dense foods, and the other 20% can be foods that you enjoy. If you can make your meal centered around lean protein, fresh vegetables, a small amount of fruit, and complex carbs, then you should be able to reward yourself with some ice cream, a coffee out, or potato chips.
The way to make sure you stay 80/20 is to steer clear from trigger foods most of the time. And by trigger foods, you know what I mean: That one food that you finish an entire package of and feel monstrous regret afterwards.
(My trigger food is Juanitas chips and hot salsa.)
Kendrick was wrong. Be humble, but keep moving!
A way to help with the caloric deficit is to increase the amount of calories you burn in a day. The only two things I do for cardio are sports I love and long walks. The reason being is I want to do cardio that I enjoy. Otherwise, it isn’t sustainable.
Seriously: F*ck off Stairmaster!
I play basketball on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. I walk daily. I play pickle-ball (backwoods yard sport…you wouldn’t understand…) occasionally. I do yoga with my girlfriend from time to time. I don’t get on a treadmill, I don’t Zumba, I don’t do anything that seems like a chore to me.
Because it takes away from the fun. What’s the point in not having fun?
Weird fifth step, right? Wrong. Water is the end-all, be-all of your physique.
Drinking enough water ensures your body won’t hang on to excess water, leading to a leaner look. Plus it helps clear your skin and keep you full if you are fasting (most of the time, when you feel hungry, you are actually thirsty).
For more surprising benefits of water, check out this article.
The tried and true amount of water you should drink per day is eight 8-oz. glasses of water, but I think to be more in-tune with your body, shoot for a fluid ounce per pound of bodyweight. Different people need different hydration.
Your body is made of it. Drink water dammit!
Water and activity should be easy to implement, seeing as when you take trips you tend to walk more and water should be available anywhere you go. The trick is to keep progressing in strength gains and not overeating or eating a bunch of junk.
In future articles, I’ll give you tricks to help keep you on the right track while you trek.
But for now, armed with these 5 important guidelines, you are well on your way to becoming worthy of Instagram…without filters!
Tell me your goals in the comments section below and I can help keep you accountable. Or if you have any questions about fitness, travel, or a combo of the two, feel free to ask.
Jake “The Vaga-Bod”