Trying to stay fit and healthy can be challenging when traveling. I always tell my clients that the goal should be to maintain, not gain while away. And while I am an advocate for living life and enjoying all that is has to offer, going on vacation shouldn’t become a free for all to throw in the towel when it comes to health and fitness.
A common question I receive from many prospective clients is “I am going on vacation soon. Should I wait to start the plan or start right away?” My answer is always this: There is never a “good” or “easy” time to start. You have to learn to live a healthy lifestyle which is what my plans aim to do. In other words, start the plan today. That way, when it does come time for vacation, you have the tools you need to maintain, not gain.
While you won’t track every food that goes into your mouth on vacation, subconsciously you are much more aware of how your meals should look and be balanced if you are following a plan prior to vacation. I can’t tell you how many clients come back to have not gained an ounce. THAT is WINNING!
Here are some tips to help you stay fit and healthy when traveling:
Drink a lot of water – Lots of walking, hours spent outside in the sun… traveling can be exhausting. The airplane ride alone will dehydrate you from the altitude. I love to take a reusable water bottle and fill it up after I pass through security to take on the plane with me. This ensures that I am drinking throughout the flight and don’t have to wait for the flight attendants to serve me. And when they do come to serve, take it! Drink all the water you can. You will feel so much better getting off the plane hydrated instead of tired, queasy, tight, and drained.
When you get to your destination, continue to drink water. Incorporate foods that also contain a lot of water such as lettuce, watermelon and cucumbers.
Stick to your normal routine as much as possible: Just because you are away doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel and eat everything in sight. This goes especially for all inclusive resorts or a buffet. Just because you pay for something doesn’t mean you have to overdo it. Breakfast included in the hotel? Stick to an omelette, a piece of toast or oatmeal, some fresh fruit and one “treat.” You don’t need muffins, bacon, hash browns, pancakes AND french toast if you normally don’t eat that at home. That’s just being a glutton. Pick one savory food and enjoy it. Tomorrow is a new day and a few hours later you will be eating your next meal again.
Keep things in moderation: You don’t have to have everything in one day. Bread, alcohol, dessert all add up at one meal. All 3 along with your meal could mean your total daily allowance of calories or more. So pick one, and choose another the following day. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
If you tend to eat more at night, then keep your breakfast and lunch on the lighter side. If you know you are going to have a few cocktails for happy hour then moderate your intake during the day. It is all about balance.
Try to keep active: If you normally workout daily then try to go to the gym half the amount of days you are on vacation. Vacation is just that…a break, so don’t feel like you have to hit the gym at 7am each morning to feel good about yourself. Let go of some of the stress. Go for a walk, enjoy the outdoors and do something entirely different then you are used to.
If there is no gym and you do want to workout, pack resistance bands. They are super light and there are so many exercises that you can do with them (see my video on how to here) . You could also incorporate some body weight exercises or plyometrics in your hotel room (see hotel room workout video here). Just 20 minutes a day will make you feel a whole lot better and most likely help you make better decisions throughout the day.
Have the willpower to stay on track: I know sometimes this is easier said then done, but I can guarantee that you will feel so much better coming home from a vacation knowing you enjoyed it yet didn’t gain a pound rather than coming home 5 pounds heavier only to have to work it back off. We all know how easy it is to put weight on and how difficult it is to take it off. Just a few minor tweaks each day while away can mean the world of difference.
You are stronger than you think. Choose your battles while you are away. Don’t cave into defeat. You can do it! Vacation is so much more than eating everything in sight. Take the time to enjoy those you spend it with, the scenery, and the culture it has to offer. The food is just a bonus, not the entire package.
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Sloane Davis is a Certified Nutritionist and Personal Trainer who has helped thousands of people, both men and women, around the world get in to top shape both mentally and physically. Sloane has her undergraduate degree in Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse University and became accredited through ISSA with her degree in Sports Nutrition and Personal Training. She works personally and online with thousands of clients around the US and globally.