By: Stephanie Ruopp
Everybody needs a little time away.
Vacation is essential for clearing your head, getting some rest and relaxation and finding your reset button. But it can also wreak havoc with your diet and exercise regimen and make it difficult to maintain your fitness goals.
To some extent, that’s the point of vacation though. You want to get away from all the hectic day to day activities of your normal life, right?
Well, yes and no.
Because if you’re going to be gone longer than just a few days, it’s a good idea to put some plans in place to keep your physical well-being at the forefront. It doesn’t take long to undo some of the work you’ve already done.
Learning How to Maintain Your Fitness Goals While on Vacation
It’s easier than you might think.
But the main thing you have to remember is that your vacation workouts are not going to be the same as those you do at home.
In other words, whatever it is you’re accustomed to, it won’t be 100% available. For instance, your workouts may be shorter or more intense while on vacation. You may have to use equipment that isn’t familiar to you. And depending on where you are, you may not have the luxury of fitness instructors to guide you.
Rather than getting discouraged by this, see these as opportunities to change things up and challenge yourself.
Your “Gym” Can Be Anywhere
The time to start thinking about your fitness goals is when you start packing. If you have TRX trainers or resistance bands, roll them up and pop them in your bag. By doing this, you’re establishing the mindset that you’re including fitness goals as part of your vacation.
If you’re planning to stay at a hotel, check out their amenities. Many have exercise equipment on the premises. And some even offer special fitness initiatives such as providing weights, kettlebells and yoga mats right in your room. If there’s a pool, take advantage. Swimming is great exercise.
Any room where you’re staying can serve as your gym. By simply clearing space on the floor, you can do a series of fat-burning movements like planks, burpees, crunches and push-ups. Or find a yoga or mat pilates class on the internet and follow along.
Another thing to consider is incorporating walking wherever you can. Walking has proven to be just as effective for cardio as more intense exercise. So plan to skip the taxi or Uber and walk whenever possible.
It’s incredibly helpful if you’re traveling with friends or family who are also working to maintain fitness goals. Having a workout partner makes it easier and you can hold each other accountable for maintaining your routines.
It Is Best to Get Going Early
You may not like the idea of getting up early on vacation. But it doesn’t have to be the crack of dawn.
Even if you just get up a half an hour earlier than you’d like to, you can get in a walk, a swim, some resistance band stretches, whatever sounds good for starting your day.
Because even if you intend to exercise later in the day, the lure of reading a book by the pool or just relaxing on the beach might just be too much. From there, you can get easily pulled into the “I’ll do it tomorrow” quicksand.
And that’s a tough place from which to escape.
Find Exercise in Adventures
You don’t need to do a set of rote exercises every morning though. After all, you ARE on vacation. You want to have some fun too. So why not plan some exciting activities that happen to incorporate exercise?
That’s the cool thing about vacation. Dancing at a nightclub, swimming in the ocean, hiking in the woods, exploring on a bike – these are all things that will make your vacation a lot more fun while keeping your heart going strong and burning calories. (Try out this calorie calculator to get a sense of just how many calories you’ll burn.)
Then on the mornings when you have these activities planned, you can still sleep that extra half an hour and then maybe take a slow walk or do some gentle stretches to invigorate your body.
Be Mindful of Your Eating
Of course, maintaining your fitness goals is going to involve paying attention to your food intake too.
When you pack, throw in some snacks like dried fruit, nuts and protein bars that will help to facilitate your workouts and boost energy levels. In an ideal world, you’d have access to a kitchen that you can stock with healthy food from the local market.
If you’re staying at a hotel, call ahead to ask if there’s a mini-bar in the room and ask them to empty it. Also, don’t underestimate the usefulness of a coffee maker. You can use it to heat water to make oatmeal or even hard-boiled eggs.
Finally, be careful with your alcohol consumption. If you don’t drink, then you’re good to go. But if you do, keep it at a minimum. Not only does alcohol add on extra calories, but it messes with your sleep cycles and metabolism.
But Do Not Completely Deny Yourself
The reality is, it’s tough to control your diet while on vacation. And the above tips are great advice for keeping it under control.
But you don’t need to be completely strict and regimented. No need to deny yourself samplings of the local cuisine. Just try not to go overboard.
The main idea is to take everything in moderation. That way, you’ll still enjoy your vacation without completely falling off the fitness wagon.
While working to maintain your fitness goals on vacation, remember to get some rest and relaxation in as well. And definitely have some fun!
Just remember the point of your vacation. And know that even if you do slip up, it’s not the end of the world. Your fitness regimen will still be waiting for you when you get home.
Our fitness instructors and physical therapists are available to help you both before and after you vacation. So feel free to reach out to us!