A lot of people seem to think travelling, or being on holiday/vacation, means giving up and accepting the fact that you’re about to gain a ton of weight. As much as it’s easy to fall into this trap, it leads to a terrible cycle of over-eating, under-eating, binge-fitness, and then completely forgoing your goals. The key to any health regime is to stay consistent, even if that means working out for just 20 minutes in a day.
Although I’ve definitely let go of working out or staying healthy while on vacations (or even not on vacations!) before, I find that vacations are really the best time to keep your body moving. It’s also really easy to stay healthy while travelling, despite the myths!
1. Have fruit or vegetables while en-route to your destination.
A lot of airports and airlines offer a lot of the same junk food – potato chips, sweets, gross airplane food, and all of that. As much as it takes a lot of self-discipline sometimes, while travelling, I’ll try to either ask for vegetables (usually they have carrots and celery) or buy some before boarding my flight or train. If you’re going to your destination by car, you can just make sure you pack healthy snacks before leaving, and you’re good-to-go! This is also really beneficial because staying hydrated while you travel makes you feel far better in the end, and you don’t need as much coffee to stay awake.
2. Figure out what the easiest means of working out are around you are.
When I travel to land-locked destinations, finding the closest gym or park to do my workout in is best. I used to jog a lot, and this is an easy go-to if you really need something easy and cheap. I personally have weaned off of the running life and try to do fast bursts of interval training and weight training, which is even easier to do as long as you have some free space and to do all of your jumping and stretching!
If you’re near water – whether it be a beach or a pool – try swimming! Swimming has always been, and still is, my favourite “workout”. To me, it doesn’t feel like exercising – it’s something I genuinely enjoy, as a former competitive swimmer and lifeguard. It is also relaxing, cheap (as long as you’re near a beach or free/inexpensive pool), and is a natural form of resistance training. It promotes good cardiovascular health, and helps with boosting lean muscle. As a lot of vacations tend to include all-inclusive or beach-type resorts and destinations, swimming is usually an obvious one for people. If you can’t really do laps or don’t want to, just try swimming around and try treading water.
My favourite vacations of the past have always revolved around doing something active. My next want-to-learn activity for a vacation is surfing!
3. Stay hydrated.
A lot of people seem to forget that drinking water is essential to being human. I’m always surprised to find that a lot of my friends and family don’t drink any more than a couple of glasses a day, or maybe 1L a day at the most. I’ve always had at least 1.5-2L a day, and try to aim for 3 (especially when I work out). If you love coffee like I do, you have to compensate for that by drinking a little more water.
If you’re putting other bad toxins in your body (alcohol, for you drinkers!), drink a lot of water. Drink coconut water. Don’t drink often even if you do. While I’m not trying to preach, it’s fairly important to understand what alcohol does to your body. It’s something a lot of people do when on vacation, but drinking too much can seriously damage the way your body breaks everything down. The best tip for anything is to not go overboard, and to drink a glass of water for every dehydrating glass you drink.
4. Have a be-healthy partner.
Whether you’re travelling with your family, friends, or significant other, it’s helpful to have someone who understands the importance of staying healthy. During family trips, my sister or mom were really good for this – we always pushed each other to walk, eat healthy, and to remember that even on vacation, being healthy is important. I’m fortunate to have grown up in an athletic/healthy family, but not everyone I know has health as their primary focus. Still, if I go on a vacation now, I like to make sure at least one other person on the same trip also values healthy habits. So, even if you have an over-indulgent vacation dinner or dessert, if you have someone around you who also wants to take that post-dinner 30 minute walk, life gets easier!
5. Don’t be vain.
A big reason people want to be healthy and fit for their vacations is to look their best. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, if this is your main motivation, you’ll probably fail. There are always going to be days where you’re a little more bloated, or don’t look or feel 100%. If your focus is on inner health and tackling issues from the inside-out, you’ll focus more on overall happiness (and long-term health) rather than superficiality and quick-fixes. In my opinion, quick-and-easy diets that focus mainly on cardio and “being skinny” (for girls) are the ones that fail the most. The plans that focus on building your body up, including working on having (lean) muscle, and developing health eating habits, are what works.
The funny part about it all is that the more you focus on building up your health from the inside-out and make the appearance side of things secondary, the easier it gets to be fit, healthy, and subsequently… look your best!
Let yourself indulge a little, but be mindful, too.