So, you’re about to take a well-deserved break from the action and get away for a few days or weeks, but you’re wondering how in the world you can stay fit. It’s hard enough when you’re at home and can seem nearly impossible when you’re on vacation.
Well, it turns out you really can have the best of both worlds: have fun, relax, and stay fit with a few simple strategies. Here are my top 7.
How to Stay Fit on Vacation
Step 1: Use Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting may be your best friend while you’re on vacation. If you simply delay your first meal of the day to around noon (or later), and then keep the rest of your meals within a 6- to 8-hour window, you’ll pretty easily be able to curb your calorie intake while on vacation.
Step 2: Make Healthy Choices When You Can
You don’t need to eat a bodybuilder diet while you’re on vacation. However, you can still pick healthy items to eat during the day. An easy way to do this is to decide which meal will be your big meal of the day and keep the indulgences for during that time only. During the rest of the day, eat sparingly, and choose lower calorie energy-dense foods.
Step 3: Drink Plenty of Water
You should be in the habit of drinking lots of water every day anyway, and when you’re on vacation, it’s definitely not the time to cut back on your water consumption. In fact, if you’re outdoors a lot or spending hours in the hot sun, getting in more water than usual is a good idea just so you don’t become dehydrated. It also will help reduce the chances of drinking your calories or eating because you are confusing thirst with hunger.
Step 4: Limit the Drinks
It’s fine to indulge in a few cocktails here and there (you’re on vacation, after all). But, remember that alcohol calories add up, especially when you start drinking the fancy drinks with umbrellas in them!
If you’re going to be drinking more than a couple drinks, you may want to limit the sweet sugary and the creamy drinks to no more than one a day, while the rest of the time opting for either light beers, spritzers, or clear liquors with soda water. Also try consuming a glass of water between each drink to slow yourself down and cut the calories in half (while keeping your body hydrated).
Step 5: Plan Ahead
Obviously, you’ll know in advance where you’re headed. Your next step is to find out what type of fitness facilities are near you. It will also be useful to inquire about the hours the location is open and if there are any fees to use it.
Next, decide if you’ll need transportation to and from the location. If you do need to drive to the fitness facility, and you have other people with you on your vacation, you may want to coordinate your workouts so you can carpool or otherwise split the cost of transportation.
Step 6: Get Creative
You may be vacationing in a location where it is simply not possible to get to a fitness facility. If this is the case, your cause is not lost. You can still manage to get more activity in during the day just by being mindful.
- If you’re driving places, park further away.
- Take the stairs.
- Swim for exercise if you can.
- Walk the beach. Many locations have long sandy beaches where you can walk for miles. Just don’t forget you actually have to walk back too.
- Many resorts will also offer fitness classes in the morning such as yoga or body pump. Take advantage of these early morning sessions and get that workout out of the way.
- Some excursions involve a good bit of walking. Choose the ones that will provide you with the most activity.
- Go hiking and explore the area.
Step 7: Try This Bodyweight Workout
If all else fails, you always have body-weight workouts to get you through. You can try using this vacation body-weight workout (or make up your own). If you really want to ramp things up, do jumping jacks or step ups in between each set to keep your heart rate up.
Pushups—start on your knees with your palms flat on the floor shoulder-width apart. Raise your knees off the ground to straighten your legs and ensure your arms are straight as well. The movement will entail lowering your body by bending at your elbows and bringing your chest toward the floor. Be sure to keep your back and your hips in a straight line. When your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, push back up through your palms until your arms are straight. Repeat 10 times for one set. This will work your chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps.
Supermans—unless you have a pullup bar or bands handy, working your back with just your body weight is a little bit tough. However, this exercise can help stimulate the muscles in your back, all without equipment. Start face down on the floor with your arms stretched out in front of you in a straight line (like you’re flying). Next, lift your arms and legs off the floor as high as you can, squeezing the muscles in your back. Hold this position as long as you can. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times.
Squats—rest your hands on the sides of your head. Place your feet hip-width apart and bend at the knees, kicking your hips back, until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Push back up to the standing position through your feet using your leg and glute muscles. Repeat 10 times.
Calf Raise—using the wall for balance, place your hands flat against it. Push through your toes to lift yourself up and hold for a count of 10. Lower and repeat 10 times.
Plank—get into pushup position and then lower yourself onto your forearms. Align your elbows below your shoulders with your palms flat on the floor. Make sure your back forms a straight line from your head to your hips to your ankles, and hold the position for 20 – 30 seconds. Rest and repeat.
If you can bring some bands with you in your suitcase, you’ll have a lot more exercise choices to look forward to. You’ll be able to add biceps curls, triceps extensions, back exercises, and more to your routine.
How to Stay Fit on Vacation: A recap
While it’s easy to think a vacation is the perfect time to slack off, it’s actually a wonderful time to take a good look at your fitness levels and how you want to improve without the stress and overcommitments of everyday life. Enjoy the time to try new activities, new healthy foods, and new experiences to come back from your vacation in even better shape with renewed motivation!