Yes, You Really Can Stay Fit on Vacation. Here’s How to Do It.
When the weather turns warm and the days get long I find myself constantly dreaming of relaxing on the beach, sitting around a campfire, or hanging out by the pool. And after the craziness of the last year, an escape from “real life” probably feels more needed than ever.
But as relaxing as the idea of vacation can be, it can also come with stress in the diet and exercise department. After all, you’ve worked so hard for all that progress. Does going on vacation mean you’re going to wash it all down the drain? And even if you’re looking forward to the time away from your diet or the gym, you probably know that it will be that much harder to get back into the swing of things when you leave that vacation bubble for real life.
Clearly, this has been on the mind of my clients, too— I’ve been getting a ton of questions lately about the best way to stay in shape on vacation (and how to get back on track once you’re home). Let’s take a look at some of your most-asked vacation fitness questions and get you ready to relax the right way.
What challenges to my routine should I prepare for on vacation?
Knowing what you’re up against is half the battle, and when it comes to vacation, you’re going to want to plan for two issues— schedule and environment.
Because the truth is, even the best laid plans seem to get thrown out the window while you’re traveling (and let’s be honest, that’s kind of the whole point, anyway). At home your schedule and your food might be super regulated, but you shouldn’t expect to have that level of control on the road.
Maybe you won’t have access to your normal gym equipment. Maybe you won’t feel like meal prepping or tracking all your food. Or maybe you’ll be so busy “vacationing” that you won’t even think about any of that. And guess what— that’s okay!
It’s important to remember that vacation probably isn’t about making progress, anyway –– it’s about not regressing. You’re unlikely to be chasing PRs or drop a few pounds while you’re sitting poolside.
Instead of worrying about marathon training sessions, carve out a small amount of time to move your body, ideally in the morning, before the day gets away from you. It doesn’t take much –– as little as 20-30 minutes of exercise will get the job done.
And don’t stress about trying to follow your nutrition program at 100%— instead, plan to keep some easily-portable, nutrient-dense options on hand (Nutrithority’s Isothority protein powder makes a great traveling companion). That way, you know you’ll have healthy options for breakfast or a snack before you indulge in all those vacation goodies later in the day.
Is it okay to completely skip my workouts during a vacation?
If your vacation is only 2-3 days long, you should be totally fine. But if you’re taking a longer vacation and you’re worried about losing all the progress you’ve worked for, you should probably plan to get some exercise while you’re gone.
Here’s the good news, though. You don’t have to stick to the same exercises or consistent routine that you do at home— vacation is a great time to switch up your fitness routine and have some fun.
If you’re traveling to a new area, schedule a walking tour and see the sights. Swim some laps or play with your kids in the pool. Take a long walk along the beach or go for a hike. You’re going to be planning some activities anyway, right? Why not get active and let your plans pull double duty in the exercise department?
What should I pack for a vacation workout?
Even if you won’t have access to a gym on vacation, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great, full-body workout in. How? With my favorite fitness travel accessory— resistance bands.
Resistance bands are a great addition to any fitness program, but they make working out on vacation super easy. These tiny bands take up very little space (I usually just shove mine into a random pocket on my suitcase) and can provide up to 200 lbs of resistance— making it possible to perform variations of most gym exercises. And when you combine bands with some strategic body-weight exercises, you’ll be able to put together a solid workout that rivals anything you can get at the gym.
What should I do for post-vacation damage control?
So you took that hard-earned break and let loose, but now you’re back home and trying to right the ship— how do you get back on track?
The first thing I tell my clients is to resist the pull of the scale for a while, because let’s be honest— you’re probably not going to like what you see. It’s important to remember that all kinds of things can impact the scale: what you eat, your activity, your sleep, your alcohol intake, and more. And after you’ve been indulging yourself on vacation, it’s easy to see that number creep up pretty quickly.
But keep this in mind— just like it took a lot of time and hard work to make progress, you’re not going to undo all that work from a week of good food and time away from the gym. It’s not unusual to see as much as a 5-10 pound increase right after a trip, but all of that will likely level out once you’ve been back to your routine for a week or two. Save yourself some heartache and wait at least a week after your trip to jump on the scale.
My next tip is to get back to your routine as soon as possible after your trip. Yes, I know how tough those first few workouts can be, but getting back to normal is the best way to make sure your quick vacation doesn’t turnout into an extended workout hiatus. Don’t be afraid to ease back in if you feel like your body needs it, but get back in the gym and go through the basic motions of your workout regime. After a few days, it will feel like you never left.
Do you have any other vacation fitness tips to share? Head over to Nutrithority’s Facebookpage and let us know what’s worked for you!
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