By Marina Nazario
I’m not going to pretend that maintaining health and fitness goals while on vacation is easy because it’s not. It’s your time off to relax, sip a margarita by the pool and not think about anything. I get it. But for me, there’s always this little voice in my head saying, “Maybe walk more than 300 steps today.” And I know I should listen to that nagging voice because traveling doesn’t mean I should stop taking care of myself.
I know that a few days off of working out won’t hurt, but if it’s the longer vacations — say, two weeks or three months — that you might want to pay attention to your well being. I’m no nutritionist or fitness instructor, but I am a frequent traveler and I was a D1 athlete back in the day. I’m simply using what I’ve learned on the road to share a few tips to take with you on your next holiday.
Pack what you’ll need.
Maintaining your health and fitness on the road starts with what you pack. Don’t forget your sneakers and bring clothes that you can sweat in. If you have a jump rope or TRX trainers at home, roll them up and stuff them in your bag. I carry a resistance band with me because I can easily loop it around the outside of my bag.
When you pack things that you might need for a workout, you’re already putting it in your mind that you’re going to try to exercise. Throw in a few snacks like almonds or protein bars while you’re at it. That way you have all the necessities you need to crush a workout on the road.
Get up early.
I know it’s not an appealing thought to wake up early on vacation, but it’s a great way to get yourself out of bed and moving. If you wake up early enough, it gives you time to have the rest of the day dedicated to adventures or reading a book by the pool. Plus, you won’t have to make time later in the day to get a little exercise in (and you won’t have to skip happy hour either).
If you’re not a morning person, take seven minutes out of the day to do a quick workout. I usually do this when I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to commit to a 30-minute run. It’s pretty simple and definitely breaks a sweat.
The thought of going to a gym while on holiday is suffocating. So when you’re on the road, get creative with your workouts. Running paths usually have a fitness area with a few bars for pull-ups and an ab station. Parks are great because you can find a patch of grass for an interval cardio workout or use a bench for impromptu leg exercises.
The best thing I’ve seen while traveling was from travel blogger, Jackson Groves. He incorporated coconuts into his workout while visiting Bali, so I asked him if he had any more advice for a beach workout.
“If you’re on an island in the Philippines with no gym, your workout might be a body-weight circuit at the beach. I often use a rock or a piece of driftwood to do shoulder presses, lateral raises or squats,” Groves explained to INSIDER. “Coconuts are heavier than you think when full of juice and are a great addition to your core workouts. They’re also an awesome thirst quencher for after the session.”
If you want to get really creative, challenge yourself to do an adrenaline pumping activity. A person weighing 150 pounds can burn up to 122 calories per bungee jump. Who knew?
Moderation is key.
Like I said, I’m no nutritionist, but I’m well aware that it’s difficult to control your diet while on the road. Might as well eat the pasta in Italy, because when in Rome.
My best advice is moderation. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to try a something you’ve never had before. How else would you know what real Canadian poutine tastes like? Or mango sticky rice from Thailand? It’s all part of the experience of traveling. Just don’t go overboard with it.
If nutrition is more of a struggle than motivating yourself to workout, do your own grocery shopping. It’s a great way to eat local and scan the shelves for items you might not be able to find at home.
Rather than think of exercise as an excruciating task while on vacation, look at it as a chance to cross something off your bucket list. Surfing in Bali? Check. Yoga in Sweden? Done. And how cool would it be to say you’ve been water skiing in the Caribbean? Pretty epic.
The great thing about traveling is that you may be doing things that don’t feel like exercise such as swimming in the ocean or dancing in a nightclub. If you’re visiting a city, you might be doing a lot of walking, biking or climbing stairs. At the end of the day, look at it all as an experience.
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