Summer means fun in the sun, cool destinations – and the potential for a healthy lifestyle derailment. We tapped a travel specialist to lay out just how things can go awry – and how to stay ahead of pitfalls.
I’m writing this article while sitting on a plane destined for Fort Myers. The purpose of this journey: to join my husband for some much-needed golfing and relaxation down south. These types of excursions aren’t new to me. As a travel professional, my work sometimes requires me to be on the road for short or long periods of time. But being a former fitness competitor and current fitness junkie, it is important to me – and to my husband – to keep up a normal routine, no matter how unfamiliar the circumstances may be. I understand, perhaps better than anyone, that it’s easy to use your vacation or work travel as an excuse to miss workouts, overindulge in unhealthy foods, and generally get lazy. Fun, yes, but then you pay the price when you get home, step on the scale, and vow to get back to your normal routine.
Whatever your fitness plan entails, it doesn’t have to be difficult to stick with it while you are away. These tips will serve as a great starting point
- Begin with some pre-planning. Research your destination city, hotel, or cruise ship to see what is available to you. Make note of what gyms, running or cycling routes, fitness classes, or swimming pools are on site or nearby
- Pack your workout clothes, training shoes, skipping rope, and some light resistance bands – whatever you can stuff in your suitcase that you can use to work out in a pinch
- Once you arrive, squeeze in activity anywhere you can. Walk to most destinations; take the stairs to work those glutes. Avoid the moving sidewalks in the airports – walk beside them, carrying your suitcase instead of dragging it.
- Flying and other forms of travel often include long periods of sitting, so stretch and move as often as you can. Make frequent stops if driving – at least once every two hours. Get up to stretch or walk in the airport and on the plane. If you have a long layover you can stroll through the airport. If you’re brave, try walking lunges and squats. (Don’t worry about stares!)
- If you have limited time during your trip, squeeze in a 20-minute high-intensity run or hop on a spin bike in your hotel’s gym. After a 10-minute warm-up, go hard for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat 15 times and end with a five-minute cooldown
- Remember that skipping rope and the resistance bands you packed? Get them out! Even if you don’t bring equipment, you can do a lot with your own body weight. Follow the workout in the chart to the right every other day, or even just once a week. It’ll help you stay on target.
THE OTHER 80 PER CENT
Exercise is only one-fifth of the struggle, whether at home or on the road. Everyone wants to enjoy themselves while travelling, and because of this your diet can easily go haywire if you aren’t paying attention. Again, a little forethought helps.
- Pack some healthy snacks. I have oatmeal, protein waffles, trail mix, and powdered protein in my carry-on luggage. Also drink lots of water – staying hydrated is essential, especially when you are flying.
- Always eat a healthy breakfast that includes some protein
- Look for healthy choices in restaurants. Think lean protein, lots of vegetables, healthy carbs like sweet potatoes or brown rice, and good fats such as olive or coconut oil and avocado (but not guacamole!)
- Remember the 80/20 rule. You are allowed a few indulgences! Have that molten chocolate lava cake – just not every day. Eat real food most of the time, and keep liquid calories like sugary drinks and alcohol to a minimum. Don’t freak out – after all, you are on vacation. Even if it’s a business trip, allow yourself at least one pleasure meal a week
Above all, enjoy your travels! Make your health a priority every day and you will come back happy and relaxed. Remember: the best (and most important) project is your health.