If you’re on a serious fitness or weight loss journey, taking a vacation can cause stress around how to balance your trip with your fitness/nutrition needs.
But vacations shouldn’t cause you anxiety. They’re meant to be a time for relaxation and happiness. For a lot of people on a weight loss journey, that happiness is often linked to staying true to their hard work and their new routine. After all, fitness results take a long time to see so people can get scared to take a break from it all.
I chatted with Alexis Lenihan of Shiftstorm.ca, whose mandate is that small changes will ultimately lead to big impact. Here are her tips on keeping on top of your fitness journey while on vacation:
(1) Use the amenities. Every resort, hotel or cruise ship offers some sort of exercise option. So, don’t be shy. Even if you just pop in for 20 minutes, it’s something.
(2) Take advantage of family-friendly activities. While on a vacation, she and her husband took part in an hour-long water volleyball game that was intended for kids and families. They enjoyed it so much they made it apart of their daily vacation routine.
(3) If you’ve established a routine that works well for you at home, try to stick to a similar time frame. If the first thing you do when you wake up, at home, is workout, then stick to that schedule when you’re traveling so you don’t derail your progress. But, keep in mind that you’ll likely be staying out later and therefore might sleep in, so don’t fret about watching the clock. Think about it more in terms of your daily routine (wake up, coffee, work out etc).
(4) For those coping with food addiction or food issues, you’ll want to consider that concern when booking your trip (once you’ve arrived at your resort, it’s too late). For example, if you’re booking at an all-inclusive resort (where all food and alcohol is included and usually in buffet style) this might not be the best option if you’re focusing on health and weight loss. You’re setting yourself up to potentially feel deprivation or stress around food options. Perhaps leave these trips for another time and instead book somewhere where you’re planning and paying for each meal (which means over-eating and indulging is less tempting).
(5) Give yourself permission to relax. For those on a serious weight loss plan, and you’re on vacation, it’s ok to allow yourself a treat or a drink. Plan for it. Know that you’re going to do it. Perhaps be more active that day or balance our your eating with increased healthy foods to counteract the treat meal. Depending on the weight loss plan you’re following (low card versus paleo versus keto) will affect what sorts of “cheat” foods you should consider.
(6) If you do go off the deep end and give yourself a break from it all (and eat, drink and postpone your exercise), don’t beat yourself up over it, or you won’t enjoy the vacation. Seek out support for your return (perhaps a workout buddy, your spouse or a personal trainer). Know that getting back into upon return might take a bit of extra work, but if you’re mentally prepared for that, and you accept that you’re going to have to put in a bit more effort, you should be ok. In the event, that you’re feeling deeply unhappy or unsatisfied, you can always seek out additional help (with a nutritionist or counselor when you’re home).
(7) Don’t be afraid to try new exercises in place of your at-home routine. If you’re a regular gym goer, jogger or HIIT participant, consider new exercises like volleyball, water aerobics, hiking, beach yoga or surfing. Mixing it up still burns those calories yet you can feel like you’re on vacation by doing something new.