It can be difficult to find the right balance of fitness and fun when away on vacation. The way to determine the right balance for you is to plan a vacation that is in line with your personal values. Now you may be thinking, “what do my personal values have to do with my vacation fitness and nutrition goals?”.
In my opinion – absolutely everything. Health goals must be made in line with your personal values for them to stick. It’s a non-negotiable. This includes a vacation. The first place to start is making a list of your personal values (flexibility, fun, connection…etc.) then define your health goals using the Smart Goals and Action Plan Worksheet. With clear defined goals, a bit of planning and incorporating the tips below, you will not only enjoy your vacation, but you will do so all the while being able to balance good nutrition and exercise!
Exercise on vacation may look very different than what you regularly do at home. Be open to that; do not feel you are not doing enough because the activity is different from your normal workout. It can be fun to find workouts and activities that easily fit into your vacation, and help you to explore the beautiful country you’ve travelled to. You might decide, for example, to go for a hike or a long bike ride. Or perhaps you will play beach volleyball or do a zip lining adventure. The goal is to maintain the frequency of physical activity you complete at home. If you’ve worked up to exercising 3 days a week, then you should be active a minimum of three days a week on vacation. For me, that usually looks like 1 hike, 1-2 full body weight training sessions at the hotel gym (I only book hotels with fitness centers) and 1 good stretch/yoga session. If you will not have access to a gym or fitness facility while you are on vacation, I suggest packing a skipping rope and resistance band to get a workout wherever you are!
Don’t forget to maintain your water intake. Dehydration can lead to low energy or fatigue. When traveling to hot destinations, you should increase your water intake by a minimum of 500 ml each day. Your body will need the extra fluid to maintain hydration and prevent heat stroke.
Balance Your Meals
Vacations are a time when we tend to indulge in local cuisine that is different from our typical. This is why it is important to maintain all our good habits. This helps to ensure we are getting good nutrition along with the additional fun foods we try. Most hotels and resorts that offer buffet style meals have great salad and fresh fruit bars. Do not pass these up! Always fill half your plate with vegetables at lunch and supper, and include fruit with breakfast. This will provide low calorie, high fibre foods on your plate each day. Choose complex carbohydrates when possible, and look for the lean cuts of protein to fill the other two quarters of your plate at mealtime. Maintaining meal frequency will be important too. Continue to have at least 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch and supper) and if hungry for it include a small snacks in between. Not sure if you’re hunger or just feel like snacking? Check out the Three Types of Hunger download to start to understand your eating behaviours.
Many airports have a variety of healthy options to choose from, but it will cost you. Airport food prices are much higher than your normal grocery shop. I recommend avoiding leaving for the airport on an empty stomach (both when leaving for your vacation and coming home). What you eat will of course depend on the time of day. If you have an early morning flight it will be important to have a well-balanced meal for supper the night before. In the morning, gauge what to eat by your hunger level. Either have your normal breakfast if you are hungry or choose a small snack if you
aren’t very hungry. The important tip here is not to skip on the protein and fibre. Both of these food components will help to keep you fuller for longer, and will hopefully get you to your destination or first layover without feeling famished. If you are leaving on an evening flight, do not skip any meals or snacks throughout the day. If you need to choose a meal or snack at the airport, look for salads (with protein), fresh or dried fruit or mixed nuts. Whenever possible, bring your own snacks from home to save money.
Try these tips the next time you decide to jet set away and I’m sure you will be able to balance fitness and fun on your next vacation.
Until Next Time
In Good HEALth