I currently am I vacation on the sun soaked west coast of the United States. The desire to stay active and not completely ruin all of the goals that I have set, one week in to the year, is strong for me. I was thinking of some strategies that I use to enjoy my vacation and stay active even when I am miles away from home. I think they will help you with the upcoming trip you have planned.
Stick with your routine
This may be the most difficult suggestion because of all of the craziness that comes with travel. You may find it hard to get to sleep and wake up at the same time while on vacation, you may find that you don’t have the time to devote to your mental and physical health when you have all of the variable accounted for at home. The point is, just try your best to keep things the same. If you typically exercise in the morning, go for a run while everyone else is asleep. If you work best at exercising in the afternoon, make some time after lunch that is time set aside for your exercise routine. Have a plan going into the vacation and it will be much easier to stick to when you are there.
Keep Nutrition under control
I stated that the last one was the most difficult for me, this may be one that you find more difficult while away from home. You will be tempted to say things like “screw it, I’m on vacation” or “YOLO” (do people say that anymore?) but the idea is to have balance. Enjoy dessert at a nice restaurant, have those drinks with friends that you haven’t seen in a while or even eat that homemade fudge that you saw at the farmer’s market. (it looked so good!) Just try and balance that out with some positive food choices as well. Order a side salad with lunch instead of French fries, eat some lean protein instead of all red meat, carry a water bottle with you at all times, even try intermittent fasting while on vacation to keep you eating window in check. All of these are just suggestions to help keep balance while you are away from home.
Plan activities that require movement
This is one that comes easy when you are going from the east coast to the west coast during the winter months, but the same can be done in reverse. It is pretty obvious that while enjoying the sun you can choose to go for a hike, a walking tour, biking tour, swimming or even learning to surf. But if you are traveling to the cold, choose to learn to ski, do some ice skating or even take in the sights bundled up for a walk. Your body craves movement of any kind and it can be easy while on vacation to lounge around by the pool, on the beach or next to a cozy fire. These things will happen naturally so plan activities that require you to get out and explore through movement.
Body weight exercises are king
Getting to the gym will be one of the most difficult things to do while on vacation. Hotel gyms have limited equipment and are very small and crowded. The chances are your gym is not located close to where you are or you may just feel anxious about finding it and using this as an excuse to not be active. The point while on vacation is not to PR or break records, the idea is to maintain what you have worked all year for. Don’t let a two-week vacation ruin all of the work that you have put in over the past few months.
This is why I feel bodyweight exercises are the best alternative during vacation times. Trying to incorporate pushups, pulls ups, lunges and squats will help you easily maintain the gains that you have made. Try putting them in a circuit for 30 seconds of each exercise for 4 rounds and possibly add some running down the beach. If you have a small space (such as a hotel room) plan your morning with these exercises and you will feel much better during the day. Other exercises that can keep you on track would be running, swimming, biking or yoga. These are excuses to save a little money on travel and take in the sights in a different way. Yoga will not only maintain your body’s ability to move, but it can be very helpful after the long plane or car rides where you will be sitting for long period of time. Youtube has plenty of yoga classes that will work for all levels of experience.
The key is to still enjoy your vacation! With these tips and suggestions, you will be able to have your cake and eat it too while getting the most out of your vacation. Enjoy the time that you spend recharging and keep reaching for the goals that you have set for 2019!
Ian is a Certified Athletic Trainer, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist and all around active person. Comment below to ask questions, give feedback or interact with him!