Fitness on Vacation
I’m going to be spending a week and a half on vacation coming up in less than two weeks! I’m really excited for it, but I’ve also been scrambling to get ahead of any vacation weight gain. To me this is pretty much inevitable - it’s near impossible for me to go on vacation and not gain weight, between airport lounges, eating out, booze and special occasions. There’s also the simple fact of not missing out is more important to me. I’d rather enjoy a tasty dish at a new restaurant that I may never get to again than say no just because I’m not sure it fits in my calorie goals for the day.
But I wanted to share my strategies for minimizing weight gain while on vacation, in case they may help you too! None of these are shocking, but together I think they help.
- Keep working out. As any regular readers know I try to get some form of physical activity in every day. The one thing I will say - walking doesn’t count, for me. My job and commute has me getting the recommended 10000 steps on a daily basis and it’s never helped me much. Not saying this is a bad thing for some! But for me I think I need more. So on vacation I try to make some time for a dedicated work out. This also helps keep me focused and grounded - getting some time to myself allows me to sometimes watch a show or listen to a podcast alone, and that time is great.
- Be flexible in your workouts. Right now my general workout schedule is lifting MWF, Running TTh, and generic cardio/golf SSu. Trying to maintain that schedule on vacation will be next to impossible. For example, I know the Linq, the hotel we’re staying at Tuesday night, doesn’t have a squat rack in their gym, so lifting on that Wednesday is out. All good! I’ve been working on my cardio and running ability so I can go for a run on a treadmill there. Running is a great exercise to do on vacation generally - you get to see the sights of wherever you are and it requires very little equipment - just a pair of shoes! Another thing I plan to have on hand is a couple body weight routines. I can do push-ups, crunches and squats pretty much anywhere. The hotel room floor isn’t ideal, but it’ll do in a pinch.
- Make smart choices on food. This is really an everyday thing, but especially on vacation is it true. Is the danish at the continental breakfast really worth your calories? Or could you grab a banana and be done with it? Do you need a Coke, or will water do fine? On vacation especially I think it’s critical to spend your calories wisely. For example at breakfast I will rarely eat a pastry or pancakes. I like them but if I have a protein heavy option that’s always what I’ll get - it fills me up better, tastes better to me, and is often a bit better calorie wise than something like French toast. You do you, of course, but the idea here is not to just eat whatever’s around or eat something shitty just because it’s there. But, at the same time, I think just for your own fun, it’s important to also get good shit. I will absolutely be going to In-N-Out, as it’s delicious, rare, and worth every calorie. I’ll do my best to make room for it, yes, but I’m going either way. To me that’s a smart choice, too. If you’re going to a famous steak house don’t order a salad unless you really want one - get the steak and enjoy it.
- Don’t be afraid to skip a meal. I don’t necessarily mean fasting through something, but one’s schedule is often a bit messy on vacation. I will often have a heavy breakfast around 11 and then maybe a small snack around 3 then dinner at 7 or 8. For a long time I felt like I needed a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner, regardless if breakfast was at 11am. Listen to your body, of course, but realize you don’t need to stick to your old 3 squares a day schedule.
- Pack your own lunch. By this I mean pack some healthy snacks (or even meal replacements!) in your suitcase. I intend to pack a ton of protein bars. They’re tasty, filling, and will do as a “meal” in a pinch. Remember what I said before about shitty continental breakfasts? This is the perfect example of when to grab a protein bar. Keeping some healthy options handy allows you to save your calories for the things you really want. It also helps because you KNOW what’s in that. It’s harder to get calorie counts on vacation, I find, so I often end up with my best guess.
I hope this has been helpful for you! Would love to hear from you, dear reader, how do you manage health and fitness on vacation? Let me know!