I recently returned from a 10-day vacation. I don’t usually relax for that long but when I do, I always get the same question from two very different types of people….
“Are you still healthy when you’re away?”
The first type of person who asks this question is the obsessive gym goer and calorie/macro counter. She usually wants to know because she wants to hear, that like her, I’m working out every day and eating mostly healthy meals.
The second type of person who asks this question is the gym and meal prep-pauser that treats vacation as an escape from reality. She wants to hear that it’s ok to not work out at all and to eat whatever she wants when away from home.
I don’t advocate doing either of those things.
Instead, I stay MOSTLY healthy while away.
I do something active at least every other day. I eat two of three meals super healthy. I sleep well and I drink in a balanced way (usually.) Being healthy is a lifestyle, it’s not just an end goal. That’s why it doesn’t make much sense to just stop doing healthy things because you need a break.
On the other hand, vacation is meant to be a reset from routine. It’s important to enjoy it.
That’s why you need to find balance when it comes to workouts and nutrition over vacation. Read on and you’ll find out exactly how to do that.
Move most days
I hate going to hotel gyms. They’re usually tiny, cramped and outdated. I would much rather do a mini bodyweight workout in my room, go for a jog on the beach or schedule a morning hike.
The beauty of being away from home is that you can push yourself outside of your usual routine and challenge your body in new ways. Why would you ever want to do another morning on the treadmill when you could try that surf lesson or shake your hips in a salsa class? Explore a little!
The other important element of fitness away from home is that you don’t have to stick to your same frequency. You don’t have to work out every day. However, you should be active on MOST DAYS.
The kind of activity you do is entirely up to you. I’ll usually recommend that clients do a mix of the following:
- Download a few of your favorite home workouts
- Research active classes in the area
- Plan a hike
- Schedule a half-day walking tour
- Bring your favourite travel workout tools (e.g. mini bands, pilates balls, etc.)
That list gives you five different options of physical activities that will keep you energised and moving!
Eat healthy most of the time
I cringe a bit when I get clients sending me meal diaries where every single meal on vacation was a high-calorie/low nutrient one OR, worse, when they skipped multiple meals.
Both of these are really damaging habits that can (and often do) impact your wellness progress once you’re back home.
The biggest excuse I often get is that there was no time/no where/no way to cook.
You don’t have to cook in order to eat healthy!
First, start with breakfast. This is the easiest meal of the day to control. Grab some yogurt, berries and nuts. If you go to the breakfast buffet, you can usually find this exact dish. If you do have access to a kitchen and time, you can always do something fancier.
Second, make lunch both filling and nutritious. The best bet is to choose a restaurant where you can order healthy grains, salad, fish, white meat or anything along your usual healthy routine. Avoid eating cheese and bread or drinking alcohol at this meal (most of the time).
Finally, make dinner something you really want. It doesn’t have to be healthy because you already managed your day with the previous two meals. The one thing that I would advise is to limit alcohol to two drinks unless it’s a night out/big event. More than two drinks are more than is needed to enjoy a meal that isn’t for a special occasion.
By eating healthy most of the time and by not overdoing it with alcohol, you will be able to balance enjoyment with a healthy lifestyle. You’ll also be able to come back into a healthy routine relatively easily once you’re home.
Remember that balance is the most important requirement for staying healthy — whether at home or abroad!