How to Stay Fit on Vacation
With summer vacation being in full swing and many people racing off to their preferred family destinations, it is important to realize that for many of us, once healthier habits are adopted, being active and healthy has become a way of life! Now, it is also important to understand that taking a few days off to enjoy some fun with family and friends will NOT magically transform your body composition.
It is quite the opposite despite what influencers will tell you in an attempt to sell their products, but your physique, hormones and central nervous system may actually IMPROVE with you eliminating extra stressors for a short time period and just taking some time off to recover.
But, if you are in the beginning stages of your health journey or really feel compelled to maintain somewhat of a healthy regimen, use these tips to stay fit the next time you go on vacation...
1. PLAN AHEAD
This may seem like an obvious one that you've read about before but nevertheless, it doesn't make it any less important. This truly is and has to be the focal point of your entire time away. From what your spending budget is, to packing small meals and snacks that can fit inside of your backpacks/purses, to how many times you will eat out for specialty foods in that location, to making sure you pack the right amount of workout clothes and supplements. One of the biggest reasons people honestly don't plan ahead is due to laziness. Many will blame time because of work or something else but may I remind you that if you have time to surf on Facebook or Instagram, you have time to sit down quietly with yourself or with kids, spouse and/or traveling partner and come up with a rock solid plan of action so you don't find yourself out of money, hungry and/or tired with still a day or two left on your vacation that will just stress you out and ruin the rest of your time at your destination.
2. PLAN YOUR MEALS & SNACK TIMES
Once you've reached your destination, it is very important to stay on a similar eating schedule as you had while you were at home. The reason behind this is, our bodies HATE change. We are homo sapiens which explains that under any type of stress or drastic change from our regular patterns, we go into a "fight or flight" mode which then causes blood pressure to increase, our hormones go out of whack, muscles tighten and heart rate increases. This also will explain why we experience so much fatigue while vacationing despite being overly excited for this new trip or activity.
Your plan, before even arriving at the airport, train station, shuttle service, etc. is to eat a big meal (yes, I said big) before you leave home. This will save you a lot of money from those airport food courts. But, if your flight or service gets delayed and you find yourself getting hungry, most places carry a lot of healthy options now. Plus, make sure you are understanding that traveling time counts as time without eating, just as is the time while doing your fun activity of choice. Most don't take into consideration that they may eat before going to the airport or train station, travel 2 hours, walk to the fun destination (which may be another 30 mins-1 hr) then wonder why they are so hungry and they didn't plan to pack a snack before even doing any fun activities. Which then, just leaves you miserable and tired during your activities before spending some more time getting to a restaurant or fast food place to curb your appetite.
3. EMBRACE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
If you plan on staying in a hotel, ask if they happen to have a fitness center. Also, a lot of bigger cities have recreational parks within walking distance of any location that have bike trails, running paths, pull up bars, dip bars, etc. You can honestly workout anywhere with your own bodyweight. Just because there isn't a gym nearby isn't a valid excuse to skip your workouts. How well have you researched the environment you are going into?
Don't forget that during most vacations, a lot of recreational activities are performed. Walking long distances, hiking trails, swimming on the beach, climbing stairs inside landmarks, subway stations, malls, etc. You may be working out and not even realizing it! If you find yourself getting hungry more frequently, this may be the reason why due to the fact of your activity level increasing. When you see an escalator, take the stairs. And YES, take the stairs even if you have a luggage or two! I like to call this, weightlifting in its natural form :)
4. REMOVE STRESS EARLY
Yes, you may have goals to achieve, but remember that you are on vacation. ENJOY YOURSELF! A very important point that I would like to make is this...throughout my years of traveling, whether it be for athletic competitions, business meetings or pleasure, I've seen people completely forget to let loose because they were so "committed" towards achieving their goals or growing their particular lifestyle. I never want to undermine this incredibly feat of mental strength and willpower. But, due to this "hustle hard" mindset, I've seen good friends lose out on experimenting with other culture's famous foods or activities with friends or family due to the need to workout at their hotel gym, reply to business emails, check their investments or reading their self help book before going out. Remember, this may be your only time visiting this location because we never know what tomorrow will bring, so it is okay to give your body a rest, leave the cellphone at the hotel and enjoy the environment that you are in. This may just add to stress and resentment later on that will cause you to mentally sabotage yourself. Be aware of where your attention is at.
Remember what I said before about how our bodies hate drastic changes? During times of travel, our bodies go through much stress due to land elevation changes, lack of sleep, irregular eating schedules, jetlag, etc. Little changes such as this add up to a lot over time if you are away for long. It is very important to remember, while our bodies are going through times of stress (even when it doesn't seem like it because we are engaging in fun activities), our muscles begin to tighten. Two activities I am persistent with is always stretching and using my foam roller daily to get out any stressful knots I may carry in my muscles. Doing this while on vacation may help relieve a lot of muscle tension and help you feel more energized due to the fact that you won't be so sore everywhere you go. Try it out and see for yourself. Just remember, after stretching and foam rolling, it is important to drink plenty of water to flush out any toxins you may be carrying within you.
Staying fit on vacation doesn't have to be complicated. It simply requires planning and a lot of mental awareness to outside stressors. If you know of someone planning a vacation soon, be sure to share this with them and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
"Coach Taz" aka Taylor Rodriguez is owner and head coach of Taz Fitness & Nutrition. He is a Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach located in Deltona, FL that coaches individuals online and in person. Taylor was a former partying pro wrestler turned fitness enthusiast after the economic downturn of 2008-2010. After losing almost 70 lbs, his new passion is to help struggling individuals find a new confidence within themselves to achieve any goal that they see possible. To begin coaching with Taylor or to request a free consultation, contact us today.
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