Travel and vacations are an inevitable part of life; in fact, they should be encouraged. However, every time travel rolls around for one of my clients, I am asked over and over again how they can fully enjoy their trip without completely abandoning their goals. I get it – you’re on vacation. You don’t want to spend your valuable time-off logging endless hours in at the gym. Chances are you also want to experience some delicious cuisines that don’t exist in your regular routine. It’s all valid and it should all be enjoyed, but striking a balance between indulging in your vacation and staying true to your goals is actually much easier than anyone believes. Here are my five tried and tested tips for staying fit while traveling.
Tip #1 – Stick to exercises that pack the most punch
I get it, it’s your vacation, you don’t want to spend endless hours in the gym. That said, it is important to keep drilling your mobility, so that when you do return to your regular routine, you aren’t detoured by sore, stiff muscles. Therefore, when you do get to a gym, stick to the “meat and potato” movements that will build you a total body workout in a short amount of time. Think of drilling Turkish Get Ups, Goblet Squats, Push Ups, and closing it out with Kettlebell Swings. It doesn’t need to be complicated, we aren’t looking to set any PRs when we travel – we just want to stay mobile.
Tip #2 – No Weights? No Problem
Let’s be honest, most hotel gyms are extremely lacking, and paying to use an actual gym over the course of your trip can be cost prohibitive. That’s why Tip #2 is here to remind you that you don’t need fancy equipment to get a good workout in. Take the same tip of using the “meat and potato” movements, but drill higher reps at bodyweight. Play with speed and shorter rest periods. You’ll be guaranteed to work up a great sweat. Need more tips on bodyweight exercises? Subscribe to my mailing list here and get a total bodyweight program directly to your inbox.
Tip #3 – Build your Workout into Vacation Activities
No matter where your travels are taking you, you can always plan activities that bring fitness along for the ride. That way your brain registers that you are enjoying your vacation to its fullest, while your body privately thanks you for some physical activity. For example, on visits home to Utah, I’m always sure to plan days of hiking or skiing. I get to enjoy the beautiful, wild landscape of Salt Lake Valley, the wonderful company of my friends and family, and ultimately the burn of my glutes and thighs. Not heading anywhere with nature to indulge in? Walk as much as you can. When I was in Montreal, my friend and I racked up an average of 12 miles of walking per day. In doing so, we found countless hidden gems along the way – small, unique flower shops, thought provoking public art, and a hidden brunch location that we returned to multiple times throughout our trip. There is no better way to fully submerge yourself into a new city than putting your feet directly to the pavement.
Tip #4 – Don’t Neglect Your Nutrition
You’re not alone – don’t let the title of “personal trainer” fool you, I am a HUGE “foodie.” So much so that one of my favorite parts of travel is scoping out the local favorites and indulging in the different cuisines. (See photographic proof below…) Now, don’t mishear me – I am a big proponent of enjoying life and not beating yourself up for eating a cookie (or 3), but I also know how important health and fitness goals can be to a person. It’s nearly impossible to get back from an overly indulgent trip, find you’ve moved away from your goals (whether that means finding a few extra pounds on the scale, your clothes fitting differently, or that you even have a lack of energy), and not feel a little guilt over the matter. To save you some heartache and backtracking of your goals, keep just a few nutritional guidelines in your back pocket. Here are a few that have worked for me:
- Make sure there are plenty of veggies at every meal
- Drink PLENTY of water. Pack your refillable water bottle and keep it on you at all times.
- Aim to eat for your goals 70% of the time, and indulge 30% (for me, I like to eat breakfast and lunch catered to my health and fitness goals, then should I want to indulge at dinner, I don’t have to stress about loosening the reins.)
- Check in with yourself – do you actually want what you’re about to indulge in? (I know this sounds a little meta, but I have found myself far too often eating something simply because “why not, it’s vacation.” It’s only afterwards I realize that I wasn’t actually hungry, or that I didn’t even enjoy the treat. Avoid this by practicing mindful eating and making sure the reason you’re eating something is more than, “Well, why not?”
Tip #5 – Rest and Recovery
Don’t forget – getting adequate rest is a MUST when working towards your fitness goals. What better time to get after a little R&R than on your vacation with time already set aside from your regular schedule. Don’t be afraid to indulge by sleeping in, soaking in extra sun-rays, and simply moving at a slower pace. Taking the extra time to recover will insure you hit the ground running when you return home.