Ahh, vacation. A time filled with fun, relaxation and some of the most delicious foods in the world — no wonder it’s difficult to stay in shape and avoid weight gain when you’re traveling!
Whether you’re traveling in a new and exotic place or somewhere familiar (like where you grew up), there’s a way to approach your travels without risking sliding back on your hard-earned weight-loss momentum.
Use these simple tactics to help stay on track and still enjoy good food and company:
1. KILL TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE
One of the hardest parts about maintaining your weight and staying in shape on vacation is finding the time to move. Getting to a gym can be quite the trek — and dime-sized hotel gyms can zap even the best of intentions.
Instead, combine fitness with your getaway. For example, if you’re heading to a tropical destination, rent a kayak or take surfing lessons. If you’re going to a national park, go on a hike and take in the views. If you’re headed to a city, rent a bicycle and explore. The idea here is it won’t even feel like exercise.
2. PACK RIGHT
It doesn’t matter where I travel — I always pack my Under Armour running shoes, shorts and shirt. You can’t work out if you don’t bring workout clothes so always bring them along if there’s even a possibility you’ll exercise. (The good news is they’re light and compact so they don’t take up much space in your carry-on bag.)
3. SLEEP LIKE A BABY
Sleep is extremely critical to health and fitness. It’s when your body rests, recovers and rejuvenates so you can feel and perform your best. But when you’re sleeping on different beds (and uncomfortable pillows), changing time zones and altering your sleep schedule, it’s tough get a good night of sleep.
Do what you can to prioritize restful sleep every night — and try to get in 8 hours. Adjust your clock before you leave on your trip so you can reduce jet lag. Also, pack a few items to help you sleep deep each night. I use earplugs and melatonin, but you can also try a sleep mask or a traveling pillow.
4. STAY CONSISTENTLY ACTIVE
Staying in shape isn’t just about intense workouts; it’s about staying active and moving as much as possible. When I spent a month in London, I actually lost weight because I was walking 3 hours each day sightseeing and took the Tube everywhere.
When you’re on holiday, don’t just stay in your hotel room. Go for a walk around the block, go a few blocks further to eat dinner at a restaurant and find ways to move. Even if you’re stuck at the airport, walk around the terminal instead of sitting on a seat.
5. EAT AS HEALTHY AS YOU CAN
You don’t have to abstain from all unhealthy foods while traveling; you can still enjoy local delicacies even if they’re full of sugar, fat or both. However, make sure to get back on track after each splurge.
One of the main reasons we travel is to have fun and let loose a little, not to feel restricted. So instead of cutting out all the “bad foods” from your diet, focus on getting a healthy balance of foods. For example, if you’re going to eat something heavy for dinner, order a side of veggies along with it. Also, have a light, healthy lunch to make up for it.
6. KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY
Staying in shape while traveling also includes staying away from illnesses. When it comes to air travel, public transportation and new environments, it’s much easier to get sick.
Wash your hands when you can and consider carrying hand sanitizer to help you keep germs at bay. (It can be as effective as washing your hands in some instances.) Also, drink plenty of clean water to stay hydrated, especially if you’re in an area where the water supply could be dirty. Remember that many parts of the world don’t have the same sanitation or food-handling rules we do, so keep an eye out for potential problems.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT