How to keep your fitness goals on vacation
Let’s be real — exercising while on vacation is not an easy task. Once vacation mode is switched on, it feels like all responsibilities are off the table, which is totally reasonable because you want to be able to relax and be present in a foreign environment. But when we have certain health and fitness goals that we’re working toward, taking your eye off the prize might set you back a few days. Just because we’re on vacation, doesn’t mean we should throw those goals out the window.
Being on vacation means you can be anywhere — the beach, the country, or the city. Each of those places gives you room to be creative and continue with your wellness goals. We spoke with Paul Davis, personal trainer and owner of The Headquarters gym Australia, to learn how to best keep your fitness goals while on vacation. Keep these travel hacks in mind when you’re on the road.
Pack and plan with the intention of working out
Before you leave for your holiday, pack with the intention that you’ll be working out. Make room for sneakers and exercise apparel in your suitcase — throw in a few protein bars while you’re at it. Lucky for you, resistance bands and jump ropes can easily be tied around the outside of your carry on bag.
“The only equipment I’ve traveled with is exercise/resistance bands. They’re very versatile and can be used for different exercises around the body,” explained Paul. “Skipping ropes could also be used depending on goals.”
Exercise bands tone and strengthen your muscles by adding resistance to your exercise. You can use these bands during a bodyweight circuit to give it that extra burn. For instance, if you put the band around your thighs, just above the knee, it will increase tension for pulsing squats. Feel the burn?
Save a few bodyweight workouts to your phone so that you have a guide to follow. Pinterest is a great tool for finding creative exercises online. YouTube videos also come in handy when looking for a quick exercise routine to follow. Just as you might search for things to do in the place you’re traveling, look to see if there are any adrenaline-pumping activities in the area. Doing something like skiing for 60 minutes burns about 370 calories, depending on your weight. Who knew?!
Block off 30 minutes of your day to exercise rather than update social media
Planning your workouts when on vacation can help you stay on top of your fitness goals. Block off 15 to 30 minutes a day to dedicate to working out. You don’t even need that long! An 8 minute HIIT workout burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Stay accountable by setting a reminder on your phone or letting your travel buddy know your goals. It’s always more fun when you have someone to workout with.
If you know that you’ll have a late night, plan a workout for the next afternoon. If you’re naturally an early riser, get a quick workout in as soon as you wake up while everyone else is snoozing. In the grand scheme of things, you can find 15 to 30 minutes in a day to squeeze a workout in rather than updating your social media about how much fun you’re having on vacation. Trust us, the internet will be there, the time to workout might not.
Get creative with workouts
Like we said, being on vacation means you can be anywhere — whether that’s a beach, city, or countryside. When you arrive at your destination, check to see if your hotel has a gym. Staying in an Airbnb? Look for space inside or outside that provides enough room for a bodyweight circuit.
“It‘s hard to find gym access while on vacation, but I always find that I’m walking so much more when I sightsee and explore,” explained Paul. “Bodyweight exercises are great for general muscular conditioning. Do this in your accommodation or outdoors. Keep in mind that on vacation, we are often more active with walking, which is always beneficial.”
If you’re near the beach, get creative with a workout under the sun. Coconuts are a great prop to replace medicine balls and use as weights. If you’re in a big city, use your fitness goals as an opportunity to try an exercise class that you’ve never done before, such as Soul Cycle in New York City or yoga in Thailand. Signing up for an exercise class in a foreign place is all part of the fit travel experience.
When you’re on the road, take the opportunity to eat local. You might be surprised by the fresh flavors! Eating local sometimes means fewer preservatives than you’re used to at home (depending on where you travel). For example, if you head to Italy, take a cooking class and learn about all the fresh ingredients used in their cooking. Despite having these goals, don’t deny yourself the opportunity to try something new. Be aware of your intake and don’t overdo it.
“If your goals are important to you, traveling will never be an excuse for allowing your nutrition to slip. It will require a lot more preparation, such as educating yourself on where to eat and what’s available,” said Paul.
Before your trip, look up a few restaurants ahead of time that might seem like ideal options for your nutrition goals. This will help you stay on top of your dietary needs while also being able to enjoy the local cuisine during fit travel. It will also give you another part of your trip to get excited about.
Keep a journal
Write your goals down and keep track of your workouts and nutrition. Rather than making it a chore, think about it as if you’re checking something off your bucket list! Beach workout in Bali? Check! Three-hour hike in Peru? Check! Ate a whole bowl of ramen in Tokyo? Good for you! Exercising and tracking nutrition shouldn’t be a chore, rather think of it as a moment for yourself to focus on your body and mind.
“Tracking your calorie intake makes it easier to avoid over-consumption of foods,” said Paul.
Keeping a journal will not only help you track your sets, reps, or food intake, but also show you the progress you made. It will help you remember what worked and what didn’t, plus remind you that you’re only human when you slip up and enjoy an ice cream cone while walking along the beach boardwalk. When it comes to keeping your nutrition goals on vacation, remember that moderation is key, not denying yourself.
“While on vacation I’m a big believer in living to your fullest! For me, the best way to do this is by doing what I want, when I want. That includes eating and drinking,” said Paul. “What’s the point of working so hard on ourselves only to limit the quality of life we have?”
We’ll take that travel hack! We work hard to earn a vacation. It’s possible to maintain your fitness goals, but also remember to have fun and relax! After all, rest and recovery are just as important as the workout itself.