Your bags are packed, your tickets printed and ready on your desk, and your alarm is set for O-Dark Thirty. You are ready for your summer vacation.
You have been really working hard on eating better, working out consistently, and have been seeing some great changes thus far. But now that you are going on vacation, what will happen? Can all your hard work from the prior months be ruined in 7 days? Highly unlikely.
What can happen though is by getting WAY off track on vacation, that can trigger those bad habits to follow you home – and they can linger for a while. This is why it is important to still be mindful of your habits while on vacation; but make sure you still enjoy your vacation as well.
Eating on vacation is where most people tend to get off track when it comes to the healthy lifestyle choices.
Know ahead of time what you’ll have access to. Things to think about:
- Will you be eating out more or cooking in?
- Go to the local grocery to stock up on:
- Lean Beef
- Egg whites
- Olive Oil
- Bottled Water
- Single Serving Packs of mixed nuts (good snack, but easy to go wild with when drinking)
- Resist the temptation to go crazy with snacks and processed food – because it’s easy.
The best decision you can make when making a reservation is to stay at a place that has a kitchen and, even better, a grill.
Do some grilling on day ONE: chicken, beef, pork, fish, veggies, etc. Make way more than you need for the day, because now you are set for the rest of the trip.
Use some of the leftovers for your snacks rather than your more traditional “snacks.”
Rather, try to stick to a normal 3-4 meal a day plan, and keep snacking to a minimum if possible. Lots of sitting around, waiting for others to get ready, and snacking goes on while on vacation.
If you are going out to eat a lot, stick with the basics, non-processed, whole foods: meats, fish, veggies. Make your side dishes healthy, enjoy the main dish – but still remember portions.
Another one of my favorite strategies is to prepare for a meal out by keeping carbs and fats low during the day (unless you are planning to be pretty active, then have carbs). This is because most delicious, but less healthy meals out tend to be VERY high in fat and carbs (pizza, pasta, loaded potatoes, etc.).
Your meals during the day should be high veggie and high protein.
Think of it as banking your carbs and fat for one meal, and you will likely stay closer to your normal daily goals.
Look at the accommodations and figure out what will be available to you (weights, cardio, nothing)
Determine what your schedule looks like ahead of time and how much you want to devote (you’re on vacation so try to figure out how this won’t impede your experiences and time frames).
Are there other activities that you are going to be doing that are active like golfing, hiking, biking, etc that could be considered a replacement for a training session?
Here are some suggestions based on what you may have available:
- If you have a gym and some weights, stick with the basics.
- A simple weight workout would be a push/pull/squat/hinge. Try this:
- Push Up/Chest Press
- Row/Chin Up
- Squat Variation/Lunge Variation
- If you only have cardio equipment, I suggest sprints and some bodyweight exercises.
- If you have nothing, get creative!!
This can be one of the biggest challenges on vacation – drinking enough water, and not drinking too much alcohol.
A lot of people will say “Don’t drink any alcohol at all”…but let’s be real. So how can you better manage your ethanol indulgences.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: Keep a water bottle with you at all times (out and about, at the pool, on the boat, wherever). Space each alcoholic drink with a water in-between.
- Be mindful that you are drinking and why you are doing it: Many of us drink to enjoy the social nature of the environment and the people around us, but sometimes the drinks flow as more of a habit than actually enhancing the experience. Create some awareness around that cocktail in your hand.
- Drink better quality drinks: This goes back to the enjoyment factor and being more aware. If you have the more expensive stuff, whether your choice be craft beers or high end whiskey/bourbon/vodka, you’re less likely to go crazy like your college days of Coors Light and Karkoff Vodka…
Don’t come back from vacation more stressed out, in worse shape, and needing a cleanse to get back on track. That’s exactly what your vacation should have been. You should be more fresh and clear-minded when you come back than when you left.
- Work:Minimize it. Get it done ahead of time so it’s not weighing over your head the whole time for when you get back. Hide your phone, or at least turn off your notifications so you’re not being pinged by emails and Facebook all day.
- Sleep:Get your rest. Try not to deviate much from your normal routine. The more well rested you are, the more enjoyable your experiences will be.
- Be Present: Don’t let all the other distractions take away from your experience. If you’re there with your family, then actually BE there! It’s easy to let the other things like work and/or stressing over your diet get in the way of actually having a good time.
- Don’t Feel Guilty:It’s vacation. You’re allowed to splurge a little. This is why you put in all of that hard work the rest of the year. If you typically eat well, and get your workouts in you’re ahead of the game. Cut yourself a little slack if this truly is a vacation and it’s a rarity for you.
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Stay healthy my friends,