Spring break travel has started and individuals and families are filling up airports and heading out of town. Whether you are traveling to find some sunshine and warmer temps, or visiting family and friends around the world, the idea of getting away and out of the routine sounds appealing to a majority of people. As a fitness professional, I often have clients ask if they should workout while on vacation. My answer for the majority is, "Yes!" There are many reasons clients tell me they don't or won't workout on vacation. If you need the rest, absolutely take it! However, don't let these 3 reasons that I commonly hear on why not to workout on vacation hinder your progress.
1) Time: The most frequently used excuse on why people say they don't exercise is because of lack of time that they have. I am sorry, but on vacation, you have all the time to fit in a short 20 or 30 minute workout. I am not saying spend your entire vacation at the resort gym, but just a small portion goes along with maintaining your fitness and body composition level.
2) Routine: Vacationing is great for getting out of the routine and experiencing new things. Clients will often tell me that they want to take a break from their day to day treadmill walk or group fitness class. My answer to this is "Yes, please do!" Our bodies adapt quickly to what we do and need to be constantly challenged. If you are headed someplace warm, get off the treadmill and walk/run on the beach! Enjoy the fresh air, practice lunges and different movements on the unevenness of the sand, no Bosu or balance disk required to pack! Get creative and enjoy what is around you! Go for a hike, swim, bike ride around the town, maybe try a yoga class on the beach or visit a local studio. I have plenty of ideas if you need them (see my in room workout picture below while my son is dancing and singing on the bed)!
3)Cheat Time: Traveling and vacationing does not mean eat whatever you want, whenever you want or as much as you want. I get it, you want a break from cooking, washing dishes, and eating the same foods that you normally eat. Have a cheat meal, enjoy and taste some local cuisine, but for the other 80% of the time, stay on track, your metabolism will thank you!
Here are my top nutrition tips that I swear by when traveling:
Book a room with a kitchen! I will grocery shop and cook and have the healthy meals and snacks on hand. It doesn't seem like such a burden when you have the time! Having the kitchen also will help on saving money instead of eating out every meal. Plus, a recent article in IDEA Journal stated that when eating out, you consume an extra 200 calories! Now multiply that by the number of meals and days that you are eating out!
Be prepared! When traveling through the airports or in a car on a road trip, don't leave it up to the fast food restaurants to supply you with good choices. (Unless you are at LAX, there is a great place to get fresh kale smoothies and organic meals. It's sandwiched in between a burger joint and a bar, so easy to miss. I paid $24 for my healthy lunch, a bit pricey for me, but I wanted my greens and protein) Pack your snacks, protein shakes and have a stash of go to items so you aren't ordering at the food court.
Learn something new and enroll in a local cooking lesson! Get some new ideas on how and what to cook from a local expert. Plus, you might use spices, seasonings and other items that you normally don't cook with and learn to incorporate them into dishes when you get back home.
As you are heading to the airport or packing up the car, remember there are always options to stay on track with your fitness and nutrition. Don't let the usual excuses take over, find your way to get it in! If you have used one of the reasons above on why not to workout while on vacation, do they still hold a valid point? I hope to have shared with you another way to look at things and make small changes. The solution is to find the options that are present around you and maybe even try something new. Relax and unwind on vacation, enjoy your time and stay active!