So you’ve done the hard work by securing the beach bod, saving up for a two-week getaway, and finding somebody to look after the dog. Yet, you’re still faced with a rather bizarre dilemma which seems more difficult than necessary: contemplating whether you risk being caught imitating one of Escobar’s apprentices as you attempt to smuggle your protein powder to your holiday destination, or make a plan to figure out how to eat healthy on vacation so that your beach bod becomes your all-year-round-bod, all whilst making the most of your trip.
First things first, you need to remind yourself that a vacation is a means of getting rid of your everyday stresses, letting loose, and not hammering the curls at 6 AM each day. Yes, you’ll have probably over-packed your workout attire, but if you don’t figure out a balanced way to stay fit on vacation, you may struggle to ever get your matching sets out of the bag. Thankfully, with a little bit of holiday planning, you’ll be able to find ways to flaunt your newest workout garments and give your muscles the stretch they need.
But, as your holiday is a time for you to relax, we’re here to rid you of all the stresses of healthy holiday planning so that you can know exactly how to maintain muscle on vacation without feeling like you’re not enjoying your trip.
Check out our top 10 tips to stay fit on holiday below to no longer worry about losing your gains whilst on vacation.
10 TIPS TO STAY FIT ON HOLIDAY
What’s a holiday without an “essentials” checklist, right? Passport? Check. Swimsuit? Check. Everlasting want to chuck your phone away, quit your job, and live by the beach? Check. Your pocket guide to staying fit whilst on vacation? Don’t have it? We’ve got you.
Check out the comprehensive list we’ve compiled below!
Find What’s Around
Do The Unconventional
Eating Healthy On Vacation
Focusing On What Matters
Not Forgetting The Liquid Essence Of Life
Giving Your Muscles A Break
1. FIND WHAT’S AROUND
Like most of us, you’ve probably left your fitness to chance on previous holidays, making use only of the amenities found conveniently within your reach. Well, times change.
You now have the technology that allows you to discover the different fitness resources and restaurants you’ll have around you so that you can plan the exercises you want to do whilst on your vacation, as well as find cool places to eat in your chosen destinations.
From scenic walks to drop-in gyms, using the internet is a great place to start when finding things to do that will keep you on track with your goals.
2. DO THE UNCONVENTIONAL
The beauty of exercise is that it doesn’t have to be regulated. Whether you’re planning to take up Zumba, temporarily join a CrossFit gym, or chase dogs around the local park (weird, but you do you), you’re still exercising.
If after trying to plan your fitness routine you find out that there really aren’t that many amenities around, then it may be time to think outside the box. For instance, you can incorporate a nearby staircase into a HIIT workout, find a sturdy metal rod that can double as a pull-up bar, or if you’re feeling extremely adventurous, use rocks of different weights as part of a rather comprehensive functional exercise routine.
If you haven’t yet already, you’ll probably be cat-fished by your holiday accommodation at some point in the distant future. The key is to be creative and adaptable so that should your 5-star villa turn out to be an underwhelming bamboo hut, you’ll still be able to make use of your surroundings.
3. EATING HEALTHY ON VACATION
We’re not asking you to be stringent with your macronutrient intake whilst on your holiday, but it would be helpful to know where you can find healthier meals that align with your body’s needs.
For the most part, your diet will be the same: eat a decent breakfast, avoid processed foods where possible, and indulge in local cuisine, all within moderation. Find the balance between the food you enjoy so that you can stay on track with your nutrition goals. But, if you don’t stay on track, that’s fine too, because we understand just how moreish certain local cuisines can be and why their overconsumption, albeit on a very rare occasion, is justified.
4. FOCUSING ON WHAT MATTERS
Where your focus before your holiday was most likely to restrict yourself from life’s simplest pleasures and achieve the body of your dreams, your focus on holiday should shift to one whereby you actively enjoy your holiday whilst being in total control of your choices. As you get ready for your break, you need to make sure you leave behind certain metrics like your body fat percentage and weight.
Instead, focus on how you feel whilst on holiday. Find out what it is you need to do to make sure you’re happy, content, and confident. It’s time you reward yourself for the hard work you’ve put in to look good on holiday, and where possible, find a comfortable way of maintaining your progress.
5. NOT FORGETTING THE LIQUID ESSENCE OF LIFE
Eating healthy on vacation involves understanding the necessity of maintaining hydration. As we’re well aware, holiday sunshine can prompt us to consume beverages aside from water. Consequently, we may forget to drink water despite our bodies losing water through sweat and excessive urination caused by overconsumption of beverages that aren’t water.
Dehydration can cast a grey cloud over your holiday, leading you to suffer recurrent headaches, fatigue, and cramps, as well as other symptoms that can affect your mood.1 To reduce your risk of rehydration, try drinking at least 2 liters of water per day. If you’re staying somewhere tropical, then you can try replenishing your lost electrolytes with fresh coconut water – just be careful not to overdo it as coconut water in excess amounts may exert certain laxative effects.
6. PRIORITISING SHUT-EYE
Arguably one of the most important elements to take into account when working out how to stay fit on vacation is your sleep. Sleeping on holiday can be profoundly difficult for many reasons: the children next door are too loud, it’s too warm to sleep, or your hotel doesn’t yet understand that 9 AM is not an acceptable time for heavy-bassed party music.
My favorite ‘sleep hack’ when abroad is bringing along some black tape. Stick the tape over any annoying light that doesn’t seem to turn off, like the red light on a TV on standby, so that your sleep isn’t disrupted by light. You can also try bringing some earplugs to drown the noise coming from your surrounding area.
Most importantly, however, is that you prioritize sleep as one of your holiday necessities by giving it the respect it deserves and going to sleep when your body tells you to.
Obviously, you're on holiday to have fun, too. So keep these sleep tips in mind when trying to find that balance so that one big night doesn't send you AWOL for the rest of your vacation.
Supplements aren’t magic pills that’ll make up for poor diet and exercise habits. As their name suggests, they’re there to supplement your healthy lifestyle and fill in any gaps or deficiencies you may have.
If you find yourself wondering how to maintain muscle on vacation, then maybe you need to think about using protein powder whilst you’re away. Likewise, if you feel you aren’t getting enough of a certain nutrient, then a multivitamin may be your go-to supplement.
There are supplements available for all aspects of a healthy diet. Just make sure that whichever supplement(s) you decide to bring along to your holiday is actually allowed in the country which you’re going to. We’re not liable for any arrests.
8. GIVING YOUR MUSCLES A BREAK
Your muscles need a holiday just as much as you do. As you tend to give yourself a rest day when on a workout routine at home, you should give yourself a rest date whilst on your vacation, too. Listen to your body and give it the time it needs to heal. However, you’re on holiday, so you can even use that rest day as a guilt-free cheat day. It’s a win-win, isn’t it?
9. BOOK SMART
Finding a gym whilst abroad can sometimes be expensive, with day passes costing you nearly as much as a month’s membership. Instead, you can play it smart and book a hotel that includes various fitness amenities, such as a pool and a gym. You’ll probably be more motivated to use the gym knowing it’s only a few steps away.
Your accommodation isn’t the only thing you should book smart, though. Booking restaurants located within walking distance can be a neat little trick. By walking to the restaurant, you lose more calories, so eating healthy on vacation becomes a little bit easier if you get what we mean.
10. ACTIVE EXPLORING
The most fun way, in our opinion, of learning how to stay fit on vacation, is by combining your wanderlust with your love for fitness. If distance allows, instead of taxis, buses, or trams, you can try walking or cycling. Try a guided walking tour or even map out a running path for your next high. By doing so, you’ll more likely be able to find some hidden gems within the place you’re visiting which will enrich your experience and create lasting memories.
If your holiday destination is renowned for a certain activity, such as surfing, Muay Thai, or scuba diving, then why not jump in and learn a new skill? Both, your body and your mind will thank you.
DON’T GO TOO HARD ON YOURSELF
The most important element of any vacation is to remember to have fun and enjoy yourself. In saying that, a vacation is no excuse to slack off. As you can see with our ten tips to stay fit on vacation above, maintaining your physique can be fun, especially when combined with embracing new cultures. So go ahead, book that flight and pack your favourite gym kit, because now you’ve read our guide, you’re definitely going to find use for your gear.