Justin Here! Let's talk about Vacation.
Vacation is something that everyone needs and everyone wants to be on, typically, all the time. I mean, who doesn't want to take some time off from their everyday hectic life of work, responsibilities and deadlines? I know I do!
The problem with going on vacation from your everyday life, for the average person, means going on vacation from their hard earned results that they slaved away for in the gym and with their diet.
I wanted to share with you how easy it is to maintain a specific level of fitness and nutrition while away in your paradise. I have heard too many times from clients, "I gave up on vacation!", or "I need to get back to where I was!". These common responses are usually met with an intense struggle to get back on track, and in worst-case scenarios can even result in a client taking off time from exercise because the uphill battle has become too steep.
Why the struggle? When someone goes away on vacation, temptation spreads its wings and flies right into your face. The amazing food, the endless alcoholic beverages, NO GYM IN SIGHT, (well actually, there are several right nearby, but you close your eyes passing them as your Uber driver carts you drunkenly to the next bar). Now, this is all well and good, but what are you doing to save and maintain all of the hard work you have done for yourself to lose those 10 lbs and keep them off all year?
To prevent becoming a victim of a wonderful vacation turned "back to reality" and end up hating yourself and quitting fitness, I have laid out some very simple suggestions for ANYONE at ANY LEVEL to adopt and apply. I promise that if you keep fitness and nutrition a TOP priority while vacationing, you will feel better, DURING and AFTER your return, and won't need to spend three weeks trying to get back into the swing of things. Even if you adopt only one suggestion, it's much better than throwing in the towel! Trust me.
Packing: What to bring?
If you are driving - this is way easier to plan for than flying. Driving allows you to stop off for food, bring more with you (like a cooler) and be in control. Flying is a pain. The airports DO NOT cater to healthy living, whatsoever. I have yet to find an airport that does. The best you can get in an airport would be something on whole-wheat/grain bread, and some cold-cuts, fruit, bags of unsalted nuts, etc. I have yet to find a Muscle Milk or a decent protein bar yet. My advice would be to bring a few packaged items into your carry-on bag - these options could consist of low/zero carb and sugar protein bars, Quest Potato Chips, or something prepared that is not liquid. This will help to curb hunger during the flight and you will be getting some critical protein into your system, preventing muscle breakdown and giving you energy. The other thing to do is purchase a large bottle of water! Do not wait for the Flight Attendant to come by with a miniature baby cup of water for you. Have a bottle on you once you go through security, and sip it throughout your flight. Don't be afraid to use the bathroom either - it's there for a reason!
If you are further along your fitness journey and have a good grasp on taking supplements and vitamins, be sure to pack them in your luggage (airports allow open containers in your luggage you check-in), like protein, etc. Purchase a weekly pill divider from a pharmacy for $2 and put all of your vitamins and pills into this for easy access and organization.
Again, if you are further along in your journey and know what to look for, stop off at a Vitamin Shoppe or GNC in the area you are staying before hitting your room. You can purchase everything you need and most brands sell tiny bottles incase you don't want to buy the full-size, or even pack what you don't use in your luggage and bring it back home with you. I have done this countless times.
Location: Where I should stay and what do I need?
The easiest way to make sure you stay on some sort of track is to have a kitchen in your presence. Some hotels may cost more for this option, but if you take the extra time to search on a vacation rental/owner site, you can find hundreds of condos and homes that are fully equipped with everything you need to mirror your at-home setup, and this means things will become easier.
Having access to a fridge, stove, microwave, etc. will allow you to cook some of your meals. This means you have complete control over what you are putting into your body and you will undoubtedly save money from not eating out at a restaurant for every single meal and snack.
Find a grocery store when you arrive, go shopping for the duration of your stay, pick up fresh veggies, lean meats, cold cuts, healthy snacks, fresh fruit and plan some meals to cook and throw in the fridge. Most of the condos and even some hotels offer a grilling area too - this is great for making some bulk meals and throwing into the fridge for anytime.
I was recently away on vacation with my girlfriend and we used the grill for a couple hours early on in the trip. We made steak, chicken, chicken and turkey sausages and heated them up whenever we were hungry during the day. NOTE: we still ate out every night for dinner and some lunches - you don't have to be a slave to your room.
This was probably the biggest money saver and also kept us eating healthy and similarly to our everyday life probably 75% of the trip. If you can maintain your diet 75% of the vacation, doesn't that sound much better than 0%? I think so. And we had the best trip ever.
Find a Gym
Most hotels have gyms. period. If you want to do some sort of physical activity, even if it's 30 mins of walking on the treadmill watching the TV when you wake up, it's better than NOTHING.
I personally enjoy checking out different cities gyms and getting in a workout when I can. In San Diego, I went to a couple of awesome gyms, and had a few workouts during the week. Pretty much when I got there, middle of the week and at the end. It really helped me feel like I did not throw away what I've worked so hard on. One gym had a free guest pass on their website, and the other gym was only $10 per day. If you don't have your trainer to help direct you, just do something simple for 30 mins like walking or jogging or try to recall a simple workout you enjoyed doing safely in your life. Better yet, ask Carl or me to give you a workout you can do in your hotel room or at the gym. It's better than doing nothing.
Stay Active as Much as Possible
Walking, riding bikes, swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, sight seeing - all of these require you to MOVE and burn calories. Try not to just sit on a chair for 12 hours drinking next to a pool EVERY day. Remember - the point of this blog is to help give you ONE THING positive to apply to your trip.
Bring a Cooler to Places With Some Food in It
This sounds weird, and it is, because you're on vacation, right!? Well, this is a fantastic way to prevent you from running up to the pretzel stand on the boardwalk or eating hot dogs because it was "convenient". If you are headed to the beach, have a rental car and hitting the road, a simple styrofoam cooler and a bag of ice from the grocery store or 711, or a decent plastic one will do. Just load up the cooler with some food you bought - put it in ziploc bags, tin foil, whatever is easy and won't cause it to become moist. Then when you become hungry, reach for your healthier options in the cooler. It's that easy, seriously.
Water. You know you're supposed to have a lot of it, right? Why do people just give up on vacation? I do not know. Because drinking sweet drinks is the way to go? It doesn't have alcohol in it? Listen: drink water. You need this to stay alive, and anywhere that there is lots of sun and alcohol, or bad food choices, I can guarantee you that unless you are drinking more than you'd like, you're probably becoming dehydrated, and this will kill your muscles and the way your body performs. Plus, you'll probably be nursing a nasty hangover on the beach the next day. Drink up. Try to have half at least half of your bodyweight in ounces each day. And Vodka with water does not count as water. Sorry.
Cut Down on the Alcohol
This one is subjective, but less alcohol means more money in your wallet and less damage to your results. Consuming these empty calories that store as body fat the second they enter your body is the NUMBER ONE way to ruin your physique while on vacation. The older you get the harder it is on you - remember those Spring Break days? Well, you're probably not 18 anymore! This is serious. Try to limit your consumption to a few drinks when you're out and don't buy any booze for your room. You'll be thankful at the end of the trip, and probably remember it all too.
Seriously, having a place to cook or heat food, a grocery store, a cooler, drinking water, and staying as active as possible with the possibility of going to a gym (a gym that may even be built into the exact place you are staying, like, a couple of feet away!) for an hour of your day, is not too much to ask, is it? If you started to apply more of these techniques, you will be so thrilled to come back and NOT feel like complete garbage. You are worth it and should treat yourself with enough respect to not flush your hard work down the toilet. Adopting one or all of these methods of vacationing success will keep you on track and make coming home a LITTLE less stressful. Give it a try!
Enjoy your vacation, but allow your body to enjoy the vacation too, because your body wants to be healthy, even if your mind does not.
Here for all of your Health and Fitness Needs!