Friday Feature: Fitness Tip – Staying Fit On Vacation

My recent vacation to Hawaii places this topic fresh on my mind!  I had a fabulous time.  I was able to accomplish all that I wanted!  I relaxed, exercised, ate well, indulged some, and played hard.  The good news is that I also avoided weight gain!  HOORAY!!

We all know that vacationing can pose challenges when trying to remain fit and healthy!  For many of us, vacation time means taking a break from exercise and nutritious eating.  Unfortunately, our bodies don’t really care where we are and just because we are on vacation doesn’t mean that the rules of nutrition and fitness do not apply (bummer, right!?).  I’ve done it all while on vacation; I’ve gained weight, lost weight, and maintained.  I pretty much get how to accomplish any of these 3 options.  My preferable option is to maintain while on vacation because I think it offers good balance.  I HATE gaining while on vacation because every time I do, I look back and never say it was worth it (the extra food, lack of exercise, etc. that pack on the food leave me feeling regretful and icky).

So, to avoid weight gain (whether you’re visiting relatives, relaxing on the beach, or exploring new places), here are some simple tips to consider when going on vacation.

1.  PLAN AHEAD FOR EXERCISE.  Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean that you need to take a break from exercise and nutritious eating.  Before I go anywhere, I always check to see what kind of work-out facilities are available for me to use (whether it be in my hotel or at a local gym in the city).  If no work-out facilities are available, I pack my own gym.  A resistance band can do wonders while on vacation and it hardly takes up any room at all!  I also look for local running/walking/biking trails as these are usually strategically placed in beautiful areas ( I love new landscape for my runs) and tend to be much safer to use (versus running in a strange city that I am unfamiliar with).  While in Hawaii, I did indeed pack my resistance band.  I also ran along a paved trail that stretched from Laie to Kahuku.  It somewhat bordered the beach; it was wonderful!

Working Out With My Sisters In Hawaii

2.  BE PREPARED.  Be prepared by taking healthy food with you.  However you decide to travel (car, airplane, train), be prepared by packing healthy food for the actual travel portion of your trip.  Once you get to your destination, continue to pack healthy snacks with you as you go out-and-about.  You’ll always want to start each day out with a full and nutritious breakfast and then pack easy and simple snacks with you to eat during the day.  Healthy snacking during the day will help to regulate your blood sugars and it will reduce over-eating at main meals.  Having your own healthy food options will save you from eating whatever is available (which is usually NOT healthy).    During my Hawaii trip I packed my suitcase with protein powder, oatmeal, meal replacement bars, jerky, almonds, and organic fruit leather.

3.  WATCH YOUR PORTIONS.  Regardless of being on vacation or not, portions still matter!  Watch your portion sizes to avoid weight gain.

4.  AVOID EATING-OUT DISASTERS.  If you follow the tips I’ve already given you here, you should come out just fine! I was fortunate enough to stay in a house with a full kitchen while I was in Hawaii, so I was able to eat a lot of my meals at home.  If you have that opportunity, take it!  Try to find balance in eating in and dining out.  I’m not going to lie, I think my favorite dinner meals were had at the beach house.

Here I am with Nic at Cholo's in Haleiwa. It's a tasty Mexican place.

5.  INDULGE IN MODERATION.  If you’re like me, you want to have some “fun eating” while on vacation.  None of us like to feel deprived, right!?  I particularly like to taste local cuisine and try eating at places that I cannot find at home.  While in Hawaii I allowed myself one food indulgence (or cheat) each day.  That seemed to keep me happy without feeling too deprived.   I also tried to focus more on the daily experiences and building memories with my family.  Other ideas on how to keep your “cheating” in moderation include possibly having one scoop of ice cream instead of the sundae, or split that decadent dessert with a travel companion (I tried both of these ideas while in Hawaii).  Usually a small taste will satisfy most of us.

Mom & I enjoying shave ice at the infamous Matsumoto's!

6.  ENJOY YOUR DESTINATION.  Wherever you go, find ways to enjoy your destination in a healthy and fit way!  I mean, why not make the food and the exercise fun, right!?  For nutrition you can take advantage of local fruits (like I did in Hawaii with Pineapple and Mango) and local food that is best in that location (such as seafood if you’re by the sea).  For exercise, depending on your destination, you can run/walk along the beach, go kayaking in the ocean, take advantage of local trails, plan a morning stroll to a farmer’s market, rent a bike and go for a scenic ride, find a local yoga/pilates/zumba class, etc.  This article has several more ideas on how to to find fun ways to get your exercise in while on vacation.  While in Hawaii, I did plenty of this!

My sister and I decided to go hiking. We found a local trail that we could hike on for free that was right by our house.

The hike ended up being about 7 miles (round-trip) and we were lucky enough to see some waterfalls.

The views were unbelievable! This one captures the lush greenery, but you can also see the beach and the ocean in the distance. GORGEOUS!!

Of course, swimming and boogie-boarding in the ocean was a must! Nic & I had a blast doing this together!

I spent lots of time in the sun just relaxing too (mostly with my mom and sister)! This is my only biological sister. I love her more than words can say! I had to put this picture in here because she is close to my thoughts today. She is leaving me and moving out of state this very day (she's on the road as I post this). She will be gone for 3 years as her husband completes his schooling, and I tear up at the thought of having her gone for that long. It looks like I'll have to plan lots of "vacations" to see her! I love you, sis!

SO – whatever you do or whatever destination you land in, shoot for success!  You can still find a lot of ways to have fun on vacation without gaining weight.  If you ask me, that’s a win-win-win!


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