Celebrate National Cheese Pizza Day with this basil-packed grown up version of the classic cheese pie!
24 Tips For a Fitter, Happier Summer Vacation
After putting in long work hours all winter and squeezing in those extra bench presses, it’s finally time to take a break — summer is here! Whether you’re relaxing on the beach or exploring a new city, a break from the normal routine can make it tough to stay fit — not to mention all those meals out and indulging in a few (OK, a lot of) cocktails. All that fun means you might return home feeling less than refreshed.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Making just a few smart choices during vacation will keep you active and energized and help you get the most out of that vacay — and looking forward to the next one.
Eating and Diet
Photo by Caitlin Covington
Save space for treats. Visiting France? It’d be a sin not to try out some crepes. On days you’ll be indulging in some cheat day action, try to keep other meals and snacks on the healthy side.
- Beware of buffets. With so many delicious choices, how to choose? Start by using a smaller plate; it’ll encourage smaller portions . Fill up on as many fruits and veggies as possible. Just have to try that cheesy pasta? Spread the love and share it with a friend.
- Stay regular. No, not that kind of regular. Keeping a fairly consistent diet helps maintain weight better than being erratic . If you don’t normally supersize meals or scarf down bags of chips, vacation isn’t the time to start.
- Visit food markets. They’re a great place to soak up culture and eat delicious — and cheap — fresh food. It’s better for the environment, you’ll pick what you’re eating, and burn off calories while walking. Talk about a win-win-win.
- Pack snacks. Take your own snacks when you’re out and about for the day to stave off hunger. It’ll keep money in your pocket and away from unhealthier options (we’re looking at you, golden arches). Trail mix, granola bars, or even PB&J sandwiches are all healthy, portable options.
- Make your own meals. If you’re staying somewhere with kitchen access, whip up your own delicious meals. You’re more likely to eat something nutritious and tasty at home — and you’ll know exactly what’s in it.
- Beware of drinks. A single cocktail can contain hundreds of calories. If a drink is necessary (and sometimes it is!), try some of these healthier drinks.
- Take a cooking class. It’ll help relieve stress and you’ll be able to recreate the flavors of your vacation long after it’s over.
Exercise and Fitness
- See the sights. On foot or bike, that is. Skip the bus tours and check out your new surroundings the old-fashioned way to burn calories while taking in the views. Lots of cities even offer running tours to let you explore while getting a workout in.
- Take the stairs. Skip the elevator and sneak in some extra cardio. Bonus: lots of sightseeing attractions — churches and towers, for example — have stairs with architectural oddities, letting you kill two birds with one step.
- Embrace your surroundings. If you’re at the beach, try doing the usual yoga routine on the sand instead of indoors. A change in scenery might be the boost needed to get physical . Take a long walk through a local park when kickin’ it in a new city.
- Be adventurous. Break out of a workout rut and use vacation as an excuse to try a new, fun activity. Whether it’s rock climbing, sailing, or trapeze swinging, challenge yourself to try something different while you’re away.
- Try the local specialty. Take advantage of what an area’s known for —or even plan a vacation around it! Unroll a yoga mat in India, learn tai chi moves in China, or woo potential suitors with flamenco moves in Spain. It’s a great way to learn about a culture while exercising.
- Make exercise your vacation A surefire way to guarantee to keep moving is by planning a getaway around a fitness event or competition. Force yourself to vacation by registering for a race in a different city or try a weekend Pilates retreat.
Room and Board
- Check out amenities first. Make it easy to squeeze in workout time by booking a hotel with a gym or pool. If that cozy bed and breakfast doesn’t have the facilities, find out if discounts are offered at a local gym.
- Scope out the neighborhood. Book accommodation near places to get your sweat on. If you need to run laps before starting your day, make sure there’s a track nearby. If you can’t unwind until you hear namaste, stay near a yoga studio.
- Do it anywhere. Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere and require zero equipment. Bust a move in the room to keep fit.
- Stash food. Ask for a room with a mini-fridge and keep it stocked with yogurt, fruits, and veggies to avoid room service.
- Eat before the airport. Chow down on a big meal before hitting the airport to avoid having to eat at the fast food courts. If you’ve got to eat there, try fruit or a salad (dressing on the side!).
- Watch out for jetlag. Adjusting to a new time zone might make you hungry at odd hours. Resist the urge to snack at 4 a.m. and wait for normal meal times instead.
- Drive past the drive-thru. If you’re driving to your getaway, plan where and when you’ll be stopping for meals before hitting the road. It’ll give you more flexibility on choosing a healthier restaurant — or figuring out the best options. And of course, pack your own healthy snacks! (See a theme here?)
- Keep work away. It’s a vacation, remember? Resist the urge to check work e-mails and focus on having fun. It will keep your mind clear and allow you to decompress.
- Free your mind. Meditating for just a few minutes can help relieve anxiety and stress.
- Get the most out of time off. Doing activities that you enjoy, keeping your cell phone off, and sharing time with friends and family (or alone time!) ensure that you’ll get the most bang for your buck out of a vacation.
How do you stay fit while on vacation? Do you find you put on pounds every vacation? Let us know in the comments below!
- The mathematical relationship between dishware size and portion size. Pratt, I.S., Croager, E.J., Rosenberb, M. Education and Research Division, Cancer Council Western Australia. Appetite, 2012 Feb;58(1):299-302⤴
- Promoting long-term weight control: does dieting consistency matter? Gorin, A.A., Phelan, S., et al. Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, Brown Medical School/The Miriam Hospital. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 2004 Feb;28(2):278-81⤴
- Environmental and policy determinants of physical activity in the United States. Brownson, R.C., Baker, E.A., Housemann, R.A., et al. Department of Community Health and Prevention Research Center, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University. American Journal of Public Health, 2001 Dec;91(12):1995-2003⤴
Comments Leave a comment
I think it's especially helpful to keep the new "MyPlate" ratios (choosemyplate.gov) in mind when visiting buffets (or any event where you plate food yourself!). If half your plate is filled with vegetables and fruit, there's simply not going to be enough room in your stomach to cram mac n' cheese in there. (Granted, a lot of the vegetables in a buffet will have added oils and the fruits might have added juice or sugar, but they're still probably the healthiest options you have!)
I also recently found the Eat Well Everywhere site (http://www.eatwellguide.org/travel_map) which helps you find healthy food stops along your route (if you're roadtripping).