With the holiday season approaching, you, like many others, are likely already camping on travel sites, keeping a watchful eye on sweet deals to snap up 🛫
Of course, vacations are a whole lot of fun. They offer the perfect opportunity to let loose, have fun with friends, and forget about the daily hustle, even if just for a little while.
But while you have a good sense of — and enjoy some semblance of control over — the (financial) cost of your holiday, the same doesn't apply to your fitness goals.
Will all the fun you'll have on holiday slam your fitness goals off track?
Will your vacation cost you all the gains you've painstakingly made through months, if not years, of hard work?
Here's not-so-good news: you will lose some gains. That’s for sure.
But there's heartening news: you can mitigate your fitness losses with a few strategic moves while on holiday. Read on for seven tips on how to stay fit on vacation.
#1: Pack extra protein sources
Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean your muscles can suddenly go without protein!
Beyond providing your muscles with the building blocks (i.e., amino acids) they need for maintenance, repair, and recovery, protein also keeps you satiated — so you feel less drawn to the third helping of that incredibly rich and creamy (read: calorie-laden) pasta at that highly raved restaurant a street across your hotel.
TL; DR: protein fuels your muscles and lowers the likelihood that you’ll severely bust your calorie budget.
So, pack extra non-perishable protein sources like canned fish, jerky, protein bars, and even protein powder.
It'll often be the less expensive option than ordering your proteins at an eatery. Trust us.
Side note — protein isn’t the only hunger-suppressing food around. Find more details below:
#2: Scope out healthy restaurants
Reminder: you don’t have to throw all healthy eating habits — and your fitness goals as a result — out the window when you’re on holiday.
Instead of treating every meal like an all-you-can-eat buffet, try going every alternate day with more nutritionally- balanced and wise meals, for instance.
Checking out “healthy restaurants” (i.e., those that provide more macro-friendly dishes like grilled chicken or grilled [any protein source] salad) beforehand would help.
#3: Overestimate calories for meals
Do you rely on calorie counting to stay on track with your fitness goals?
If so, here’s a trick that could help you stay within your calorie budget: overestimate everything you’re consuming at restaurants. Everything.
That’s because you don’t have the same familiarity with their cooking methods as you would with your favorite eateries from home — the former may be more heavy-handed with their oil, cooking sauces, and condiments.
These all translate to calories. E.g., 20 during breakfast, 30 during lunch, and 50 during dinner, and that’s 100 calories ... in a single day.
To avoid "accidentally" going off track with your fitness goals while on holiday, try adding a 10% buffer (this could be more or less, depending on your preference) to your calorie counts for your meals.
For example, if you think a meal was 400 calories, log it as 440 instead.
#4: Reduce meal frequency
Know you’ll be (over-) indulging during dinner?
While this isn’t a calorie-management strategy we’d recommend you use in your daily life, you could choose to skip either breakfast or lunch to “balance out” your food intake later in the day.
An alternative is also for you to skip out on your usual snacks — if applicable.
#5: Find a hotel with a kitchenette and gym
If possible, book a hotel room with a kitchenette.
This affords you the flexibility of choosing to cook your own (macro-friendly) meals — note: you can get meal prep ideas here and here if you need vegan options — which, in turn, gives you better control over your calorie intake instead of always eating out at eateries or restaurants.
In addition to a kitchenette, look out for hotels equipped with a gym or fitness center.
Even the most basic ones (e.g., a few rows of dumbbells and a handful of machines) would do. This allows you to get a quick workout in whenever your schedule or loved ones allow it.
Don't even have access to dumbbells? Don't worry — that's what resistance bands are for. Don't have that either? Well, what about bodyweight exercises? Check out the following articles for inspiration:
#6: Stay active throughout the day
Here’s a strategy that’ll keep your fitness in tip-top condition and calorie balance in check at the same time: find opportunities to stay active throughout your holiday.
In other words, as tempting as it may be, don’t sit and feast all day. Instead, consider and propose activities like:
But what if your fellow travelers turn their noses up at your suggestions? Well, don’t take it too hard. It’s OK for people to have different priorities while on holiday — fitness may just not be their thing.
If so, simply find pockets of time you could be on your feet to boost your NEAT. Go for a morning walk before the day starts. Make your way up the stairs while everyone else takes the escalator. The little things do add up.
#7: Stay hydrated
Ah, here’s the final tip.
It's too easy to forget hydration when you're having a blast. But you shouldn't forget to drink up: as it turns out, mild dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger — which means you’d end up stuffing your face (it’s been nice knowing you, calorie control) when all you truly needed was some fluids.
That said, how much water should you be drinking, though? It depends. For a more specific answer, check out this article:
Don’t forget to bring GymStreak along with you, too
“Holiday” and “fitness” don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You can stay fit during holidays.
In most cases, you’ll find that applying just a handful of the tips outlined in this article will help minimize the fitness “losses” (in terms of gains, cardio ability, and weight loss results) you experience during a vacation.
Oh, and here’s a bonus tip to reward you for reading till the end: take GymStreak with you on your vacation.
Quickly tailor and adapt your training routine to your equipment availability while on vacation (Can only do bodyweight exercises? No problem. You can only do dumbbell exercises? You're also covered.) You can also easily swap exercises to fit your training needs.
With GymStreak by your side, it’ll be like your muscles never went on vacation (provided you do your workouts, of course!)