Tips for a Healthy Vacation

healthy vacationAs many of you know, I was just on an extended vacation to Costa Rica, and wow was it an amazing 9 days!  It was a beautiful country and we really enjoyed our time off from work.  I get questions from time to time about how to have a healthy vacation and avoid any weight gain or setbacks in the fitness department, so I thought this would be a great time to address that.   I just checked this morning, and I didn’t gain any weight on our trip which is good news, so hopefully some of these tips will help you in the future to have a healthy vacation.

Food on a Healthy Vacation

Food is by far the number on obstacle to having a healthy vacation, and I definitely was not perfect in this area either, but I didn’t go overboard.  The hard part is that you don’t have your kitchen and you tend to eat out for most if not all of your meals.  And that can make it extremely hard to find healthy options.  If you’re wondering how to make good choices, check out my article Tips for Eating Out.  Also, while on vacation, here are a few things you can do to make sure your meals don’t lead to lots of weight gain:

Avoid buffets.  This is a good rule of thumb all the time, but it’s hard to have a healthy vacation if you’re eating all you can eat for many meals.  It’s hard not to overeat at a buffet, so when you have the option to, just order a meal instead of the buffet to keep portion sizes down.

Find a grocery store.  Even though you might not have a full kitchen, you can still pick up some things that make healthy snacks, like fruit, protein bars, bottles of water, etc.  You can make simple lunches that are healthy and having healthy snacks throughout the day will help you avoid overeating at your other meals.  Plus this can save you a good amount of money since things will most likely be cheaper at a grocery store than anywhere else.  Finding a grocery store can really help you out in having a healthy vacation.

Keep portions under control.  Just like when you’re at home, make sure you’re being mindful of your portion sizes when you eat.  I think there is a tendency to not care too much and just eat what everyone else is, especially while on vacation, but that can really set you back if you’re trying to reach specific goals with your fitness and nutrition program.

Alcohol on a Healthy Vacation

I don’t really ever suggest drinking too much alcohol, for many reasons, but this is also a huge issue that can get in the way of you having a healthy vacation.  Many people like to drink, and sometimes heavily, while on vacation, but the calories can really add up.  And the worst part is that they’re all pretty much empty calories.  Also, often times people drink a lot late at night, which also doesn’t help as those calories can easily be stored as fat.  I did have a few drinks while on vacation, but out of the 9 days we were there I only had alcohol on 2 of those days.  If you can cut out most of your liquid calories, that can go a long way in helping you have a healthy vacation.

Workouts on a Healthy Vacation

If you’re trying to have a healthy vacation, the workouts can be difficult too.  But there are a few things that can you can do to stay on track with your goals.

Make it a recovery week if possible.  If you have control over when you’re planning your trip or know about it ahead of time when you’re starting a new round of P90X or another workout program, try to plan it over a recovery week.  That’s exactly what I did and it worked great.  My body needed the recovery week badly, so I really liked how that worked out.

Bring your workouts with.  Some hotels have DVD players or you can always bring a laptop with to play your workout on in their workout room.  And I think 3 of 4 hotels we stayed at had a workout room, so if you’re not on a recovery week, you should have a space to do your workout.  Get up a little earlier as the rest of your family or friends sleep in and get your workout done first thing in the morning.  That way you don’t miss anything and you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day.  If you want to have a healthy vacation, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get your workout in.

Plan physical activities.  Depending on where you are you can always try to plan activities that will get you moving and staying active.  Instead of just laying on the beach, go snorkeling or swimming.  Often times there are hiking options and that can be a great way to get out and see the local area and wildlife.  Also, if things are close enough and the area is safe, walk to your destinations instead of taking a cab.  Again, it’s a great way to see more of the area you’re visiting.  There are often plenty of ways to plan activities that are fun and can help you have a healthy vacation.

Obviously you want to have fun on your vacation, that’s always a must!  But you don’t have to let a fun vacation totally throw you off from seeing good results with your fitness program.  It’s not going to be the same as it would be if you were at home in your normal environment, but hopefully these tips come in handy the next time you travel so you can have a healthy vacation!

 

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  1. […] we just got back from being on vacation, I thought it would be timely to write about how to have a Healthy Vacation.  So if you didn’t get a chance to check that out go read and let me know what you think. […]

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