Traveling is meant to be good for your mind and soul. But what about the body? Most of us do not associate vacation with working out or being picky about food. And I get that. I mean, who has time to exercise when there´s an idyllic beach waiting for you outside, or a whole exciting city to discover? Moreover, who´s gonna say no to a delicious creamy ice cream in Italy, or to a fluffy original New York cheesecake while in the Big Apple?
Well….certainly not me! If there´s one thing I can say I love the most about traveling is to try the local cuisine, without putting too much thought into it. Push-ups? Oh, dear, I used vacation as an excuse to forget what burpees or push-ups are. However, there were times that I regretted being so lazy about moving my body and careless about what I ate.
First, I felt so tired and heavy from not eating healthy, that I didn´t have much energy to explore a new place right after lunch or a generous breakfast. Second, once at home, it was much harder to get back to my exercising routine after not working out for so many days. To top it off, the extra kilos that I have put on during some trips completely ruined that happy relaxed feeling one should have when coming home from an amazing vacation.
With time, I learned that what happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas…or anywhere else for that matter. The kilos you put on during your trip will follow you home, as well as the laziness of avoiding exercises. Nowadays, I try to find balance between having fun, not being too harsh on myself, with also being healthy.
Today, I´m going to share a few tips with you that I started following, and which have helped me a lot during the last vacations. The idea is not to take the joy out of your trip, by any means, but rather to guarantee a happy arrival home – one that you don´t have to fight the scale or get an injury from going straight back to the gym.
. CHOOSE A HOTEL WITH A GYM
I know this may sound obvious. Still, not many people remember to check out if the hotel offers this feature, because it is generally not the focus of a holiday. If the place does offer this option though, you at least have the opportunity to exercise a bit, even if you didn´t plan to at first.
I´ll tell you a story that may convince you: once, in Hawaii, Mathias fell ill and he needed to take medicine and sleep for a few hours. I had literally nothing to do. I had gone to the beach and to the pool earlier on that day, plus it was after sunset anyways. I decided then to check out the gym. To my amazement, it had the most beautiful view to the beach and lava terrains. It made me feel like I actually wanted to work out! And I did.
Tip inside a tip: gyms with a view are so inviting you might actually consider waking up earlier to work out. This way, you won´t be missing anything from your trip, quite the opposite. You will have a great sight to look at and take in while doing something good for your body.
Ps: I´m not saying you have to run on the treadmill like you are in a marathon, okay? If that´s your thing, great! But if it isn´t, a simple walk or not so heavy weight lifting will do as well.
. NO GYM? GET CREATIVE
Not having a gym at your disposal is also not an excuse not to get your body moving. How about leaving that Uber or Taxi app for another time, and walking from point A to B? Or combining means of transportation, for example, walking but using the subway at times? (extra credit for those subway stairs!)
The truth is that by foot is and always has been the perfect way to get to know a city. This is how you get a chance to find your soon-to-be favorite hidden gem bar or be surprised by a great street musician.
Not a fan of walking? How about riding a bike then? You can easily rent one at many cities around the world. Also, many hotels might actually offer them to you, especially if you are at an area surrounded by nature and beautiful landscapes.
Talking about the environment, try to combine the exercise activity with the nature that is around you. If you are by the beach, how about running or walking on the sand? If there´s a park close by, how about doing some yoga followed by meditation while breathing the freshest air? Also forests offer great hiking opportunities together with animal spotting. Lake area? Time for some swimming or stand-up paddling!
The options are vast, you just have to look around and try to work with what you´ve got. Additionally, keep in mind that the accommodation you are at might not offer a gym (or maybe you do not like gyms), but rather other activities like pool games, bowling and dance classes.
. WORKOUT APPS & VIDEOS
This might be the one I use the most. There´s a huge array of apps and YouTube videos that offer online exercises with and without equipment. Simple things you can do in your hotel room or using easy objects like chairs or a bottle of water. Many applications give you the opportunity to choose target areas and the time you have available to exercise. Some might even be set up to send you reminders of your progress and work out times.
In the case of the videos, you will also be able to find ones that fit your taste. There are total body workouts, dance workouts, arm, legs, abs, even some focused on stretching only. The videos available last from 2 minutes to over an hour.
Some of the apps I use are Sworkit Fitness & Workout App, Workout for Women, 7 Minute Workout and Nike Training Club.
Some of the channels I follow on YouTube: Psyche Truth, DanceBody, Pamela Reif and Heather Robertson.
Keep in mind though, that you should know your fitness level before using these apps or trying to follow these videos. Starting to exercise with an app might be dangerous if you are not used to working out.
. EAT LOCAL & FRESH
When we are on vacation and visiting a bunch of different places, it might be appealing to grab food on the go. I mean, you are on a highway, hungry, you see a McDonald´s, you stop. Or, you just came out of a museum, and there´s a French fries´ food truck right in front of the exit, calling your name. Unhealthy options are common and sometimes the easiest to find, so I don´t blame you.
Nonetheless, have you ever thought that this kind of food might be making you more tired or lazy during your trip? This can actually get in the way of your plans. Cutting down on grease, for example, can play a huge part in you feeling more active and hitting town instead of hitting your bed.
A great option is to do some research before your travel in order to gather the name of some places where you can eat delicious, local, fresh traditional food. If you are at a coastal town, why not look for a good locally sourced seafood restaurant, and try their non-fried dishes? How about giving some vegetable dishes a chance while staying near crop fields? If you eat meat, how about supporting restaurants that source their meat from local farmers who let the cattle run free? A little research can help you with that.
By the way, I´m not telling you not to have dessert or not to eat food you enjoy. I´m inviting you to think: do you need to have dessert every single day while on vacation? Maybe you do. And that´s ok if it brings you joy! But you could then benefit from exercising or walking every day in order to reward yourself with that dessert. Wanna eat a burger for dinner? No problem! But then how about choosing something lighter for lunch, or not exaggerating with the breakfast buffet? It´s all about balance, guys!
I guarantee that if you do watch out for these things while on vacation, you will definitely make the most of your trip, and come back in peace with your body.